48 Hours In Seville: Your Spring Break Sorted

Alice Tate's 48 hours in Seville.


by Alice Tate |
Published on

I leave work an hour early on a Friday and I’m in my hotel in Seville by 11:45pm (that’s including airport delays), snacking on slices of local manchego cheese which have been left out as a midnight snack by the kind staff at the Fontecruz Sevilla. It’s dark out and the taxi ride from the airport didn’t give much of the city away, besides a few outlines of buildings and illuminated cobbled squares, where crowds of people are milling outside of bars. I think about stopping for a drink before realising I’m in my travel sweats and actually I’m shattered.


The driver pulls up at an eerie looking cobbled backstreet, gesticulating that the hotel is down there. I don’t speak a word of Spanish so instead of asking for a few more directions, I pay up and assume I’ll find it. First lesson in Seville: eerie cobbled backstreets aren’t like English eerie cobbled backstreets. This one trails round before widening off into a larger road and splitting into 3 different roads, which as I later realise, is what they all do and is how the city works. (So much so that taxis squeeze down these tiny roads, scraping their wing-mirrors so to deliver guests to their destination, before having to reverse 200m back to the main square.)

Fortunately, I can see the recognisable black square of the Autograph Collection hotels lit up in the distance so I make my way there no problems. (One thing I’d say about arriving in the dark is to make sure you roughly know where you’re going.) This hotel is beautiful. What was formerly a 16th-century palace is now a 40-room hotel, a new boutique addition to the Autograph Collection portfolio, with contemporary décor, attention to detail and character. The main lobby mimics a traditional Andalusian courtyard with marble columns and an original 16th century carved canopy, along with more modern complimentary features such as plush velvet sofas and salvaged Flamenco guitars.


On Saturday morning I get up to blue sky and decide to wake myself up by taking a plunge in the pool. Colourful flowers line the high walls that offer privacy, and the water is cool but refreshing. On my way back to my room I spy the hammam in a stone arch, which I later learn used to be old wine cellar, and is one of the most beautiful, naturalistic looking hammams I’ve seen. I make the most of the breakfast feast and feeling rested and energised, it’s time to see the city.

I’m really not one for tourist-led novelties but I struggle to resist the temptation to jump in a horse-drawn carriage that’s lingering outside the hotel. A 20-minute ride takes me right across the city, through various cobbled squares, along palm tree lined streets of the El Arenal area, around the city university, past the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza (the Sevilian bullring which is still in use), and back along the Guadalquivir river. I visit in November and it’s all blue skies and balmy temps; sun beats down on my neck throughout the ride and I realise how far I suddenly feel from London. Spring, I hear is even more beautiful and summer, temps can surpass 40 degrees. It really does feel rather foreign - a sun tan and palm trees in November?!


In Seville, it’s okay to be always hungry. Eating is one of the key things to do here and you’ll soon feel uneasy if you can’t see at least three tapas bars from where you’re standing. From early morning, pensioners will enjoy espressos outside and by noon, groups of adults will mill outside of bars, clutching Cruzcampos and gathering around a table full of mixed olives, Serrano ham, manchego cheese, albondigas (spicy tomato meatballs), and almendras fritas (fried, salted almonds). Ask a local and they’ll each give you a different tapas bar recommendation which suggests it doesn’t matter so much where you go. I’d heard repeatedly good things about **La Brunilda **so I head for that, squeezing in among locals who’ve all had the same idea. It’s 2pm and obviously prime tapas time. I’m alone so I can’t share everything on the menu. I settle for the burrata mozzarella, which is creamy and wonderful, green olives, and calamares fritos (fried squid rings), all washed down with the local beverage…sangria!


Sleepy from all the food, a leisurely stroll back through the winding streets is just the ticket, peering in the windows of numerous flamenco dress shops, realising there’s obviously still a genuine need for them here. Admiring the picturesque alleyways and beautiful architecture of the Santa Cruz area (former Jewish ghetto now a romantic and compact neighbourhood), I head back to the hotel, stopping to take photos of the striking Palacio Arzobispal (an 18th Century Archbishop palace), before sweating out my sangria in the hammam, and then being kneaded and massaged to a state of complete relaxation in the hotel spa.

If spas are definitely your thing, AIRE Hammamis a must visit and a hidden gem in the city. Enjoy the ‘lounge of a thousand jets’ and natural seawater bath pool. If you’re keen to stay on your feet, take a walking tour of the city, crossing the river to explore Triana, a quaint, oldy-worldy neighbourhood famed for its ceramics, or on the other side of town, take a wander through the Parque Maria Luisa, the city’s largest green space – perfect spot for a nap in warmer weather.

A sit down meal would be too much after a rich lunch so it’s best to do like locals do and stop for a beer and a few bites at a bar. Calle Mateos Gago is great street to find plenty of lively tapas bars in which are perfect for hopping between through the evening, having as many Cruzcampos as you wish. For a more lively night of entertainment, catch a Flamenco show at the Flamenco Museum— when in Seville and all that! Alternatively, if you’re looking for a romantic night with your partner,Abades Triana across the river is an excellent, restaurant with waterfront views, a sensual atmosphere, a great wine selection and live music on some nights.


The next morning, a run is the perfect wakeup call. It’s as bright as the day before and wonderfully fresh – you don’t get the sense there’s much smog or pollution in Seville. Back and showered, I head out to Alcázar, the royal palace which merges Mudéjar, Christian and Arabic influences to achieve an incredible palace you’ll struggle to not Instagram the hell out of. (Been to Alhambra Palace? This is very much like that.) Prepare to spend a couple of hours walking around, looking up at the intricately decorated domes and ornately carved archways, being baffled by such impressive work. Fact: Game of Thrones films various scenes here (so much so the gardens were shut off for filming on my visit) so time it right and you might spot Kit Harington.


1pm and it’s surely tapas time. El Rinconcillo is the oldest tavern in the city, dating back to 1671 and has a lively and jovial old crowd. Savour a glass of Tio Pepe sherry with your gambas a la plancha (grilled prawns), and then on your way back to the centre of town, pick up one of Seville’s wondrous hot chocolates – so thick you’ll need a spoon. Or better yet a portion of churros to dip in!


It’s Seville so it’s bound to be blue skies, and the time is nigh to scale the Giralda Tower. This is the bell tower that dominates the city’s skyline and offers the best views of the city. It’s ramps up rather than steps so prepare to feel it in your thighs on the way up and down!

Time’s nearly up but before heading back to the airport, don’t miss the opportunity to stock up on local wine and novelty flamenco fridge magnets — countless upmarket souvenir shops will have just what you’re looking for. The airport is only a short cab ride back so you don’t have to spend all day fretting about making your way back.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us