According to legend, Sevilla was founded by Hercules. For all its important monuments and fascinating history, Sevilla is universally famous for being a joyous town. While the Sevillians are known for their wit and sparkle, the city itself is striking for its vitality. It is the largest town in Southern Spain, the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro.

Seville lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir and is one of the largest historical centres in Europe, it has the minaret of La Giralda, the cathedral (one of the largest in Christendom), and the Alcázar Palace. Part of its treasure include Casa de Pilatos, Torre del Oro, the Town Hall, Archive of the Indies (where the historical records of the American continent are kept), the Fine Arts Museum, plus convents, parish churches and palaces.

Festivals

The Sevillians are great actors and put on an extraordinary performance at their annual Feria de Abril, a week-long party of drink, food and dance which takes place day and night in more than a thousand especially mounted tents. But above all it allows the men to parade on their fine horses and the women to dance in brilliantly coloured gypsy dresses. Immediately before that is Holy Week, Semana Santa, a religious festival where hooded penitents march in long processions followed by huge baroque floats on which sit Images of the Virgin or Christ, surrounded by cheerful crowds. Both Spring events are well worth experiencing.

Things to see

In Sevilla, you will want to visit the old city, with the Cathedral and the Giralda tower at its heart. (You can climb the steps inside the tower for a magnificent view of the City). Very close by are the royal Mudéjar palace known as the Alcazar with marvellous gardens and the Santa Cruz quarter, with cramped streets, flowered balconies, richly decorated facades, hidden patios... Other sights not to be missed are, in the old city, the Casa de Pilatos, a large sixteenth-century mansion where Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance styles blend harmoniously amidst exuberant patios and gardens and, crossing the Triana bridge over the large Guadalquívir River, the lively popular quarter of Triana with charming narrow streets around the church of Santa Ana and traditional ceramic factories.

Tapas Bars

Don's miss out on the tapas. The city is credited with their invention and has more than a thousand bars where the choice of food, is virtually unlimited, from seafood to ham and sausage, from vegetable to cheese. The Sevillians actually make a meal of them, moving from bar to bar and trying one dish at a time. In the Santa Cruz quarter, try Bar Giralda, Modesto, Las Teresas and Casa Robles. In Triana district, El Kiosco de las Flores, Casa Cuesta and Bodeguita Sanlúcar. In Santa Catalina quarter, El Rinconcillo, El Bacalao and Quitapesares (Bar Peregill).

Seville is accessible from Malaga via the high-speed rail network, the fast train will take 1.5 hours so its probably worth staying over night.

 

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For information, maps and free guided tours go to the Tourist Information Centre (near the Cathedral).