The Captivating Capital of Andalucía – Magnificent Seville is Spain at its Finest

Just like its famous flamenco dancers, Seville is full of history, charm and passion. From the winding, narrow streets leading to Plaza de España and the gothic masterpiece that is the city’s cathedral, Seville isn’t just a city that impresses you, it draws you in and demands that you appreciate every part of it.

From Roman ruins to magnificent Moorish monuments, the Andalusian capital takes visitors on a journey through the past, culminating in passionate flamenco dances and indulgent evenings filled with tapas and wine.

Seville was also recently named Lonely Planet’s best city to visit for 2018 and with this in mind, here are some of the best attractions, experiences and culinary dishes this incredible city has to offer.

CATEDRAL DE SEVILLA

Seville’s majestic Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is an absolute must-see when visiting the Andalusian capital.

Built over the city’s historic mosque between 1434 and 1517, the world’s largest gothic cathedral houses the tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus, as well as a treasure trove of art and exquisite architectural design both inside and outside.

The famed Giralda tower can be accessed from within the cathedral. Boasting splendid panoramic views of the city, the top of the tower is reached by walking up sloping ramps rather than steps. For more information, visit catedraldesevilla.es.

REALES ALCÁZARES DE SEVILLA

The Royal Alcázar of Seville is a beautiful Moorish palace in Seville, located a few minutes walk from the cathedral. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Seville’s cathedral, the Alcazar is one of the most recognisable pieces of architecture in Spain, especially after its recent appearance on the multi-award-winning TV series, Game of Thrones.

The most impressive part of the Alcázar is The Courtyard of the Maidens or ‘Patio de las Doncellas’.

Beautifully ornate designs cover the floors, walls and ceilings alongside the courtyard. In the centre, a large rectangular pool cools and relaxes visitors.

The Baths of Lady María de Padilla are also worth visiting, especially for a moment of cooling escape from the outdoor heat.

Make sure to stroll through the gardens when you visit the Alcazar as they’re the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. For more information about the Alcazar, visit alcazarsevilla.org.

PLAZA DE ESPAÑA

Located in Parque de María Luisa, the spectacular Plaza de España is by far the most iconic image of Seville.

Follow the red brick paths along the walls of the semicircular plaza and make sure to examine the tiled scenes of Spain’s history, along with maps of cities and regions.

Visitors can also hire row boats to ride along the canals and under the Venetian-style bridges in the plaza. The main building is flanked by two spectacular towers, with a large fountain making its home in the centre of the plaza.

Seville is an incredibly easy city to navigate by foot and Plaza de España is only a short 10-minute walk from the Alcázar.

PARQUE DE MARÍA LUISA

While Plaza de España may be your main draw to Parque de María Luisa, the park is definitely worth more than a quick stroll. Stretching along the Guadalquivir River, the huge park is Seville’s primary green area.

Embrace the Spanish way of life and appreciate a leisurely stroll along the palm and orange trees, stopping to admire the fountains, ponds, buildings and monuments along your way. The park is also a beautiful spot to sit and relax after a few hours of dedicated sightseeing.

METROPOL PARASOL

While Seville’s historic splendour is the principal reason for visiting the city, it’s always great to get a taste of a city’s modern architectural influences. That’s where the Metropol Parasol comes in.

The large wooden structure, which is shaped a little bit like a mushroom (and is the reason for its local nickname – Incarnación’s Mushrooms), provides unbeatable panoramic views of the city from its rooftop walkway.

Built over Roman ruins, there’s something wonderful about a city’s ability to integrate the past and present, something Seville does so well. For more information, visit setasdesevilla.com.

UNIQUELY SPANISH EXPERIENCE

Food

There’s little point trying to stick to your usual eating regime while in Spain. Instead of strict breakfast, lunch and dinner options, food and drink is a much slower and savoury experience in España, especially in the south.

It’s best to start your day with a hot cup of café con leche (coffee with milk) or a strong espresso. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, have some sliced bread roll pieces topped with olive oil and tomatoes or a Tortilla de Patatas.

For lunch, probably your most substantial meal of the day, enjoy a plate of Huevos a la Flamenco (Eggs, Chorizo and Tomato Sauce). Gazpacho and Seafood are equally good lunch options in Seville.

At dinnertime, don’t even try sitting down to order at 5/6pm. Meal times are closer to 9pm here and usually involve a selection of tapas served with copious amounts of alcohol (well, they can). Of course, as the night progresses, there’ll be peanuts, seafood and meat tapas (canapé size). Patatas Bravas is an excellent post dinner indulgence as you sip your glass of vino.

You’ll find all the above dishes pretty much everywhere in Seville and Spain so make sure to sample everything because food is an integral part of the Spanish culture.

Flamenco

Seville’s legendary Flamenco dance scene is one of the main draws to the city. So popular and culturally significant, the dance was declared one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010.

Infusing Spanish folklore with the most powerful and hypnotic music, Flamenco needs to be seen and felt, and there’s no better place to do so than in its home in the district of Triana. Settle into one of the snug tableaus for an unforgettable evening of intense Spanish music and dance.

Semana Santa

If there’s one historical tradition that’s alive and well in Seville it’s the ceremonies and parades during Semana Santa (Holy Week).

The Easter celebrations in Seville are recognised worldwide for the elaborate parades, where caped figures wearing tall conical hats walk in pairs through the city’s old streets.

Celebrated for centuries, visiting Seville during Easter week is something that should be experienced at least once in your lifetime, no matter your beliefs.

WHERE TO STAY

A central hotel within a short walking distance to all major attractions, the 4-star Hotel Ray Alfonso X in Barrio Santa Cruz has rooms with prices starting from €69 for a standard double.

For a touch of luxury in Seville, stay in the 5-star Hotel Alfonso XIII. A cultural landmark in itself, the hotel is located next to the Alcázar and Seville’s cathedral. Prices for one night start at €287 per night.

HOW TO GET THERE

You can fly from Dublin to Seville with Ryanair. Seville’s airport is located approximately 30 minutes from the city centre by public transport and approximately 20 minutes by taxi.

FEATURE BY SARAH GLASCOTT

Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.

Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.

A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.

Sarah Glascott Sarah Glascott

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