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Rustic Blue Holiday Guide to Sevilla

Spain's party town, Sevilla is one of Europe's jewels, a city of style, exhuberance and never-ending late nights …

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The Giralda Tower, part of Sevilla's elegant Arabic heritage The River Guadalquivir flows handsomely through the centre of the city A city scene Walking by the river The Parque de María Luisa is a peaceful place to escape for a while from city life The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza is one of the most famous and magnificent bullfighting venues in Spain Time for the day's first glass of fino!
Sevilla
Population

703,020

Altitude

7 metres

Distance from Málaga

210 kilometres

Distance from the Coast

100 kilometres

Patron Saints

Ntra. Sra. de Los Reyes

Fiesta Dates

Easter Week

Feria de Abril (2 weeks after Easter)

Día de Ntra. Sra. de Los Reyes, 15th August

Climate

Sevilla is the hottest city in Europe (apart from Córdoba a little further east) with average daily highs in July of 35.3 °C. Every year the temperature exceeds 40 °C on several occasions.

Winters are very mild (possibly with a little rain) but without doubt the best times to visit are Spring and Autumn.

Description

Spain's party town

A city of dark-eyed beauties and white-washed alleys, unforgiving blue skies, never-ending late nights, fiestas and siestas.

If anywhere is “real” Spain, it’s Sevilla, (pronounced with long rolling vowels, Seveeya), sensual and extravagant, home to flamenco, bullfighting and Carmen. A city of dark-eyed beauties and white-washed alleys, unforgiving blue skies, never-ending late nights, fiestas and siestas.

It is impossible not to be captivated by its exuberant atmosphere: stylish, confident, ancient and proud, yet also convivial, intimate and fun-loving. If you don't know what alegría means, Sevilla is the place to learn.

Sevilla revels in its reputation as Spain's party town. And what a setting for a party!

With the wide river rolling through it, there's the elegant Arabic heritage of labyrinthine alleys and languorous gardens, the Giralda, the Alcázar and the Barrio Santa Cruz.

There's the grandiose 17th-century colonial style, when the riches plundered from the Americas were converted into a swaggering architectural confection of ornate palaces and monuments, basilicas, bullrings and fountains.

And then there's the wonderfully lavish 1920's Sevilla, when they built grand art nouveau hotels, parks and boulevards. All of these are combined in an area small enough to wander around.

Arabic heritage

Labyrinthine alleys and languorous gardens, the graceful Giralda, the Alcázar and the Barrio Santa Cruz are elegant examples of its Islamic past.

Right in the centre, it’s impossible to miss Sevilla's immense Cathedral, some say it’s the world’s largest; certainly it’s the largest Gothic building in the world.

Built on the site of Muslim Sevilla's main mosque, between 1401 and 1507, just one of the highlights of its lavish interior is Christopher Columbus' supposed tomb, a disputed claim which may soon be known as fact when DNA analysis of the remains is completed.

The Patio de Naranjos and the stunning Giralda Tower are the only structures remaining from the original mosque. The Giralda, the 90 metre high minaret, dates back to the 12th Century and is an outstandingly graceful example of Islamic architecture.

If you are feeling strong and healthy, climb to the top for fantastic views across the city.

Colonial riches

Riches plundered from the Americas were converted into a swaggering architectural confection of ornate palaces, basilicas, bullrings and fountains.

Just across the square from the Cathedral stands the vast Alcázar Palace (Royal Palace) and its beautiful gardens. This fortress from the Muslim era (it dates from AD 913) is one of the best examples of mudéjar architecture in Spain, second only to the Alhambra in Granada. It is still a vacation spot for the King and Queen.

On the banks of the River Guadalquivir stands the Torre del Oro (the Golden Tower) which was originally built by the Moors as a way to control access to the harbour by attaching a chain to it and to the opposite bank of the river.

Dating back to the 13th century, the top of the tower was once covered in gold tiles which reflected in the sunlight, making the tower visible to the maritime traffic. The Torre del Oro now houses the local maritime museum.

In the same district of Arenal, a little further down the river, The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza was constructed over several decades during the 18th century and is one of the most famous and magnificent bullfighting venues in Spain.

Art nouveau

The wonderfully lavish 1920's are represented by grand hotels, peaceful parks and wide, sweeping boulevards.

The season typically begins with the Feria de Abril, during which there is a corrida every day, and runs through until September. When buying tickets take your choice of sol (the cheaper seats in the sun), sombra (the expensive seats in the shade) and sol y sombra (mid-range seats partly in the sun, partly in the shade).

Whatever your feelings about this controversial artform, it is an essential part of Sevilla’s culture (many city’s bars have bullfighting themes), and the bullring is well worth a visit.

