Seville, the third largest city of Spain, is also the closest major one to Portugal by road and was our next destination during our 2015 Europe trip. We took an economy bus to Seville and had quite a comfortable 2-hr trip (sans wifi, which compels you to connect with life for a change) to the city. Our Airbnb apartment (read this guide for best hostels for solo travelers in Seville) was a short 10 min walk from the train station and on the third floor of a beautiful building. Since we barely had 48 hours in Seville, I have touched on all the major Seville attractions that we did manage to cover. In case you too are crunched for time but want to make the most out of what you have in this historic city full of beautiful sights and palaces, you can follow this guide which lists the must visit Seville attractions if you have only two days in hand.
48 HOURS IN SEVILLE: MAJOR ATTRACTIONS # 1 FLAMENCO SHOW
Kick off you 48 hours in Seville adventure with some great Tapas (vegetarian/vegan friendly) and equally awesome house Vino Tinto at Bar El Paladar, a small tapas bar tucked away on Alameda de Hércules. The one thing to keep in mind about Spain is that dinner starts late in that part of the world, i.e. around 9-9:30 PM. So if you want to grab a seat at this place wildly popular with locals, arrive around 8:00 PM. Once you had your fill, your next order of business should be trying to snag some tickets to a Flamenco dance show either at the Casa De La Memoria in the Jewish Santa Cruz quarters or the more famous Tablao El Arenal (we got ours at the former). Tickets sell out fast so plan for a performance in advance since Seville is credited to be the birthplace of the foot-tapping Flamenco and it would be a shame to leave the city without witnessing a performance. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post to read more details of our experience during our 2 days in Seville. If you have more time, then you can read this fantastic guide on three days in Seville for even more ideas and things to see or take a day trip to Ronda.
SEVILLE ATTRACTIONS # 2 MUSEO DE BELLA ARTES
Start your morning at Horno San Buenaventura, which is apparently where locals go to get their morning fix. Spain has some unusual eating habits compared to rest of Western Europe where 5-6 meals a day are not uncommon (breakfast followed by elevenses, lunch, Merienda (post lunch and pre-dinner evening snack) and a late dinner), so breakfasts are generally light. Then head straight to the Museo De Bellas Artes (Seville Museum of Fine Arts) and spend a few quality hours there in the august company of Spanish art ranging from the medieval age to early 20th century that also included creations by artists from the supposedly Golden Era of Sevillian painting from the 17th century (source: Wikipedia).
WHAT TO SEE IN SEVILLE # 3 JEWISH QUARTERS AND GIRALDA TOWER
Stroll through the colorful Santa cruz district, the erstwhile Jewish Quarters and one of the prime Seville attractions of the city to discover old buildings and narrow cobbled streets. Then head off to the Giralda tower (the last standing Moorish bell tower in Seville), a minaret built during the Moorish period, which also doubled as a bell tower. It now stands next to a cathedral and provided sweeping views of the city and is therefore worth a visit. Tickets include both the church and the tower, but being certified heathens, we quickly skipped the church and headed straight to the tower. Unlike USA, Europe hasn’t copped out on any of its history and therefore the towering minaret has no elevators inside to zip tourists all the way up. So you need the grace of God or your feet or a huge adrenaline rush (like me on a mission to get the best photos) depending on our mental and physical inclinations and trudge up 39 floors of winding pathway to reach the bell towers top. Once up there, you will be rewarded with panoramic, breathtaking sights of the entire city in 360 degrees.
MUST SEE IN SEVILLE # 4 ALCAZAR PALACE
Grab some lunch at the wildly popular bodega de Santa cruz, a greasy tapas joint (not very vegetarian friendly) and move on to the palace of Alcazar, the number one Seville attraction which must be on your 48 hours in Seville itinerary. Reales Alcázares de Sevilla or Royal (Royal Alcazars of Seville) is a palace originally built by the Moorish Muslim rulers and is widely considered as one of the grandest and most beautiful palaces in Spain. Its splendor stands testimony to the mudéjar architecture in the Iberian peninsula and its gardens are a sight to behold. Our afternoon stroll there was certainly a memorable experience. Best part was that an early online booking (just a day in advance) got us through an express line (with no one ahead of us) and made us feel like mini-royalty ourselves!
WHAT TO DO IN SEVILLE # 5 PLAZA DE ESPANA
Take a cab over to the famous Plaza de España, which is a must see for its grand buildings and beautiful Spanish tiles as adornment. As per Wikipedia “The Plaza de España (“Spain Square” in English) was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture.” Its located in the heart of the urban oasis Maria Luisa Park and is a must visit; we were glad we did since the Spanish sun was blazing down and we needed some respite in the shade. There is a small canal in the heart of the plaza and you can paddle your own boat there, but we stayed on dry land and did not indulge in further adventure.
TWO DAYS IN SEVILLE # 6 TORRE DEL ORO
If all this running around tires you, then simply walk along the Guadalaquivir river to savor the evening breeze. For those more enthusiastic or photography buffs, do visit the Torre Del Oro, the famous 13th-century, dodecagonal military watchtower which offers fantastic views of the city and the river. The entry fee included a hike up the tower and entrance to a maritime museum midway.
48 HOURS IN SEVILLE # 7 MERCADO LONJA DE BARRANCO AND FLAMENCO SHOW AT CASA DE LA MEMORIA
Mercado Lonja del Barranco (stone’s throw from our apartment) is a bustling marketplace with lots of tasty and downright freakish things to eat (see the giant octopus overflowing like a wilting flower below) and is a good place to grab dinner before you head out to Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus for the eagerly awaited Flamenco show. The setting there is kind of intimate with the stage being surrounded on three sides by the audience (photography is strictly prohibited till the performers ask you to do so). The show was mesmerizing to say the least, with the Flamenco dancers (male and female) swishing and foot-tapping and gliding like slivers of light to the pulsating beats of the singer’s soulful ballad. This brings me to the end of our 48 hour stay in Seville since we left the very next morning for Granada.For those with more time on their hands, I recommend crossing over the river to to the Tirana district or visiting the Metropol Parasol. Read my Granada adventures here.
Want to know how much it costs to travel to or live in Seville? Here is an excellent Seville expenditure guide detailing how much it cost to live in Seville for a month. Also, if you are planning on doing a road trip in southern Spain, here is a must read guide to beautiful villages in Andalucia by my blogger friend Faith that you should not miss!
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