Explore Seville, Spain
Explore Seville the capital of Andalucía and the cultural and financial centre of southern Spain. A city of just over 700,000 inhabitants (1.6 million in the metropolitan area, making it Spain’s 4th largest city), Seville is Andalucía’s top destination, with much to offer the traveler.
In the 19th century Seville gained a reputation for its architecture and culture and was a stop along the Romantic “Grand Tour” of Europe
Sevilla International Airport is located about 25 minutes’ drive from the city center.
Sevilla has a great public transportation system. The buses run frequently and cover the majority of the city in their routes.
National and Regional Holidays
- New Year’s Day January 1st
- Three King’s Day January 6th. Children receive gifts from their parents. There is a 6 hours parade around the city.
- Saint Stephen’s Day January 20th
- Semana Santa (Holy Week) The week proceeding Easter Sunday. Processions and floats prevalent throughout city.
- Feria de Sevilla 6 days starting 2 weeks after Easter, in 2014 6 to 11 May. All night Flamenco dancing, bullfights, dancing in the streets and horse riding, the most celebrated event in Spain.
- Labor Day May 1st
- John’s Day June 24th
- Corpus Christi June 6th. Celebrated with big parades.
- Marta July 29th
- Assumption of Virgin Mary August 15th
- All Saints Day November 1st. Relatives lay flowers on graves.
- Christmas Day December 25th
- Stephens Day December 26th
- Constitution Day December 6th
- Dia de los Santos Inocentes December 28th. Similar to the American April Fool’s Day, an excuse to play innocent pranks on one another.
- Immaculate Conception December 8th
What to buy
Seville is home to many beautiful artifacts, some of the more popularly known are plates and Spanish tiles. Triana offers many ceramic factories where one can buy various tiles from authentic craftsmen. There are stores that custom design plates and tiles near the cathedral, especially in Calle Sierpes, but across the river in Triana are other worthwhile pottery stores. Depending on the time of year, but especially leading up to Christmas, there are a number of artisan fairs throughout the city.
Seville offers a wide variety of retail clothing, although generally at high prices. The main shopping district is home to all the big international and Spanish clothing lines (such as Zara who has at least 4 separate stores in Seville). The winding streets and alleyways of the Santa Cruz area (around the Cathedral) do a roaring trade in Spanish- and Andalusian-themed T-shirts and inexpensive flamenco dresses for little girls. The Corte Ingles (translated literally to “The English Cut”) is a large chain of department stores located throughout Spain selling clothes in the “American style”.
What to eat
Seville, like most Andalusian destinations, is known for its tapas. “Tapa”, while it is associated with certain dishes, is actually a size and many restaurants or bars will offer a tapa, 1/2 ración (half serving, although sometimes enough to make a meal) and ración (serving) of the same dish. There are many great tapas places around the foot of the cathedral in the center of town. You can’t go wrong, simply order one of everything to find your favorite! Some typical tapas include tortilla española (potato omelet), pulpo gallego (Galician octopus), aceitunas (olives), patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), and queso manchego (sheep’s milk cheese from the nearby La Mancha region). Also be sure to try the ham, which you often see hanging above the bar. Be aware that most of the restaurants kitchens do not open before 20:30 in the evening. Though usually some easy to prepare meals are available before that time.
If you’re vegetarian, make sure you specify that you eat no fish or tuna as vegetarian only implies no flesh here.
If you would like to purchase your own food, head down to one of the markets close to the center of the city, such as in Plaza Encarnación. El Corte Inglés is a larger more popular department store that you can go to for almost every need.
Do NOT eat the oranges from the trees on the street if you are visiting off season. They are extremely sour and have been sprayed to stop the birds from eating.
What to drink
There are quite a few teterias in Triana across the river offering teas, shakes and middle eastern pastries in a cozy cushion filled environment.
Sangría (an alcoholic fruit punch) is often sought by tourists, but Tinto de Verano (a mix of red wine and lemon or orange soda) is more authentic, has less alcohol, and is often cheaper.
Cruzcampo, the local beer, is worth trying. Compared to other Spaniards, Sevillanos consume more beer and less wine.
The tap water in Seville is good.
Agua de Sevilla is sometimes thought of as a popular drink in Seville, but you will never see a person from Seville drinking it, despite all the tourists drinking it as if it were something popular.
Seville is an emblematic city of Andalusia whose charm is known around the world. Culture, gastronomy, architecture, climate, mentality and lifestyle are dreaming all travelers. You can find many charming corners, unsuspected views of the city or exceptional locations close the most beautiful historical monuments. There are many beautiful and unexpected accommodations accessible for short and medium stay.
Most places have air conditioning but be sure to ask in summer, you will want it. You will probably pass the siesta (early afternoon) in your room to escape the heat.
- The Prado de San Sebastian bus station offers routes to other cities in Andalucía, including Córdoba, Granada, and Algeciras where it is possible to continue on by ferry to Morocco. The Plaza de Armas bus station offers routes to other parts of Spain and other countries, most notably Portugal.
- Sierra de Aracena. Located towards the North West of Sevilla, it is one of the most famous places for Jamón in Spain and full of lovely small villages to discover. Great for walking around, eating and exploring this Natural Park.
- Sierra Norte. Located towards the North of Sevilla, it makes for a nice change from the monotonous landscape of the Guadalquivir Valley. It is an area of steep relief, olive groves, and deep river valleys. Deer, wild boars and other large animals are often seen from the car. The area is well-known for its cured meats.
- A wonderful day trip or make it two days to see everything. Visit the Mezquita with peppermint striped arches, the old white walled Jewish quarter where every turn offers a new view, and the Medina Azahara archeological site. You can also take a bath in Hamam, Arabic baths, massage included, a very relaxing experience.
- Offering the incredible Alhambra, is possible on a long day trip, but better for an overnight or long weekend.
- A nice day trip to this warm and luminous city, home of Sherry wines, cradle of Flamenco and home of the Andalusian/Carthusian horses (pure Spanish Horse). Just one hour by train/bus from Seville, a little less by car. Visit some wine cellar to know their long and distinguished history and process and later, visit some popular “tabanco” to taste wonderful tapas and unique wines surrounded by local people. You can also enjoy or even learn some Flamenco (don’t miss Flamenco Festival in February, Feria del Caballo in May declared an International Tourist Interest or their popular Christmas Zambomba celebration along December weekends) or attending some horses show in The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art Foundation.
- A wonderful, ancient (oldest city in Europe as they say) city. It’s an hour and a half by train, a little less by car. Walk its downtown, bathe at its beaches and taste its delicious fish. And if it’s Carnival time, don’t miss one of the more massive Carnival celebrations in the world (and surely one of the funniest too).
- Discovering a XIX Century British town in the middle of this Andalusian city is definitely remarkable. Huelva has an interesting history. Columbus left from Puerto de Palos and La rabida Monastery, where he spent a few months it is well worth the visit. The wide and white beaches around, like Punta Umbria or Islantilla are also a good reason to visit and try fresh fish. Buses from Damas Bus Company every hour from Plaza de Armas Bus Station.
- In the summer, cruises are offered from beneath the Torre de Oro to Sanlucar de Barrameda at the mouth of the river.
- For a longer trip, Madrid is 2.5 hours from Seville.
Official tourism websites of Seville
For more information please visit the official government website: