Seville is quintessential ‘Spain’: tapas and flamenco!
You could spend days exploring Seville, but here are some highlights packed into one day!
Where to stay
I recommend you choose a hotel in the ‘old town’ to keep everything in close walking distance and to savour the most of your time in this city. The old town was build during Roman times. The buildings are tall and the streets narrow, creating shade and funnelling the air through the alleyways – forming a natural air-conditioning system. During the height of summer, when temperatures can be above 40 for most of the daylight hours, this natural cooling system is a blessing.
Wake early and grab a coffee and cake to take away for breakfast from any local cafe and head for the Plaza De Espana. Set by the Maria Luisa park, this massive building was build to show case Spanish industry and technology for the world fair in 1928. Today it functions as government offices. The building is in a semi circle around a large central pool on which you can hire paddle boats. As you walk around the building you will see tile depictions for all of the regions of Spain.
Once you are finished in the Plaza, wander back to the ‘old town’ and enjoy the historical vibe of the little streets and alleyways. The architecture is a mix of roman, moorish, jewish and Catholic influences – seen most clearly in the little Churches you will find dotted through out the city. Many are accessed through small doorways in buildings and appear to be only limited spaces, but once inside they open up into large and ornate sacred spaces. The wealth can be overwhelming. Head into the central square to view the Gothic Seville Cathedral, if time permits climb the Giraldo tower for a stunning panoramic view of the city.
As lunch approaches, buy a baguette and drink and head for the Real Alcazar. It is the old royal estate of Seville and the set for Dorne in HBO’s series Game of Thrones. The building are incredible – metric patterns of tiles with a strong Moorish influence. And the gardens are magnificent. Full of lush trees and pools, even in the heat of the day it is a cool place to rest. Enjoy a lunch in the garden and spend ‘siesta’ relaxing under the lime trees.
After, head back to your hotel to freshen up, then head to the Museo Del Baile Flamenco for the 7 pm performance, you will want to arrive an hour early to line up as there is no ticketed seating. This is undoubtedly the best flamenco stage in Seville, attracting top class performers from across Spain. The performance will take your breath away, with it’s intensity and colour and is a deeply important part of Spanish culture.
My husband and I were incredibly fortunate on our trip to the Museo Del Baile. We arrived very early and got talking to one of the Museo operators. He took us on a short tour of the nearby churches of Seville, talking us through their architecture and history, as well as his experiences growing up in Seville, before bringing us back to line up for the performance. After he introduced us to some of the performers, which was wonderful as we could express our thanks for such an incredible display!
Into the night!
The performance lasts just over an hour, and you will exit into the nightlife of Seville. After dark the city comes alive with all it’s small streets and pathways filled with tapas bars that spill out onto the street. And you don’t have to settle in to one place for the night – use tapas style eating to your advantage and enjoy a drink and a few tapas dishes in multiple bars as you wind your way through the lights and live music.
Some favourite tapas dishes included: grilled artichokes, patatas bravos, pureed spinach and eggplant dip and warm goat cheese drizzled with honey.