Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Spain: Seville in Spring


The final instalment of my Spanish series; Seville was the last stop in our Spanish road trip. 

We arrived by car and were instantly impressed with how simple it was to negotiate the vast Andalusian capital. After having a bit of a mare navigating the streets of Granada we were expecting Seville to be utter chaos! But no, our arrival was smooth, even finding our Air BnB host waiting outside their home, ready to usher us in. 

Where we stayed

Emma and her husband welcomed us in to their huge four-story home (can we call it a mansion? I reckon so...) and showed us up to our room on the top floor. A small but light and clean space, we were lucky enough to have private access to not one but two roof-top terraces with great views of the narrow Seville streets, right up to the Cathedral. I'd completely recommend it as the perfect hub for your own Andalusian adventure - and although the hosts don't speak English, we were able to communicate sufficiently well using Google Translate what remains of my GCSE Spanish. 

What we did

Seville is exactly what you'd expect, and more, from a big Spanish city. There are an endless number of narrow winding streets, tapas bars and tavernas to be explored, as well as history and culture to be absorbed. A note on weather: we visited in late May / early June and it was pretty hot - around 35 degrees. It's known as the 'frying pan of Europe' for good reason, and it only gets hotter as summer develops. Visiting in Spring or Autumn allows you to get the milder weather, but is still warm enough to feel you're getting a healthy dose of vitamin D. 

As ever, I don't claim this to be an 'ultimate guide' to Seville - we spent four days here, which is obviously not enough to claim to be an authority on the area. But this is what we did, and how we spent our time in Seville! 

Always keen to experience yet more stunning architecture and history, we headed straight to Seville Cathedral on day one - such culture vultures. The largest Cathedral in the world, and third largest church, it is the burial site of Christopher Columbus and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's definitely worth grabbing yourself an audio guide and setting aside a couple of hours to really do it properly - and be sure to go up the Giralda (bell tower) for amazing views over Seville. 

Other must-sees include Casa de Pilatos and Hospital de los Venerables; a palace and residence for priests respectively, they are both absolutely stunning. Casa de Pilatos really reminded us of The Alhambra, adorned with ceramic tiles and an example of incredible Andalusian architecture. Hospital de los Venerables was far less busy, more peaceful and just as breathtaking. Be sure to check out the church!

Clearly, this just wasn't enough for us so we headed to the Real Alcázar for more picturesque vistas. Serving as Europe's oldest royal palace still in use today, the upper levels are occupied by Spanish royalty when in Seville and is yet another beautiful example of Moorish architecture. If The Alhambra is your thing, you wont be disappointed! 

We took a short walk south-east away from Seville's centre to Plaza de España. Built in the 1920s in Moorish style, it is a huge semi-circle of buildings surrounded with ornate tiled alcoves. Today they house Government buildings, and is definitely worth a visit just to revel in the sheer scale of it. You can hire a horse and cart to wheel you round the Plaza and surrounding park, or just take a stroll around at your own pace, stopping to admire the detail in the tiling and ornate facades. 

Like Granada, Seville has a great tapas culture - but don't expect to get much for free like you do in Granada! We went for our lunchtime jamón fix at El Rinconcillo - Seville's oldest tapas bar - where there was already a small queue when it opened at 1pm. We were lucky enough to grab a barrel table where we enjoyed a tinto de verano (a less boozy sangria) and a couple of dishes. Be careful - they have opened a newer sister restaurant round the corner - you want the original!

On our last night we enjoyed a cheeky G&T at EME's Rooftop Bar. As you'd expect, it's not cheap (you're looking at around €15 for a cocktail), but is a great spot for a pre-dinner drink with an amazing view over the top of Seville's Cathedral. 

Where we ate

Santagloria - start your day off slowly with good coffee and pastries. 

Bar El Comercio - the queues are testament to the quality of their freshly cooked churros. Grab a portion, dunk in hot chocolate, all will be right with the world.

El Rinconcillo - as above; get there early to get a table! The chickpeas and spinach were great, as was the jamón. 

La Bartola - a modern tapas restaurant with a daily specials board. We sat at the bar and loved the courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta, as well as the sashimi and beef. 

El Pinton - beautifully Instagrammable interiors and divine tapas. The confit duck was also increds. 

La Brunilda - the grilled octopus, Iberian pork shoulder and patatas bravas were all amazing! Beware - a queue forms about 30 minutes before opening. Get your name on the list early doors!

Flores Gourmet - a good place to grab a drink if you are on the waiting list for La Brunilda, but they also serve incredible meat. The pork with cous cous was dreamy.

Mechela Restaurante - near our accommodation and off the beaten track! The fish of the day and the beef sirloin were completely exquisite. Best meal in Seville? Perhaps. 

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2 comments

  1. I always love your travel posts, your pictures are so beautiful!

    Christy x
    Dinner Stories

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Christy, that's so kind of you!

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