Welcome to Sevilla, Spain!
Sevilla is Spain’s fourth-largest city and is the economic and cultural center of the southern region of the country and Andalusia. Sevilla is also a pretty popular tourist destination, and it’s easy to understand why. The city is absolutely full of everything a worldwide local loves. The history is rich, the food is some of the best in the country, and the culture is vibrant, fun, and eclectic. In addition, the marvelous Roman/Moorish/Gothic architecture is found on just about every street corner.
Sevilla has been a popular tourist destination in Spain since at least the 90s when it hosted a world exhibition fair and modernized most of its infrastructure. Easily accessible via Madrid to Sevilla train, there’s no excuse not to visit. However, as with any tourist-heavy destination, you’ll want to see where the locals stay to get a taste for the real Sevilla, and this guide will show you how.
Worldwide Local Tip: Although Madrid and Barcelona are arguably two of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, Sevilla is among the priciest. A traveler on a budget can get by just fine if they look out for the affordable commodities, but be aware that prices for things in Sevilla are generally a little higher compared to even bigger cities like Madrid.
Admire the City’s Architecture
When it comes to Sevilla, there is such a huge wealth of amazing architecture to see that you would be a miss if you didn’t check out some of its highlights. The Royal Alcazar Palace might be on a lot of tour guides and is worth seeing. The palace was built in the 10th century, by the Moors who attached it to the old Roman city walls. Renovations continued until the 19th century where a mix of Renaissance, Moorish, and Roman architecture makes up the current structure. The upper floors are also home to Spain’s royal family making it the oldest royal residence in Europe. The Sevilla Cathedral is also one of the city’s most daring pieces of architecture, which is a massive complex of 80 gothic chapels, with the first being built in 1401 and only finished in 1507.
Worldwide Local Tip: One of the more off-the-beaten-path places which still features some of Sevilla’s iconic architecture is the Casa de Pilatos. It’s a 15-16th-century mansion that was built by the wealthy conquistador and mayor of Andalusia. A large flourishing garden courtyard sits in the middle while the opulent interior is full of old treasures. The building was even featured in the 1962 movie Laurence of Arabia.
Courage and grace is a formidable mixture, the only place to see it is in the bullring
- Marlene Dietrich
See a Bullfight--One of the Most Traditional Things to Do in Sevilla
Depending on how you personally feel about the sport of bullfighting, there’s no doubting the fact that the ancient game is still very popular in Spain. It’s part of the culture, it’s part of the history and chances are, it is not going away anytime soon. A worldwide local knows that sometimes you don’t always have to agree with the local customs, but it’s there nonetheless. Bullfights are a big deal in Spain, and being a matador is considered a high honor. When there’s a bullfight, the people of Sevilla show up and party. Locals pack the stands with picnic baskets full of food, wine, and beer, making it a huge social occasion that a worldwide local should not miss. The biggest event is held during Sevilla’s April Fair.
Worldwide Local Tip: Sevilla’s annual Feria de April is a week-long party extravaganza. For those not interested in watching the bullfights, you can still have a great time at the Feria de Abril (the April Fair). Charities, businesses, and collectives run the show with people partying all day, every day, for about a week straight. Some events are invite-only, but there are many public events as well. Get out there and dance, and enjoy the sunny Sevilla weather.
Visit Santa Cruz
Surrounding the central plaza in the city is the iconic Santa Cruz barrio. The neighborhood is a place where the city comes alive, and the history of Sevilla is tangible in the streets. The area was once the old Jewish quarters of the city showcasing cobblestone streets, winding alleyways, and public squares, that have a romantic old-world feel to them that is unmatched. Throw out the map, get lost, and wander the streets of Santa Cruz.
Worldwide Local Tip: Santa Cruz is host to some amazing fun nightlife. Flamenco bars and tapas joints are abound, with Bar Bodega being one of the best tapas places around, especially for a traveler on a budget. The place has limited seating, which means a lot of patrons are standing around, drinking and eating, which in turn gives it a very lively and spontaneous party atmosphere.
Enjoy Your Stay!
A worldwide local will always feel right at home in Sevilla. The city is lively almost every day of the week, with delicious Spanish wine flowing and savory food from local tapas restaurants. The old architecture, winding streets, and cultural customs only add to the magic of this great city.