Seville – The Top Destination of Andalusia, Spain
Founded by the Romans and originally named Hispalis, Seville is now the capital of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. It is the only city in the country to have a river port, approximately five miles away from the Atlantic. It is the fourth largest city in Spain and it boasts the third largest Old Town in Europe, covering about 1.5 square miles.
If you have little time to visit Seville, the Old Town is where you need to go. Three main attractions can be found here, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and we’ll start with the General Archives of the Indies (Archivo General de Indias). Kept in a stately Italianate building, the archives include some really fascinating documents that reveal the history of the Spanish Empire in the Philippines and the Americas.
The great thing about this attraction is that admission is free, so you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a peek at old documents such as letters, drawings and maps of Magellan, Christopher Columbus, Cortés, and even George Washington. The building itself is the former stock exchange of ancient merchants, known in Spanish as Casa Lonja de Mercaderes. It impresses with a beautiful architecture of the Spanish Renaissance. Commissioned in 1572, it was designed by architect Juan de Harrera.
The second landmark of the Old Town is the Alcázar of Seville, which was originally a Moorish fort and which is now the oldest European royal palace that is still in use today. Its upper levels house the official residence of the royal family in Seville, but visitors are allowed to see much of the construction, as well as its amazing gardens. This is an excellent example of Mudéjar architecture, with elements of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque design.
An excellent way to end your very short visit to Seville is to see its third World Heritage Site, the majestic Cathedral of St. Mary of the See, commonly known as simply the Seville Cathedral. This is the third largest church in the world and also the largest Gothic cathedral, so you know you cannot afford to leave the city without stopping here for a while. Its construction began in 1401, after the Christians regained control of the territory and decided to mark their victory with something grand. The building was set to become a symbol of confidence and wealth after seven centuries of Islamic invasion, and it did.
After it was completed in 1506, the cathedral became the largest one in the world, stealing the title from the amazing Hagia Sophia and keeping it for almost a millennium. This is also the place where Christopher Columbus was buried, so here is one more reason for you to visit it. The experience will be memorable and it will leave a strong impression on your mind, which we believe is the perfect way to leave a freshly-visited city.
- Best time of year to visit Seville: from April until June, and then September and October.
- If you wonder how big of a tip to leave at a restaurant, bar or café, the customary amount is approximately 10% of the final sum on the bill. For other services you can feel free to tip extra.
- Golf enthusiasts can stay at the Fairplay Golf Hotel and Spa, but other plush options include Hotel Alfonso XIII and Casa de Carmona.