I never had any doubts: from the moment I set foot in Seville for the first time it was crazy love.
Imagine when I found out I had won a European scholarship that would have allowed me to live and work here for 6 months, how I felt!
Being able to explore this divine city, live it to the fullest every moment and discover every corner, tasting the delicious Andalusian cuisine, the one that I have always put at the top of my culinary preferences.
Seville boasts a divine climate, especially if you love heat.
There are around 3,000 sunny days a year in Seville but when it rains, it really rains, so be prepared for big sunny days as well as rare but powerful thunderstorms.
The monuments of the city
The Andalusian capital has three monuments included in the UNESCO heritage list:
- The Catedral is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the Western world and the third in Christianity after St. Peter of the Vatican and St. Paul of London.
The Giralda, with its 100 meters of height, is the minaret of the old mosque, demolished to make way for the cathedral and symbol of the city.
- The Real Alcázar is the oldest royal palace in use in Europe. It is a group of buildings built in different historical periods whose origins date back to the 10th century.
- The Archive of the Indies is one of the most important historical archives in the country, with approximately 43,000 documents relating to the discovery and colonization of America.
The monuments of Seville are in every corner of the city and, if you have time to visit it calmly, you can discover them all. In my view, the beauties of Seville reside in being able to go out every evening with a mild climate, walking through the magnificent streets of the city or along the Guadalquivir, passing alongside the Torre del Oro, a 12-sided tower built in that point, just to better control the accesses that occurred from the river in the past.
The first real monument I came across while looking for a room in the city was however Calle Verde, a very narrow street not always counted among the major monuments of Seville and certainly neglected by tourists from all over the world. Walking down Calle Verde you will have the feeling of being able to spread your arms and be able to touch both walls on your sides … Not to mention the coolness (for Seville of course!) That there is compared to other parts of the city, where the scorching sun beats without find the obstacle of the houses.
However, I associate the most vivid memories of my past life in the Andalusian capital with Las Setas in Plaza de la Encarnación, a large building that acts as a parasol for the square itself.
A lot of Seville life passes through here and sooner or later you will find yourself stopping there or passing by too.
You can get lost in the streets and squares of Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter or enjoy the stroll in the Maria Luisa Park with the spectacular Plaza de Espana.
Do not miss the Hospital of the Santa Caridad or the Plazas de Toros de la Maestranza.
If you love the Baroque, you can immerse yourself in the Hospital de los Venerables or visit the beautiful Sevillian palace-houses they contain countless works of art, such as the Palacio de las Dueñas (de la Casa de Alba), the Casa de Pilatos (de la Casa Ducal de Medinaceli) or the Palacio de la Condes de Lebrija
Sevillian / Andalusian gastronomy
I don’t know if you can understand how good Andalusian cuisine is. As a tourist I had loved and appreciated it very much, but when I began to discover the more traditional cafes and restaurants, I found tastes and flavors even better than I could imagine. I hope my countrymen will not be offended, but for personal taste I consider Andalusian cuisine to be the best in the world, followed by Greek and then Italian (I hope no one is too offended by this bronze medal).
Breakfast with café con leche, tostada with serrano jamon and sometimes a glass of zumo de Naranja (orange juice), were for me the best way to start my days away from home (when I was having breakfast out).
Jamon serrano is something divine that you cannot even imagine and, if you want, you can have a little olive oil put on the bread they serve you for breakfast.
It goes without saying that Spain, Greece and Italy are competing for the scepter for the best olive oil and, not being an expert, I don’t know which is the best. I just believe they are all divine in their own way.
Try them on the go if you get the chance. I will not dwell on paella for a second because I think it has become too touristy a dish and perhaps some areas of Valencia could be more suitable to try it rather than Sevilla.
The variety of Tapas, as well as the bars and restaurants in the city is truly infinite. In Sevilla you go out every night because, apart from the climate, you can eat and drink something with very little money (I’m talking about the pre-pandemic period when I lived there).
The beauty is being able to be in company and taste different tastes by trying light and tasty dishes. And if you want to “break out”, you can eat something heavy or try 20 types of tapas in one evening.
My favorite tapas are croquetas (de jamon), but I assure you that in the past months in Sevilla I have tried many and very good.
