SEVILLE OFF THE BEATEN PATH
When I lived there, friends often asked about the best things to do in Seville: La Giralda, the Real Alcázar, the Plaza de Toros and the Torre del Oro.
After that, though, I spilled my true secrets to enjoying Seville off the beaten path. My tips and tricks for soaking up the seduction of Spain’s hottest city and living like a local in the heart of Andalusia.
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How to Get Off the Beaten Track in Seville
1) Have a siesta
Only tourists walk around town in the afternoon. In Seville, siestas are not folklore, they're reality. Shops and businesses close in the afternoon and children head home from school in time to have a snooze.
Visit 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.
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.
However, if you're nervous about your Spanish, the next best thing involves catching a performance at the Flamenco Museum. Set in a beautiful 18th century building amid the scent of orange trees, you can easily book a ticket on your mobile phone in your language with Get Your Guide. You can also cancel for free up to 24 hours before the performance, making it a good option if you want to keep your plans flexible.
3) Take a twist on tapas
Tapas is big business in Seville. Unlike the polished and pretty pintxos you'll find in northern Spain, in Andalusia it's more of a rustic affair. But don't let appearances deceive. Simple does not mean tasteless.
After a few days of Andalusian cured jamon, gazpacho and tortilla omelettes, you may be longing to get off the beaten path in Seville in terms of food.
Inside Tip: Don't miss salmorejo, the local version of gazpacho.
Follow the locals to find some experimental tapas bars. I loved Azotea for wasabi-tinged tapas. For more on the subject, check out my guide on finding the best tapas in Seville over here.
Can Food Tours take you off the beaten path in seville?
If you're looking for secret Seville and you don't have much time, then I'd highly recommend a walking tour.
You can work your way through our tapas guide here by yourself.
Or, you can book a food tour. Get Your Guide is a good broker for booking tours, it's easy to do on your phone and its cancellation policy provides flexibility (you can cancel up to 24 hours before for free. )
Having looked through the food tours they have on their books, I'd recommend the following as the top three options:
1) Seville Tapas Crawl - limited to 6 people, drinks included, several languages spoken, including English.
2) River Tour with Tapas Tasting - limited to 12 people, one drink included. If you think you'll struggle with the heat, a river cruise should help!
3) Spanish cooking class with dinner. I am a BIG fan of cooking classes! It's an unusual thing to do in Seville but it's such a great way to get to know locals and travellers alike. Plus, you have a tasty meal at the end!
4) Relax in the Arabic Baths
When it comes to getting off the beaten track in Seville, the Baños Arabes or Arabic Baths are a curious entry. You will meet other travellers here but so many miss it, I decided to add it to the list.
More importantly, it's a fantastic thing to do in Seville and locals definitely visit.
A steam room, sauna and cold plunge pool all fit beneath the roof of this former viceroy’s mansion, which itself was built over 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 used to be the wrong side of the tracks. To many, it still is. This lively neighbourhood provided the sailors for those Christopher Columbus voyages and their accent matches Latin American Spanish more than Castilian as a result.
Today, you can get off the beaten track in Seville by crossing the bridge and strolling through the neighbourhood, enjoying the unusual pulse of Triana while gazing back at mainstream Seville.
Highlights include the visceral covered market and the ceramic workshops, whose blue and canary yellow hues decorate street names and wall tiles across the Iberian Peninsula.
Sip the local tinto de verano at a riverside cafe and gaze back at some of Seville's most famous landmarks. It's an overwhelmingly authentic local thing to do: sit back and watch the world go by.
MORE ON TRAVEL IN SEVILLE
I absolutely loved Seville. So much so, I stayed for four years!
Here's how to plan your perfect trip to Seville.
The Best Things to do in Seville - start planning here.
Where to Stay in Seville - your guide to the best places to sleep so as to make the most of your time.
What to eat in Seville - tapas is not optional, ask any sevillano!
What to buy in Seville - forget the idea of kitsch tat you'll throw away as soon as you get home. These Seville souvenirs will last.