Capital of one of the largest regions in Spain and the fourth largest city in the country; Seville is an ancient city with its roots dating back to the Roman Empire. Sevilles lanscape is dominated by The Alcázar, the Cathedral, and the Archivo General de Indias, all of which are UNESCO world Heritage sites. These three sites are also a reflection of Sevilles varied history with construction begining at the turn of the century and adapting to the religious idealolgies of the time.
Start your exploration of the capital of Andalusia at the iconic Giralda. Once a minaret, it is now the cathedral's bell tower. From there, head south to the Santa Cruz area and take your time to explore the narrow streets of this former Jewish quarter. The nearby Real Alcázar Palace, at the Plaza del Triunfo, is built in the famous Mudéjar style. This former residence of the moorish rulers is now a museum, with extensive gardens and shady courtyards with lovely fountains. Wander further down to the river and along it until you reach the Parque de María Luisa and then the Plaza de España, from the early 20th century. Make sure to take a look at its stunning decorative ceramic tiles. Incorporated in the plaza is a 500 meter long canal that you can explore on small, romantic boats. When returning to the cathedral, make sure to pass by the Hospital de los Venerables in the square of the same name. It dates from the 17th century and was once a retirement home for clergy. Today, this beautifully restored building and its splendid chapel are some of the best examples of the Andalusian Baroque style.
The Andalucian cuisine of Seville combines a traditional Spanish obsession with pork in all its variations, and the need for lighter, cooling dishes to suit the scorching temperatures in high summer. The Sierra de Aracena, in Huelva province, supplies Seville with some of the world's finest Iberico and pata negra hams, served up in top restaurants in prized cuts called secreto or presa, and featuring prominently in upscale charcuterie plates. Amidst all the ham, vegetarians will often have to opt for one of Seville's traditional Moorish dishes, espinacas con garbanzos, a chickpea and spinach stew that features on most of the city's tapas bar menus. In summer the locals call for gazpacho, the tomato-based cold soup that offers both refreshment and nutrition. Some versions, such as salmorejo, are thickened with breadcrumbs to make a heartier dish. Seville's tapas bar scene is very competitive, with kitchens coming up with innovative takes on the classics. The bars of the Triana district are known for their fusion cuisine, with Asian and North African influences creeping in. Andalucian specialties on offer in Seville's covered markets include many varieties of olives and olive oil from the groves of nearby Jaen.
The city of Seville has a good public transport system consisting of a bus, subway, and tram system that together connect most parts of the city. The bus system covers all the barrios of the city and services run from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day. Bus tickets need to be bought from the driver once onboard the bus and each ticket is only valid for one trip. The subway, or metro system, opened in 2008 and is a clean and efficient way of getting around the city. Currently, the subway only has one line that runs from east to west across the city, though another three lines are under construction. The subway system has twenty-two stations across the city and it is a very popular form of transport for both visitors and locals. One day or weekly passes for the subway are available at all of the stations from either the counter or a vending machine. The tram system is small and only covers a distance of just under a mile (1.4 km) but it situated in the heart of the city center. One day passes are available at all four of the tram stations.
Seville, the jewel of Andalucia, experiences the typical climate of southern Spain, with some fierce heat in mid summer. Exploring the city can get a little arduous in July or August, when there are 12 hours of daily sunshine and the temperatures sit in the 90s. At this time of year, Seville afternoons tend to be quiet as locals head inside to shelter from the sun's rays. For visitors intent on some serious sightseeing, travelling to Seville in late spring or fall will offer a more comfortable experience. During these seasons, the Andalucian climate is a little gentler and although there may be some very hot days, the temperatures are more likely to settle around the 80s. It's plenty warm enough to sip a gazpacho on a restaurant terrace, but offers more manageable conditions for strolling the city streets. travellers looking to experience the city's main fiesta should book a trip for April. The Seville Feria de Abril usually occurs two weeks after Easter and the city is in full party mode for a whole week. Flamenco dresses are on display, and the festivities last well into the nights, concluding with a massive fireworks display.