Sevilla, capital of Andalucía. As the financial and educational center of the region, Sevilla provides some of the best in Spanish culture, from flamenco to bullfighting. With so much to do, the city even manages to hold a candle to Madrid and Barcelona, albeit a shorter, slightly less bright one. Come for the views, the excellent seafood, and outstanding flamenco—just don’t get a haircut.
Here are a five of Seville’s must-sees:
Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla) / The Giralda
Built on the site of a 12th century mosque, Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla) is now, according to Fodor’s, the largest Gothic building in the world. The bell tower, which is now referred to as la Giralda, was the minaret of the mosque. The bronze sculpture, better known as the giraldillo (weather vane), represents victorious faith (fe victoriosa) and has topped the tower since 1568. The Patio de los Naranjos and its main entrance, the Puerta del Perdón (“Gate of Pardon”), date back to the time of the Moors. The cathedral is home to the remains of Christopher Columbus, which returned to Seville from Havana in 1902. The tomb itself is help up by four figures of kings representing the kingdoms of Castille, Aragon, Leon and Navarre.
Alcázar / Archive of the Indies (Archivo General de Indias)
The origins of the Royal Alcazar of Sevilla (Real Alcázar de Sevilla) can be traced back to the time of Abd Al-Rahman III, the first caliph, or ruler, of Andalucia. The Alcázar, which literally translating to fortress or palace, is still used as Seville’s official residence for the Spanish royal family. The Alcázar, the cathedral and the Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) make up an UNESCO World Heritage site. King Charles III of Spain founded the General Archive of the Indies in 1785 so that the documents pertaining to the Indies could all be kept in one location. According to the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the archive became the “Mecca of Americanism,” and today houses some 80 million pages of original documents.
María Luisa Park (Parque de María Luisa)
Parque de María Luisa was once part of the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo (Palacio de San Telmo). Infanta María Luisa de Borbón, the Duchess of Montpensier, donated half of the gardens to the city in 1893. The area was redesigned for the Iberoamerican Exhibition of 1929. The Plaza de España, which is located on the eastern edge of the park, was built as the centerpiece of exhibition. Colorful tile benches representing the provinces of Spain line the complex. The Plaza de América, also called the Plaza de las Palomas (Plaza of the Doves) is home to the Arts and Popular Customs Museum and the Archeological Museum of Seville, as well as the Royal Pavilion.
Golden Tower (Torre del Oro)
This 13th century monument was once covered in gold tiles, earning it the name Golden Tower. The watchtower, which is located next to the Guadalquivir River, dates back to 1220 and was once part of the Moorish fortified walls that surrounded the city. The 12-sided lower portion was designed to protect the docks. According to Fordor’s, the harbor could be closed off when a chain was extended from the tower’s base to the opposite bank. Today, it houses Seville’s Naval Museum.
Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza
Whatever your feelings on bullfighting, the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is worth a visit, if only to appreciate the arena’s Baroque facade. Nicknamed the “Catedral del Toreo” (Cathedral of Bullfighting), the plaza is owned by the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla (translated as the “Royal Cavalry Armory of Seville”), an organization that dates back to 1248. In addition to witnessing one of the bullfights, you can also tour the arena and visit its small museum.
Nightlife in Seville
Everyone from Lord Byron to Jacqueline Onassis has appreciated the unique blend of heat, rhythm, and sensuality that make up nightlife in Seville. If you're looking for a theme to define your nightlife wanderings, three of the most obvious possibilities might involve a bacchanalian pursuit of sherry, wine, and well-seasoned tapas. After several drinks, you might venture to a club whose focus revolves around an appreciation of flamenco as a voyeuristic insight into another era and the melding of the Arab and Christian aesthetic. And when you've finished with that, and if you're not wilted from the heat and the crowds, there's always the possibility of learning the intricate steps of one of southern Spain's most addictive dances, La Sevillanas.
Stocked full of the country’s best nightclubs and tapas bars, Seville grooves with nostalgia and energy by night. Nightlife in Seville ranges from flamenco to the quintessential tapas bar to modern hip-hop clubs.
Seville is an important flamenco centre and it would be a shame to leave the city without catching a show. It's said the best are impromptu performances in traditional bars in Santa Cruz area. A string of tapas bars are tucked within the district’s narrow alleys, especially along Calle Mateos Gago. Hop across to the other side of the river and you’ll find the trendiest clubs and bars lined along Calle Betis and Plaza Alfalfa, where most of the action continues until the early hours.
