Yes the streets are lined with citrus trees, but it’s not just oranges that are blossoming in this place. It is full of striking Arabian culture and design, intriguing history, smiling locals and truly incredible food. After all, it is known as the gastronomical capital of Spain.
[In case you’re wondering, the gastronomy trilogy in Europe is Lyon for France, Seville for Spain and Florence for Italy. Having now been wowed by the former two I know Florence will hold a treat when I do visit.]
The medieval quarter of the city is Santa Cruz. Centrally located, it makes a great place to base yourself. Petit Palace was my home away from home with charming staff, a gorgeous bay window, a historic columned foyer and a quaint courtyard for aperitivo hour.
Book your stay here or here.
Simply wandering the streets of this ancient city is a treat in itself. Buskers’ music wafts up from the laneways and the smell of roasting chestnuts floats by in waves. After attempting to navigate the myriad of alleys in Santa Cruz and getting increasingly lost, I abandoned my phone and simply walked in whatever direction felt right. I was greeted by charming people, beautiful architecture and, of course, plenty of orange trees.
Once you’ve soaked up this little neighbourhood, I suggest you make your way out of the maze and head south for Plaza Des Espana which needs no introduction. Just look at it. An incredible building and forecourt with its own waterway, multiple bridges and some stunning tilework. It took my breath away.
And from one grand building to another, my number one must see for Seville is The Alcazaar. Do not miss it. A Moorish Palace built for the king, this building is one of the few Alcazaars still used for an official purpose today.
With so many gardens, courtyards, hallways and forecourts you could easily loose half a day here soaking up the sights and the history. You can even access the old underground bathing chamber.
And for those who aren’t such history-buffs, I’m sure they’d be interested to know that Game Of Thrones was filmed here. Look familiar?
Seville was made for walking. Literally. It’s a great city to get around on foot. However, if you are looking for a lift you can hire one of the city’s many horse-drawn carriages. I must say they’re very charming.
Seville’s airport is located not too far from the city centre and a taxi will cost you a fix priced of €23-€25 depending on the day and time.
The food of Seville. A weekend of truly tantalised tastebuds. (See, I’m so excited I have to overuse my alliteration.) Where do I begin? I suppose the beginning is as good a place as any. Saturday’s lunch was had at Sahumo who are known for their exclusive fine-dining take on tapas dishes. We enjoyed an incredible coronation chicken salad and some white fish ceviche which was super fresh, pretty as a picture and tasted incredible.
Dinner that night was at Vineria San Telmo recommended by my friend. A wise choice. From squid ink pasta with scallops to a vegetarian stack with goats cheese, I was in food heaven.
Lunch on Sunday topped them all at La Brunilda which TripAdvisor ranks as the best tapas in the city. They’re not wrong. Be sure to arrive early before they open at 1pm and be prepared to queue for a little while but I guarantee it is so unbelievably worth it. Their croquettes were THE BEST of my life. I wish I could get them shipped here to London. We also had octopus, scallops with cauliflower and confit duck leg with carrot puree. It was all simply heavenly.
The other great thing about dining in Seville is the price. It’s incredibly inexpensive. If you share 3-4 dishes between two people you’re looking at about €8/person. Dear old London, by comparison you truly are criminal.
Be sure to wash your meals down with plenty of tinto con limons. It’s a refreshing blend of red wine and lemon, similar to sangria, but I think even better. The roof top at Hotel Dona Maria is a great place for a sunset drink overlooking the church.
I’m so very glad I made the trip to this exotic little place. Escaping the chill of London to get some much-needed sunshine was a delight, made even more enjoyable by the beautiful food, beautiful people and inspiring sights. I may be biased but if you can only visit one place in Spain, forget Barcelona and come here. Grazias Sevilla – te amo.
Flights to Seville from London are available from just £50 return. Book now.
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Photos by Krissie