Seville is the grand capital of Andalucia in southern Spain
Seville is Spain’s fourth-largest city, and boasts the first high-speed railway line in the country – the Madrid-Seville AVE line which opened in time for the 1992 World Expo held in the city.
“Seville,” wrote Byron, “is a pleasant city, famous for oranges and women.” Whilst this is very true, its just the tip of the iceberg as Seville has become one of the most visited cities in Spain due to its rich history, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and its enviable location around the River Guadalquivir; not to mention its delicious tapas bars, fine fish restaurants and famed nightlife.
Seville is a cultural hub in Andalucia and a wonderfully vibrant and friendly city to visit. Starting on the historic side of Seville, it is home to some of the finest monuments and ancient sites in Spain, including the impressive cathedral, the rambling Alcazar gardens, the riverside Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), the banks of the Guadalquivir River, the Almohad walls, La Giralda and the famous La Maestranza bullring, the oldest of its kind in the world.
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out plus the night-life in Seville – known for good reason as La Marcha is second to none. This usually means an interminable tapas-bar crawl around Santa Cruz district, followed by a session in a nightclub and a mass get-together at dawn on the Calle San Salvador, not for the faint hearted!
We have compiled a comprehensive Spain travel resources page to help you plan and book a trip or holiday to Seville with a budget busting hotel search comparison platform, travel insurance, low cost flights, discount car hire, tours, excursions as well money saving travel and holiday deals.
5 Interesting facts about Seville
- The locals of Seville, known as Sevillanos, have a fierce pride in their heritage and have little interest in what goes on elsewhere in Spain.
- Spring in Seville is very special as the girls all get to wear their Flamenco inspired outfits during the local festival, the size and spectacle of the annual April fair has to be seen to be believed as photos simply do not do it justice.
- If you feel as if you have stepped back in time in Seville then tell one of the locals, they will be over the moon. Change is not something the people here buy into and the term “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it” could have been coined in this city. It’s a shame some other places didn’t buy into this ethos.
- Due to its fabulous array of preserved architecture from all periods, Seville is the most popular city among film makers.
- Seville has a unique atmosphere as even though its a very large city the ambiance makes you feel as if you are in a small town, which is extremely pleasant.
The April Fair – One of the largest in Spain
Seville is also famous for hosting one of the best annual fairs in Spain. The famous Seville April fair is held around two weeks after Easter celebrations each year and now draws over a million people a year. A large number of visitors come from all over Spain and all corners of the globe.
The fair began back in 1947 as a cattle fair and over the years took on a more typical Spanish feria feel as we know them today. The Seville April Fair or Feria de Abril, as it is known by, has become very special and important for many reasons.
The Seville Fair starts officially on the Monday with the Dining of Fish - “La cena del pescaito” - and the parade in which the city mayor presides over before switching on the lights around midnight, this is usually accompanied by a spectacular firework display which booms out across the city announcing that the fair is officially underway.
Apart from the fun, shows, drinking, partying and general merriment, the fair has become a true celebration of flamenco dancing. Many of the most famous dancers , composers and singers of this passionate art form come from Seville.
Like many cities in Andalucia, Seville was fought over by many cultures, including the Roman and Arab Empires. The Moorish Alcazar was originally used as a palace, which was enlarged to feed the unusual habits of the the ruler al-Mu’tadid, who needed space to house his harem of 800 women, and to house the skulls of his enemies.
Under the occupation of the Almohads, the sprawling Alcazar complex was turned into a citadel, stretching to the twelve-sided Torre de Oro on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. Parts of the Almohad walls still survive today, as does the brilliant minaret known as the Giralda which was used to call the Moors to prayer.
So venerated was the Giralda that the Moors tried to destroy it before the Christian conquest of the city; this failed, and the Giralda became the bell tower of the Christian cathedral, which is also noted for its magnificent 15th-century Gothic architecture and hand-carved wooden altarpiece.
One of the city’s principal landmarks is La Giralda – a colossal tower originally erected by the Moors as a mosque minaret and later converted into a bell tower for the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. You get an incredible view from the top.
Maria Luisa Park
Beat the heat of the afternoon and steel yourself for a long night on the town with a nap in Seville’s elegant Maria Luisa Park. There’s plenty of cool shade to doze in, be sent asleep to the rhythmic trickle of the fountains.
Outside Feria week, flamenco music is hard to find in Seville, with most venues offering tacky “shows” instead of the real thing. La Carbonería is an exception – a quirky bar north of Santa Cruz church which hosts sessions by local gypsy musicians most night of the week.
