Cultured Relaxation in Seville
As I have an apartment there, Seville is a city I have been to many times. The home of flamenco, Seville is the quintessential Spanish city – warm, exotic, good value for money and traditional and they have the best dressed children in Europe. ¡Viva Sevilla!
What to do
There are so many landmark buildings and monuments to explore, the main ones being the Cathedral, the Alcazar, Casa de Pilatos, the Torre del Orro and the Plaza de España. But there are also many parks, the main one being the Parque de María Luísa which was built for the 1929 World Fair in Seville. Strolling around the palm trees, drinking in the local life is a lovely way to while away a few hours.
Shopping and Mooching
Seville has its own rhythm and a siesta is a must. The hours from 2 to 5 are for lunching, relaxing and resting. The shops are at their emptiest at this time. From five onwards, the city stirs back into action, kick started with the Spanish custom of the merienda. Join the locals of all ages in a coffee or thick hot chocolate and churros (fried doughnut like snacks for dipping into the chocolate). It’s then time to stroll with the locals on the main shopping streets, Tetuán and Sierpes which run parallel to one another.
Shoes are everywhere in all colours and many are well priced. The Spanish shop Zara Home has a lovely branch here which I am always in and beautiful fabric stores are nearby. Julian López being the largest in an amazing building, personally I love the womanly atmosphere here and fussing of the Señoras who can all still sew. At either end of these streets you will find Plaza Nueva and Plaza de San Francisco which are two large squares with traditional Sevillian architecture.
It would be hard to find this traditional flamenco at Casa Anselma across the bridge in Triana. The action starts here around midnight and the address is Pagès del Corro, 49.
The best value tapas in town is at Taberna Coloniales where the solomillo al whisky is a must.
Where to Stay
I’ve stayed in all of these places over the years and like even now to have glass of fino in the jasmine filled patios.
Calle Santiago, 2, Plaza Jesus de la Redención, 41003, Seville. Step through its classic Andalucian white and ochre exterior to the cool, spacious patios inside. The large bedrooms are in a contemporary style with crisp white linen but not over boutiqued. One of the best in Seville.
Callejón dos Hermanas 7, Calle Santa María la Blanca, 5, 41004 Sevilla.
This hotel is located in the historic Barrio de Santa Cruz very close to the Alcazar and the Cathedral. Very authentic in style located down a very narrow side street. Several intimate patios, perfect for a cool crisp fino sherry of an evening.
Calle San Fernando 2, Seville 41004
A palatial hotel. This 5 star hotel is the best known hotel in Seville and is a wonderful example of Moorish architecture in Andalucía. When built in 1928, it was one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe and a very high standard is assured by the current owners.
This is an expensive hotel, but a great place for a drink if you are staying elsewhere.
Fancy your own place to stay?
Amanda did too. If you want a more authentic Seville experience. You can rent her apartment. Click here for details.
Where to Eat
As tapas were invented in Seville you will not go hungry.
Breakfast Seville is one of my favourite cities for breakfast. Toasted bread (tostada) with any combination (or all of) olive oil, tomato and serrano ham, fresh orange juice when in season and a café con leche always taken in a glass (en vaso). I am not much into breakfast but this I love – I tend to skip the ham and have tostada con aceite y tomate. This can be had in any number of bars around Seville and it’s so cheap!
The iconic El Rinconcillo (Calle Gerona 40, 41003 Seville) is a must visit tapas bar. What is so nice about this bar is that it is still very much frequented by locals which gives it a great atmosphere, though inevitably you will find backpacked tourists. It dates from 1670 and has much of its original cabinetry still. Try their spinach and chickpea dish (espinacas con garbanzos). Bills are chalked up on the counter.
The excellent Taberna Coloniales (not far from El Rinconcillo in Plaza de Cristo de Burgos, 19, Seville 41003) was originally recommended to me by a local shopowner. The food here is very well made, with a very wide choice and generous portions, making it extremely good value. Very popular with locals. I love their solomillo al whisky which is pork with olive oil and roasted garlic. If there is a queue when you arrive, they will put your name on the board outside. They have added a second restaurant, this time on Calle Jimios, at the corner of García Vinuesa, which has the same great formula, albeit with no outdoor seating.
Bar Santa Ana on Calle Daoiz comes into its own when you can sit outside in the beautiful square. Therefore best of an evening or for a peaceful breakfast. The food here is excellent quality no nonsense Spanish food.
It is good to know somewhere good to eat in the touristy Barrio Santa Cruz. The excellent Bar Modesto (Calle Cano y Cueto, 5, 41004, Seville) is an excellent traditional looking bar and restaurant specialising in fish and seafood. There are lots of outside tables here. Very close to the Alcazar gardens.
5 places for a coffee break:
Don’t even THINK about going to Starbucks. Spanish coffee is the best in Europe.
Beautiful historical café
Cafetería la Campana, Sierpes, 1-3. This is a beautiful old café and cake shop with a gorgeous original shop front and signage at the top of Calle Sierpes, one of the main shopping streets (Plaza del Duque end of Sierpes). If you are seated outside, make sure you take a look inside at the display and the original cabinetry and ceiling details.
Stomping around the Cathedral
Historico Horno, Avenida de la Constitución 16 (opposite the Cathedral) is a large café / tea room with a huge array of cakes and with seating upstairs.
Sunday Morning Stroll
Plaza San Lorenzo, Sevilla 41002. This square has a lovely atmosphere, particularly on Sundays with well dressed locals going to the church in the square, meeting up with family members and having a coffee or cerveza afterwards. This is a really nice quiet area to explore, with a huge choice of bars and restaurants on the Alameda de Hercules square close by.
With local shoppers
Spala Duque (in Plaza del Duque, Calle Trajano corner) is located on the corner of busy Plaza del Duque. There is outdoor seating with a grandstand view of comings and goings in Plaza del Duque. Also, if it is too hot, there is indoor seating, downstairs and upstairs. This is a local pit stop before / after shopping on Calle Sierpes or in the department store, El Cortes Inglès.
Best for Café y Churros – Merienda (5pm to 7pm)
Carmen on Calle San Eloy has the best churros I have come across in Seville. It is directly opposite the bigger café, Picatoste (San Eloy 18), which is also good for Merienda.