I’m writing this next post while on the train back to Madrid from Seville. Randy and I had an amazing time and we’re very sad to leave. This was my 4thtime in Seville and it was Randy’s 1st. Since it had been 5 years since I had been there, I got to see the city through my memories and through Randy’s eyes. Randy and I got to explore and discover the city together. There were a lot of places and sites that I remembered but were now able to experience with a fresh perspective. As a 26-year-old woman, not a 20-year-old (slight) party girl, what would I recommend first time visitors to know? Here you are, 10 things every first-time visitor of Seville should know:
- Take a siesta, seriously
Listen up, if you go to Seville, you will NEED a siesta (especially in the summer). Seville is very sunny and can get very hot in the middle of the day so unless you want to roast from the inside out, go inside around 2pm and rest for a bit. Randy and I used our time to watch Handmaid’s Tale(one of our favorite shows) and felt energized to stay out for the rest of the day. And, it’s wasn’t scorching hot. The morning and evening are the most comfortable times to go out in Seville, in the summer, I’d recommend you plan around then.
- If you’re not watching a flamenco show, you’re doing it all wrong
Seville is the place for flamenco, I mean after all it was created in Seville. Anywhere you go in the city, around any corner, you will either find a store that sells flamenco outfits and shoes or a studio that hosts flamenco shows. My friend Phyllis (shout out!), is a flamenco dancer in Madrid and gave me a substantial list of all the places Randy and I could go to see a good show.
We chose the 9pm show at la Casa de las Memorias (11 euros a person). The stage is in an intimate room that perfectly set the scene for the very personal show we were about to experience. The dancers, singer, and guitarist poured out their passion and talent for all of us to see. And it doesn’t hurt that la Casa de las Memorias is across the street from a gelato shop. 😉
- Be ready for an abundance of tapas
As Randy and I walked out of our Airbnb and down to the center of the city, Randy turned to me and said, “This city has to have the most tapa bars of any another Spanish city.” I had never noticed it before but as we continued walking, it was confirmed. Just about every street has at least one or two tapas bars! Be prepared to enjoy savory jamón serrano, incredible croquetas, or delectable albondigas, there is no shortage in Seville. My recommendations for tapas: solomilloat El Rinconcillo (the oldest tapas bar in Spain) and papas bravas at La Brunilda.
- Be in wonder, but also be aware
Seville is gorgeous! The Arabic influences in the buildings and bright colors make even the most common alley ways pop. Take your time, walk around, take lots of pictures of the doors, windows, buildings, etc. But be aware that cars go down the narrow streets and you’re going to have to move aside. I had remembered this about Seville but Randy was startled when he saw taxis driving in down the alleys. So, plan to hug a wall every so often as you update your Instagram and write in your hashtags #watchout.
- Book your ticket to the Real Alcázar ahead of time
I can admit when I’ve messed up, and yes, I messed up a little during this trip. I didn’t book our tickets to the Real Alcázar ahead of time. But Monika, you’ve talked about booking things beforehand and being smart with your time! AH! I know!! It slipped my mind and we had to stand in line for about an hour, partially in the sun (it was late morning). Be smart and book your tickets beforehand, skip the long line, and laugh at people like me who didn’t think ahead. On the upside, my shoulders got a nice tan…
- If you need a break from gelato go get a fishy cone!
Randy and I were walking around Tuesday night when we stumbled upon a small ice cream stand. We noticed customers being handed fish shaped waffle cones and we were intrigued. Taiyaki & Cream offers 4 flavors of soft-served ice cream: chocolate, cookie, vanilla, and caramel, served in a warm fish waffle cone, and topped with a variety of toppings and syrups. We were lucky enough to get freshly made waffle cones. Funny enough, Randy said that his favorite part was the waffle cone itself!
- If you can, take the train in
Buses are cheaper and planes are faster (though not really with security) but trains are my favorite in Spain. They’re so clean and efficient here, I’ve never had a bad experience. Before this trip Randy had never been to the south of Spain so when deciding how to get to Seville from Madrid, I knew that the train was the way to go.
I gave him the window seat (I should get a Best Fiancée award for that) and he marveled at the landscapes we passed by. The open Spanish plains, the small Andalusian towns, the gradual progression from traditionally European styled buildings to Arabic-influenced architecture. In my opinion, it’s worth the extra money and it’s worth the extra time.
- Take at least 3-4 days to explore Seville
I wish we could have stayed in forever but we have Salamanca next on our list (and we have jobs back home and families who would miss us, I think). We planned 3 days for Seville and honestly, we could have used another. It’s not a huge city but what you will see will suck you in for a few hours at a time. For example, we were at the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede for over an hour and we spent almost 2 at the Plaza de España. The natural slow pace of Andalusia will take you in, you’ll walk a little slower and take more time letting it all soak in.
My suggestion is, don’t rush it. If you’re planning on going in the winter, give yourself at least 3 days. If you’re visiting in the summer, set aside 4 days, you’ll lose some time from your daily siesta.
- You need to eat a pringá and drink orange juice
Along with tapas and my ice cream suggestion, make sure you eat these two things while in Seville: pringá (a Andalusian pork sandwich) and natural orange juice. I got a pringá from El Pasaje Bar and it was delicious! It was like a pulled pork sandwich but without the sauce. I could have ordered another…or two. Regardless if you’re a juice person or not (I’m not really one) you need to try a glass of orange juice. The oranges in Andalusia are so fresh and it gives the juice a vibrant color, unlike our often-pale orange juice back home in the States.
- You should take a break and go to this spa
I may need to write a whole separate post about this one, but I’ll give you the abridged version for now. For Christmas, Randy and I gave each other an experience while on our Spain trip instead of a gift. Randy gave me 2 nights at the Artiem Madrid hotel (our favorite hotel) and a special dinner at el Sobrino de Botín (the oldest running restaurant in the world).
My gift was an afternoon at the Aire de Sevilla spa on our last day in Seville. The Aire de Sevilla is a relaxing Arabian bathhouse that has multiple thermal pools, a wine bath, a steam room, and massages for 30 minutes up to an hour and a half.
On TripAdvisor, I booked us an hour and a half in the thermal baths and 30 minute massages for 80 euros each. After all of our traveling and sightseeing we NEEDED this. We enjoyed every moment of relaxed bliss, unwinding in the 5 different baths. And then we melted into the massage tables as all of the mental and physical stress from being on the go was massaged away.
Oh my God, I could go on forever, you’ll just have to go for yourself. 10 out of 10.
Have you been to Seville? What did you think of this list? Did I miss anything? Comment below and tell me 🙂