Possibly the first real last minute decision I’ve ever made when it comes to booking a City break. The story goes, it rained solidly for the first two weeks in July and i’d had enough, I needed some sun and some sights.
I was instantly slapped in the face with Seville’s charming personality, history and exciting vibe. It was modern, arty, flamboyant and charismatic… a real feel good place to be soaking up the sun and seeing the sights. Not to mention eating some incredible tapas and washing it down with white Rioja – who knew?! It was lovely!
I found a fabulous restaurant called Abades Triana overlooking the river Guadalquivir with a view of the Torre del Oro (A very distinctive 13th-century military watch tower) lit up at night. It was wonderful and the food was among the best I have ever had, the quality and standard of presentation was better than some Michelin starred restaurants I have eaten in back home – check it out if you get the chance.
Plaza de España (Spain Square) is by far my favourite place in Seville. I think I went there 3 times; once for a walk around and an ice cream, again to drive a golf buggy around the extensive gardens, and back again to row a boat around the small canal, under the plaza bridges. All of which were brilliant experiences, especially the boat (that I didn’t have to row). I liked this place so much.
The Plaza de España is located in the Parque de María Luisa and is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture. It’s mainly government buildings and the town hall today, but very well disguised. The pavilion buildings are absolutely stunning and tiled ‘alcoves of province’ are really impressive.
It is a popular filming location and has featured in Lawrence of Arabia and several Star Wars films. I took a slightly off-piste golf buggy ride out to see the buildings that featured in the latest Star Wars film which was really fun.
You could walk around this place for hours, it’s huge and it’s so pretty and peaceful.
La Maestranza Bull Ring and Bull Fighting Museum
Locally known as the Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, the Bull Ring is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Seville and is famous for its bull fighting festivals. The museum and tour of the Bull Ring are available for those who want to learn about its architecture and the history of bull fighting without witnessing an actual bull fight. You can go and see bull fighting if you want to. The building itself is beautiful, really classic baroque style architecture. Inside, the actual ring is huge and is amazing to see when it’s empty as part of the tour and museum experience.
You’ll find this in La Encarnacion Square, it’s unmissable! If you’re not expecting to see it, you’ll be sure to deliver quite a loud ‘Oh My Gosh’ when you look up. I did! It’s very random. It’s the largest wooden structure in the world and the terrace roof has a fabulous City view – a must see for photography enthusiasts. Essentially it was built to fill a gap… it does the job!
Watching an authentic Flamenco show at a Theatre is Seville is a guaranteed great night out. I loved seeing the traditional costume, and the guitar was incredible. The dancing is very expressive and quite intense but it’s wonderful to watch and well worth going to see, I really enjoyed it.
I have seen many Cathedrals across Europe, most of which are phenomenal, but this one is really something special. It’s an absolute monster of a building steeped with gothic embellishments and is one of the largest Catholic churches in the world. It is also the largest gothic Cathedral in the world – it is awe-inspiring in size and architectural magnificence.
The Cathedral sits on the site of a 12th-century mosque. In the northeastern corner of the Cathedral, you can climb up to the belfry of the Giralda, it is part of the original mosque.
The main Chapel is the jewel of the Cathedral and said to be the biggest altarpiece in the world. Begun in 1482 and finished in 1564, this sea of gold holds more than 1000 carved biblical figures. At the centre of the lowest level is the tiny 13th-century silver-plated cedar image of the Virgen de la Sede, patron of the cathedral.
It’s unbelievably impressive, the Cathedral is full of sculptures, pieces from the Cathedrals art collection including Murillo’s La inmaculada and the tomb of Christopher Columbus… there is so much to look at so don’t plan a quick visit!
City Sightseeing Bus
It’s not often that I list a bus as a notable highlight to a City break but it’s always one of my favourite things to do and usually the first thing I find when I arrive in a European city, most of them have the hop on-hop off bus tours. The views from the top deck were amazing and the strategically placed stops are perfect for the best tourist hotspots. The commentary is fab and this really is a great way to see the sights of Seville.
For sightseeing – take the bus, it’s the best way to get around but Seville is easy to navigate on foot as the City is so compact. Taxis are easy to come by if you need one and car hire is available. There are also plenty of Servici bikes and docking stations around the city and cycling is a very popular way of getting around. The metro is very good if you’re looking to travel slightly further out of town.