For more information on nightlife, see either Guia del Ocio (www.guiadelocio.com/sevilla) or El Giraldillo (www.elegirhoy.com) available from kiosks and bookshops.
Bars in Seville
As the oldest bar in Seville, El Rinconcillo is a classic tapas tavern and the favourite haunt for generations of Sevillanos. Dating back to 1670, the bar was converted from an old convent. The traditional décor – wooden furnishing, wrought iron chandelier and mosaic tiles – has not changed much, retaining a pleasant sense of nostalgia. Although the restaurant is now flooded with tourists, it continues to serve excellent tapas and a wide range of liquor.
Calle Gerona 40 y Alhóndiga 2, 41003 Seville
Tel: 95 422 3183.
Having long gained a loyal following in Seville, El Tremendo is reputed for serving cheap and big pints of beer. At first glance, it may appear to be a basic hole-in-the-wall bar but dig further and El Tremendo will surprise with a strangely infectious atmosphere. As a popular after-work joint, the bar is swamped with customers every evening with tables spilling out into the walkway. Tapas here are not impressive though, be sure to fill your stomach beforehand.
Calle San Felipe 1, 41003 Seville
Tel: 95 435 8952.
Flaherty's is a lively water hole and a popular meeting spot for expatriates. As the first Irish pub in Seville, it continues to be one of the most popular drinking spots in the city centre. Its winning recipe is the wide range of international beers, extensive food menu and great atmosphere during sporting events. Located next to the cathedral, it has a sprawling terrace that opens up to a magnificent view of the famous Giralda tower.
Calle de los Alemanes 7, 41004 Seville
Tel: 95 421 0451.
Clubs in Seville
Designed to impress its hip, trendy clientele, Aduana is one of Seville's leading nightspots especially amongst the younger generation. Its resident DJ, varied performances and themed nights keep the crowd coming every weekend. As a big-scale dance club, Aduana is divided into two sections: its main dance floor features house music, while the other is tuned to electro music.
Corner of Avenida Raza and Cardenal Bueno Monreal
As part of an international chain, this large-scale, multi-functional nightspot draws well-heeled urbanites and stylish executives. Designed with an exotic Asian theme, the club exudes a relaxing zen atmosphere suitable for late-night lounging. Kudeta is made up of three levels and a rooftop bar – each of them featuring different ambiance and music. Located in the restored Plaza de Armas train station, it stands right in the heart of Seville.
Plaza de la Legión, 41001 Seville
Tel: 95 408 9095.
Situated along the nightlife hub of Calle Betis, Sala Boss is a fixture in Seville’s nocturnal scene. With slick designs and modish furnishing, the club is divided into four bars at different levels and a massive dancing arena. It plays host to international DJs, events and concerts on a regular basis. This is possibly the trendiest spot in town, so put on your best dancing shoes and dress to impress.
Calle Fortaleza 13, 41010 Seville
Tel: 95 499 0104.
Live Music in Seville
Azúcar de Cuba
Located by the Guadalquivir River, Azúcar de Cuba is exceptionally popular as a live music venue. With an excellent Cuban band, spacious halls and great food, it provides an authentic Cuban dining experience. Mingle with Cubans, sip on a daiquiri and smoke a cigar – the atmosphere here is impalpable. On weekdays, the bar sets the scene for salsa classes.
Paseo de las Delicias 3, 41001 Seville
Tel: 95 422 8668.
Café Jazz Naima
Café Jazz Naima is a cosy and atmospheric jazz bar with live performances every weekend. As one of the best jazz establishments in Seville, Naima gets it right with a sexy ambiance and good music performed by veteran musicians. There is no entrance charge. Besides the flagship branch in downtown Seville, there is another Naima in the suburbs of Mairena del Aljarafe.
Calle Trajano 48, 41002
Tel: 95 438 2485.
El Perro Andaluz
Centrally located in the heart of Santa Catalina, this nightspot is one of the only venues in Seville that play a diverse range of live music: from rock, country to reggae, blues and flamenco. As a popular joint for local musicians, it is frequented by actors and artists. El Perro Andaluz has been renovated several times and now spot a fresh, quirky look. Those looking for something out of the ordinary will enjoy it here.
