I have a confession. I hate booking holidays. I know some people’s idea of a good lunch break is to scour the Internet looking for the best deals someplace sunny but I can’t think of anything worse. I prefer to just book whatever flights and hotel deal looks good and be done with it.
My research into what to do on holiday is also usually pretty scant. For Seville it consisted of a half hour google of the top sights and a few texts around pals who had been for recommendations. I know some people will be horrified by this but despite the lack of research we had a brilliant time and didn’t feel like there was loads we missed out on. We just saw what we wanted in our own time.
So if you are also a laid back traveller looking for a short hit list of what to do in Seville, here’s a round up of the highlights of my trip.
Where to stay
We stayed in Hotel Illinois which was a 10 minute hotel shuttle bus from the centre. We’d gotten a pretty good deal so weren’t expecting much but were pleasantly surprised by the almost Wes Anderson vibes of the place. The swimming pool was fairly large and caught the sun, the staff were friendly and the room was practically a suite by my standards. As the shuttle bus to town was every hour until late and there was a supermarket round the corner that we got things from for lunch we didn’t eat there but we did make our way through a fair amount of their ice creams. Staying out of the city was probably the best decision we made all holiday as it meant we could chill by the pool and head into town once it got cooler in the evenings.
What to do
Seville is a city you can’t be bored in as there is so much to do. To prevent the very unhelpful recommendation to see EVERYTHING here are my favourites.
You can’t go to Seville and not see this. Literally. It’s pretty big. It’s currently having repairs done so there is a fair bit of scaffolding around but it is still impressive. Go inside where there is a mass on to get the full feel for this magnificent building.
The Palace of Alcázar
Top of the list of places recommended to us was the Arabian Palace situated next to the cathedral. Now the Cathedral is impressive but this place is something else. It is a sprawling maze of amazing buildings and gardens. Every turn you take there is something new to amaze you. A word of warning though: we went in the early evening to take advantage of the cooler weather and still weren’t able to get around it as it was such a sun trap. Maybe try going early in the morning instead to get the best out of it.
Plaza de España
If you think you recognise this place then you may be right. It has been the setting of a few films, most notably Naboo in Star Wars. My photos don’t really do it justice as this place is breathtaking.
We went in the evening so it was beautifully lit and not too busy. It is an absolute must see so set aside some time to stroll around and take in the incredible architecture. If you’re lucky you there might be an electric violin player there playing titanic to an audience of sweaty tourists. Not at all cliche!
Where to eat
In the city where tapas rules supreme it can be hard to know where to eat so here are my favourite three of the places we went to.
Taberna de Arenal
This was recommended by a friend who is local to Seville as a cheap place with tasty food and it is exactly that. This is on the way to the Plaza de España if you’re coming from the centre so do give it a go.
We were a bit unsure about it when we got there as it was totally empty at 8pm on a Saturday and the decor looked like it belonged in the 70s. It quickly filled up though and when we left at 9pm the queue was six parties long! We had five dishes, all of which were around €2.50, so it was one of our cheapest meals.
My favourite dishes were:
- Deep fried aubergine chips in honey sauce (pictured)
- Chicken in Roquefort sauce (not pictured as it came out in the second round).
On the other end of the spectrum La Malvaloca elevates traditional Spanish tapas to the next level… and then cranks it up another notch. We stumbled on this place after discovering the restaurant we had been recommended to eat at was shut. It’s in a square with a few other bars and has some serious East London hipster vibes going on.
My terrible photo shows 4 of the 7 tapa we had. They recommended 4 but after our first round was so good we got excited and ordered all of the things.
My favourite dishes were:
- Spanish omelette in brandy sauce (yes that does have a chunk missing as I couldn’t wait)
- Patatas Bravas (top right, the fanciest potatoes ever)
- Pork fillet in a mystery sauce (bottom right, I can’t remember what the sauce was but it was delicious)
Stumbling across Poco Loco was another happy accident as we went down the wrong street. This place is hands down the best ice cream bar I’ve been to. Ever. You choose your base flavour – there a lots of options made with either a milk or juice base – then you choose what type of chocolate to dip it in and what topping to have on it. I went for a kinder bueno milk based ice lolly which had a nutty, caramel filling, dipped it in white chocolate and added hazelnuts. I’m drooling just writing this and am seriously considering moving to Seville just so I can get this every day.
And that’s it! I hope this mini guide was useful or at least interesting to anyone heading to Seville. I loved it there and will definitely go back.