The jewel of Andalucia and the frying pan of the south are just a couple of descriptions used for Seville and it’s hard not to be captivated by this city’s atmosphere, culture and architecture. Seville lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir and is one of the largest historical centres in Europe with enough landmarks to wear down the most ardent sightseer including one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world, the Alczar Palace and the Giralda tower from which you can get a great view over the city.
The Alczar is Seville’s Alhambra, a World Heritage monument smaller but nevertheless beautiful. It has been expanded or reconstructed many times during 11 centuries of existence which increases its fascination though makes it a complicated building to understand.
Cathedral & La Giralda
Seville’s Cathedral (completed in 1507) is one of the largest in the world – the main building is 126m long and 83m wide. It was and was originally all Gothic, though its central dome collapsed in 1511 was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. The mosque’s beautiful minaret, La Giralda, stands on its eastern side and can be climbed for a great view of the city.
The old tobacco factory
Now part of the University of Seville the massive old tobacco factory used to be the lynchpin of the city’s economy. It was also the workplace of Carmen, inspiration for Bizet’s opera of the same name and was a working factory up until the mid-20th century.
Aire de Sevilla
If you fancy soothing those sightseeing muscles head over to the Arab baths, Aire de Sevilla, with two warm pools and one cold, plus a steam room.
Semana Santa (Easter Week)
Semana Santa celebrations happen all over Spain but Seville has the most famous of all with daily processions. It lasts from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday and includes the participation of 57 ‘brotherhoods’ from the different barrios (districts) of the city. Those not familiar with the event may find the dress worn by the participants a bit creepy, including peaked hats covering the face that may remind many of the Klu Klux Klan rather than the virgin Mary.
Feria de Abril (April Fair)
The other big event in Seville’s calendar is the Feria de Abril which was created in the mid-19th century as an agricultural and cattle fair. It’s now the biggest party in town and residents work for months to prepare for that week. During the celebration, those attending wear traditional clothing, there’s general partying and lots of flamenco and bullfighting.
On average Seville has over 230 days per year with temperatures above 20C (68F) and in the summer Seville gets hot, very hot. Temperatures average around 36C (97F) in July and August. Winter can get cold and rainfall is most common between November and February and during April.
Getting around Seville
Most of the sights in Seville are within walking distance of each other or if you want to brave the traffic cycling is also an easy way to get around the city due to the flat terrain. There’s also a good bus network.