A ten minute walk from the Cathedral will take you to one of the country’s most spectacular Plazas de España, built as the centrepiece of the 1929 Spanish-Americas Fair. Illuminated at night, it containing fountains and mini-canals and is surrounded by a display of tile work representing a historical event in each province of Spain.

The adjoining Parque de María Luisa is a peaceful place to escape for a while from city life.

On the way to the Plaza de España you will pass the city’s old tobacco factory, the Antigua Fábrica de Tabacos, which was the setting for Bizet’s Carmen.

Built in the 18th century, in its heyday it employed 10,000 women making tobacco products from the New World. It was the largest industrial building in Europe, complete with moats, a chapel, jailhouse and several courtyards and fountains. It is now part of the city’s university.

There are, of course, many other magnificent buildings and exquisite examples of a majestic Islamic and Catholic history throughout the city, but perhaps the real art of Sevilla is its way of life.

Beguiling grace

Find your spot for breakfast, sit outside, order pan tostada con tomate, café con leche and zumo natural de naranja and watch the world go by.

You will quickly lose yourself in its beguiling grace. Find your spot for breakfast, sit outside, order pan tostada with olive oil and ripe tomatoes, café con leche and freshly squeezed orange juice, and watch the world saunter by. Then a little shopping or sightseeing, a glass of fino sherry and some olives and by then it's probably time for lunch.

Sevilla has plenty of decent restaurants, all of them deeply traditional. Thin shavings of serrano ham, grilled meat or fish, sweet puddings and good, robust wines. Locals eat indoors, savouring the cool darkness. It’s wise to follow their example which includes, of course, a siesta to sleep it off, to be ready and refreshed for the night, which is likely to be a long one!

Then you can really revel as the soft evenings envelopes, without doubt, the very best time to be in town. Begin with a paseo, a gentle stroll, which might take you through the elegant Maria Luisa Park, or along the banks of the river. You certainly won't be alone. Sevillanos love this time and never tire of parading.

Revel in the soft evening light

Begin with a paseo, a gentle stroll, before gliding from bar to bar, enjoying a tapas or two while sipping drinks and engaging in friendly conversation.

Now it's time to tapear. Tapas are what you eat in the evening, and tapear is the verb to glide from bar to bar, indulging in little snacks while sipping little drinks and engaging in friendly, sometimes passionate, conversation.

You might have tickets for the opera or a flamenco show, but usually this is it, this is what the night is for. There are wonderful tapas bars all over town, you can spot them by the huddles of locals gathered outside, but especially in and around the edges of the Barrio Santa Cruz, on the tumultuous Plaza del Salvador, in the cool warren hugging the back of the bullring and over the river on Calle Betis.

Don't make the mistake of ordering lots of different dishes at one place, that defeats the object. Just cruise from bar to bar, dining on and drinking in the city itself. And most of the city will be doing just the same.

Jasmine and citrus perfume the air

Night time is the time to really savour the magnetic charisma of this remarkable city, happy in the knowledge that you can do it all again tomorrow!

When you've had your fill of drinking and eating, it might be time for drinking and dancing!

There are plenty of discos pumping out a combination of house and latin music; flamenco is everywhere and nowhere. You'll hear it all the time, reverberating round the alleys and squares, as you get in a cab, as you walk past an open window. You can go to one of the shows by major name artists at a theatre and the standard will be very high and very serious. But to catch spontaneous live flamenco is a combination of luck and nous.

But even if you don’t, you're lucky anyway. You can walk back to bed through the now quiet city, no sound except the bats hovering over the cathedral, the waft of jasmine and lemon swelling the air.

This is the time to really savour the magnetic charisma of this remarkable city, happy in the knowledge that you're going to do it all again tomorrow!

Timing is all important in Sevilla - never lunch before 2.30pm, never dine before 10pm, never go to bed before 2am …

Exuberant beauty

It is impossible not to be captivated by Sevilla's exuberant atmosphere: stylish, confident, ancient and proud, yet also convivial, intimate and fun-loving.

And so is the time of year. Winter, which is short and rarely cold is nevertheless best avoided as the Sevillanos hunker down, sulking about the fact that the weather has robbed them of the opportunity of doing what they like best, which is parading and partying.

High summer is painfully hot (temperatures can rise close to 50ºC on occasions), and the city is all but abandoned by locals who flee to the coast leaving their lovely city to mad dogs and ill-advised tourists.

Spring, though, is greeted with some of the most joyous celebrations on earth. Holy Week is when all become pious and pull on long robes and pointy hoods to parade virgins and worship icons. Millions of true believers throng the streets in a moving display of faith, all the while planning an even wilder party in a couple of weeks time.

