Seville is an exciting city, situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. We have visited it twice before, once in springtime when the jacaranda trees were in full bloom, massive trees with beautiful purple flowers. The other time we sailed a boat up the river, which was a brilliant way to arrive.
This time when we visited the Seville it was too early for the blossom but it is still an amazing place to spend a few days being famous for its cathedral, beautiful parks, palaces, the Triana area’s flamenco dancing and tapas bars.
Now the capital of Andalusia, Seville was built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty and later became a 16th century metropolis. Seville usually has good weather with approximately 300 days of sunshine per year.
Alcazar of Seville
This was built for King Peter of Castillo on the site of an Albadid Muslim fortress
The King of Spain still stays there in the upper part of the castle and for an extra fee you can visit this part of the castle. We didn’t because there was enough to see in this amazing palace with the limited time we had to spare. We bought a ticket on line at the official website to save queuing. If we had gone on Monday afternoon it would have been free entry.
We walked from courtyard to beautiful courtyard, spending a long time looking at the carved celings. The domed ceiling in the Ambassadors Hall is stunning. We walked through a maze of tile covered rooms, we even got lost at one point in the warren of rooms!
We enjoyed the garden even more than the palatial castle, the orange blossom smelt amazing! There were typical Muslim style pools and fountains, pavilions, statues; in the English garden we sat and watched the peacocks and luckily they don’t peck at you as do the Seville pidgeons.
We were glad that we arrived early at 9.30am before the massive crowds who arrive for the tours that start at 11am.Read more about the Royal Alcázar Palace
The Seville Cathedral
Seville’s cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. The building is 126 metres long and 83 metres wide with a ceiling height of 37 metres. The construction lasted over a century from 1401 to 1506.
The basilica is over the ruins of the Aljama mosque which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1356. The mosque was built in the 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, the only remaining parts are the Patio de los Naranjas, a large courtyard. A large portal (door of Pardon) leads to the patio. The stone fountain in the centre may even be from the Roman era. The other building remaining after the earthquake is the lower section of the Bell tower, the Giralda.
The most spectacular part of the interior is the main altar piece. Designed by Piere Dancart who worked for over 40 years, starting in 1482. It has the largest altarpiece in the world depicting scenes from the old testament and the lives of saints. In the centre is a statue of Santa Maria de la Sede.Read more about the Seville Cathedral
The Tomb of Christopher Columbus
The Cathedral is also the burial place of Christopher Columbus and his son Diego. Just inside the Cathedral door stands a monument to him and his tomb which is held aloft by four allegorical figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain during his life, Castille, Aragon, Navara and Leon.Read more about the Tomb of Christopher Columbus
The Cathedral Bell Tower
We found the view from the Bell Tower stunning. Our guide was very knowledgeable and did a great job of entertaining us as well as guiding us. The climb up the tiny narrow staircase was quite difficult unless you are very fit. I will probably not do this again in the near future!
Between the Cathedral, Tomb and Bell Tower I was surprised we were in the cathedral complex for nearly three hours, there was so much to see.Read more about the El Giralda
Plaza de Espana
We headed to the Parque De Maria Luisa, but the Plaza Espana was so close we decided to pop over and have a look.
The Plaza de España was built in the 1920’s on the edge of the Parque de María Luisa for the Ibero-American World’s Fair held in 1929. The main attraction here is, of course, the imposing half-circle structure made up of pavilions and galleries and towers, all surrounded by a moat with bridges connecting it to the giant square and fountain on the other side.
One of the highlights of the Plaza was discovering the alcoves that represent each of the provinces of Spain. Each one is colorfully decorated with painted tiles depicting scenes from that area’s history, alongside each bench is a bookcase where people can leave books about that area.Read more about the Plaza de España, Seville
Parque De Maria Luisa
A 100 acre Park that stretches along the Guadalquivir River and was created in 1911 and redesigned for the 1929 Ibero American exposition. A large and well known park, it has everything, with flowers, fountains, statues and lots of shady trees for shelter from the summer heat.
We walked through the Parque De Maria Luisa and into the adjacent Plaza of Americans.Read more about the Parque de María Luisa
Plaza de America
We found a man selling bird seed and spent an enjoyable afternoon feeding the birds. I did end up with a few scratches from some rather aggressive pigeons and was a bit wary when they landed on my head, but on the whole it was great fun.
The Park teemed with wild birds. We spent a long time just wandering around watching the parakeets and the ducks. This was a great place to chill out after a few days looking at the famous museums and palaces.
After enjoying the wildlife we decided to stop at one of the bars in the park for some refreshing drinks.Read more about the Plaza de America, Seville
When we are in Spain we love visiting tapas bars. Las Teresas was opened in 1870. It is close to the Giralda Tower and the Santa Cruz Church in the Jewish quarter. We went there on a Friday night but should have known better because it is their busiest time and the service can be erratic. However, the atmosphere was good and the Iberian ham and spinach with chickpeas that we chose was well worth waiting for.
Baraka Sala Famenca
A visit to Seville would not have been complete without a visit to a flamenco show. We chose the Baraka Sala Famenca to give us a taste of Triana. The fabulous show was definitely worth the money and we were glad that we had chosen their smaller, more intimate setting. Our last evening was magical; the show was amazing with superb dancing, singing, clapping and guitar playing.
Two of the major festivals are Easter Week and the Feria de Abril. We have decided that when we visit the city again it will be in April. The city is filled with music, food dancing and entertainment. The women all wear flamenco dresses, so it only leaves me to buy a new flamenco dress before next April and we will be there!
Tours and Activities from Seville
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