Many times when people think about planning a trip, they focus on the popular cities like capitals, big cities, or port cities. For example in Spain, most people go to Madrid or Barcelona, but nowhere else. Many travel sites that plan trips for you don’t even offer the option to go anywhere else. What people don’t realize is that Spain has so many off-the-beaten-path cities, like Seville, that should be added to everyone’s bucket list.
Plaza de Espana
As the the capital city of the autonomous community of Andalucia, Seville pays tribute to all provinces within Andalucia. The Plaza de Espana, located inside the Parque de Maria Luisa (Maria Luisa Park), is home to the Alcoves of the Provinces, tiled walls that represent each province. In front of the building is a canal where you can rent a 30-minute rowboat for five euros and paddle, picnic, or just relax with someone special.
You’ll get a unique perspective of the bridges from the water, and renting the boats is fast, cheap, fun, and incredibly romantic. The Plaza de Espana is a landmark of Renaissance revival in Spain. Interestingly, Star Wars episodes I and II (1999, 2004), The Dictator (2012), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) were just a few of the movies filmed in Seville’s Plaza de Espana.
Real Alcazar, the Royal Palace
The Real Alcazar is an old Moorish fort which became the summer palace of kings and queens. It’s interesting to see the change in Moorish architecture and decoration to Christian architecture and decoration between rooms in the palace. Water is an important symbol in Spanish architecture because it’s so necessary to survive, so the Real Alcazar has water flowing throughout. The Real Alcazar courtyard is the site of the famous photo above. The gardens of the Real Alcazar span 40 acres and are meticulously well kept at all times. The Real Alcazar is enormous, so reserve about three to four hours to see the whole palace. The Real Alcazar is the filming site of movies like Knight and Day (2010), Limits of Control (2009), Mission: Impossible II (2000), and the TV show Game of Thrones (2015).
Seville is well known for flamenco. In fact, flamenco dancers are called Sevillanas and they dance Sevillana. Lessons in Sevillana are taught throughout Spain. Many bars in Seville offer dinner and a flamenco show for around 50 euros per person, or you can attend a flamenco show with no obligation to buy dinner or drinks for around 18 euros per person. A flamenco show involves a guitarist, dancers who do a lot of heavy footwork, and at least one singer with so much emotion you can understand even if you don’t speak Spanish.
Feria de Sevilla
The Feria, or April Fair, is one of the biggest festivals in Seville. During the Feria, tents are set up throughout the city, and most welcome guests by invitation only. Women arrive in elaborate flamenco dresses and men wear their best traditional suits. Many times, guests arrive on decorated horses. Inside the tents there is plenty of food, drinks are flowing, and every single person will be dancing Sevillana. If you’re lucky enough to be invited into a Feria tent, make sure you have a traditional flamenco outfit ready and you know a few moves of Sevillana!
The Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral and third largest church in the world. It has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral is open for tours and daily mass. During Christmas, shops are set up in the square outside the church with souvenirs, ornaments, and nativity scenes for sale.
The Giralda is a bell tower of the Seville Cathedral. It was built during Moorish rule and has Moorish-influenced architecture. Later, the Spanish added the top part of the bell tower in Renaissance style. You can climb to the top of the bell tower for an incredible view of Seville.
Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla
There is a debate about the oldest bullring in Spain, and it usually ends in an argument among locals between Seville’s bullring and nearby Ronda’s bullring. The bullring of Seville began as the first bullring in Spain in 1761, 18 years before Ronda’s bullring. However, Seville’s bullring wasn’t completed until 1785, one year after Ronda’s bullring. So it depends if you consider “oldest” to mean started first, or finished first. During the Feria, the Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla is one of the most well-known festival sites in the world. Bull fights are still held here, especially during the Feria.
Seville is undeniably one of the most romantic places in Spain. From paddle-boating in the Plaza de Espana to strolling the gardens in the Real Alcazar to a romantic horse and carriage ride through the historic streets, there’s a perfect backdrop for any picture. This charming city is bound to have you dreaming for more. If you’re planning a visit to Spain, be sure to choose a travel route that includes Seville! Seville is easily accessible from every major city by train, plane, car, or bus.