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Seville in 2 days? If any city can quickly seduce you, it’s Seville. Sevilla (Se-vee-ya), said in Spanish, just leisurely rolls off the tongue, slowing you down, making you ripe for her charm. Let’s get the mood right – Sevilla it is for the rest of our visit!
Exploring Sevilla under a brilliant blue sky divulges an inherent liveliness and warmth that has nothing to do with the weather. Andalusia’s capital is brimming with history, culture, cobblestone streets and orange trees. Orange trees win me over every time – the blossoms, the branches bending under the weight of the fruit and quite frankly, they are a novelty for this Canadian.
Seville In 2 Days: Day One
The Catedral and the Real Alcázar are the two “not to be missed” sights in Sevilla. I recommend visiting them on separate days.
Catedral de Seville And The Giralda Tower
TIP: To avoid the lineups to enter the Cathedral, visit the Church of El Salvador in Pl. del Salvador (a three-minute walk from the Cathedral). Enter the Church of El Salvador and purchase the combined ticket. This includes your entrance to the Church, the Cathedral and the Giralda tower. The ticket can be used the same day or the next day to enter the Cathedral. At the Cathedral, make your way past the long ticket lineup to the front as you already have a ticket!
Sevilla’s massive Cathedral, Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, was built on the site of an existing mosque. It took over one hundred years to build and was completed in 1506. The mosque’s minaret, the Giralda, still towers beside the largest Gothic church in the world.
Bring a lot of energy on the day you visit this massive sacred space with its 80 chapels, intricate altarpiece, the tomb of Christopher Columbus and one of Spain’s largest art collections. This UNESCO World Heritage Site can be equally overwhelming and gratifying so take your time, use the audio guide or take a tour so as not to miss the highlights.
The Giralda Tower is worth the climb especially because there is no winding narrow staircase in this tower but ramps that lead to the magnificent view. Apparently, the king liked to ride his horse to the top of the tower to peruse his kingdom. Centuries later, we benefit! Stand amidst the bells and spy the main square, the cathedral itself, the bullring and the Guadalquivir river. You really are on top of the world.
Can you time your visit with Easter (Semana Santa)? One of the doors in the Cathedral is only opened on Easter and the processions that occur are world-renowned.
Sevilla – A City for Dawdling
After visiting the enormous cathedral and climbing the tower, it’s time to get a sense of this sunny Andalusian city. Take your time in Sevilla. Wander. Get turned around. Discover ancient archways, tiny cobblestone lanes and tapas bars. Stop. Refuel. Try your Spanish phrases. Continue on.
Sevilla is the perfect city for dawdling. Enticing Spanish shoe shops appear on every corner amidst modern-day chain stores. It is essential to try a few pairs on and bring one home!
Meander through the Barrio de Santa Cruz (the Medieval Jewish District) where tiny streets, bordered by blossoms, wind themselves into a maze.
Find the Plaza de Doña Elvira tucked away behind a tangle of streets. It’s perfect for a long drawn-out lunch of tapas and Rioja.
Let serendipity play its role, for getting lost in Sevilla is part of its charm. Seductive? Si!
Seville In Two Days: Flamenco
Andalusia is the heart of flamenco dancing. So it is no surprise as you explore Sevilla to see dazzling shop windows filled with flowing, flouncy (and often polka-dotted) flamenco dresses. They are a constant reminder of the culture and the need to see flamenco in action.
It’s not to be missed.
Raw passion fills the stage. Lone guitar music, deliberate clapping, deep emotional singing and tapping feet create the flamenco experience. Add intricate footwork, castanets, exquisite dresses, the men’s tight pants and you are swept up in the seduction that is flamenco.
Sevilla’s Museum of Flamenco Dance (Museo del Baile Flamenco) holds highly recommended flamenco dancing shows in their courtyard at 7 pm. The show is about an hour. You can buy a ticket to include admission to the museum as well but the museum is closed after the performance so visit earlier in the day.
