Seville

For other places with the same name, see Seville (disambiguation).
View of the Gothic cathedral and the Moorish bell-tower La Giralda

Seville (Spanish: Sevilla) is the capital of Andalucia and the cultural and financial centre of southern Spain. A city of just over 700,000 inhabitants (1.6 million in the metropolitan area, making it Spain's 4th largest city), Seville is Andalucia's top destination, with much to offer the traveler.

Understand

The city is situated on the banks of the smooth, slow Guadalquivir River, which divides the city into two halves. The Guadalquivir (known as Betis by the Romans and as Betik Wahd-Al-Khabir by the Arabs) has had a major impact in the history of the city. The location of Seville is roughly coincident with the point where the Guadalquivir stops being useful for navigation. It is at this point that the cereal producing region of the Guadalquivir Valley starts, and Seville has acted as a seaport for commerce of agricultural goods produced further west. Intense trade existed in the area from Roman times, continued under Muslim rule, and exploded as Seville monopolized the new trade with the Americas. As the monopoly was broken and Cádiz largely took Seville's place, the city entered a period of relative decline.

In the 19th century Seville gained a reputation for its architecture and culture and was a stop along the Romantic "Grand Tour" of Europe. Seville has built on its tourism industry since, playing host to the International Exposition in 1992, which spurred the construction of a new airport, a new train station, a bullet train link to Madrid, new bridges and improvements to the main boulevards. Tourist facilities are top-notch and the city is buzzing with festivals, color and a thriving nightlife scene.

Get in

By plane

Sevilla International Airport (IATA: SVQ) is located about 25 minutes drive from the city center.

A bus service "Especial Aeropuerto (EA)" runs about every 30 minutes from just outside the "Arrivals" hall during most of the day (though with longer gaps from 13:00-16:00) and costs €4.00. Taxis are always available next to the bus stop and run on a fixed fare to Seville center, €22 during the day and €25 after 22:00 and on weekends/holidays. Much controversy has been stirred by some taxi drivers trying to overcharge tourists, so be careful to pay no more than this if you are traveling into the city. Other destinations outside Seville obviously cost more and are metered. Tips are not necessary, though €1-2 for polite, helpful service is appreciated. You might also want to be aware of the fact that speed limits seem to be considered as kind of minimum speed by most taxi drivers...

La Parra International Airport (IATA: XRY) in located 10 km from Jerez de la Frontera, in the way to Seville.

Used by discount airlines such as Ryanair (from Frankfurt-Hahn London-Stansted).

Please Note that Ryanair also flies to Sevilla International airport, from more destinations than Jerez.

By train

High-speed AVE trains are great if time is of the essence, less than an hour from the wonderful city of Córdoba, less than three hours run from Madrid to Seville. However, slower RENFE trains remain a bargain, and there is an overnight train that runs from Barcelona to Seville in under 11 hours.

Santa Justa also serves many of the principal stations in Andalucia, including 'Media Distancia' trains to Cadiz, Jaén, and Malaga.

By car

Driving is also always an option for long distance travel in Spain, but isn't as convenient or as useful once in town.

By bus

Puerta de la Macarena, with Basilica de la Macarena to its right

The Spanish bus service is amazingly punctual and comfortable with most having air-con and a toilet. Believe it or not, to get to Seville from other cities in Spain it can sometimes be only minimally longer than train (but much cheaper). Check out your options first with the helpful Information desk you will find inside any terminal. The buses run regularly to/from most major cities, departing either from the   Plaza de Armas bus station near the river, or the   Prado de San Sebastián bus station near the University/Santa Cruz. Sometime queue for buying ticket from the ticket office on a busy day might take up to 20 minutes or more.

El Rocio - Sevilla 10:15 Mon-Fri/10:45 Sat/15:15 daily/18:15 daily Sevilla - El Rocio 8:00 Sat/8:15 Sun/9:30 Mon-Fri/11:00 Weekend/15:00 Daily/17:00 Mon-Fri one way is about 1hr 45 min cost around 5.58€

Alicante - Sevilla Daily at 0:00 Sevilla - Alicante Daily at 22:00 one way is about 10 hrs 30 min cost around 50.67€

Cordoba - Sevilla Daily at 5:15/8:35/11:00/11:45/16:30/18:45/20:00 Sevilla - Cordoba Daily at 8:00/9:00/13:45/15:00/16:15/18:30/22:01 one way take 2 hrs, cost around 10.63€

Granada - Sevilla Daily at 3:00/7:00/8:00/12:00/14:00/15:30/16:30/20:30 Sevilla - Granada Daily at 7:45/9:30/11:15/12:00/16:00/17:15/20:00/23:00 one way takes 3 hrs, cost around 20-26€

Malaga- Sevilla Daily at 12:00/15:00/17:30/18:00/20:30 also 9:00 Mon-Fri/9:15 weekend and holiday Sevilla - Malaga Daily at 7:00/8:00/12:00/15:00/18:00/20:30 one way takes 2 hrs 45min, cost around 16.34€

Get around

Sevici bicycles
Horse drawn carriage sightseeing in Seville

Sevilla has a great public transportation system.