La Feria de Abril (the April Fair) is an orgy of dressing up and dancing, traditional costumes and horses, daily bullfights and carriage rides. A giant funfair and a vast encampment of casetas (marquees) just over the river, becomes the focus of attention.

All night, all week, the entire city - girls in spotty flamenco dresses, men in high trousers and short jackets - flocks over the bridges to this incredible display of bravura hedonism. Live flamenco bands play, sherry runs like rivers, dashing horsemen display their skills, and women seductively flick their skirts.

It is amazing, but be warned, La Feria has been described as "2,000 cocktail parties to which you are not invited".

And hotel prices usually rocket up (for both Semana Santa and La Feria de Abril) so it is perhaps best to settle for the rest of spring and early summer or the long, glorious autumn.

If you have ever hankered after Hemingway, Don Juan and Carmen, ever wanted to wander through citrus-perfumed squares or take a carriage through dappled parks while the rattle of maracas hangs in the hot, still air, Sevilla is the city for you.

Holiday villas

Holiday villas within two hours drive of Sevilla

  • ZC 82 - Sleeps 12

    Holiday villas don't come any more special than this! No expense has been spared in converting this impressive hacienda into a luxury villa of the very highest quality. It combines the very best in modern comfort with inherent Spanish charm.

    from 5,760€ to 6,900€

  • ZH 11(3) - Sleeps 2

    Deep within Spain's finest cork oak and chestnut forests, this traditional cottage is ideal for a couple seeking rest, relaxation and rural ramblings. Rustic charm, fabulous natural beauty and excellent estate facilities which include a lovely pool, first class tennis court and more.

    820€

  • ZC 40(1) - Sleeps 10

    Hugging the hillside like a beacon, this is a house of great character- some would say eccentric - set on a vast, 54 acre mountain estate. Anyone looking for authenticity and tranquillity will treasure this unspoilt paradise, without doubt, one of the most beautiful locations in Spain.

    from 1,730€ to 2,090€

  • ZC 69 - Sleeps 4 to 18

    Surrounded by some of the most dramatic mountain scenery to be found in Andalusian Spain, this fabulous property, a beautifully restored Casa Señorial (manor house), sits proudly on the edge of the town, overlooking its own lush gardens and pool below.

    from 1,990€ to 2,865€

  • ZH 22 - Sleeps 8 or 10

    The setting is magnificent, the house stylish and extremely comfortable, the pool irresistible. It has everything - and more - for a superb family holiday. A beautiful house in a magical spot, green and glorious hillsides rolling gently across the horizon as far as the eye can see.

    from 2,970€ to 4,690€

  • ZH 19(2) - Sleeps 6

    Entering from the street you immediately appreciate the effort and care that has been taken to make this into a genuinely inviting holiday home! It's set on the edge of the lovely village of Alajar, well away from the busy tourist routes and has kept all its welcoming Andalucian charm.

    from 950€ to 1,180€

  • ZH 11(6) - Sleeps 4

    Overlooking the river and Spain's finest cork oak and chestnut forests, this delightfully traditional holiday cottage has a very special setting deep in heavenly countryside. One of six on a magnificent estate with lots of facilities for all the family.

    1,180€

  • ZH 11(2) - Sleeps 4

    This charming stone cottage is one of six on a beautiful estate in the midst of sublime countryside. Rustic charm, glorious nature and excellent facilities - a lovely pool, tennis court, donkey rides et al. Children love it here as much as their parents.

    1,180€

  • ZH 11(1) - Sleeps 4

    Surrounded by Spain's finest cork oak and chestnut forests, this is one of six traditional stone cottages providing joyful holiday accommodation in a unique and very special setting. The cottages are charming and the estate is beautiful; now with a lovely tennis court too.

    1,180€

  • ZC 75 - Sleeps 4

    Soaking up the sunshine, taking a dip in the pool, reading under the dappled shade of an old olive tree, this is what a holiday is all about. In a beautiful valley just outside Ronda, this spacious villa has lovely gardens and a pool to match.

    from 1,100€ to 1,600€

  • ZC 40(4) - Sleeps 2

    Built in a little cluster below an really impressive rock formation, these four cottages offer comfortable studio accommodation exclusively for couples. On a vast mountain estate, it's one of the most beautiful and tranquil locations in Andalucía.

    from 510€ to 700€

  • ZH 11(5) - Sleeps 2 & 2 children

    Traditional in design, rustic in style, this stone cottage is one of six on a beautiful countryside estate in a green and glorious land. Excellent estate facilities for adults and kids so perfect for a young family holiday - provided the children can manage the spiral staircase.

