Joy. Perhaps joy is the word that best sums up the essence of Seville. A city with a history that stretches back almost 3,000 years, a city that bewitches visitors with the way of life of its people, an open, welcoming city that enjoys and shares every moment.
And the spirit that makes Seville so special is born in its magical streets; hidden corners heavy with history, enriched by the different peoples that have lived here and who have left their mark, a mark that the people of Seville do not want to erase. A legacy that, over the centuries, has shaped the cultural, monumental and artistic heritage that today we can admire in the streets, museums, fiestas and gastronomy of the city.
The climate is another of the attractions of the city, the most highly valued by visitors, with some 300 days of sunshine a year, an extension of the warmth of the people that make the streets a stage upon which, every day, the people of Seville live their lives with passion. Easter Week and the April Fair, two of the world’s greatest fiestas, reflect that passion in two completely different ways: joy and pain felt with the same intensity. Flamenco, declared the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, is present at every step in the city where it was born. The unequalled gastronomy, a worldwide beacon, is also on the streets in the form of the famous tapas, another example of how, in Seville, everything is enjoyed and shared in the company of others.
Seville is, in short, a city that is full of life all year round, with a continuous offer of culture, music, sport and leisure that invites you to visit at any time and to discover first-hand the true attraction of the city… in Seville, we love people!
Seville is a city of innumerable monuments but, if we were to choose a single symbol for the city, it would have to be the Giralda, a tower crowned by the Giraldillo, the weathervane that looks down on the city from a height of 100 metres. And at its foot, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
On the banks of the River Guadalquivir, you will be surprised by buildings like the Tower of Gold, a 13th-century construction that formed part of the defensive system of the city. The Plaza del Triunfo, next to the Archive of the Indies, will enchant you as you approach the Real Alcazar, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe.
And don’t miss the Santa Cruz district, a labyrinth of narrow streets, plazas and leafy patios. Leave the district and enter the Murillo Gardens, then go on to Plaza de España, adjacent to the Maria Luisa Park, one of the most spectacular examples of regionalist architecture and a symbol of the Iberoamerican Exhibition of 1929.
And don’t leave without seeing the biggest wooden structure in the world. Jürgen Mayer, a Berlin architect, designed Metropol Parasol (popularly known as Las Setas, or The Mushrooms). With over 3,000 wooden pieces, it is a space which has a museum of Roman remains (the Antiquarium), a marketplace, a plaza elevated above street level and a walkway with a bar and restaurant offering spectacular 360° views of Seville.
Seville was part of the first high-speed train line constructed in Spain. The high-speed train brings you to the Seville – Santa Justa station from Cordoba, Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona on the southeast – northwest AVE line and from Malaga on AVANT trains.
When you are in Seville, we recommend two original ways of sightseeing. The first, the most classical way, is to see the city from a horse-drawn carriage. There are a number of official stops for these rides in the city centre, but the carriages can also collect you at your hotel or any other location you choose. Another way is by boat, navigating the urban stretch of the River Guadalquivir, offering panoramic views of the monuments on the riverbank. Another way to see the city is to use the hop-on, hop-off tourist buses that leave from the Tower of Gold.
Seville also has city buses, an underground railway, trams and taxis but you can also hire a bicycle and ride the 140 kilometres of cycle lanes.
The Alameda de Hercules is not just the oldest public park in Europe, it is also the prime area for young people’s leisure in the city. A spacious pedestrian area full of bars and restaurants of many different types, very popular with tourists and foreign students.
Discover the Muelle de Nueva York, the New York Quay, from where, many years ago, ships sailed for the United States.
It is a wide riverside walk which has recently been refurbished and is now equipped with kiosks and picnic tables. The loungers next to the river and the relaxed, informal atmosphere attract more people every day. It is, without doubt, one of the most fashionable places in Seville.
Continue as far as the Muelle de las Delicias, the Las Delicias Quay, with its new leisure attractions, the Seville Aquarium, a panoramic Ferris wheel and, in summer, open-air cinema on the banks of the Guadalquivir.
Seville’s gastronomy is as rich as it is varied: age-old recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation, where traditional and modern cuisine blend together, delicious dishes that put the gastronomy of the city on the highest level.
Although we can find excellent restaurants of all kinds in the city, both Spanish and international, the gastronomy of Seville finds its true identity in “tapeo”, the custom of trying different tapas.
To get to know it, you will have to try the enormous variety of tapas on offer in the bars and taverns of the city.
Fried fish, known as “pescaíto frito”, is a must, especially the boquerones (anchovies), puntillitas (baby squid) and the cazón en adobo (marinated shark). Tapeo is not just the simple act of eating and drinking, but a social occasion whose protocol has been strictly described by the experts: you must harmonise the flavours on a scale of intensity and over time.
The best accompaniment for tapas is sherry, either manzanilla or amontillado, but the warm climate of Seville calls for a cold beer. And if your holidays bring you here in summer, try the refreshing gazpacho, a cold soup of bread, water, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, vinegar and olive oil, served either as a drink in a glass or in a bowl, accompanied by a garnish.
Shopping in Seville! Enjoy the new shops, international chains, haute couture and traditional street markets on your stroll along Calle Sierpes, Calle Tetuan and the adjacent streets. Seville has a flourishing trade in traditional artisan crafts, centred on ceramics and pottery. Traditional artistic ceramics were enriched by glazing and Oriental techniques which led to the development of a unique Sevillian style.
The best place to buy Andalusian tiles and artisan items is in Calle Alfareria, Calle Callao or Calle Antillano Campos in Triana. In Calle Alcaiceria, you will find traditional embroidered items, including bedspreads, mantillas, embroidery and lace, as well as musical instruments widely used in the flamenco culture.
Call in at Soho Benita, the brand created by traders on Calle Perez Galdos, Calle Santillana, Calle Ortiz de Zuñiga, Calle Don Alonso el Sabio, Calle Golfo and Plaza del Cristo de Burgos to identify themselves when they joined together in a project to promote alternative, creative shopping. In their shops, you will find art, fashion, accessories, design, books and gastronomy. Throughout the year, the neighbourhood holds different celebrations that make it even more special. Walk up Calle Regina, a relaxed, informal street specialising in local products. You will then come to Las Setas, The Mushrooms, of Seville and here you will find different establishments including a cultural cafe which takes its inspiration from a haberdasher’s and which gives sewing classes, a shop with retro articles from the 70s and 80s and a vintage fashion shop.