It´s been a while since I visited Seville, So instead of trying to write a post about my visit a few years back, here´s Cat who lives there to give us the lowdown on the Capital of Andalucia.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Cat Gaa, and I am a Chicago transplant to Seville. Originally intending to be here for a year as an English teacher, I met my boyfriend early into my Spanish foray, and have been here ever since. I work in the evening as an English teacher and director of studies at a small language academy and blog in my free time. I’m also working on a start-up dedicated to relocation to Spain for North Americans.
What does Sevilla have that can’t be seen in other places?
Seville is typical Spain – bulls, tapas, flamenco. Most visitors spend their time at the big touristic sites or taking in a flamenco show, and you’d be hard-pressed to not hear any English during your visit.
Seville has hosted two Ibero-American fairs – in 1929 and 1992 – and the architectural legacy left by these celebration adds color to the city. Futuristic buildings from the later fair can be visited in the Cartuja in the northwest corner of the city, and the grandiose buildings left from the first, as well as the Plaza de España, are clustered around the María Luisa park.
The Guadalquivir is also the only navigable river in Spain, so the city is beginning to see an influx in cruise ships coming into the city. Won’t see that elsewhere in Spain!
When is the best time to visit Seville?
La Hispalense, as it’s known locally, sits in the Guadalquivir River valley, so this means that summers are unbearably hot, whereas winters are often damp and bone-chillingly cold. March and April and October, for this reason, are the best times to visit. There are always loads of visitors around Holy Week and the Fair, but be aware that hotel tariffs go up considerably.
Can you recommend somewhere to eat in Seville?
Trying to find a bar in Seville is amongst the simplest tasks while in the largest historic city center in Europe – it’s a common joke that bars have saved the city from ruin during the financial meltdown!
Seville’s gastronomic claim to fame is definitely its tapas bars, and it’s easy to make a meal with a few small plates of food. There’s also been a resurgence in creative food recently, so you can find options for every palate.
There are heaps of options in the city for food, though you’ll find many in the area immediately surrounding the touristic sites. I’d venture outside this area, as many have low quality and equally low service, and get to the bars in El Arenal near the bullring or those in the Macarena district, near the Alameda de Hércules.
What’s your favorite part of the city?
I lived in Triana for three years, and it’s still my favorite neighborhood in the city. Azulejo tiles decorate age-old bars, flamenco chords echo the cobblestone back alleys at twilight and religious processions are about as common as traffic jams (or the cause them!). I miss living there daily.
What’s great about Triana is that it’s still old school enough, though new, trendy establishments are begin to elbow their way in. There’s a great sushi restaurant in the market that opens at meal times, Calle Betis pulsates on weekend nights thanks to its bars and nightlife and the views from the Triana bridge are stunning.
Tell me something else about Seville.
Seville is a great jumping off point for trips around the area – mountain retreats, the Doñana National Park, Roman ruins and the Sherry Triangle are all just an hour away. The province itself hasn’t got loads to see, but thanks to the transportation options, you’re never far from something memorable.
Seville also has a lot of convents and chapels with world-class art. The sevillano school produced greats like Murillo and Velázquez, so I’d suggest visiting the Fine Arts museum in Plaza del Museo and the Santa Caridad convent.
You can find Cat on her blog, Sunshine and Siestas, where she writes about expat life and occidental Andalucía.
See the interview Cat did with me about Granada : Read it here