    980€

  • ZH 19(3) - Sleeps 8

    This property, is set in one of the prettiest villages in Spain, but is surrounded by vast areas of glorious, protected nature. From the outside this appears to be just like any other village house along the street, but as soon as you open the door you appreciate the difference.

    from 1,480€ to 1,850€

  • ZC 33 - Sleeps 10 plus staff

    This magnificent, majestic mansion in the hills has real charisma and exquisite, grandiose style. One of the most stunning and spectacular houses in all Spain - in an equally glorious setting, it is impossible not to be captivated by its sumptuous elegance and comfort.

    from 6,740€ to 7,490€

  • ZC 17 - Sleeps 8 & 2 children

    "Simply perfect, fantastic in every way!". That's what guests say about this superb villa near Ronda which combines elegance, style and comfort in abundance with its inherent Spanish charm. A wonderful holiday home in a great location.

    from 3,010€ to 3,800€

  • ZC 76 - Sleeps 8 & 2 children

    In a beautiful valley just outside Ronda, this wonderful country house has joyous views, landscaped gardens and an irresistible 15 metre pool. Spacious, stylish and immaculately appointed, this is a family home which functions superbly.

    from 3,000€ to 4,400€

  • ZH 19(1) - Sleeps 6 & 2 children

    A beautiful village house offering character, comfort and the best of both worlds - its gardens, terraces and pool look out over glorious nature with nothing - and nobody - to spoil the view. Superbly renovated, it retains its country cottage feel but is now finished to the highest standards.

    from 1,260€ to 1,580€

  • ZH 15 - Sleeps 4

    Situated in a wide orchard meadow within a beautiful, richly forested 150 acre estate in the midst of wonderful, verdant countryside, this pretty cottage offers peace, relaxation and good cheer.

    from 520€ to 1,020€

  • ZC 53 - Sleeps 14

    Once a derelict farmhouse and a few outbuildings, this is now one of the most beautiful places to stay anywhere in Europe. No expense has been spared in transforming its numerous buildings into a spacious, stylish, luxurious holiday villa. The result is, quite simply … stunning.

    from 3,170€ to 7,590€

  • ZH 11(4) - Sleeps 5

    Looking over the rolling hillsides and glorious woodlands of the incomparable Sierra de Aracena, this delightful stone cottage is perfect for a family holiday. The pool is beautiful, the tennis court awesome. Kids love the donkeys; adult favourites are the views and the privacy.

    1,180€

  • ZC 74 - Sleeps 6

    In a beautiful valley just outside Ronda, this spacious villa has lovely gardens and a pool to match. A great choice for all the family. Simply relaxing here, soaking up the sunshine, taking a refreshing dip or two in the pool, it's a perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life.

    from 1,300€ to 1,850€

  • ZC 86 - Sleeps 6 + 2 children

    The location of this ultra-modern villa for visiting Ronda just can't be beaten. The villa is only a ten minute drive from this famous city but is surrounded by 2.5 hectares of private olive groves. Combine the peace of a country holiday with the excitement of Ronda's Andalucian culture.

    from 3,260€ to 4,280€

  • ZC 57 - Sleeps 6

    Local style prevails at this holiday home in a stunning setting above the lake at Zahara, a lovely spot on the edge of the Grazalema National Park. There is plenty of room for children to play and some of the best views in Spain.

    from 650€ to 910€

  • ZC 19 - Sleeps 6

    Perched on the hillside with breathtaking views of Zahara de la Sierra on the opposite shore of its stunning lake, this is one of the most spectacularly situated properties in this wonderful part of Spain. Just rolling hills and the tranquility of nature to keep you company; a rural idyll.

    from 850€ to 1,300€

  • ZC 12 - Sleeps 6 or 8

    Looking out from the forest above the little village to a heavenly panorama of mountain, hill and wooded slopes, this is an intimate, enjoyable and friendly holiday home. A great place to stay.

    from 1,300€ to 1,760€

  • ZC 13 - Sleeps 6

    This lovely rustic cottage is located in stunning mountain scenery. Renovated with great care, the cottage retains all its inherent rustic charm, enhanced by carefully chosen, traditional furnishings.

    from 850€ to 1,430€

  • ZC 10 - Sleeps 10

    Built at the foot of the famous Ronda Gorge, the villa is surrounded by acres of landscaped olive groves. The style of architecture is Andalucian with a distinctly Moorish inspired flavour - warm, welcoming and inviting … this is a villa you will never want to leave.

