Seville is a charming, vibrant city, bigger than I expected and definitely more beautiful. It is located in the southwest corner of Spain and is the largest city in Andalucía.
What to do: I first visited Seville Cathedral with its famous bell tower, La Giralda. Entrance is €8 and as I was there on a holiday weekend there was a long queue – about 30 minutes. There is a lot to see in the cathedral including the tomb of Christopher Columbus, the beautifully ornate High Altar, the Cathedral Treasure and a secluded Orange Tree Courtyard but the view from La Giralda is the best. The tower rises 98 metres but the climb is an incline around each side of the tower rather than straight up steps.
I next did a walking tour organised through my hostel. It was longer than anticipated but we saw so much! There was the Torre del Oro, Plaza Nueva, Parque María Luisa and the Guadalquivir River. The guide was really knowledgeable, sharing loads of history and anecdotes about the city. My favourite spot in Seville is Plaza de España, a half-circle courtyard with pillared government buildings in Art Deco-Neo-Mudéjar style. There is also a moat and a fountain in the centre. It is a peaceful, relaxing spot in the centre of the city.
I spent a day at Isla Magica theme park, just across the river from the main part of Seville, on the Isla de la Cartuja. This was a great day with lots of rides and shows – I liked El Desafío, a tower with a 68 metre drop, El Jaguar 360° rollercoaster and the Rápidos de Orinoco water ride. There were also lots of Halloween themed shows and though most were aimed at Spanish-speaking children (and way over my head) the day ended with exciting fireworks over the central lake.
I also spent some time exploring the narrow winding streets of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, one of the oldest parts of the city. It was originally the Jewish quarter and is now very picturesque for a wander.
Other attractions I didn’t get to visit are the Real Alcazar Moorish palace, the museum of Flamenco dance, Las Setas (huge wooden mushroom like structures) or the bullring, Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza.
What to eat: It is said that tapas were first invented in Seville in El Rinconcillo bar on Calle Gerona. I enjoyed potato croquetas, a traditional Spanish tapa, at one of the many bars scattered across the Santa Cruz neighbourhood.
Getting around: While it is possible to walk Seville, at some stage the bus is likely to come in handy. There are four circular routes around the city as well as intersecting routes in each main direction. There is also a tram and underground system but these are not extensive. There are also boat tours on the river starting at Torre del Oro.
There is so much beauty in Seville – both old and new – and it is only going to get more and more popular as a hot destination in the coming years.