Seville - life inside the walls
We arrived in Seville by train from Madrid. The Madrid train station has a security scanner that you go through, so it was good we came early. It’s a short ride (2:20h) that brings you in the centre of Seville.
Our apartment was located inside the walls of the old town. A very interesting house where every room is on a separate floor. The last (4th) floor had a large terrace overlooking the roofs, terraces and the bell tower of the local church. The cobbled and narrow streets divide the old buildings with high entrance doors and sweet balconies. An open market on one corner, coffee tables on the next, a small square with old trees, people chatting in tranquility, like in a fairytale.
The Alcazar of Seville
We started the tour with the famous royal palace where Game of Thrones was filmed. The Alcazar of Seville is a royal palace originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Spain and regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of Mudéjar architecture found on the Iberian Peninsula. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence are administered by the Patrimonio Nacional. It is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, which was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the adjoining Seville Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The place looks even better than on TV. Especially the gardens. They have a maze too, but it was closed for renovation during our time there. We had a lovely afternoon walking through the gardens. It was ideal place for hide and seek, the kids felt like explores discovering new hidden places. A lot of shade, which is very appreciated during the heat. We loved it.
Next to The Alcazar of Seville is the Seville Cathedral from the early 16th century that is the third largest church in the world as well as the largest Gothic church. The cathedral has 80 chapels and the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain, an altarpiece that was a lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart. Some famous people are resting there, but the most famous are Christopher Columbus and his son, Diego. Although if you go to the Domincan Republic, they are claiming the same.
There is also the Giralda, the bell tower of the Seville Cathedral that was originally built as a minaret during the Moorish period. The tower is 104m in height and remains one of the most important symbols of the city since the medieval times.
Maria Luisa Park
A nice place for walk is definitely Maria Luisa Park. The park serves as a botanical garden with many plant species, native or exotic, along with educational panels to inform the visitors to the park. Some birds make their home in the park, which is known for its large population of doves. There are also many green parrots living in the center of the park and ducks and swans in the fountains and lakes. Yes of course there are fountains, monuments, stylish benches etc.
Plaza de España
At the edge of the park you will discover Plaza de España, a very picturesque square. If you walk there at night it is almost empty and even more mesmerizing than during the day as the night lights illuminate it.
It is a huge half-circle complex with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain.
And of course there is a beautiful fountain in the centre.
Torre del Oro
A walk on the Guadalquivir river bank will lead you to Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), which is a military watchtower constructed in 13th century. The tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river due to its building materials. It also illuminates at night adding to the magic of the entire complex.
For a bit of modernism, don’t miss the Metropol Parasol, a wooden structure located at La Encarnación square. It is the largest wooden structure in the world.
The building is popularly known as Las Setas de la Encarnación (Incarnation’s mushrooms).The structure consists of six parasols in the form of giant mushrooms. Metropol Parasol is organized in four levels. The underground level (Level 0) houses the Antiquarium, where Roman and Moorish remains discovered on site are displayed in a museum.Level 1 (street level) is the Central Market. The roof of Level 1 is the surface of the open-air public plaza, shaded by the wooden parasols above and designed for public events. Levels 2 and 3 are the two stages of the panoramic terraces (including a restaurant), offering one of the best views of the city centre.
We did a day trip from Seville to Cadiz. I love Spain for making it so easy to travel wherever you want. Regular trains and buses, just hop on and go. We choose Cadiz because we wanted to get our feet wet in Atlantic Ocean but it was so cold we were discouraged to swim there.
Cádiz is generally considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, founded as Gadir by the Phoenicians in about 1100 BC. But dont get discouraged by the cold water, as the center of the city is very cute. There is a big cathedral, narrow streets with shops on the both sides, nice restaurants.
The kids found a little park with a fountain with background cave. Inside the artificial cave was so breezy it was a perfect place to hide from the heat.
Cooling off in Seville
What we loved in Seville were the street water sprinkles. During the summer, Seville can be very hot with temperatures over 40C (104 fahrenheit) degrees. The water sprinkles saved us from “boiling”.
Seville is a very friendly city. Especially at the old town there are tourist info stands where you can take free map, and ask for directions or anything you are interested in. People are nice, the food is great, the town is alive day and night.