    from 3,130€ to 4,500€

  • ZC 45 - Sleeps 8

    Unlike any other in Andalucia. Inspired by the Majorcan retreat of Claudia Schiffer, the villa is set in a secluded spot within seven acres of private land. Light, bright and airy, it´s very spacious (320m²) and full of interest. Here, traditional Spain meets head on with contemporary design!

    from 2,420€ to 4,490€

  • ZC 26 - Sleeps 8

    Surrounded by the exciting landscapes of the National Park, and just a couple of minutes away from lovely Grazalema itself, this farmhouse has been restored without in any way disturbing its ageless country charm. Homely and traditional, it's genuinely rustic, both inside and out.

    from 980€ to 1,110€

  • ZC 106 - Sleeps 10

    Originally belonging to a much larger estate, this country estate house is set in its own vineyards, only ten minutes' drive from the famous city of Ronda. The grounds comprise 3.5 hectares, 2 of those are given to grapes which the owner uses in his own bodega.

    from 940€ to 2,880€

  • ZC 79 - Sleeps 12

    Within its own 14 acres of delightful countryside, this farmhouse has been completely restored and refurbished to the very highest standards. Spacious, stylish and very comfortable, it offers serene and understated luxury. A piece of paradise tucked away in the Andalusian hills.

    from 4,380€ to 7,980€

  • ZC 23 - Sleeps 6, 8 or 10

    This immaculately restored water mill is one of the most delightful holiday properties in Andalucía. Lawned gardens, an irresistible pool, trees, birdsong … there's even a huge duck pond, too. Inside, it's all about real Andaluz tradition, taste and style.

    from 980€ to 2,210€

  • ZC 42 - Sleeps 2 and a baby

    Described by one client as "the most beautiful house I've ever seen" this is a delectable place to hide away with a loved one. The perfect place for a first (or second) honeymoon …

    from 1,300€ to 1,560€

  • ZC 27 - Sleeps 4

    Light and spacious, bright and cheerful, this modern property is perfect for a family holiday. In open countryside, just a few minutes drive from historic Ronda, it's within easy walking distance of Arriate, one of several charming little villages which are close at hand.

    from 670€ to 1,090€

  • ZH 10 - Sleeps 4

    Deep in the heart of some of Andalucía's most divine countryside this traditional, stone-built cottage is as rustic as can be, a little holiday hideaway in a green and joyous paradise. The pool is small but a nice spot to cool off on a hot summer's day.

    from 500€ to 570€

  • ZC 29 - Sleeps 6, 10 or 12

    One of the prime rural properties in Andalucía, this is a genuine Spanish ´hacienda´ set in the beautiful surroundings of its own 350 acre country estate. Quietly splendid and splendidly quiet, it has the unmistakable elegance of good, old-fashioned Spanish grandeur.

    from 1,050€ to 2,990€

  • ZC 96 - Sleeps 14 + 1 child

    Although built in 2006, the feel of this villa is one of a traditional Spanish country house, with its terracotta pan-tiled roof, white walls, wrought ironwork and antique doors, the welcome is classic Andaluz. There are no other houses around, but you are still only a short drive from Ronda and all that it has to offer.

    from 6,650€ to 10,500€

  • ZC 112 - Sleeps 10

    The entrance is through a conifer-lined drive to an Impressive low, wide, white villa with a lounging terrace at the front. Set in beautiful open country side, on the outskirts of the famous city of Ronda, you'll see cultivated fields with tractors and patchworks of ploughed land of all colours.

    from 1,540€ to 3,000€

  • ZC 89 - Sleeps 6 or 8

    With a full size tennis court, sparkling pool and three hole practice golf course literally in your garden, this villa is ideal for the full family seeking a sporting holiday. But add to this the beautiful house and the proximity to Ronda and you have everything you need for a great break away.

    from 2,130€ to 2,490€

  • ZC 32 - Sleeps 2 to 6 & a child

    This recently rebuilt and reformed, 200 year old farmhouse has one of the most sensational settings imaginable. Perched on high in the Grazalema Natural Park, views are breathtaking, over the craggy hillsides and beautiful dales all around.

    from 980€ to 1,650€

  • ZC 40(5) - Sleeps 2 & 2 children

    Anyone looking for rural authenticity will treasure the unspoilt paradise of this vast mountain estate, without doubt, one of the most beautiful locations in Andalucía. This terrace of six villas is for couples, with or without, their small children.

    from 510€ to 650€

  • ZH 16 - Sleeps 12

    Set deep within its own 150 acre estate of beautiful woodlands and looking out over the glorious hills and dales of the Sierra de Aracena, this is a wonderful, Woosterish country-house, almost 'Tuscanesque' in style. A cook can be provided by arrangement.

    Awaiting 2018 Prices

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