Unable to bear the cold weather crawling into the UK this November (we’re such wimps!) and with our insatiable love for slow travel trips, Luke and I were adamant that we had to get some winter sun on our faces. Well, you can hardly blame us, right?
With temperatures at around 21’c, beautiful buildings wherever you look, and that laid back Spanish culture that lends itself so well to slow travel, we decided that Seville would be the perfect slow travel destination for the winter.
We spent 8 days in Seville, though we were also working during that time. Most travellers would consider a long weekend in Seville enough time to see the city without rushing around.
Slow Walking Route in Seville
Let’s be honest, Seville is a city for architecture lovers. From the traditional Gothic built Seville Cathedral to the contemporary Metropol Parasol, there are glorious buildings and unique structures around pretty much every corner in Seville.
Our city-based slow travel trips are always about wandering around the city at our pace. We put together a Seville walking route covering all the classic sights that we wanted to see and ending with brunch at the best cafe in Seville.
Plaza de España has got to be the most magnificent sight in Seville. The semi-circle courtyard with curved buildings and tiled fountains running along it can be entered by walking over one of four bridges stretching across the moat. The bridges represent the four ancient Spanish kingdoms (we overheard a very lively tour guide saying that out loud whilst slapping his palm flat on one of the crests). The plaza is a great place to sit and watch the world go by, or you can saunter through the park lined with palm and orange trees.
Plaza de España, 41013 Sevilla
Royal Tobacco Factory (University of Seville)
The former tobacco factory is now home to the University of Seville. You can walk through the middle of this gorgeous 18th century stone building, admiring the stonework as you go. When we visited, there was a small photography exhibition – “Somo Migrantes” – about migrants crossing the border between Mexico and the US in one of the inner courtyards.
Calle San Fernando, s/n, 41071 Sevilla
Torre del Oro (Golden Tower)
Take a little detour over to the river to see the Torre del Oro, a dodecagonal military watchtower with quite a history to it. You can enter the tower for free on Mondays. Try and go in time for sunset as the golden rays bounce right off the river.
Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, s/n, 41001 Sevilla
The Royal Alcázar is like a smaller, but no less stunning, version of Granada’s Alhambra. The royal palace is often regarded as one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Royal Alcázar is free to visit on Mondays from 4pm – 5pm during October to March, and from 6pm – 7pm during April to September. If you’re going to visit during the free periods, it’s better to arrive around half an hour before the opening time to get ahead of the queue.
Patio de Banderas, s/n, 41004 Sevilla
Seville Cathedral and La Giralda Tower
Right next to the Royal Alcázar, you can’t miss the stunning Seville Cathedral which quite frankly blows Granada’s cathedral out of the water (sorry, Granada!) Another UNESCO World Heritage site, the cathedral is really glorious during the morning sunlight. Skirt around the other side to see the Giralda Bell Tower – the former minaret of the mosque that was located on this site during Muslim rule. It’s definitely worth the hike up the 104m high tower for the views over the city.
Avenida de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla
Palace of the Countess of Lebrija
This typically Sevillian style palace seems almost hidden down the side of on one of the busiest streets in Seville. We didn’t go into this one, but just had a peek through the doorway into the courtyard.
Calle Cuna, 8, 41004 Sevilla
By far the coolest and most contemporary piece of architecture in Seville, the Espacio Metropol Parasol is a wooden structure formed of six giant mushroom shapes which mimic the vaults of Seville Cathedral. The underneath is abuzz with cafes, bakeries and chestnut sellers, while on the first level you can find rollerbladers and people snapping photos. For a couple of euros you can head up onto the roof.
Plaza de la Encarnación, s/n, 41003 Sevilla
Other Slow Travel Activities in Seville
Aside from walking around the city, Luke and I kept our eyes open for other local, slow travel experiences in Seville.
Flamenco Dancing in the Street
Seville is a city of street performers and by far the most enticing to watch are the flamenco dancers. Flamenco originates from this region of Spain and Seville is considered one of the best places to watch Flamenco. However, not wanting to end up watching a touristy Flamenco show, Luke and I decided instead to watch Flamenco in the streets at every opportunity – after all, Flamenco is meant to be spontaneous.
Seville’s fine art museum is the ideal place for anyone who loves Spanish art. You’ll need a couple of hours for the museum, as it’s actually quite large. The museum is free for EU citizens as long as you have your passport on you.
Local Art Sellers
On the Sundays you might also find local artists selling their artworks in Museum Square outside the front of the museum as well. This is where we discovered Daniele Nitti, an Italian artist who is often found in Seville. We fell in love and bought a couple of his prints while we were there. You can see his artworks here and read more about Nitti in this interview.
Street Art in Seville
After spending time in the very traditional, neat and beautiful city centre, I really wasn’t expected to see any street art in Seville. However, as we started venturing outside of the centre and began wandering by the river, we discovered a huge number of street art murals by the Puente del Cristo de la Expiración el Cachorro bridge.
Local Food Workshops
While searching for local food producers in Seville, we read about a local food initiative called La Colmena Puertas Abiertas. While we were in Seville, they were running workshops about local honey from a community centre called Espacio Pescao Crudo which is on the riverside just along from the Triana Bridge. The workshops were only in Spanish but we went along anyway and were welcomed by some really friendly locals. We kind of kept up thanks to Luke’s decent Spanish and sampled lots of different local honeys. More info can be found on The Food Assembly.
Time for a Slow Vegetarian Brunch in Seville?
After a slow walk around Seville, you’ll definitely be hankering for something good to eat. While Seville isn’t the most vegetarian-friendly of places, brunch is always a good time of day in the city to enjoy croissants, tostadas, coffee and Sevillian orange juice.
Tipped as the best breakfast in Seville and by far our favourite place to eat in the city is La Cacharrería. Just behind the Espacio Metropol Parasol, this delicious breakfast and brunch cafe is tucked inside a traditional brick-walled building and is not the place for anyone in a rush. There’s always a small crowd around because the place is so popular, so you’ll likely have to wait a little bit for a seat. Their brown paper menu proudly states “slow food, slow life” and you certainly won’t feel in a hurry to leave.
Slow Travel Accommodation in Seville
We found that the best kind of accommodation in Seville was through Airbnb. The hostels and hotels in the city centre were all quite overpriced and luxurious, and we decided we’d get a much more local experience using Airbnb.
After comparing prices on a couple of places, we ended up staying in a private apartment in a leafy residential area that was a short metro ride outside of the city. For us, this was the perfect quiet base to work from before going in to explore Seville in the afternoons.
If you’re a digital nomad travelling to Seville and need a good work base just outside the city, then we’d definitely recommend the place that we stayed.
More on Travel in Seville
There seems to only be a few resources for travel in Seville and by far the most comprehensive we found was the Devour Seville blog, which comes up for nearly every Seville related search you can think of.