Enjoying The Alcazar and Jamon Iberico in Seville, Spain
We’re on the road again with installment #4 from our nine week voyage across Europe. This week we’re highlighting our last stop in Spain: Seville! Quick recap: after visiting Lisbon, Portugal, we flew to Malaga in southern Spain then took a bus to Granada. After Granada, we traveled a few hours west to Seville.
We spent four nights in central Seville in an Airbnb overlooking the Alameda de Hercules plaza. Capital of the Andalusia region of Spain, Seville overflows with history and a sense of the past. Romans first settled the area more than two millennia ago and remnants of their city remain visible today in and around Seville. Over the centuries Seville was inhabited by the Vandals, the Visigoths, then the Moors. In the 13th century the Castilians conquered the city and it has remained under Spanish rule for the past 750 years.
Though 40 miles inland, the Guadalquivir river connects Seville to the Mediterranean Sea and onward to the Atlantic Ocean which led to its growth as a major Spanish port in the 16th century. Seville grew to be an incredibly wealthy city as the Spaniards colonized the Americas. The conquerors and colonists filled galleons with gold and silver before returning across the Atlantic Ocean to Seville.
Today’s Seville preserves many of its classical roots while offering modern conveniences for tourists like great city buses, a small but growing subway network, tons of restaurants, and pedestrian malls lined with shops.
More than an Eyeful!
The biggest draw in Seville is the Alcazar. Originally built by Moorish kings, the Alcazar continues its regal role today as an official residence of the Spanish Royalty. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan (who isn’t?) then you have probably seen the Alcazar starring as the Water Gardens of Dorne, a royal palace for the Dornish rulers.
Plaza de España / Parque Maria Luisa
The Plaza de España was originally built as Spain’s Pavillion in the Ibero-American Exhibition of the 1929 World’s Fair. Today it’s a notable emblem of Seville (and mostly houses government offices). We happened on an impromptu Flamenco dance exhibit while exploring the grounds.
The Plaza de España served as a filming location for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
The Plaza de España sits within the Parque Maria Luisa which extends three quarters of a mile from north to south. Most of the park is filled with trees, pathways, buildings, lakes, fountains, and wildlife.
Exploring the streets of Seville
Seville is a good walking city because a lot of the attractions in the old historic core are close together. We had multiple days in Seville so we tackled a different part of downtown each day. Some days we walked home at the conclusion of our adventuring. Other days we had to catch a quick bus ride home for about USD$0.80 per ticket using the Multiviaje reloadable bus card (find the card at a Tobacco shop).
Lodging for four nights with Airbnb
During our nine weeks in Europe we visited 14 cities and stayed in 14 different Airbnb apartments. It was a great way to live among the locals in a regular apartment.
We booked a two bedroom, one bath apartment for the five of us right on the Alameda de Hercules plaza in the center of Seville. At USD$63 per night, it was on par with the $60-something per night apartments we booked elsewhere in southern Spain. It’s less than half of what we would have paid for two comparable hotel rooms. Airbnb was such a money saver and sanity saver in Europe (and if you want to save money and sanity with Airbnb, here’s $40 off your stay). The living room offered plenty of room to stretch out and relax when we had some downtime. A table big enough for all of us to enjoy a homecooked meal or some takeout. And a full kitchen to prepare said homecooked meal.
Food in Seville
We cooked several meals in our apartment but also enjoyed several restaurant meals since everything was so cheap (except the $5 gelato place literally underneath our kitchen window). Take out pizza was USD$5 each, for example, at the restaurant just outside our door.
Thoughts on Seville
I hope I make it back some day! Hopefully I can return in the spring or fall when it’s cooler. Seville is a great city with tons to explore in the downtown area. I wish I had another few days to explore the streets and relax more since we were on the move every day.
Price wise, it’s an incredible value in Europe. It really disproves the “OMG Europe is SO expensive” generality. Lodging, meals, and transportation were all modestly priced. It seemed slightly less expensive than other budget locales like Slovenia and the Czech Republic and not a lot more expensive than Mexico for some things.
If I had to pick just one place to visit out of the three we visited (Malaga, Granada, and Seville), I’m inclined to pick Seville. It’s bigger than the other cities and has more to do and see. The Alcazar compares favorably with La Alhambra in Granada (our main reason for visiting Granada). I would allow at least three to four days to explore Seville and a week if you have the time.
Check out the whole series (so far) of our nine week European family vacation:
- Summer Vacation for 5 in Europe: 9 Weeks, 8 Countries, 14 Cities, $10,000
- Surprising Finds in Lisbon, Portugal
- From the Alcazaba to Sea in Malaga, Spain
- Exploring La Alhambra and the Narrow Alleyways of Granada, Spain
- Enjoying The Alcazar and Jamon Iberico in Seville, Spain
What are your thoughts on Seville? Can you tell how hot it was from the pics? Some days were 104F.
Note to readers: I’ll be incommunicado October 21-28 because we just booked a last minute Caribbean Cruise on the MSC Divina out of Miami for me and Mrs. Root of Good! Flying solo without the kiddos this time!