Less Than 24 Hours in Seville
The capital city of Andalusia, Seville is one of the largest cities in Spain, internationally famous for its rich artistic heritage, history and monuments.
I had the pleasure of visiting Seville during August of 2016; my mom, sister and I were visiting Portugal and decided to rent a car and take a day trip to the city. Seville is about a two hour drive from where we were staying in Portugal's Algarve area. If you plan on visiting Seville from back in the States, however, don't fret – the city has a major international airport.
In this "less-than-24-hour" guide, I feature the must-see-and-do landmarks, restaurants and experiences that show why this city is such a historical and cultural gem.
10 AM – Churros con Chocolate at El Comercio Bar
My fam left for Seville around 8 in the morning and had fruit at our hotel, so we missed out on the opportunity for a nice, quality breakfast in this city. My sister and I discovered El Comercio Bar on Instagram months after our visit, though. This café in Seville's historic center has been open since 1904 and apparently serves the best churros in the city. Unlike the churros you may be used to that form the shape of a star, these are fatter "porras," like those served in Madrid. If you're looking to eat real Spanish churros con chocolate, this is the place to go.
11:30 AM – Time to Play Queen (or King!) at Real Alcázar
El Real Alcázar is one of the most famous royal palaces in Spain. Originally developed from what was previously a Moorish palace, the construction and design spanned centuries and contains influences from the late Middle Ages all the way through the Renaissance, Baroque period and 19th (XIX) century. The architectural design and art within El Real Alcázar is just as magnificent as its cultural significance. Opt for a guided tour, or wander the grounds yourself.
1:00 PM – a Cathedral Coated in Gold
The St. Mary of the See Cathedral, more commonly referred to as the Seville Cathedral, was built on a former mosque after the Reconquista. The cathedral is one of the largest of all Gothic and medieval cathedrals, and is luxuriously decorated with gold. A tower attached to the cathedral, called La Giralda, was originally built as a part of the mosque from when the Moors ruled, and was added onto later once Christians came into rule. Ramps that lead to the top of the tower were once used by Spanish officials on horseback; now, tourists walk these ramps for the view.
2:15 PM – Wander Around Seville's Center
In the center of Seville sits City Hall, also known as Casa consistorial de Sevilla, built in the 16th century by architect Diego di Riaño. The inside of City Hall was designed in "high Plateresque style," an artistic movement that developed in Spain that features many metals and intricate designs. The principal facade was built three centuries later and is much more visually inviting. There are guided visits around City Hall, but my mom, sister and I just stopped to snap a pic of the exterior as we ambled around the city center.
3 PM – Feast to Your Heart's Content at Mercado Lonja del Barranco
This stylish food market on the banks of the Guadalquivir River is home to a variety of yummy food options that make for a truly unique meal. There are a variety of sophisticated food stalls in this glass-paned, sunlit "market" that offer traditional Spanish cheeses, jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), tacos, paella and much more. By the time we made our way here, we perched ourselves at a high granite tabletop and started our meal sipping on red sangria. We then indulged in a variety of tacos and sushi rolls, and sampled all the different kinds of paella from the sole arrocería.
4:15 PM – Walk Off Lunch and You'll Feel 'Golden'
The next stop is the Tower of Gold, known as Torre del Oro; it is only a ten minute walk from the market! This tower was built as a defensive barrier and military watchtower on the Guadalquivir. Now, the tower is a historical landmark that houses a variety of old nautical instruments and historical documents that relate to the river and the city of Seville. The top of the tower offers stunning views, especially when there's not a cloud in the sky.
5:30 PM – Hop in a Cab and Head to Plaza de España
I know I mentioned that my family invested in a rental car for the day to get to Seville, but I HIGHLY recommend hopping in taxis to get from one side of Seville to the other – parking is very difficult. We found an underground parking garage called Paseo Colón, where we paid a flat rate and left our rental car the whole day. Regardless, the main attraction on the opposite side of the city is one of the most famous parks in Spain, Parque de María Luisa, which contains Plaza de España. You can paddleboat around the moat that runs along the side of massive plaza. Along the side of the Plaza run a number of large tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain.
6:30 PM – The Greatest Sunset You Can Imagine
When we were done paddling around the moat, or ATTEMPTING to paddle, rather – we hopped back in a cab and hurried to the old quarter of Seville known as La Encamación. Here stands El Metropol Parasol, a massive honeycomb-like wooden structure. The Parasol has four accessible levels; the underground level (Level 0) houses an antiquarium, where Moorish and Roman remains discovered on site are displayed in a museum. The street level (Level 1) has a market, and a shaded, open-air public plaza designed for events. Levels 2 and 3 are two different "stages" of the panoramic structure and boast a good restaurant, but an incredible sunset.
8:00 PM – Traditional Tapas Dinner
8:00 PM might seem a bit early for a traditional Spanish dinner, but if you want to eat at Ovejas Negras, you'll need to get there early. The ambiance is trendy and the menu itself has American and Asian influences. On a whole, Ovejas Negras offers a thoroughly modern take on tapas fare. Of the numerous dishes we tried, I highly recommend the ceviche, tuna tartare and grilled Iberian pork. Whatever you order, I promise, you will not be disappointed!