I was never in doubt that I would instantly warm to Seville, but the fact that it was actually warm in December and January made me fall for it even more. Those heading there in the height of summer best be prepared for some serious siesta time as the temperatures can soar into the 40s, so I would suggest that if you can, save your Seville sojourn for autumn or winter. At this time of year, the famous Seville orange trees are still laden with fruit, and while the mornings and evenings are a little chilly, the afternoons are often bathed in sunshine – perfect for sightseeing and tapas bar hopping!
However, weather warnings aside, I would whole-heartedly encourage everyone to visit Seville, whenever they can because the city is quite a looker and brimming with a sparkling personality. The city’s star attractions do not disappoint; the Cathedral is rather breath-taking, Plaza Espana is as grand as they come, the Real Alcazar is probably one of the most stunning sites I’ve visited to date, and even the divisive Metropol Parasol has a certain charm and appeal.
In between being sufficiently impressed by the beauty of the old town, we ate. We joined a food tour, we dined in Michelin-star style, and then we ate everything in between. There are tapas bars, both traditional and modern tucked down every street, and unless you happen to be in Seville on New Year’s Eve (I’d recommend you actually book a restaurant if you are) there is absolutely no risk of starving in this town. If anything, if you’ve done the tapas hopping thing right, you more likely to be overeating at every meal!
Restaurante Enrique Becerra
For your first taste of the city, I’d suggest you visit this stalwart eponymous restaurant from one of the city’s finest and most famous chefs. The restaurant looks very traditional with their waistcoated waiters and crisp white tablecloths, and the menu is certainly full of the regional classics, but the execution has a slight modern twist. If you’re ravenous, sit yourself down for a proper feast from the main menu, but otherwise order off the tapas menu and savour as many of their small plates as you can. Their tostas topped with either morcilla (Spanish black pudding) or gulas and aioli (baby eels) were extremely tasty bites, but our favourites were definitely the salmorejo, a cold tomato soup, and the pork cheek with raspberry and chocolate sauce!
Mercado de Feria
Seville’s oldest market is not particularly big but it’s still worth a visit during the day to immerse yourself in the local pace of life. You can wander with the residents as they do their shopping, then reward yourself with a bite to eat and some quality people-watching. Inside the food hall there are a small number of vendors dishing up anything from paella to sushi. They’ve got a nifty little system where you can get a drink and a tapa for only €3.50; just buy your drink and take your ticket to any of the vendors. It’s handy for a cheap snack, but actually, the food from the small bars and restaurants outside of the food hall seems to be much better!
This trendy tapas restaurant is a firm favourite in Seville, so much so that there are now four of them in the city. But don’t let the mini-chain status put you off; their food is still very much fresh, flavoursome and well-executed. The contemporary tapas menu has obvious Mediterranean influences, but the pride in the local produce is also clear – start with something light like the salmon tartare before moving onto any of the hearty seafood plates or Iberian pork dishes. You can order most of the dishes in either tapa, half or full plate sizes which makes this a perfect spot for small or large parties – assuming you can nab a table, that is. The best way to manage this is to pop your name on the waiting list then head to a nearby bar for an aperitivo before returning to check on the queue!
We passed this tiny tapas bar many times during our stay in Seville and each time it was bustling inside and out, which only made us want to try it more! I think it’s generally a good sign when a restaurant is popular with both locals and tourists. Being another one of the city’s modern offerings, Sal Gorda’s approach to tapas is innovative with a fusion twist, and they also specialise in craft beers. We gave their beef tartare a solid seal of approval, but loved the vibrancy of all the dishes and wished we had room for more that night.
So Make A Move…
- Seville’s old town is very compact and easily walkable so I would recommend booking accommodation in the heart of it and taking advantage of the fact that it’s completely pedestrianised.
- Real Alcazar – set aside a whole morning or afternoon to make your way round this immense site, and make sure you book your tickets ahead of time so you can skip what is usually an exceptionally long queue.
- Seville Cathedral – another must-visit attraction, the queues are also very long. A top tip to avoid the queues is to first pay a visit to the Church of El Salvador, the second largest in Seville which is also quite beautiful, and buy a combined ticket which will give you entry to the Cathedral.
- Metropol Parasol – otherwise known as ‘Las Setas’ due to its resemblance to mushrooms, this is the world’s largest wooden structure. The locals might be divided on its appeal, but I think it’s absolutely charming and some of the best views of the city can be gained from the top – the entry fee is only €3 and that also gets you a free drink!
- Flamenco – you get a taste of flamenco all over the streets of Seville, but to truly appreciate the passion and skill of the performers you need to book a show. We went to Casa del Flamenco where they’re famous for their intimate venue (get there early) and their natural acoustics!
- Devour Seville Food Tour – we thoroughly enjoyed our morning with Devour Seville on their Tastes, Tapas and Traditions Tour, find out more about our experience here.
- Restaurante Abantal – tapas are fantastic but if you want a fine dining experience in the city, you should book a table at Seville’s only Michelin star restaurant, find out more about our experience here.
- Restaurante Enrique Becerra, Calle Gamazo, 2, 41001 Sevilla
- Mercado de Feria, Plaza Calderón de la Barca, s/n, 41002 Sevilla
- La Azotea, Calle Zaragoza, 5c, 41001 Sevilla
- Sal Gorda, Calle Alcaicería de la Loza, 17, 41004 Sevilla
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