Our day's visit to Seville left a good impression on myself and my husband. This overview of Seville is meant as a taster, which hopefully will encourage you to visit.
We had a two week vacation in the Algarve, Portugal in 2007. We took our fist trip to Spain, ever, travelling from our base in Albufeira, by coach, to Seville.
The journey was not too bad and we had 4 hours free-time in Seville. Was it worth the journey? For us, yes.
The journey did include about 4 hours travelling time there and the same back. Much of the coach journey was fairly uninspiring, as the countryside, when we travelled through Portugal, and then across Spain, was simply fields, a few trees and nothing particularly pretty or spectacular.
We had to take our passports with us but we were not asked to produce them as we crossed the bridge over the Guardiana River and entered Spain.
One thing we did notice though, as we made a journey break at the roadside services was that, unlike Portugal, no-one seemed to speak English.
Well really why should they ? After all most British people, like myself do not learn other languages before we travel. Usually I do learn a few phrases, or the odd words, of the language of any country we are visiting. However, as we did not expect to be visiting Spain, we knew no words or phrases at all. Still you can get by.
As we entered Seville, our guide told us that we would be visiting the central area of Seville, where the Cathedral is situated, amongst other sights. As we disembarked the coach the heat hit all of us. It was 39 degrees centigrade and very warm despite being early September.
Instantly, both Hubby and I, fell in love with Seville.
The area we mainly visited in our brief stay was so full of architecture and history it was interesting and really beautiful. The Cathedral is apparently more impressive outside than in.
15th Century Cathedral
The outside of this 15th Century Cathedral is very ornate and impressive and it is a massive building. We did not visit it though as the weather was so warm, but were told by friends, it is not as spectacular on the inside. However, it is huge. It has the longest nave of any such building in Spain and does have it's fair share of decoration. The entrance fee was 7 euros each.
We choose to visit instead the nearby Alcazar Gardens, which have grown out of the Moorish Palace of Alcazar.
The entrance fee here was 3 Euros, I think, with another small payment if you wanted to take a handset with you, to listen to some of the history. We chose not to but were still pleasantly surprised.
The gardens seemingly go on forever. There are lots of different garden arrangements, ponds and fountains all over the place. I guess you could spend a whole afternoon in here quite easily. There is also part of the palace, that you can wander around.
This is mainly a few rooms with some paintings and exhibits and then it is walled courtyards and corridors. Again, however, it is a large area.
There is also a cafÃ© and gift shop. The gardens were a lovely place to mooch around in the heat of the day and there really was a lot to see.
Horse drawn carriages
When we came out of the gardens we decided to take one of the horse drawn open top carriages which will take you around this cultural centre. The carriage thankfully had a little sun shade on but the poor horse must have been sweltering.
The driver was an old Spanish gentleman who, despite his lack of the English language, made sure that we knew what he was pointing out. We passed so many splendid buildings and drove through a lovely green area.
This area is where all the buildings from an Exposition, many years, earlier are located. Many buildings or pavilions from different countries, had been built for this exhibition. They were all pretty splendid but Spain's was a little extra special.
It was a huge ornate building with tiles, bridges and twists and turns all over the place. However it was simply designed to be looked at and there had never been a display inside.
Our coach had already briefly stopped here and the guide had told us to watch out for female gypsies. They approach you with a sprig of greenery, which they appear to offer you for free. If you take it they feel you have made a bargain with them to read your palm, for which you must pay in coins.
If you do not want this just firmly say NO and shake your head and they will reluctantly leave you alone.
Trotting around this area was lovely but from time to time the driver did have to manoeuvre heavy traffic. He finished the tour by heading slightly along the river and then back to the Cathedral area. The carriage trip cost 20 Euros each and so it was a little pricey. However, it was enjoyable and lasted about 45 minutes.
Finishing our visit
Having visited Alcazar and taken the carriage tour we were almost out of time. We had a brief look at the tourist shops but they were pricey and nothing exciting. However, there are shopping areas nearby if you want to browse. The cafÃ© where we had an afternoon coffee was reasonably priced but very busy.
This whole inner Tourist area of Seville is traffic free, apart from some modern trams, the horses and delivery vans and the like. However, crossing from here to say the river, means tackling the busy traffic.
There is a good looking Opera House in Seville and Seville as a whole seems to have a real buzz to the place. I think also, from what we were told, it is one of the hottest places in Spain. Temperature wise that is.
Seville is the Capital City of Andalusia and you can feel that it is a city of significance. As with any Capital city it has a sprawling exterior. However, the interior is well worth a visit.
Both of us would love to return and see more of Seville. I would not want to stay there for more than 4/5 days but as a base, a day trip or for a long weekend there is just so much to see you will not get bored.
Highly recommended-Loved it !