Metro follows a 18 km reverse U from the south-west to the south-east through the southern end of the city centre where it stops at Plaza de Cuba, Prado de San Sebastian and San Bernardo. Tickets are €1.30 for a single zone or €4.50 for all 3 zones unlimited trips, and the metro runs from 6.30AM-11PM on weekdays, and late departures are available on Fridays and Saturdays until 2 o'clock. However, note that no stops are in old town (where every main tourist site is located), and few even near it. Thus meaning it's possible a tourist, may not find use for the metro at all.

Buses run frequently and cover the majority of the city in their routes. You can purchase bus cards at many news stands. Trips cost 60c or 70c, and it costs €1.50 to buy a refillable bus card (which can be topped up at many newsstands).

Tram system is currently being incorporated into Sevilla's local transportation and is running from the San Bernardo Train Station to the Plaza Nueva but is expanding North and West into Triana.

Sevici bikes. Seville has a new system of automated bike rentals with stations all over town. You pay €10 for the week, and can use any bike that's available. You drop it off at the station nearest to where you're going. Once you're registered, trips of 30 minutes or less are free. If you go over 30 minutes, it's €1 for the 1st hour, €2 for each additional hour. Seville is in the process of building many bike paths, one pleasant route covers most of the East bank of the river.

Scooters are available for rent for €30 for the day and €120 for the week. These are a cost efficient way of getting around and a drivers license is not necessary.

Taxis are easily accessible throughout the city. Many offer decent rates, but tourists should beware of the possibility of a crooked cabbie.

Walking. This may be the best, general option for most reasonably fit tourists - though Seville itself is fairly large, the older core - where the vast majority of tourists spend their entire stay, is not. Further, while walking from one place to another you will be surprised by the number of beautiful churches, charming cafes and pretty squares that are hiding in the streets of Seville, and arguably make up part of the experience itself.

Other ways of getting around

See

Torre de la Plata, built by the Almohads c. 1220

Visitors to Seville should consider purchasing a Sevilla Card, designed to aid city exploration and conserve precious travel funds. The card includes free admission to most Seville museums and monuments, unlimited use of public transportation (TUSSAM Buslines, NB: only for Cards with Public Transport), a guided visit of the Real Alcazar of Seville, unlimited use of sightseeing buses, boat rides on the Guadalquivir River and admission to the Isla Mágica Theme Park. The card also allows access to significant discounts in shops, restaurants, shows and leisure centres for adults and children. The Sevilla card is accompanied by a guide and city map. However, please note that Sevilla Card cannot be used for trams and buses.

The Sevilla card comes in three denominations of 1, 2 or 3 days’ duration in blocks of 24 hours from the time of first activation when inserted into the electronic validation terminal of the suppliers associated with the Sevilla Card Programme (be careful not to activate too soon).

Prices: 1 day €50 (with transport €53), 2 days €60 (with transport €66), 3 days €65 (with transport €72). The 2 and 3 day options attract a discount of €3 per card when purchased on the website.

The Sevilla Card can be purchased by the following means: Online ; by telephone +34 91 600 21 21 / 902 088 908; and, once in Seville, at tourism offices, the airport, the train station, travel agencies and through national and international tour operators (check the website for addresses).

A less expensive version, the Sevilla card Cultura is valid only for museums. (1 day €28, 2 days €32, 3 days €36). - 5% if purchased online.

If you are simply interested in using the local buses , you can get either pay the €1.40 single fare price or you can purchase a bonobus, a 10 trip travel card. Bonobuses are found at most kiosks and tabacarias (tobacco shops). Regular times are kept until around 11:30PM, after which night buses run, with different routes, on the hour until 2AM.

Landmarks

Architectural details of the Alcázar
Mudejar Pavilion in the Parque María Luisa
Plaza de España
Metropol Parasol

Museums and Galleries

Museo de Bellas Artes

Do

Flamenco performance at the Museo del Baile Flamenco
Semana Santa
Feria de Abril
Bull fight at the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza

Flamenco

Flamenco is very popular at the moment in Spain and is not just for tourists; however finding the right place is hard. The neighbourhood of El Arenal is a place to consider.

Festivals

Sport and outdoor activities

Learn

Take some Spanish classes to get in touch with the locals.

