Magenta bougainvillaea cascades over balconies, colourful ceramics, lively markets, romantic courtyards and fountains. Welcome to Seville, the capital of Andalusia, a truly fascinating and romantic city, rich in history, culture, architecture, gastronomic delights. A gem for Midlife solo travellers, where one can master the art of enjoying the moment and the good things in life.
Seville, although not cheap, is affordable. You can sleep, eat and travel for £50 a day, without compromising your comfort levels. An excellent choice of accommodation includes hostels and family-run hotels, as well as good deals in swankier places. There are also nice terraces for a casual meeting or hanging out with new friends, secluded patios where to enjoy mindful moments and narrow quiet streets in which you can happily get lost.
Yes, the best way to explore Seville is by foot: from the most famous Barrio Santa Cruz, moving to the less crowded streets of Alfalfa with its bars and cafes, strolling along the commercial streets such as Calle Sierpes until arriving to the northern part of the historic centre (Alameda, Feria or Macarena).
Seville Top Sights
Seville is home to impressive monuments such as the Real Alcazar Palace (free entrance on Monday), the largest gothic cathedral in the world with its former minaret bell tower Giralda (Unesco World Heritage sites). To tour around the Alcazar give yourself at least a couple of hours. This 14th-century palace built for a Christian ruler, Pedro the Cruel de Castile, was constructed by Moorish workers from Granada, which explains the intricate craftsmanship throughout. Here you will find complex layers of various architectural styles that cover Moorish, Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance periods.
Don’t miss The Parque Maria Luisa with its fountains, ceramic benches, orange trees and balustrades, and the emblematic Plaza España. Some 50,000 square meters in size, this massive plaza was originally meant as a centrepiece pavilion for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. Built in the mix of Renaissance and Neo-Mudejar styles, the walls come with 48 fabulous alcoves adorned with azulejos representing the provinces of Spain. The four bridges over the canal symbolize the old kingdoms: Castille, Aragon, Navarre and Leon.
For something more contemporary, head to the Metropol Parasol (Plaza de la Encarnacion). It is an impressive waffle shaped gigantic wooden structure in the middle of the city that resembles mushrooms (Las Setas). With a small fee (3 Euros), you can take the lift up to the winding rooftop and gaze at the magnificent city views.
Drinks & Tapas
It’s easy to make new friends in Seville. People are very welcoming and usually gather together in the local squares or “tapas streets” with an abundance of eateries. Go to Mateos Gago Street after exploring the narrow alleys of the old Santa Cruz neighbourhood and the Jewish Quarter. Adriano Street in the Postigo/Arenal area is also home to many tapas places, including Brunilda and Casa Pepe Hillo. In the San Lorenzo area, around the San Lorenzo Church, there are places such as the popular La Azotea and Casa Ricardo. The most popular one? An old institution such as El Rinconcillo (since 1670).
What to eat in Seville
Try the Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham), Solomillo al Whisky (pork in whisky sauce), Salmorejo (refreshing cold tomato soup), Croquetas of different sorts or Cola de Toro (bull tail). Taste the Secréto Ibérico (pork filet) or the Carillada de Cerdo (pork cheek) softly melting on your palate. Many Sevillanos also recommended the Serranito. A warm sandwich with grilled meat (usually pork), cured ham and a fried green pepper served with aioli.
Flamenco developed as a way for the gipsies to express the sadness of their downtrodden lives. As such, many of the first flamenco performances happen in bars as these passionate souls got to talking about their dejection but found words not enough to express their woe. Seville is the most important pillar nowadays to see some of the best flamenco in the world.
Be prepared to witness 1 hour and 45 minutes of pure passion in the form of an authentic and traditional flamenco performance by stellar dancers with international fame. Opened in 1966, this is the oldest place in Seville and situated in the Barrio Santa Cruz.
A hot, crowded bar in Calle Céspedes with three shows a night. The entrance is free, you simply buy a drink and take a seat at the long tables. The roar of conversation is quashed by venerating silence as the dancing starts and all eyes turn to that corner of the room. A passionate atmosphere and authenticity.
Where to Stay
Try this charming hotel tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of Barrio Alfalfa, just five minutes from the Cathedral. The original 17th-century Casa Palacio has been meticulously restored and converted into a small private luxury boutique hotel, offering chic accommodation with a relaxed rooftop bar and comfortable living rooms. Other than the serene and sophisticated decor throughout the building, the rooftop terrace has a plunge pool where you can relax and enjoy the views of the neighbourhood and the Cathedral.
About an hour from Seville city through gorgeous natural park scenery in a small white-washed town, this is an escape into peace and quiet. San Benito was built as a hermitage by the order of Calatrava at the end of the XV century. Situated within the entrance of the Sevillian village of Cazalla de la Sierra, in its origin, it served as a hospital for pilgrims in their way to Santiago.
Although Uber exists in Spain, the locals use Cabify because it’s cheaper (also, free bottles of water included!) You can find some discounts online for your first ride.
The original Spanish app Fever is very convenient to find something suitable to go out and at reasonable prices: restaurants, discos, festivals, cinemas, museums. Locals of Seville use it.
Meetup is also used to find people with the same interests.