Hugging the banks of the Guadalquivir River, the Andalucían city of Seville is filled with historic, architectural and cultural treasures. Wander long enough and you’ll find yourself standing before one of the three major monuments in the city’s Old Town, on the east bank of the Guadalquivir.
Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla) takes the breath away with its sheer size, while its interior dazzles with gilded statues. Beside the cathedral rises La Giralda, the bell tower that was once a minaret. Across the square is the fabulous Royal Alcázar (Real Alcázar), where over a thousand years of Moorish and Christian design are fused to spectacular effect.
Seville’s people are renowned for their passion, best displayed in two major festivals either side of Easter. Semana Santa de Sevilla is one of the largest religious parades in the world. The Feria de Abril gives locals a chance to let their hair down in a week-long party filled with flamenco and feasting.
Featuring more bars per capita than any other European city, Seville deserves its reputation as a serious party town. Begin your evening with a plate of succulent olives, tasty hams and patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy sauce) at one of the many tapas bars. Then, try to catch a concert or soccer match at Seville’s La Cartuja, one of the largest stadiums in Spain.
Getting around Seville is easy. The public transportation system is excellent, with inexpensive and frequent bus services covering all the main areas. Experience the city at a more leisurely pace by renting a bicycle from the public bike program, Sevici. Otherwise, base yourself in or near the Old Town, where most of the major historic attractions are, and explore the area on foot.
The city’s population thins out during summer when temperatures climb to an average of 97 F (36 C). The best time to visit is in fall or spring, which is also the season for festivals.