Seville is the capital of Andalucia and the fourth largest city in Spain. Its historic center is the largest in Spain and only third in size in Europe after Venice and Genoa. It has a harbor on the River Guadalquivir, and a university dating back to 1505. What all these facts don’t tell you is that Seville is a lively and contemporary city with history and culture to see during the day and fun to be had during the evening.
Great things to do and see:
Seville Tapas Festival
The people of Seville are so committed to tapas (the are an estimated 7,000 tapas bars Seville and surrounding areas) that every February through March they hold the annual tapas festival. Around fifty restaurants compete to come up with the best dishes and others rise to the festive spirit with special offerings. The official hub of the festival is the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones (Avenida de Alcalde de Luis Urunuela) but if you wander into pretty well any tiny tapas bar around town you’ll find a taste sensation.
Seville Cathedral is the largest in Spain and the third largest in the world. The place is huge: 415 ft (126m) long by 272 ft (83 m) wide by 138 ft (42 m) high. In fact, some recent calculations have this church as the largest in the world. There are 80 side chapels, filled with gold artifacts and paintings by such masters as Goya and Murillo, the tomb of Christopher Columbus, and one of the most elaborate Gothic altarpieces ever made.
The Giralda bell tower is next to the cathedral. Climb to the top for fabulous views of the city and be impressed by the internal structure of the tower: a ramp wide enough for two horses side by side!
This is the royal palace of Seville and some argue it rivals Granada’s Alhambra Palace. Don’t miss Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla , the wonderful underground water storage tanks.
Torre del Oro
The Tower of Gold is a landmark on the banks of the river and was part of the original town fortifications dating from 1220. For a time in its history it had golden azulejos (tiles) around its top.
Triana is traditionally the gypsy quarter of Seville and is full of flamenco bars and ceramic and tile shops. Located across the river from much of the city, it’s almost an island in the Guadalquivir River.
Seville is famous for its flamenco and you’ll find lots of flamenco bars in both the historic center of town and Triana. Many of them have free entry but they do expect you to buy a drink or two from the bar.
Plaza del Toros de la Maestranza
Bullfighting has a long tradition in Spain although it is gradually being phased out region by region. Seville, along with Ronda, is where bullfighting began and the ring at Plaza del Toros is the oldest in the country dating from the 1750s. Fights occur in April, May, June and September, or if you prefer history to gore, there is a museum at the complex.
Feria de Abril
This is a huge annual fair which celebrates gypsy culture, traditional dress, horses and of course food. It is for locals rather than tourists but there is still much to see and do even if you can’t get in to some of the feasting and dancing events which can go all night.
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Easter is a very important time of year in a place as religious as Spain and Seville is overtaken by processions of massive icons of the virgin being carried by penitents through the streets representing all the churches in town. A truly incredible sight.