Buy

Seville is home to many beautiful artifacts, some of the more popularly known are plates and Spanish tiles. Triana offers many ceramic factories where one can buy various tiles from authentic craftsmen. There are stores that custom design plates and tiles near the cathedral, especially in Calle Sierpes, but across the river in Triana are other worthwhile pottery stores. Depending on the time of year, but especially leading up to Christmas, there are a number of artisan fairs throughout the city.

Clothing

Seville offers a wide variety of retail clothing, although generally at high prices. The main shopping district is home to all the big international and Spanish clothing lines (such as Zara who has at least 4 separate stores in Seville). The winding streets and alleyways of the Santa Cruz area (around the Cathedral) do a roaring trade in Spanish- and Andalusian-themed T-shirts and inexpensive flamenco dresses for little girls. The Corte Ingles (translated literally to "The English Cut") is a large chain of department stores located throughout Spain selling clothes in the "American style".

Eat

White wine and jamón (ham)

Seville, like most Andalusian destinations, is known for its tapas. "Tapa", while it is associated with certain dishes, is actually a size and many restaurants or bars will offer a tapa, ½ ración (half serving, although sometimes enough to make a meal) and ración (serving) of the same dish. There are many great tapas places around the foot of the cathedral in the center of town. You can't go wrong, simply order one of everything to find your favorite! Some typical tapas include tortilla española (potato omelet), pulpo gallego (Galician octopus), aceitunas (olives), patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), and queso manchego (sheep's milk cheese from the nearby La Mancha region). Also be sure to try the jamón (ham), which you often see hanging above the bar. Be aware that most of the restaurants kitchens do not open before 20:30 in the evening. Though usually some easy to prepare meals are available before that time.

A must visit is the oldest tavern El Rinconcillo, where you should definitely have some Espinacas con Garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas) and Salmorejo, while watching the witty bartenders running around and writing your bill on the bar in front of you with, get this, chalk. In Taberna Coloniales you can enjoy delicious solomillo (sirloin steak) which is prepared in various ways for every taste. Some bars near the river, such as Pedalquivir and El Faro de Triana, offer a nice view but aren't as good of a deal in terms of the quality of the food. Another would be El Patio San Eloy (San Eloy 9, Sevilla) where the tapas can be a little hit and miss, but where the cool staggered seating steps, fabulous décor and fruity sangria; provide a wonderful respite from the heat of the day. A good deal can more easily be had at less characteristic places such as Sloppy Joe's Pizza Inn and Papasá. For the most typical and interesting meal, stop at one of the many bars, especially one which doesn't offer English menus (the prices are likely to be lower).

If you're vegetarian, make sure you specify that you eat no fish or tuna as vegetarian only implies no flesh here. A place with a very good selection of vegetarian and vegan foods is Habanita, a quiet open air restaurant in the center of the city.

If you want good tapas, head to La Manzanilla, the food is cheap and delicious. It is located off of Calle de Alphonse.

Another amazing place for tapas is the Taberna Coloniales located in Plaza Cristo de Burgos 19. The place is cozy and has only a few tables. Go there early to put your name on the board to get a table, then head inside for a couple of beers. Portions are large and food is very very good. Nice homemade desserts, too.

If you would like to purchase your own food, head down to one of the markets close to the center of the city, such as in Plaza Encarnación. El Corte Inglés is a larger more popular department store that you can go to for almost every need.

Drink

The nightlife of Seville is fantastic; no other European city has so many bars per inhabitant than Seville. In summer go to Isla Cartuja and find out why the Spanish night doesn't stop before 7AM. There you can find plenty of open-air discothèques. Other nightlife spots include Calle Betis in Triana, La Alamede de Hércules, and Plaza Alfalfa.

Sleep

Accommodation prices change with the tourist seasons. High season is April, May, September & October ,Semana Santa, and Feria; Mid Season is March & June. Visits are recommended in November. Prices are not too high and weather is neither too hot nor cold. For a more intimate experience on a budget, wander into Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter and you will find wonderful "pensiones" offering comfy beds and typical courtyard views.

Most places have air conditioning but be sure to ask in summer, you will want it. You will probably pass the siesta (early afternoon) in your room to escape the heat.

Sevillanos are famous for their nightlife so if you don't plan to be out at all hours yourself, you may want to seek out accommodation on a quiet street (that is, without too many bars and restaurants). Alternately, ask for a room set back from the street. While a view of the passing traffic may be pleasant by day, you will appreciate the relative quiet at night.

Hostels are a wise choice for the unplanned trip. There are many nice hostels located all over the city. You can sleep dorm style with up to 10 beds in a room sharing a common bathroom or for a little more money you can stay in a single bed with your own bathroom.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Internet access available at Cibercenter , C/. Julio César 8, not far from, the main bus station.

Local administration runs a free (1h) internet cafe right next to the tourist office in the center.

Cope

Consulates

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 05, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.