On a dreary Seattle day, I escape to memories of Sevilla.
Watercolor corridors, geometric plazas, the smell of orange trees, hamhocks in windows, the distant clap-clack of the Flamenco …
Never been? I have one word for you: GO. Here’s what you need to know.
Las Casas de La Juderia. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a wonderland onto itself in the heart of Seville’s charming old quarter.
Formed by a connected mish-mash of gorgeous old Andalusian houses (thus “Las Casas”) you can happily get lost in the myriad of courtyards, balconies, and hallways. Sunbathe by the rooftop pool (surrounded Sevilla’s charming upper half) or take a dip a dip back in time in the underground spa. There’s even a happy hour pianist in its central open-air living room, which doubles as a cozy bar to unwind and plot your next adventure.
Plus, most of the city’s key monuments are only a short walk away. Speaking of which …
Top 3 to See
- Royal Alcázar of Seville: This vast and impressive Moorish-style palace is second only to Alhambra in history, gardens, and grandeur.
- Cathedral: It’s enormous, first of all, and near exploding with artistic touches. Plus, Columbus is buried here. (Or at least, this is one of the places.)
- The Giralda bell tower: Walk up the many ramps to the top, amazed that the guard’s horses used to climb this tower, too. Take in the spectacular view of the massive church grounds below.
I’d also recommend a flamenco show, though the guide books will tell you the only authentic flamenco would be an impromptu local gypsy outburst of dance on the street. Given the likelihood of that, a show is still a fascinating example of this wonderfully odd, passionate, and fascinating dramatic form of music. Just ask your concierge for one she’d recommend. She’ll likely steer you clear of the cheesier offerings. Ours did, and we were quite happy with our show at Tablao El Arenal.
How to Get Around
In the old quarter, the streets are dizzyingly narrow and tangled, with most of them limited to pedestrians only. So leave it to the experts. Hire cabs, catch a bus to the one of the many beautiful towns a short daytrip away, take a boat ride, or best of all: WALK. That’s really the best way to see the charming corridors of Carmen yore.
Beat the crowds and the heat by going before or after the typical tourist season of June through August. We went in late September, and it was perfect: laid back, warm, sunny, and friendly.
Where to Eat
Hands down, Robles Tapas Bar. That said, nearly every place we ate in Sevilla was amazing, but the dinner I had at Robles was the best I’ve ever had. It’s a stunning evening walk from Las Casas de La Juderia, too.
What to Buy
- For the kids: flamenco clackers. (We also use a pair as an ornament on our holiday tree.)
- For the home: a decorative tile or two.
- For the foodie: marmalade, sherry, or olives.
- For the ladies: exquisite fans and light, decorative shawls.
- For the music lover: a Flamenco CD or book.
Did I miss anything? Leave your question or traveler tip in the comments below.