Seven Ways Seville Seduced Us

Plaza de España, Seville

Plaza de España, Seville

Castle. Cathedral.  Atmospheric Old Town. Tapas. Wine. Seville has all of the essential ingredients we’ve come to expect in a Spanish city but managed to dazzle us even further by adding more to the mix.

Springtime Finery

Orange trees at Seville Cathedral

After the cool weather and overcast skies that dominated much of our time in Spain, sultry Seville enveloped us in sunshine and the scent of orange blossoms. Trees abundant with the colorful fruit and delicate white flowers were everywhere, lining streets, decorating plazas, and infusing the city with an exotic and romantic atmosphere.

Royal Intrigue

Seville Alcazar

This 2,200-year-old city has been coveted throughout the ages. The Moors seized Seville from the founding Romans, only to have conquering King Ferdinand III of Castile come along and lay claim to it in 1278. Seville’s layered history is on display at the Alcazar Real, or royal palace, originally a Moorish fort and embellished by subsequent rulers.

A Christian king, Pedro I, was responsible for some of the Alcazar’s Islamic-inspired architecture. When he decided to spruce up the place by adding a grand new edifice on the grounds, his ally, the Muslim emir of Granada, sent along some artisans to help with the job—craftsmen who had worked on no less than the famed Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Gothic Splendor

Saint Marys of the See, Cathedral, Seville

The Alcazar’s architectural rival is the Cathedral of Seville. Founded in 1403 on the site of a former mosque, it’s the largest Gothic building in Europe and the third-largest church. The mosque’s minaret became the church’s bell tower, the Giralda, the top of which is reached not by the usual steep, spiral stairway but by a cobblestone ramp used by city officials who traversed it on horseback. Windows along the way offer close-up views of buttresses and gargoyles. Our last stop was the church’s courtyard, where we lingered among the rows of orange trees.

Our First Flamenco

Flamenco Dancer

A recommendation from a fellow hostel guest led us to Casa de la Guitarra, a tiny venue where every seat had an up-close view of a traditional Flamenco performance—a vibrant spectacle of swirling skirts, rhythmic stomping, singing, and guitar playing.

It’s Always Happy Hour

Bar in Seville

No matter the time of day or night, Seville was always bustling. The liveliest of the Spanish cities we visited, outdoor café tables were always full. Taberna doors and windows were wide open, and outdoor bar areas often overflowed with patrons spilling into the streets to sip wine under orange trees.

Unscripted Strolls

The Umbrella, Seville

Simply rambling down twisty stone passageways and boulevards is an experience in Seville. An evening that started with tapas and wine at the city’s oldest taberna, ended with a random stroll through the city. Leaving the medieval quarter behind, we happened upon a plaza we recognized from photos. But even in an area dominated by a modern-looking structure dubbed “the umbrella” by locals, history is only a glance away.

Attention to Detail

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

As twilight descended on our last night in Seville, we headed for the colorful, half- moon-shaped Plaza de España. Created for the Ibero-American World’s Fair in 1929, the space is a dazzling delight with painted ceramic balustrades, a fountain, and bridges and canals that give it a Venetian flair. Running the entire length of the curved wall are some 50 alcoves, each decorated with a unique tile mural depicting characteristics of Spain’s provinces.

Then it was time for a final stroll along orange tree-lined streets before saying adios to Seville.

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36 Comments on “Seven Ways Seville Seduced Us”

  1. Jet Eliot May 14, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    What a great tour of Seville, and your photos are extraordinary, thank you. I want to go there! 🙂

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 2:21 am #

      Thanks. We really enjoyed Seville. It’s our newest favorite Spanish city. 🙂

      Like

  2. Nomad of Woods May 14, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Superb post…forcing me to make up my mind about summer holidays 🙂

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 2:23 am #

      Don’t feel bad. We’re not sure exactly where we’ll be this summer either.

      Like

  3. brissioni May 14, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Wonderful!

    Like

  4. digger666 May 14, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666.

    Like

  5. Chuck & Lori May 14, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    …and the beautiful blue skies!

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 2:25 am #

      It does help that the weather has been great. We’ve had just two days of rain out of the last 50.

      Like

  6. K. Bailey Fucanan May 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Wonderful…and the photos…wow!

    Like

  7. Rajiv May 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    The photos are good. Bit, Seville is not one of my favourite towns

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 2:28 am #

      That’s interesting. I kind of understood when people said that Madrid wasn’t their favorite city because Madrid isn’t very flashy or dramatic. But I’m curious what you didn’t like about Seville?

      Like

      • Rajiv May 15, 2014 at 4:14 am #

        I have not visited Madrid, and only saw the airport at Barcelona! Seville?? Very pretty city, but it seemed so dead.. I also ended the trip with food poisoning, so this did not help. I loved the food there, however.

        Like

        • Brian May 15, 2014 at 10:44 am #

          Food poisoning does have a tendency to put a damper on things. But I’m surprised the city seemed dead when you were there. It felt like a rollicking party to us, with tabernas literally overflowing into the streets with people until well past midnight. Maybe we were just in the more lively areas, though.

          Like

          • Rajiv May 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

            Tabernas? Wow. Not one did we see…

            Like

            • Brian May 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

              That’s really strange. Did you make it to the old part of the city, near the Cathedral, because they’re absolutely everywhere there.

              Like

  8. Merrytraveller May 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Brings back great memories of my visit to Seville last year! Beautiful photos 🙂

    Like

  9. writecrites May 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    What wonderful pictures. I went to Granada many, many years ago, but never got to Seville. Now I can’t wait to be seduced by Seville.

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 2:29 am #

      Seville is definitely worth the trip.

      Like

  10. theredheadedwheatlesswanderer May 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    This makes me want to go back to Spain. Oh wanderlust how easily you are swayed.

    Like

  11. Rustic Recluse May 15, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    Sold at springtime… and gothic splendour … and all-day happy hour! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Thanks for following along!

      Like

  12. thejourneyingengineer May 15, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Question: Would you say that Spain is a diverse country?

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      If you’re talking about culturally, historically, geographically, architecturally, culinary and even linguistically I’d say yes, Spain is quite diverse.

      Like

  13. emmapostcard May 15, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I like that you took a photo of Bodega Santa Cruz, it was just around the corner from my Spanish classes so I often went there… Making me feel nostalgic!

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      Nice. It was right near where we stayed and seemed to attract more locals than tourists. That and really good food had us there often as well.

      Like

  14. She Dreams of Travel May 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    I studied in Seville about three years ago and fell head over heels, madly in love with the place. It truly is one of Spain’s most beautiful and enchanting cities. I am living in Malaga now but am so excited that I will be spending the next school year living and working in Seville! Your beautiful photos make me feel quite nostalgic and even more excited for my move there in just a few moths!

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

      Congratulations on your new move. There are some cities we really wish we could spend a year to get to know. Seville is one of those places. You must be really excited.

      Like

  15. Sam May 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    I really enjoyed visiting Seville when I was living in Extremadura, just to the north a few years ago. The Plaza de España was one of my favourite things about the city – just so much to see there! You’re really making me nostalgic now.

    Like

    • Brian May 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      Plaza de Espana is off the charts.

      Like

  16. Heather Carlson May 16, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Beautiful. We visited Seville in February and cannot wait to go back!

    Like

  17. Elizabeth February 16, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    What month(s) are good for the Orange Scents?

    Like

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