Calle Bustos Tavera 11, 41003 Seville
Dance in Seville
Among the hosts of flamenco venues in Seville, La Carbonería has the best reputation. Many flamenco shows are unauthentic tourist traps, but La Carbonería is definitely the real thing. La Carbonería, meaning carbon storehouse, is a cave-like tavern that smells of history and culture. The front room features vintage furnishing and the works of local artists, while the back patio is where the performances are held. What’s best: entry is free.
Calle Levies 18, 41003 Seville
Tel: 95 421 4460.
Another classic flamenco bar is Lo Nuestro along the busy Calle Betis. Triana district is said to be the birthplace of flamenco - where better to enjoy the feisty beats and melancholic sounds? Although the interior is relatively modern, it features performances by some of the best flamenco duos in town. Besides Lo Nuestro, there are a few other flamenco venues along the same street, which makes club-hopping easy and convenient.
Calle Betis 31, 41003 Seville
Theatre in Seville
Teatro Central, situated on the Isla de la Cartuja, offers music, theatre and flamenco in classical and contemporary styles. Along with the Junta de Andalucia, the government-owned theatre showcases local performing arts at affordable prices. There are also passes that allow entrance to eight concerts. The theatre features state-of-the-art sound system and high-quality facilities.
Calle José de Galvez
Tel: 95 503 7200.
Music and Dance in Seville
El Auditorio Rocío Jurado
Europe's largest open-air venue, El Auditorio Rocío Jurado, was first built to celebrate Seville´s Expo in 1992. Situated on the Isla de la Cartuja, the auditórium plays host to a variety of performances from both international and local artistes. But the auditorium is not just a place for theatrical entertainment; its architecture itself makes a good reason to come for a visit. Designed by famous architect Don Eleuterio Poblacion, the complex features pure white marble flooring with an exceptionally large open-air space.
Isla de la Cartuja, 41092 Seville
Tel: 95 446 7538.
Apart from its rich cultural heritage and fantastic landscape, Spain is known for its smoking hot senoritas. Women from Spain consistently feature among the most attractive faces in the world of fashion and entertainment.
Few would contest the opinion that Spanish women are one of the best creations of the Almighty. They have a stunning, olive complexion that is a gift of many of the Mediterranean people. The tan that the Spanish acquire is immensely attractive and more so on its women. To add to their charming physical traits, Spanish ladies are endowed with beautiful raven hair, well complemented by their dark, lustrous eyelashes. You only have to look at stars like Penelope Cruz to know that Spanish women are known the world across for their gorgeous beauty.
However one of the most attractive physical features of Spanish women is their full-sized figure which gives them a sensual appeal. But what makes the overall package even more irresistible is the fact that Spanish women actually like how they look. While women in most western societies are obsessive about attaining size-zero figures, Spanish women are more self-assured and thus sassier about their feminine figures.
Tips for dating Spanish Women
Just like men and women everywhere, Spanish women have certain specialties and if you are planning on dating a Spanish woman, why not take a look at the 5 tips for dating Spanish women? Spanish women are exotic and have a style of their own. Carefully read the five tips for dating Spanish women and your chances for success will be greatly increased.
Don’t be afraid of enjoyment. Both Spanish men and women love life and live to enjoy life. Hence, do not be scared of enjoyment. Partying, late nights and good drinks are all well appreciated by Spanish women, so don’t worry about letting yourself go. Remember the song played during the wedding reception in "The Godfather"?
Family is important. The Spanish women love their family and usually take them into every consideration. Do be considerate to her family if you are meeting them and show interest in them if she is talking about them.
Be easy. Do not be formal or uptight. You will be considered lacking and not worthy of company. Do not be inhibited. Humor is well-received. Be generous with your laughs and tightfisted with your frowns.
Take shrugs in your stride. The Spanish are not overly worried about too many details in life, so be prepared to meet some of your queries with shrugs from your date. It just means it is not important. The Spanish will not care too much about rules and regulations either.
Be spare with criticisms. Spanish men and women both are proud and do not take kindly to criticism (who does?). So avoid unnecessary criticisms.
These tips for dating and may be true as far as Spanish women in general are concerned, but may not be true for all women. While dating Spanish women, it would be good to keep in mind that all women respond well to courtesy, interest and good humor.