Seville is the capital city of Andalucía, with a population of around 700,000, making it the 4th largest in Spain. Its old town is the biggest in Spain and the third in Europe, alongside with the ones in Genova and Venice.
The city lies on a fertile plain on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir in one of the warmest areas on the European continent and is known for its special charm and magic.
The popular Giralda of Seville is really the old minaret of the twelfth century Almohad mosque, transformed into the bell tower of the Cathedral. On top of the tower we found the famous Giraldillo, a massive sculpture that acts as a weather-vane, turning according to the direction of the wind and giving the tower its name, Giralda, from “girar”, “to turn”.
Among the fabulous heritage of the city we find the Alcazar, which recently featured in the famous TV show Game of Thrones and is the oldest royal palace in Europe. This was built by the Arabs and after the Christian Reconquest used by the Catholic Kings. Nowadays you can visit the breathtaking gardens and the residence where the Spanish Royal family stay when they visit the city.
Other points of interest include Plaza de España , Maria Luisa Park or Triana district, known as the birthplace of flamenco and traditionally linked to this musical genre. Also worth a visit is Santa Cruz, the former Jewish quarter of the medieval city is full of folk stories. Its streets are filled with tiny artisan shops selling local crafts, whitewashed houses, barred windows and interior patios filled with flowers.
Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir river we also find the Torre del Oro, another Almohad monument that was named after its golden glow in the river. The Guadalquivir River is the only navigable river in Spain and during the Conquest of America was a strategic spot.
The Seville fair is worldwide famous for its typical Flamenco dresses and horse-drawn carriages. The city receives thousands of visitors every year that dance, eat and drink in the famous casetas (craft fairs). Also the Sevillian Holy Week is a major event in the city. During this time there are many processions all over the city being the most famous the Macarena Virgin one with thousands of devoted Christians being involved.
In 1992, the city also hosted the EXPO Sevilla and in terms of sports is home of Sevilla F.C (5 times Europe league champion) and Real Betis. Both supported by thousands of fans.
Regarding food and drink we highly recommend El Alabardero tavern and hotel, located in the heart of the city in Zaragoza Street. In 2013, they were awarded with the National prize of Gastronomy. It is also home of the prestigious School of Hospitality of Seville and offers the best tapas and bistro menu.
Casa Robles, on the other hand offers an authentic bullfighting atmosphere, that would take you right in the Maestraza (Sevilian Bullfighting arena). The restaurant serves the best variety of tapas and also comprises an Andalusian Bodega. Also the restaurant Casa Manolo de Leon, near the river and the La Macarena church, located within a stately home and offers the best traditional Andalusian dishes.
When choosing accommodation in the city the most renowned hotel is the Alfonso XIII, next to the Puerta de Jerez. The luxury premises were built in 1929 and still today maintain all the history and the glamour, with spacious, comfortable and beautifully decorated rooms.
The Hotel Mercer, in Casa Palacio Castelar also stands out. The hotel has a Sevillian atmosphere and spectacular rooms that conserve the local architectural style. The Hotel Boutique Casa del Poeta is located in the heart of Santa Cruz district and comprises 17 rooms and an Andalusian patio.
As a matter of fact, you can’t leave Seville without attending a Flamenco show. We recommend visiting La Taberna Flamenca, that offers fantastic food and music or Tablao Flamenco Los Gallos that also perform fantastic Flamenco shows and has a great atmosphere.
Seville is the ultimate Southern Spanish city that’s has a lot to offer. The intense light that floods its streets, Seville’s scents and the happiness of its citizens make all visitors feel the urge to return.