Sevilla, Spain

I last visited Sevilla as part of a backpacking adventure travelling around Spain and Portugal about 15 years ago – I loved it and always said one day I would come back.

Luckily Easyjet have started direct flights from Edinburgh to Seville, so we decided to utilise the Easter break and take a long weekend in the beautiful city.

A fortunate surprise was it was Semana Santa (a small thing that slipped my mind!) and in fact the largest celebration in Spain!

Semana Santa is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter and features the procession of Navarenos and Pasos which are floats of lifelike wooden sculptures of individual scenes of the Mysteries of the Rosary, or images of the grieving Virgin Mary. It is quite a spectacular and musicial sight, it runs 24 hours a day during the period, and in most cases accompanied by a brass band and thousands of people.

Besides following the many parades round the city there are plenty of things to see and do outwith this time. Worth a visit is the Metropol Parasol in the Pl.de la Encarnacion, a magnificent wooden structure designed by the German Architect Jurgen Mayer and was completed in 2011. You can walk under and on top of the structure and get great views over the city while enjoying a drink! We visited during the day and went back again to go up top in the evening for sunset.

Seville is a great city to walk around, a bit more difficult during Semana Santa due to road closures and the parades – you never know when you are going to come across one! But there is a lot to see  – the main thing being the magnificent Seville Cathedral, the 3rd largest in the World, though is difficult to get into during the celebration.  The Alcazar Palace (the Royal Palace) is worth a visit, I would recommend pre-booking tickets to avoid along queue! There are beautiful gardens and stunning architecture.

Another must is the impressive Plaza de Espana, with its boating lake and grand architecture.  We hired a bike for a short time and took a trip round the Parque de Maria Luisa before walking back into the centre via the waterfront pathway.  You will pass the Bullring along the waterside, which is worth a visit for the Architecture alone.  Bullfights still occur here and during Semana Santa one of the major fights of the calendar occurs.

On a couple of our recent trips we have taken a food tour, as have found this a good way of getting to know the city. On this occasion we spent a morning/early afternoon on the ‘Tapas Like a Local Tour’ run by Devour Tours. This took us over the river to the Triana neighbourhood, which is quieter than the city side and retains some of its original tapas bars and character.  We visited four different eateries from traditional tapas bars to a delicatessen and experienced a delicious array of drinks (who knew a breakfast Vermouth would go down so well!) and tapas dishes showing off the best of Sevillian produce.  Our guide Miranda was great, she knew a lot about the area and also the food, we had a great group and would thoroughly recommend it.

Our trip was over all too soon, but it was nice to capture some early spring sunshine.  Go to Seville, its great and I know we will definitely be back!

We Travelled: Direct from Edinburgh with Easyjet

We Stayed: At the Gran Melia Colon, right in the centre of Seville.

We Ate and Drank:

El Burladero – A really lovely Tapas bar near the centre, and handily in our hotel!

La Cata Ciega – A small tapas bar – rock up and take a stool at the bar

Bar La Catedrale – Decent Tapas Bar near the cathedral, a little touristy but not too pricey

Antigua Taberna de Las Escobas Restaurante – The oldest establishment in Spain, a bit touristy but decent Andalusian food.

El Rinconcillo – The oldest bar in Spain, where they still write your order in chalk on that bar.

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