Enchanting, full of life and simply beautiful, everybody knows about Seville, but nobody tells you how captivating it really is
If there is a place I’m happy I never saw on pictures before visiting it, it has to be Plaza de España in Seville. It is probably one of the most beautiful squares in the world, if not the most. It is a 170-meter long semicircle of baroque, renaissance and Moorish architecture together – a weird mix of different periods and cultures in perfect balance.
Several bridges crossing a canal, wonderful mosaics from each Spanish province and thousands of details, makes this spot, Seville’s most famous landmark and one of the places everybody should visit at least once in a lifetime.
But Plaza de España’s beauty can’t really be shown in a photograph. It is too big and too complex to be captured in a single frame. You have to walk around by yourself, touch its colorful and fascinating details, listen to the Flamenco buskers hanging around, and feel it.
However, the romantic and wonderful atmosphere of Plaza de España was not what made me fall in love with Seville – this was just the cherry on top for a city full of youth and magic.
Welcome to the south of Spain
When it comes to traveling around Spain, Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia usually take the top spots for planning a trip. They are Spain’s most important cities and some of the best connected places in Europe. Even if you are planning to get a bit off the beaten path, Ibiza, Mallorca or Gran Canaria are taken more into consideration than visiting Seville, Cordoba or Cadiz.
Unlike the rest of Spain, Andalusia’s province also has a longer and more complex history. It was an epicenter for the Muslim caliphate for several hundreds of years, played a big role during the Spanish Civil war and got visible influences from several cultures that passed by over centuries.
Andalusians talk differently than in the rest of Spain and also behave differently. They are known for being very loud, festive, always greet you with a smile and offer you something to eat, even before you ask. Andalusians make you feel at home and that is something that I really like.
A melting pot of European history
I started my journey in Andalusia at the city of Seville. It was a great spot to fly into, and get an introduction into the south of Spain. Seville is cheap, compact, and could serve as a hub for daytrips and short trips to the coastal towns nearby.
What started as a base to move around, turned into this seductive and magical city I didn’t want to leave. Its historic center and narrow labyrinthic alleys are as enchanting as the alleys in Venice or Budapest, and its colosal Gothic Cathedral can be considered as impressive as the cathedrals of Cologne and Prague.
Seville is an architectural masterpiece, where new and old blended together and created a melting pot of different eras in a single spot. Mudejar palaces like Real Alcazar or modern contemporary structures like Las Setas are some of the places that leave you speechless once you stand in front of it and marvel at its size and beauty.
Tapas, drinks and music
While architecture and beauty impress travelers for a day or two, good food is what makes you stay for weeks. Spanish food is already recognized as one of the best cuisines in the world and in Seville, eating is not just consuming a meal, eating is a whole celebration.
Spanish love to eat together and share the experience. Eating in Spain is loud, messy and delicious. Expect to see tables full of dozens of different plates with diverse types of meat, cheese, olives and breads. There is not an exact order in what to eat first or where you should put what. You simply have to order everything that is on the menu and enjoy the treat.
Of course, all of this is accompanied by traditional live music, several bottles of wine and a local Spanish grandpa asking you to join him for a drink even though you can barely understand him.
Seville has won my heart. It was the hidden gem I did not expect to find and a visit that made me very sad, when I knew I had to move on. Seville made me realize that daily life can be a celebration and you don’t have to live in Paris or Rome, in order to see magic in the air.
Read more: How to eat like a local in Spain