The southern side of Spain is full of contradictions. When roaming the streets of Seville, a gorgeous city full of ancient landmarks, palm trees and wafting flamenco music, you may notice a few things are done differently here. While many locals indulge on plates of cheese, bread and cured ham, many still boast slim frames. Kids often speak only when asked a question, but are included in a night out with the family, well past a normal bedtime. It’s rare to hear a please or thank you in coffee shops, but if you forgot your wallet the barista may just say to pay her back tomorrow. Men are respectful and friendly even though women are often scantily clad under the hot sun.
All of these things make Seville one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Steeped in traditions of Judaism, Catholicism and Islam, all of these ancient faiths have influence over the architecture and history. On the other hand, only steps from the cobblestones and gothic cathedral is a buzzing, modern metropolis that offers locals and tourists alike to dance the night away and find their Spanish “duende”, or soul. You can also venture across the Guadalquivir River to see the more rustic and residential area of town, full of small eateries, parks and stunning views of the lazy waterway.
So, where does one start after they get off the plane, boat or bus in this destination? Some would argue everything has to head straight for the cathedral in the old town. Called the largest Gothic church in the world, the outside is staggering and covered in intricate details. Inside, the city hosts many special events, masses and more that guests can attend. Experiencing the breathtaking Alcazar palace next door can’t be missed either for its Arabic inscriptions along the interior.
Sightseeing is a must-do in Seville because of it’s aesthetically pleasing ambiance, but of course you’ll need some delicious places to eat and cozy accommodations. Tapas bars are everywhere, which specialize in small plates, but some of the best lie around the Alcazar Gardens. Carmela is one of those nondescript eateries that once you enter inside, you realize why it’s almost always bustling. The fresh manchego cheese and massive legs of serrano ham are often served with a bit of crusty bread and some unbelievable olive oil, alongside sardines in tomato sauce or fried potato cubes.
Las Casa de la Judiera is for the purists who want to feel like they’ve escaped to a Spanish villa. There entryway is adorned with vegetation and high arched ceilings, and you can often hear flamenco guitar coming from within the walls. Gran Melia Colon is slightly more sleek and modern if that is your style, but is located in the historical center so you are still enveloped in culture.
It may be impossible to see everything Seville has to offer in one trip, but you can certainly try to get your fill of savory cuisine, dancing the night away and immersing yourself in the passionate atmosphere. As they say, “Sevilla tiene color especial” – Seville has a very special color.