Even the caracoles (snails) that may appear disgusting, are actually very good!
The top of the top, when it gets very hot, becomes dishes like gazpacho andaluz, a kind of cold vegetable-based soup.
A roommate of mine from Almeria used to bring trays full of them on Mondays when he came home.
You can’t understand what the Andalusian mother did!
If I think about it, I cry with emotion!
Despite everything, I think I didn’t have time to try everything, because Andalusian gastronomy contains so many specialties that it takes a lifetime to try everything…
and maybe a mother and a grandmother who have been cooking everything for you since You’re small!
Even the wine department certainly does not miss anything:
in Seville you absolutely must try the tinto de verano, a cold drink made from red wine with the addition of soda, ice and, if you ask for it, also lemon.
Generally in the more touristy places they serve it as it is, in the more “traditional” ones the bartender asks you if you want lemon.
Perhaps not everyone knows the rebujito. Yes, because in general it is consumed (even too much) during the Feria de Abril or in other events around Andalusia. The rebujito is made with dry white wine and soda and, during the Feria, it is served at the tables in glass jugs.
Needless to say, it’s so good that you don’t need to be a serial alcoholic to take it out in large quantities.
But then we dance, laugh, eat, walk … and work off a bit before night falls …
Flamenco, born and raised in some neighborhoods of Seville, such as Triana and Alameda, has been declared an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. In Seville many people spontaneously dance in the street, attracting the attention of tourists and people. However, it will not be difficult for you, walking in the evening, to notice that in some places flamenco becomes a primary attraction. In other less touristy and more distant places, it is a bit of a superfine and almost secret art, but it takes time and maybe some knowledge for you to discover them and be able to enjoy their true beauty.
One of the most important flamenco events in Seville is undoubtedly la Bienal de Flamenco, a festival that takes place every two years.
Seville is a city full of events and things to do. I think I only spent the time necessary to sleep at home because there was always an opportunity to go out, attend events or just see something nearby. The sea and the beaches are not far away and at the beginning of April you already risk getting a good burn on the beach if you are not careful! On the days I didn’t work or I didn’t have any special programs, I checked the events in the city on this website and, slowly, I admit, I became a bit of a habit, especially on Sunday afternoons when I went to relax with a cool glass of tinto de verano while listening to music across the Guadalquivir.
The most absurd events I have witnessed were two in particular that, in this pandemic period, have probably been moved or canceled (so check before you leave).
The Semana Santa is something crazy because you will see but above all you will hear people moving around the city for several days. Hooded and colorful people invade the streets of the city (each has its own neighborhood) accompanied by very noisy bands. Everyone takes to the streets to watch and the average crowd that will show up in front of you is that of a Queen concert at Wembley in the late 80s …
Not least is the Feria de Abril. Were it not that at least we sit, eat and drink. At the time I lived in Seville but I taught in a school in Dos Hermanas, the largest town in the Sevillian district.
For this reason I decided to do both Ferie de Abril. But I had the good sense not to eat and drink at the one in Sevilla.
I don’t think my liver could have endured two events that close together. At the Feria you go well dressed, you eat divinely and if you are able you can also dance…
Generally you are invited to the casetas and there you sit at the table with your friends. In Seville there are many private casetas where you can enter only by invitation and others open to all, while in Dos Hermanas I remember many more open casetas.
Always keep in mind that all hotels in Seville are packed during these events, so book well in advance and get organized.
Why go to Seville
I don’t know about you, but I believe that Seville, beyond so much monumental beauty, has a very special charm.
Its friendly and hospitable inhabitants who in 6 months always made me feel at home, even if I was hundreds of kilometers away from home.
My students inviting me out almost every night, then I found kind colleagues and wonderful people all over Andalusia.
It doesn’t take long to understand that, despite some flaws, the true beauty of a city like Seville actually lies in the people who live there, in the goodness , genuineness of the products of its gastronomy and in the beauty of being able to stay in a city where to meet friends in the evening is at least as important as having to get up the next day to go to work. In Seville I appreciated this: the fact that the people thought about enjoying their free time, even knowing that there were also commitments to keep.
In other cities it didn’t work exactly like that…
..and you weren’t even eating so well 😉