I don’t expect to be adding anything particularly novel with this list. Frankly, the places below will feature in virtually every guide of Seville you could hope to lay your hands on. The point is, there’s a very good reason they do. As usual I’ve added something of a commentary, which generally is just my own little musings, but the pictures, I hope, say it all.
El Catedral de Sevilla
No surprises here, the cathedral gets a mention. Absolutely get there on time or book in advance to avoid what can be a lengthy queue in the blistering heat. The outside is as noteworthy as the interior and, if you can, factor in time to see it both in the day and lit up in the evenings. Inside, I found the treasure room mesmerising. My poor grandma would be horrified that I spent more time gazing at gold than contemplating spirituality but, in my defense, the treasure was just remarkable. An anti-chamber off the main cathedral was also a favourite of mine. Much lighter and brighter than the towering Gothic core, this room boasted a stunning domed ceiling. I think, in retrospect, we didn’t make the most of our visit. We ignorantly didn’t really explore all that the cathedral had to offer and, had we done a little more research, we might have realised as much. Great excuse to go back in my opinion…
El Real Alcázar
El Real Alcázar is probably the only monument in town that rivals the Cathedral in terms of architectural significance. I’m no expert by any means but you don’t need to know that it’s a fine example of Mudejar architecture to appreciate that it’s a particularly beautiful building. There’s a charisma about the place particularly the ‘Courtyard of Maidens’ and the chambers leading off it which are just breathtakingly intricate and colourful. I valued the audio guide, despite working out at a hefty €15 euros for that and admission, the commentary was actually really interesting. The gardens too, would be lovely to walk around in good weather (sadly everything was a bit soggy when we were there). Crucially, I would advise you book or get there early, probably the latter, because even if your online ticket helps minimise queue time, if you want even a slim chance of getting photos not populated by other gaping visitors, you have to beat the crowds. If you have time, the upper level of the palace is still an official royal residence and can be toured in small groups every half hour. This is limited to a few slots around midday so, again, booking might be wise but you can pay on the day for €4.50.
Parque de María Luisa
It’s worth venturing just a touch out of town to explore this beautiful park. The obvious pull for tourists is the Plaza de España. This spectacular example of renaissance revival style is the epitome of grandeur. The first impression I was left with was that the whole thing had the makings of a fairy tale. It’s almost too charming to be believed. The families boating on the little river, the horses and carts, which could have been picked up of the pages of Cinderella, the glistening fountain and ornate towers, all looking radiant when kissed by the soft glow of the sun. Here you can find tiled alcoves depicting each province in Spain which make fabulous photos. Once you’ve exhausted the architecture, it makes a refreshing change to meander down one of the park boulevards. The landscaped gardens are ripe for exploring and quickly you leave the crowds of the plaza behind. My mum and I were so taken with the place we returned on our last day. At the other end of the park you can find a trio of beautiful buildings and a rose garden that makes a pleasant place to pause in the lull of the afternoon.
This last place certainly wont be high on the tourist trail but we happened upon it whilst wandering and couldn’t resist exploring inside. Anyone with even half an interest in sewing or textiles must visit the Seville branch of Julián López. Anyone who doesn’t harbour even the slightest interest, should go too. Go to take in the colours and the building, which are both magnificent.