Here’s a list of tips when traveling to the city of Seville in Spain’s Andalusian region:
1.) Avoid traveling there during the summer months: Seville during the summer months can be dreadfully hot and depending on your tolerance for warm weather (daily highs ranging from 90 degrees Fahrenheit and above), your trip there may not turn out exactly as planned. Many smaller shops and restaurants are closed during the summer, with natives heading for the beaches and mountains anxious to escape the brutal heat. Seville is an incredible city, but in my opinion is a much more enjoyable place when your clothes aren’t drenched in sweat upon walking out the door. I was in Seville during the month of May just when temperatures started to soar, and I still remember my host dad saying that the worst had yet to come (as if a high of 102 degrees wasn’t “worse” enough).
2.) There’s a public bus between the airport and the city center: If you happen to fly into Seville, I recommend taking the airport bus to the city center. Costing only 2.30 euros, buses leave every 30 minutes, making it an easy and convenient ground transportation option. The money you’ll save by not taking a taxi will be better spent on tapas and sangria.
3.) Literally get lost in Santa Cruz’s streets: Seville is a city high on ambiance, with the barrio de Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz neighborhood) delivering most of it. Once the juderia (Jewish Quarter) until the country’s Jewish population was expelled in the 15th century, today it offers visitors a stunning array of centuries old whitewashed houses, flower patios brimming with vibrant bougainvillea, and a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. If there was ever a neighborhood to get lost in, the Barrio de Santa Cruz would be it.
4.) Order your paella from somewhere other than a restaurant near the Cathedral: There’s no shortage of restaurants in Seville’s historic center, so don’t choose one of the overpriced ones within a block or two of the Cathedral and Giralda that serve mediocre food. Any restaurant that has menus printed in half a dozen languages is not going to offer an authentic dining experience. Do you and your stomach a favor by wandering away from the congested crowds of two of Seville’s most famous landmarks and find a smaller, less touristy restaurant off the beaten path. They really do exist.
5.) Holy Week is to Seville is what New Year’s Eve is to New York City: If you’re traveling to Seville sometime during Easter, book your hotel early, VERY early. Although Semana Santa (Holy Week) is an important event throughout all of Spain, Seville is known for its elaborate processions, a tradition that dates from medieval times. The city is regarded for its procession of “pasos,” lifelike wood or plaster sculptures of individual scenes of the events that happened between Jesus’ arrest and his burial, or images of the Virgin Mary showing grief for the torture and killing of her son. It’s an incredible experience to be in Seville for this important religious celebration and yet the mobs of people filling the streets, restaurants and plazas are what I remember most half a decade later.