Perched on the banks of the Guadalquivir, hundreds of kilometres south of Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid, the Andalusian capital is renowned for its unique beauty, slow pace of life and, above all else, spectacular local cuisine. So pack your sun tan cream (and a pair of espadrilles) and get ready to discover a city like no other.
Start beheading to the unmissable Alcázar Real de Sevilla palace. We’re not usually the type to go in for beautiful old buildings, but this is a pretty unusual spot. Built in the tenth century by the Omeyyades dynasty, it remains one of the best examples of the Muslim architecture of the period.
Since you’re in the area, definitely make sure to explore barrio Santa Cruz, Seville’s historic Jewish neighbourhood. The city’s true cultural heart, the neighbourhood is a labyrinth of shady alleyways, fringed with orange trees and colourful houses. Don’t come with a plan, just wander and see where you end up. You’ll no doubt drop by one of the area’s many brilliant cafés or bars.
Lunchtime is approaching, so next you should hit up one of the city’s famously excellent tapas bars. There are too many to list here, but one of our faves is definitely Taberna Peregil, a real local institution. Pair your plates with a glass (or two) of vino de naranja, orange wine. Our top tip? If you eat meat, you’ve got to try the chicharrones, slices of pork cooked in a very particular way. Of all dishes, this one probably sums up Andalusian cuisine the best.
If you fancy a spot of culture, don’t miss CAAC, the Andalusian Centre of Contemporary Art, to the west of the historic centre. Housed in a former ceramic factory, the exhibitions contrast sharply with the ultra-traditional decor you’ll find elsewhere in the city. It’s a real breath of fresh air and a must-visit for anyone who’s into their modern art.
Now immerse yourself in Spanish culture by traipsing around the former Gypsy neighbourhood of Triana. Right here, on the banks of the Guadalquivir, is where flamenco music was born. And it hasn’t disappeared either: walk these streets and you’ll still hear the sounds of guitarra flamenca and the cante, and see the odd dancer or two. We love the area’s bohemian atmosphere, charming boutiques and the terraces where it just feels right to linger for hours on end.
Your last stop before dinner should be the incredible Plaza de España and Parque María Luisa. If you’re familiar with Spain, you’ll know that you’ll find a square with this name in practically every Spanish city. But this one doesn’t look like the others. Laid out like a semicircle, it pays homage to all of the country’s regions. And what’s more, it was one of the film locations for the Star Wars prequels. It remains for you to explore the magnificent María Luisa park. This veritable green haven is an excellent place to kick back on a bench and soak up some rays.
Round off your day with a trip to the marvellous restaurant that is Abantal. Its sleek modernist design dates back to the 1950s, with, chef Julio Fernandez Quintero serving up Sevillian cuisine of an exceptional quality. But this winner of Spain’s Top Chef Award (and Michelin star holder) doesn’t limit itself to recreating what all other similar joints have done before. This incredible chef toys with the codes of his maternal cuisine, reinventing it and challenging it in the process. A real experience.