5 Jul,2019 By Jagabond
Sevilla is an epic memory for me…no surprise when you peek at my list of favorite European cities. This isn’t the first recommendation you hear when researching a trip to Spain, as there are more popular regions with wildly different vibes. Sevilla feels nothing like Barcelona or Madrid, and I fell in love with the personality of the city. Whether it’s solo, romance or family travel, Sevilla is a prime destination.
What are giant mushrooms doing in Sevilla’s old quarter? Believe it or not, this grand art project is one of the largest wooden structures in the world. Designed by a German architect, the parasol faced backlash from locals due to construction delays and its odd appearance. Does something so modern belong in a historic city like Sevilla? You be the judge. I embraced the experience of walking on this artistic leviathan and enjoying great views of the city.
This is an attraction built for a World’s Fair that showcases the regional mix of Spanish and Moorish architecture. Star Wars fans might recognize it as a shooting location from ‘Attack of the Clones’. Artists admire the reddish buildings that blend beautifully with the sunny, blue Sevilla sky. The water, bridges and boats will remind you of Venice.
The legacy of Christopher Columbus is debatable. His supporters and detractors have a story, but so do his bones. Genetic analysis in 2006 confirmed his final resting place within the Sevilla cathedral. The tomb depicts his casket carried by four regional Spanish kings…not exactly humble. The rest of the cathedral is itself a wonder and not to be missed.
The one thing I will always remember about Sevilla is the orange trees. They line the streets, and add color to random photos. To overload your senses, visit the alcazar next to the main cathedral, as there is a garden full of them.
This is the dance of the region. The pounding of the beat and the frenetic nature of the dancer had me enthralled. Flamenco is all about passion. A quote by Sara Baras, Flamenco superstar, says it best. “It is not about technique, but about emotion – if you don’t feel it, you can’t do it. It’s not just a physical expression – it must come from the heart.” I highly recommend booking a Flamenco show in Sevilla.
Cordoba is only an hour train ride from Sevilla, and highlights the region’s Moorish history. The cathedral there was previously a mosque, and still attracts controversy today. The candy cane colored arches surrounding the altar make this one of the most unique looking places of worship in Europe.
After the religious tour, visit the nearby alcazar of Cordoba that has some brilliant photo opportunities. The gardens out back are something you can’t miss.
Andalusia is the region in Spain where Sevilla sits, and it has the most sunny days of anywhere in mainland Europe. In fact, during the months of January and February, typically the worst time for a European trip, you can still find decent weather in Sevilla. If you’re looking for the sun, just visit here and look up…it will always be there shining back at you!
This is the park that lies directly adjacent to the Plaza de Espana. You will see many orange trees, together with pretty vegetation and ornate fountains. Despite the touristy vibe, the park is big enough to always find places to sit and relax. Bring a book and spend hours here.
You can try to plan for festivals in Spain, or you can just stumble upon them. I’ve had more luck with the latter. While in Sevilla I observed a festival that involved vigorous flag waving, followed by a crucifix procession and finally copious wine consumption. You can still respect the emotions of the celebration without knowing the reason.
I never liked the idea of food coming in small plates. Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was used to large, satisfying meals that temporarily added an inch to my waist. Being vegetarian while visiting Spain inspired me to try tapas, and I fell in love. Whether it be salted shishito peppers, or the carb-heavy potatoes shown below, give me tapas and a glass of Albarino and you’ll get an instant smile.
If you’re like me, the number of pictures taken correlates to a city’s beauty. In drab cities like Brussels I struggle to reach twenty decent shots. Sevilla is a different story, as I found myself needing to recharge my camera halfway through the day. Every stray glance or turn down a random alley leads to a new picture opportunity. I particularly liked this one I took of horse carriages.
After all the great wine and food, your internal caloric counter will be in the red. Luckily, Sevilla is one of the best cities in Europe for walking. From the Metropol Parasol, you can walk past the cathedral and alcazar, down along the river, and finally into Maria Luisa Park and the Plaza de Espana. This round trip stroll will for sure make your pants less tight. Be sure and watch for street musicians, who act as a pleasant distraction.
Sevilla is hardly a hidden gem, so check out these other blogs for more options on what do to, where to go and places to stay.