This post was last updated on July 26th, 2016
The first time I heard about Seville was in a high school Spanish class. We were learning about La Feria de Abril, a weeklong celebration full of parades, dancing and traditional Spanish costumes. I was instantly sold. Years later when it came time to choose a location for my study abroad semester, there was no hesitation in my mind—I was bound for Seville.
Luckily I can say my impulsive decision making skills were not a regret, and I instantly fell in love with the vibrant city in Andalucía. But how could I not with so much to love? Here are just a few of my favorites:
5 Reasons To Love Seville, Spain
Maria Luisa Park
I used to frequent Maria Luisa Park on a regular basis. Seville’s largest park, it’s beautiful green lawns stretch parallel to the Guadalquivir River. It’s common to see tourists taking in the views from a horse and carriage, but the park is equally accessible to bikers, runners, and those wishing to soak in a bit of history. On one end of the park you’ll find Plaza de Espana, a beautiful palace encircled by moat, with a large plaza boasting a serene fountain. This is a popular photo-taking spot for tourists and Spanish alike, and for good reason! On the other end of the park you’ll find Plaza de las Palomes, or Plaza of the Doves. You guessed it—it’s named after the many doves that call it home.
It’s nearly impossible to visit Seville without taking a trip to the Alcazar. This 14th century palace is a stunning portrayal of the fusion of Islamic, Spanish, and Moorish cultures—a unique element to Southern Spain. The Alcazar is beautiful from the outside, though I recommend taking the time to enter and tour the entire palace. Not only will you learn more about the Moorish Dynasty, you’ll get to experience its beautiful gardens.
This majestic Catholic cathedral is one of the largest in the world—reason to visit the cathedral in and of itself. History buffs might also be interested to know that the gothic style cathedral holds the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Be sure to leave enough time to climb to the top of the Giralda, or the bell tower. Another example of Islamic influence in Spain, the Giralda was originally the minaret of the mosque that previously stood under Muslim rule. When the Spanish re-conquered Seville, they incorporated the minaret into the Seville Cathedral. The top of the Giralda affords astounding views of the city.
The Orange Trees
An iconic element of Seville, you quickly notice the quaint city streets are lined with orange trees. Though you might not find the oranges themselves that tasty (they are quite bitter) the smell from the blooming flowers is fantastic.
It’s a Spanish tradition that has recently caught on in all areas of the world. Head to downtown Seville around 8:00pm and get ready for some restaurant hopping. Typically you’ll order one or two small tapas for a group to share, accompanied by a local wine or sherry. A personal favorite of mine was eggplant with honey and tortilla (a potato omelet). Sometimes tapas come complimentary with a drink; as you order more drinks, your tapas become more elaborate. However, this depends entirely upon the restaurant, and don’t depend on it everywhere in Spain.
As previously mentioned, this is just a small sampling of all Seville has to offer. After living in the city for five months, I can easily admit to only getting a small taste of its vibrant culture! If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on what to do and see, be sure to get to know Seville inside and out with this handy city guide. You’ll find useful guides to the city attractions, food, culture—and even weather!
It’s been years since I was last in Seville, though many of my Spanish memories seem like only yesterday. One day I hope to bring Dan back to this romantic and beautiful city that left such a large impact on me. We are currently planning a trip to Sweden… Spain’s not that far, right?
Have you been to Seville before? What was your favorite part?