Some cities blast you away, others slowly win you over. But Seville of Spain disarms and seduces you. Here history reverberates all around, Seville is as much about the here and now as the past. Rich in Moorish heritage, everything from the colourful painted tiles that adorn many buildings, to the lobed arches of the palaces and of course the iconic Giralda tower, which was once a minaret exhibits the touch.
Come in spring, when the aroma of jasmine and orange blossom carries on the breeze, and you can catch either the atmospheric solemnity of Seville
This enormous structure is like a little world on its own, and you will lose hours staring in awe at the beautiful architectural flourishes, relics and historical curios. With 80 different chapels, it’s the largest cathedral in the world by volume and is a World Heritage site. There are also hints of the mosque that once stood on this spot, especially in the Court of the Orange trees on the north side, where Muslims once performed ablutions. The big photo opportunity inside is definitely the tomb of Christopher Columbus, but there’s something spectacular at almost every turn.
This is a marvellous UNESCO-listed palace complex that is still in use by the Spanish royal family, their chambers, staterooms and halls are on the upper level and can be viewed if paid a little extra. There are small glimpses of the original Almohad palace on the Patio del Yeso, for instance. Look up at carved coffered ceilings and surround yourself in the lush greenery of the sprawling gardens. Fine views of the grounds can be had from the elevated Grutesco Gallery.
Plaza de España
This colossal monument was built for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929 and stands within the Maria Luisa Park. It’s a semi-circular plaza edged by a canal and overlooked by a large, curved palace. The palace contains many of the city’s administrative buildings, but the reason to visit is to walk beneath the gallery wherein you can see busts of important national figures with little installations for every province in Spain. Using typical Sevillian azulejos these displays showcase details like the local food and famous monuments in each part of the country. It’s like a quaint geography lesson and will hold your attention for a good few minutes.
One of the most powerfully flavourful dishes to try in Seville is stewed Rabo/cola de toro, or bull’s tail. The tail is divided into thick segments and slow-cooked for hours, in a sauce of red wine, stock and vegetables. The result is meat so tender that it collapses upon contact with the fork and a rich, sultry flavour that has few comparisons in Spanish cuisine. The tail is usually served with crispy fries and wedges of bread to mop up the exquisitely good sauce.