WHAT TO DO IN SEVILLA
Get happily lost in the alleyways of Barrio de Santa Cruz
Put your phone’s GPS down and prepare to be entranced by the cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and tapas bars of this former Jewish quarter.
Marvel at the Mudéjar décor of Real Alcázar
Seville’s sensational palace complex is an eye-catching fusion of Christian and Mudéjar décor, with moments of respite offered by its airy patios and bougainvillea-shaded gardens (look out for the preening peacocks). It’s been home to Arab and Christian rulers, and recently stood in for Dorne and Meereen in Game of Thrones.
Savour some of the world’s best tapas
Go old-school with pringá montadito (leftover pork stew in a crispy bun) accompanied by cañas>of Cruzcampo beer at Bodega Santa Cruz or something swankier such as the fusion tapas at Mamarracha. Either way you’ll find tiny morsels of culinary heaven anywhere in Seville: there are more than 3,000 tapas bars to choose from.
Enjoy unrivalled city views from Metropol Parasol
Otherwise known as las setas (the mushrooms), this enormous wooden structure was designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer and finished in 2011. Take the elevator to its curving walkway for stellar sunset views or simply use the building like any good parasol and bask in its shade.
Feel dwarfed by the world’s biggest gothic cathedral
The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede was built so “those who see it finished will think we’re mad”. From its imposing height to its scary gargoyles, you don’t have to be a medieval enemy to find the structure formidable. To really do the Catedral justice, however, step inside for artworks by Murillo and Goya, and a peek at the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
Scale the Giralda
Walking to the top of this 104m bell tower is easier than it seems. It takes 35 ramps (and just one flight of stairs) to get there, with the ramps built so guards could ascend it on horseback.
Clap your hands at a flamenco show
It’s impossible to truly know Sevilla without watching a flamenco show. The Museo del Baile (Flamenco Dance Museum) has one-hour courtyard shows every evening, but for an earthier experience, try the Taberna Gonzalo Molina, Casa de la Guitarra, Bar Flamenco Los Martínez or Peña Torres Macarena after midnight.
Cycle the Guadalquivir river
Sevilla is one of Spain’s most cycle-friendly cities. Pick up a pay-as-you-go Sevici bike and pedal down this majestic river. Enjoyment of the Guadalquivir isn’t limited to those on two-wheels: it’s possible to paddle-board the river, or sample it on a cruise.
… then visit a bicycle-themed bar afterwards
Try the upcycled bric-a-brac of Bicicletería or bohemian poetry readings and shows at arts/cultural space Un Gato en Bicicleta (“cat on a bike”).
Sample cookies made by Spanish nuns
Go to Convento Madre de Dios for delicious naranjitos (balls of nutty marzipan topped with glazed orange from the convent garden) or Monasterio de Santa Paula for home-made orange blossom jam and biscuits.
Pay respect to Golden Age art at Museo de Bella Artes
Two of Spain’s most celebrated artists were Sevillian: Diego Velázquez (responsible for Las Meninas, one of the most important paintings of all time), and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. This fine arts museum – housed in an ornate Mudejar pavilion – hosts artworks by them both, along with many other painters and cultural treasures.