- The capital and largest city of Spain’s Andalusia region, with a population of ~700,000.
- Founded by the Romans over 2,200 years ago, Seville was taken over and ruled by the Muslims from 712 until 1248 AD (when it became part of the Kingdom of Castile).
- The departure point for Magellan’s famous circumnavigation of the world, Seville flourished as an important port (and economic powerhouse) of the Spanish Empire.
- Nicknames: City of Towers, El Sartén (“The Frying Pan”) for its high summer temperatures
- Currency: Euro (EUR).
- Spoken languages: Spanish.
- Best time to visit: spring, when it warms up and some of the most important festivals take place (including Holy Week and the Feria de Abril). If you’re trying to avoid crowds and peak-season prices, visit in the winter or summer.
- Arriving via airport: Seville International Airport is about a 30 minute drive from town. A bus ride costs €4, and takes about an hour. Taxis are quicker, and fares start at just under €18.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation options speckle the city center, between Calle Recarero and the Guadalquivir River. The Jewish Quarter in Barrio Santa Cruz has plenty of pensiones (historic budget hotels) where you won’t be lacking in comfort.
- On foot – walking is an ideal way to get around in Seville, as landmarks are within walking distance of each other.
- The bus system is organized, efficient and runs frequently. Trips will set you back just €1.50.
- The Sevici is a public cycling system where you can rent a bike at €10 and drop it off at another station. An intricate network of well-marked bike lanes help you see the city safely and even reach out to the suburbs.
- Seville’s little metro system loops around the southern end of the city Monday through Thursday for a minimum of €1.30, with select hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
- The starting rate for a taxi ride is €3.25 – just beware of getting charged the “tourist rate.”
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is practically never. People may start leaving their houses for dinner after 8 PM, and places don’t really fill up until 1 AM. The action starts dying down around 3 AM, and most people make their way home at 7 AM!
- La Alameda Square is a centric club hub where any night of the week sees flamenco or funk performances in the shade of poplar trees. The park is lined with bars.
- The city’s trendiest nightlife digs can be found on the other side of the Guadalquivir River, on Triana Island.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Alcázar Palace is a Moor-style royal building that used to house harems before it hosted Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The colonnade-flanked courtyard in the main event.
- The Giralda is the lone minaret that remains after the destruction of a Muslim temple that stood here. Today is is attached to the vast Catedral de Sevilla and for many, stands as the city’s symbol.
- Plaza de Espana has everything – provincial history etched into its alcoves, photo-ready archways circling the square, a languid canal to boat on and green space to wile away siesta with a good book.
- An Ir de Tapeo is a tapas bar crawl – an obligatory indulgence in Seville! Tapas are traditional Spanish appetizers – small portions of filling dishes pair perfectly with local wine. Join a group of locals or travelers and be prepared to blow some cash.
- To gain a wide overview on your first day in Seville, walk from the Giralda at the Cathedral south to the medieval Barrio Santa Cruz, where you’ll pass the most notable landmarks along with some lesser-known sights.
- Get a leg-up with the Sevilla Card, which gets you into many museums for free and includes unlimited public transport rides, boat & bus tours, as well as guided tours of standard sights. This city isn’t cheap, so consider the card a discounted pass to save on funds if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing!
- Where to find good cheap eats: avoid the touristy spots near the monuments in el centro – duck through the alleyways in Santa Cruz instead. Avoid foreign language menus – go straight for the cheap and delicious Spanish ones, even if you don’t understand them! It will be cheaper. For lunch, try a menu del dia anywhere.
- Dangerous areas: avoid Las Tres Mil (“The 3,000”), located on Seville’s south side – this is one of the country’s most notorious districts. Even if you wanted to go, no taxi driver will take you there. The bus station area should also be avoided at night.
RECOMMENDED SEVILLE GUIDE BOOKS
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days