Only five minutes into my taxi ride from the train station and I knew I was going to love Seville. The train from Madrid was an easy three hours on the Ave, Spain’s high speed (and highly comfortable) train. The cobbled and extremely narrow streets were so damn charming, I wasn’t even worried about how the taxi was going to fit down them. Well… maybe a little.
CORRAL DEL REY HOTEL
Luckily, we arrived at the beautiful Corral del Rey Hotel all in one piece.
Corral del Rey is everything a boutique hotel should be – stylish, intimate, and unique. It’s located in the heart of Seville’s old quarter and set in a restored, 17th-century building. You can feel the history of this place from the moment you step through the epic wooden doors. The original floors and wooden beams add a certain charm and make me wonder why anyone would stay in a cookie-cutter, Americanized hotel.
Our room was a dream. Somehow, it was a perfect mix of ancient and modern. I didn’t know it was possible for a room to be so cozy and elegant at the same time. I loved everything from the tall windows, wooden shutters, plush king bed, and the incredibly spacious bathroom! My only complaint was that I couldn’t stay a week.
There’s so much to see in Seville but if you only have a short time in the city, prioritization is necessary! Three sights not to be missed include Seville Cathedral, the Alcázar and Plaza de España. You’ll read about these in almost every guide book but don’t avoid them just because they are touristy. They’re popular for a reason! The history, beauty, and impressive architecture will blow you away. I didn’t know I could fall in love with Spain more… but then I visited Seville.
WARNING: This post will be extremely photo heavy! I was overwhelmed by Seville’s beauty and found it absolutely impossible to put my camera down. Pictures will never do this city justice but hopefully mine will at least encourage you to start planning a Seville getaway!
HISTORY: This magnificent Gothic cathedral was completed in 1507 after over 100 years of construction. At the time, it was built to show off the city’s wealth and power. It is actually built over the site of Almohad, a 12th century mosque, and some of its remains can still be seen in the courtyard.
INTERESTING FACTS: Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the third-largest church in the world. If that wasn’t impressive enough, it’s also considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Many historical figures are buried here but the majority of tourists come to see the tomb of one of the worlds most famous explorers – Christopher Columbus.
MY TIPS: I’d highly recommend visiting right when it opens at 11 AM, maybe even a little before, if you don’t want to be standing in line all day! The Giralda bell tower offers the best views of Seville and it’s so worth the climb up. The climb is actually not too difficult thanks to 35 gently inclined (and wide!) ramps that lead you to the top. This allowed for the horses back in the day to help with the construction. I’m not a fan of small, winding staircases so it was really nice to encounter this!
HISTORY: Originally built by Moorish Muslim kings in the 10th century, the construction of the current Alcázar began in the 1300’s. It is one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture which is a combination of Christian and Moorish techniques. It’s changed a lot throughout the years and thanks to Emperor’s like Charles V in the 16th century, you’ll also find Gothic and Renaissance style elements throughout the palace.
INTERESTING FACTS: Along with the Seville Cathedral, the Alcázar is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe! Hollywood has taken a liking to this special palace. It was used as a set for the film Lawrence of Arabia and, more recently, in the fifth season of Game of Thrones.
MY TIPS: Do yourself a favor and book tickets ahead of time online through their website. There’s a one euro fee for doing this but it’s absolutely worth it. The palace and gardens are quite extensive. It’s easy to spend at least half a day here so I’d recommend starting in the morning.
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA
HISTORY: Plaza de España was built as the centerpiece for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Architect Aníbal González combined a mix of 1920’s Art Deco with “mock mudéjar” which you can see at the Alcázar.
INTERESTING FACTS: Its sole purpose in 1929 was to wow visitors. Thanks to its large scale and grandeur, it’s doing that still today! If you recognize the plaza, that may be because it was used as a location in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
MY TIPS: I’d highly recommend visiting about an hour before sunset to experience the golden hour. During this time, the sunlight shines so beautifully on the plaza. It’s a photographers dream and quite a site for tourists and locals to admire as well!
What place would you most like to visit? Have you been to Seville before? I’d love to know in the comments below!
*Note: I did receive a complimentary night at Corral Del Rey. However, opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!