When friends first ask about what they should see and do in Seville, I start with the traditional list: La Giralda, the Real Alcázar, the Plaza de Toros and the Torre del Oro. All famous attractions, and deservedly so, along with the tiny criss-crossing streets of the Santa Cruz barrio, the elegant Casa de Pilatos and the leafy great expanse of the Maria Luisa Park.Read Your Ultimate Guide to Seville
Bonus Tip: People do actually wear these polka-dot dresses in Seville
1) Embrace the siesta. It’s not folklore, it’s reality. Shops and businesses close in the afternoon and children head home from school in time to have a snooze. If you’re in Seville between April and October, you’ll understand why. It’s simply too hot to even think about the possibility of doing anything else in the afternoons.
Related: NO8DO Meaning Seville Remembers
2) Watch real flamenco. The polka-dotted posters are for tourists; the real thing takes place in bars across the city from around midnight onwards. One of my favourites is La Carbonería (18 Calle Levíes, tel: +34 95 421 4460) where you can catch both serious foot-stomping flamenco and the more light-hearted sevillana performances on most nights.
3) Take a twist on tapas. While Andalusian jamon is all well and good, for a few more flavours, check out Azotea for wasabi-tinged tapas and Al Alijibe for quality dishes zinging with lime and served beneath the shade of an orange tree. Don’t miss salmorejo, the local version of gazpacho, either.
4) Relax in the Arabic Baths or Baños Árabes. OK, so maybe this isn’t particularly off the beaten track but locals do wander in here from time to time. A steam room, sauna and cold plunge pool all fit beneath the roof of this former viceroy’s mansion, which itself was built on the site of former Roman Baths. Convince yourself you’re here for the history, admire the mudejar ceilings…and then r-e-l-a-x.
5) Stroll Along Triana – Triana stretches along the Guadalquivir River on the “wrong” side of town. From the no-nonsense covered market to the ceramic shops where artisanal plates and tiles lie forgotten in the dust, enjoy the unusual pulse of Triana, while gazing back at mainstream Seville.
That’s one of the advantages of being on the “wrong” side of town after all: you do get the best views. Sip the local tinto de verano at a riverside cafe and gaze back at those landmarks I mentioned at the start.
Abigail King is an award-winning writer and author who swapped a successful career as a hospital doctor for a life on the road. With over 60 countries under her belt, she's worked for Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveller and more. She is passionate about sustainable tourism and was invited to speak on the subject at the EU-China High Level summit at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.Here she writes about food, travel and history and she invites you to pull up a chair and relax. Let's travel more and think more. Welcome!
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