Spain is well known for its friendly people, authentic cuisine and delicious wines. With tourist hotspots like Barcelona, Madrid and beach paradise destinations like Ibiza, you aren’t hard pressed for places to explore. We chose to go slightly off the beaten track to the capital of Andalucia, Seville. Okay, perhaps not completely off the beaten track. Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel ranked the 10 cities that everyone will be dying to visit in 2018 and Seville was on the list.
Famous for its traditional flamenco dancing it is also home to the Gothic Seville Cathedral, the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb and a minaret turned bell tower, the Giralda. The old city with its pedestrian streets is the perfect place to explore whilst stopping every so often for tapas at one of Seville’s many, MANY, tapas bars and Tavernas. You can walk around or rent a bike to take in all of the sites.
There is so much to eat and do that you need at least a week. We did 5 days but really could have done with longer in order to really see it all.
Bucket list things to do are: A traditional Flamenco show (The best area for this is Triana), take a sunset cruise down the river (find a smaller boat/private charter for a more intimate and less ‘touristy’ cruise), Rent a bike and explore the old city (We got electric bikes so it was far more relaxing- get them from here), definitely visit the Seville cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. Finally, take a stroll around the old neighbourhood of Santa Cruz.
Where to eat.
El Rinconcillo is no longer a well-kept secret. Everyone recommends a visit to this bar. But this place is a Seville institution, and for a very good reason. It’s the oldest bar in Seville, some say dating back to 1670. Once you enter the bar area, you’ll see that nothing has changed for decades. It is always busy so get there early!
The Barbiana bar is a classic spot in Seville in the heart of the old city, among the pedestrian streets. It is well known for its fresh fish and shellfish, delivered daily. A chalkboard menu tells you what is fresh that day. Inside, at the counter, you can enjoy tapas-sized dishes, but if you chose to sit in the street, you can only order larger dishes. Not a problem for us!
This popular spot is located in front of the Brotherhood of the Baratillo and the Real Maestranza, making them the best-known meeting point of the bullfighting world of Seville. Sevillians and visitors converge on El Baratillo to experience the tradition of tapas in the heart of Arenal. We weren’t there for the bullfighting (not our thing at all!) but it was clearly one of the most frequented spots around. The food was exceptional and, ironically, there was plenty of vegetarian tapas which was a welcome break from all the hams. Well known bulls that have fought the good fight have been mounted in honour on the walls of this establishment.
Our local, across the road from the hotel, deserves a special mention. The food was always quick for a tourist on the go, yet the quality was exceptional. A cold beer (cerveza) would arrive before we even sat down, and was always accompanied with a bowl of green olives. The Iberian Jamon was the best I tasted in the area and the service was wonderful.
For those that don’t enjoy beer, like myself, the best thing to order at any bar or restaurant is a glass of ‘Vino Blanco, Seco’. Dry, white wine. The waiter will more than likely pour you a glass from the surrounding wine region and trust me, it is delicious. I honestly didn’t have a bad glass of wine the entire time I was in Seville.
If you would like to know more about the region or tips on where to stay, please send me an email and I’ll gladly help.