Seville, the 4th largest city in Spain, is the capital of Andalusia and lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. It is Europe’s hottest metropolitan city are with average summer temperatures of over 35c, meaning that for pale Irish skin Spring and Autumn make it the best time to visit. If planning on a springtime trip, try to coincide with Santa Semana – the week leading up to Easter to really get to feel how this stunning city revels in its local neighbourhoods.
With a history dating back to the Phoenicians and the Romans, who called Seville Hispalis, the city’s story meanders to include a long Moorish history before becoming part of Castille in the 13th century. But Seville’s Golden Age began after the discovery of the Americas – even though it is a river port 80km from the sea – as it became the most important trading port of the Spanish Empire. The 4km square old town is a pop up history book of every architectural style and contains 3 Unesco World Heritage sites – the staggering Alcazar, the Archivo da Indias and The Cathedral with its minaret now church tower The Giralda.
As the city developed grew popped up on every corner and around each church a local guild evolved. As the gold flooded in from the New World more and more ornate altars were created. Each parishioner was tithed to support their church and over the week before Easter these treasures are paraded through the streets of the city. These Pasos are spectacular and surprisingly moving. Align yourself to one neighbourhood, dress to impress and even the agnostic in you will revel in the marvels of the human spirit.
Stay in the old town – try The Sacristia De Santa Ana on Hercules Square (the mythic founder of Sevile) and take in a show at the Museo de Baile Flamenco (as Seville is the home of the art form).