Seville General Information
Seville, with its 700,000 residents, is the capital of the region of Andalusia and the fourth largest city in Spain. Enjoying culture from the Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Seville has become one of the world’s richest cities in history and tradition. Its Moorish palaces, narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful gardens remind visitors of centuries past. Its lively street-life, colorful fiestas and friendly people offer a warm welcome. With its festivities (The Feria de Abril, the passionate Semana Santa), flamenco shows, tradition of the tapeo, bullfights and orange blossom smells, Seville represents the essence of Spain.
What to see and do
The Roman Ruins of ItalicaItalica is a city 9 km northwest of Seville, birthplace of the Roman Emperor Trajan. The amphitheater that could seat 25,000 spectators in the past is the most important site of the ruins. Visitors can also tour the ruins of the houses, public housing and various objects of arts.
Feria de AbrilWith its one million visitors, the Feria de Abril is the biggest and most colorful of all Spain’s ferias. It usually takes place two weeks after Holy Week. Festivities of this annual fair begin at midnight on a Monday with the ceremonial lighting-up of the fairgrounds and continue during all the week until the following Sunday. Most of the 1.000 “casetas” decorated with multicolored paper lanterns and made of brightly colored canvas are private and belong to families, groups of friends, companies, clubs or associations. The women all wear beautiful flamenco dresses with mantilla (hair comb), mantón (shawl) and fan. Friends and families spend the whole week dancing Sevillanas, and sharing traditional Spanish tapas and drinks. Horse decorated carriages make their way through the city and fairgrounds, transforming Seville into a magical city.
Semana SantaThe Semana Santa of Seville is the most important Holy Week in Spain. Taking place during one week, it consists of 58 processions in which enormous “pasos” representing the Christ and the Virgin are carried around the streets of Seville by “Costaleros”, followed by Nazarenos and drums. The processions are organized by religious brotherhoods also known as hermandades and cofradías. Each brotherhood sets out from its church and has an established route before returning to its church. During Holy Week, the city is crowded with residents, as well as Spanish and international tourists.
FlamencoWith an abundance of venues, Flamenco is in Seville’s blood. Seville is the perfect place to see a performance in one of the numerous tablaos, bars, cultural institutions and museums such as Museo del Baile Flamenco, Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus, la Carbonería, la Casa del Flamenco or Lo Nuestro.
Eating outSeville is by definition a perfect place for going for tapas with friends and with families. Some great places to “tapear” include Calle Betis, La Alfalfa and La Alameda, which are areas frequented by many young Spanish and international students. They are perfect to enjoy Andalusian, Spanish, and international cuisines.
Traditional marketsThey are very common in the city’s numerous squares. They are full of gastronomic and artisan specialities. Some of these markets include “El Charco de la Pava” (Isla de la Cartuja), El Mercado de Artesanía (plaza del Duque de la Victoria), el Mercadillo “El jueves” (calle Feria), el Mercado de comida (Triana), and el Mercado de Puerta de la Carne.
Shopping streetsThe most commercial part of Seville is in the city center, in the surroundings of plaza de San Francisco, plaza del Salvador and plaza de la Campana. The busiest commercial streets include the calle Sierpes and the calle Tetuán. These streets are the ideal place to find traditional products such as mantillas (shawls), mantones, and abanicos (fans). You will also be able to find the mainstream and clothing brands such as Zara, H&M, Bershka, Mango, Stradivarius…
The Alamillo ParkCovering 85 acres, it is one of the best examples of forest Mediterranean climate, with trees such as elm, pine, poplar and cork oak. The park has two lakes and is well equipped with recreational, leisure and sporting facilities. It hosts many cultural, sports and civil activities.
Maria Luisa ParkClose to the Guadalquivir River, it is one of Seville’s main green areas. This 400,000 square meter parks hosts some of the most emblematic monuments and museums of Seville, such as the monument to Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, the monument to Miguel de Cervantes, the Foutain of the Lions and the Archaeological Museum.
Museum of Fine ArtsThe museum hosts a collection including works that goes from the Gothic period through to the 20th Century. It has many works from the Seville school of the 17th Century (the Golden Age of Sevillian painting), with artists including Murillo, Zurbarán, Francisco de Herrera and Valdés Leal.
Other monumentsWith more 3000 years of history marked by the presence of Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Seville treasures many other monuments. Just to name a few, the Andalusian Parliament, the Salvador Church, the hospital de Caridad, the Palace of San Telmo, the Town Hall, the Venerable Priests Hospital, the basilica de la Macarena, the Monastery of Cartuja, the Royal Shipyards, etc.
Setas (Metropol Parasol)Built between 2005-2011 in the heart of the city, this wooden structure is the symbol of modern architecture in Seville. Its construction resulted in much public controversy. Level 0 houses the Antiquarium, where Roman remains discovered on site are displayed in a museum. Level 1 hosts a food market and public events. There is also a panoramic terrace.
General Archives of the IndiasNext to the Cathedral, this 16th Century building used to be the Merchants Market. In the 18th Century, it was chosen to be the site for the Indies Archive by Charles III. With 80 million pages of documents dating from 1492, it provides the most complete and documented historical view of the Spanish Administration of the New World.
Royal Alcazar of SevilleIt is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. Originally a Moorish fort, this World Heritage Site has been expanded and reconstructed many times throughout its history. It consists of an impressive complex of patios and halls, with Arabic, Mudéjar Renaissance, Baroque and XIX century influences. It is the official residence of the Kings of Spain when they visit Seville.
The Cathedral and its GiraldaDeclared as a World Heritage Site, Seville Cathedral is officially the biggest in the world. It was built in the 15th century at the site of what was –in the 12th century– the Great Almohad Mosque. The funeral monument to Christopher Columbus can be found in the Cathedral. The only part which remains of the Arab heritage is the minaret, also known as la Giralda.
How to arrive
Seville, the capital and largest city of Andalusia, is at the heart of a dense and diverse transport network.
The city has two main bus stations: the Plaza de Armas station operates daily national and international services, with companies such as Eurolines, ALSA and Socibus. On the other hand, the Prado de San Sebastián bus station operates regional services.
Santa Justa Station is located a few minutes walk from the old town, on Avenida de Kansas City. The train station offers regular services to destinations all over Andalucia, such as Cadiz, Jerez, Granada, and Almeria. The high-speed trains go to Cordoba, Malaga, Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona.
Seville airport is situated ten kilometers northwest of the capital. With nearly 40 destinations in Spain but also in countries such as France, Italy, the Netherlands, Malta, the Czech Republic, Great-Britain, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland and Belgium, Seville airport has firmly established itself as an international airport and has reconfirmed its position as a major entry point to Spain.There is a direct bus connecting Plaza de Armas, in the city center, and the airport, with various stops including Santa Justa rail station and San Bernardo rail station. The journey takes about 35 minutes.