La Carbonería also comes highly recommended and is on my list for next time. In true Sevilla fashion, it is tucked away in the labyrinth of roads that is Sevilla. The shows start at 10 pm but get there early to get a seat.
Alternately, you could cross the river to Triana a neighbourhood where flamenco sizzles. Ask for a recommendation or try Casa Anselama.
Seville in 2 Days: Day Two
Today is another full day on this “Seville in 2 Days” itinerary. Be prepared for more highlights and some chillin’ at a tapas bar or two.
The Real Alcázar
The Spanish royal family has rooms here they still use. Yes, you are entering a royal palace that was once a fort and has housed countless rulers over 11 centuries. It is filled with gorgeous patios, enormous rooms, inviting archways, mammoth tapestries and artwork. The gardens alone are magnificent, filled with pools and fountains.
It is no wonder the Alcázar, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the best examples of Mudéjar architecture in Spain. The tile work and plasterwork will leave you speechless.
Seductive? Say no more.
Seville Itinerary: Tapas Bars
By now you may have had your fair share of tapas but, if not, find yourself a place in the sun to sample the local specialities.
Enter a tapas bar. Iberian hams hang amidst bullheads, endless bottles of Spanish rioja peer down from the wall, Spaniards gather around the bar eating and socializing – you know you’re in the midst of authentic Spanish culture.
Tapas, small savoury Spanish dishes, come in a wide assortment. Some typical dishes in Sevilla are jamón Iberica (acorn-fed ham), espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas with olive oil and garlic), salmorejo (thick gazpacho) and gambas al ajillo (prawns in olive oil and garlic). I might even have sampled oxtails… If you want a portion size larger than tapas, order “raciones.”
Loving the Spanish scene? Dive right in and “tapear” – spend an afternoon or evening venturing to different bars and sampling a variety of delectable tapas.
Plaza de España and Parque de Maria Luisa
Ceramic tiles, fountains, canals and a massive building (they don’t seem to do things on a small scale in Sevilla) were built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. The semi-circular building, framed by a tower at each end, sits at the edge of Sevilla’s most beautiful park, Parque de Maria Luisa. Walk the length of the building (now housing government offices), paddle on the canal and finish with a snack under a shady tree in the park.
Still got time and energy? Plan this next stop for sunset!
Espacio Metropol Parasol or Las Setas (the Mushroom)
TIP: Go down to the lower level to purchase a ticket to the top. It includes a free drink while you gaze across the city.
Completed in 2011, this modern architectural structure is worth a visit. Its modern design rising amongst ancient buildings make for a curious spectacle. The views from the top show just how many church spires?
Visiting Seville in 2 days, you can’t help but be captivated by the locals. They fill the plazas, young and old alike, well into the evening.
The Spaniards eat on such a different schedule than North Americans. That in itself is seductive. Dinner at ten – how intriguing but even more interesting is “la merienda.” After the large lunch around 2 pm., the Sevillanos stroll the streets around 5 pm for “la merienda.” It’s their snack time, couples and families are out sharing cake, eating churros and drinking coffee.
A local cab driver, engaging with me and my beginner Spanish, informed me about the high unemployment rate in Sevilla. I asked him, “Why then do Sevillanos appear so happy?” He replied placing his hand on his heart, “We are Andalusians. We are open and we are full of heart.”
That sealed it – a romantic language, a classic city full of people with heart. Does it get more seductive than that?
When You Go…
Sevilla is easily accessed by plane, train, bus or car.
AVE trains, which are the high-speed ones take 2 hours and 30 minutes from Madrid. From Barcelona, the AVE train trip is 7 hours. The slower train is 11 hours 20 minutes.
Vueling’s flight between Barcelona and Sevilla is 1 hour and 35 minutes, however, all of their flights from Madrid are via Barcelona so a much longer journey.
Iberia Express flies directly from Madrid to Sevilla.
What is the most seductive city you have visited?
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