The Triana District
The district of Triana is located on the west side of the River Guadalquivir and was known as “the independent republic of Triana”. Staunchly proud of its gypsy origins Triana was celebrated for its colourful ceramic tiles which adorned many of the homes and buildings in the area. The tiles where made from mud from the river bank.
Triana has been home to many of the top flamenco artists and bullfighters, the rich past of its inhabitants have made the district a popular attraction in the city with great tapas bars, a thriving flamenco scene and vibrant nightlife.
The cobbled streets of the Barrio Santa Cruz in Triana are ideal to walk around in the cool of the early evening, check out the typical homes and workshops that litter the area before dining out at one of the eateries located along the river bank.
Eating out in Seville
Eating out in Seville is a real treat with more tapas bars and restaurants you can shake a stick at! Popular areas in Seville to dine out incoude the Triana district, located just across the Guadalquivir River on the west side of the city. Here you will find a selection of great tapas bars and restaurants, many have terraces overlooking the river, a great place to sit outside and enjoy a riverside atmosphere. Popular tapas bars include Casa Ruperto on Avenida Sata Cecilia,2, Bar La Fabula on Ronda de Triana ,31 and Bar Las Golondrinas located on Calle Pages del Coro, 76.
La Azotea is in fact a small chain of 4 restaurants located all around central Seville. Traditional dishes with a modern twist served are served in a relaxed atmosphere. The menu is high quality and standard across the 4 restaurants. Popular dishes include Baby shrimp crusted hake with a pepperoncini mayonnaise, Sea anemone mousse with maracuyá chutney & seaweed mayonnaise and Acorn fed Iberian pork served over a mushroom hummus & stewed vegetables. Not to be missed!
Located on Calle Gerona, 4 this is reportedly the oldest restaurants in Spain, this top class eatery was founded in 1670. Real authentic cooking served in a typical Andalucian atmosphere. You will not find a better culinary venue if your looking for authentic tapas which include home made croquetas, black foot ham, cured meats and the finest fried fish selection anywhere. Eat out here and you will not be disappointment.
Located on Calle Esperanza Elena Caro, 2 this is a fine dining restaurant serving high quality Spanish and International cooking. Enjoy a selection Mediterranean dishes cooked by top Chef chef Nacho Dargallo and his partner Sandra Rodríguez. Popular dishes here include the Beef Salad with Guacamole and Nuts, Ham Croquetas and the Cod and Chickpea soup.
Located on Calle Harina,10 the Bodegita Roemro was founded back in 1939 , now one of the most popular tapas bars in central Seville. You will be treated to a large selection of typical local and Spanish dishes at very reasonable prices, tapas start from €2.50 per plate. Top dishes to try include the cod and ham omelettes, wild asparagus and quails egss, oxtail and the delicious deep fried aubergines with honey poured over the top.
As the city which claims to have invented tapas, Seville kicks aside all competition except maybe San Sebastian. A good place to pick up the trail is Bar Modesto , in the Santa Cruz district, which offers just about every tapas imaginable.
Tours & Excursions
» Seville Tours, Tickets, Activities & Things To Do
» Sightseeing Tour with Guadalquivir River Boat Ride From £52.68
» Flamenco Walking Tour in Seville With Show - From £36.33
» Triana Gourmet Tapas Tour in Seville - From £65.83
Recommended accommodation in Seville
The beautiful 5 star Mercer Hotel is located in the heart of the historic old quarter close to all the main attractions, shops and eateries. Built around a converted historic Andalucian mansion the Mercer Hotel offer large modern rooms complete with all the amenities for a perfect stay in Seville. The hotel is close to Seville Cathedral, La Giralda and Archivo General de Indias. Reviewer Rating: 10.0
The Hotel Casa Del Poeta is a charming 4 star hotel located in the old quarter close to all the cities top tourism destinations. This first class hotel has 18 charming rooms and is set in the area's vibrant nightlife district, just a short walk from Alcazar of Seville, Archivo General de Indias and Archbishop's Palace. Reviewer Rating: 8.6
The popular 1 starred Hostel One Catedral is certainly an excellent budget friendly choice of accommodation. Located close to the Alcazar Palace and many of the cities top attractions and just a few minutes walk from the Guadalquivir river. There are 9 comfy rooms, a pool and a nice bar to enjoy tapas and a drink. Reviewer Rating: 8.0