It's no secret I love Sevilla, but almost every person that I have talked to that has also visited this quintessential Spanish town has told me they wished they had more time there. No one is able to escape the special feeling of it. Even Spaniards I've talked to says it has a certain, "encanto" or charm. If still not convinced by my ode to Sevilla post or my photos, I challenge you to talk to people who have been or just go and visit to see for yourselves! If you've already made the decision to visit, here are some of my must-see places and restaurants to check out!
Things to do
1. Plaza de España
This is one of those places where no photos can do it proper justice. I urge you to walk around the base and walls of the Plaza to admire each of the Spanish provinces displayed, cross the bridges and take a boat ride around the river and just take in all the details. Afterward, walk around Parque Maria Luisa (right across from the Plaza) and enjoy the beautiful gardens and pathways.
2. La Catedral y La Giralda
The third largest church in the world and the largest gothic church, you will not be disappointed by its grandeur. Don't forget to stop by Christopher Columbus' remains which also lie here. La Giralda (the bell tower) was originally a minaret turned Catholic bell tower after La Reconquista. You can climb to the top and look out over the city — I insist though, the best view overlooking Sevilla is on top of Las Setas (See #5).
3. Real Maestranza (Bullfighting ring)
While the bullfighting season takes place from the end of April to the end of September, they offer tours year round. Bullfighting has become extremely controversial in Spain and some provinces have even banned it. Still, I recommend it as a cultural experience, even just the tour. If you visit and wish to see a real bullfight, go for it! I did when I studied abroad. I'm glad I went, but wouldn't do it again. It's a one time thing. But I'm going to leave it up to you.
4. See a Flamenco Show
Did you really go to Spain if you didn't see Flamenco? I recommend Museo del Baile Flamenco or Casa de la Memoria. Museo del Baile Flamenco offers more seating and while a bit "touristic"provides the audience a great show. Casa de la Memoria is also a fantastic option if you really want to see authentic flamenco: the small room gives the audience a sense of intimacy with the performers and the performances are top-notch in my opinion.
5. Las Setas (Metropol Parasol)
For the best view of the city, go here! Las Setas (meaning: the mushrooms) is a wooden structure in the city center, you really can't miss it! For just a few euros, you get to go to the top for a drink. Tip: head here before sunset since it obviously becomes very crowded, but the view is incredibly worth it. Below Las Setas is the Antiquarium, where Roman and Moorish remains are on display in a museum.
6. El Alcázar
For all you GOT fans, this is Dorne! For everybody else, this is a royal palace developed by Moorish Kings. If you're going to Granada and visiting the Alhambra, feel free to skip this, since they are very similar but still beautiful, or if you're really into royal palaces, go for it!
7. El Rio Guadalquiver
If you want to truly feel like a Sevillano, take an afternoon stroll (dar un paseo) along the river while many stores shut down for siesta. It's a nice way to relax while seeing another beautiful part of the city. There's always people biking, walking and running along the path.
Restaurants & What to Order
1. La Brunilda
Brunilda is hands down my favorite restaurant, perhaps of all time. It's a great lunch spot, but get there early to put your name in because it gets crowded! I recommend ordering the patatas bravas, mushroom riostto and the pork shoulder with sweet potatoes. Some of the best food I've ever eaten — If the wait is too long, they have a sister restaurant (with the same chef) that is called "El Bartelomeo" and is right around the corner.
2. El Rinconcillo
The oldest bar in Sevilla, which has been running since 1640, is a great place to take a quick break with drinks & tapas of course. You can't go wrong with some tinto de verano, cheese and espiñacas con garbanzos. And it's right in the neighborhood where I studied abroad :)
3. Las Tabernas Coloniales
For the ultimate and authentic Spanish tapas, go here! Warning: portion sizes are huge! They don't take reservations, but you can put your name in on a chalkboard and order a drink outside while you wait. I recommend the chicken in almond sauce and the spinach croquettes.
4. El Contenedor
For the foodies who want a nicer and a little more of a sit-down restaurant feel, this is the place to go! It's considered a slow-cook restaurant and the place really goes for a holistic experience from the ambiance to the food where the servers cater what you order to the order it is brought out. The service is outstanding. They recommend sharing plates as to not overeat and to try more options.I recommend the duck. Tip: Definitely make a reservation online.
5. Bar Estrella
Bar Estrella is on Calle Estrella, a tiny, tucked away street about a 10 minute walk from the Cathedral. It's small and quaint with its outdoor seating and the tapas are absolutely delicious — I recommend ordering the solomillo al whiskey. You will not be disappointed!