Seville is one of the three gems in the historic triangle of Southern Spain and houses one of the most iconic remnants of the history of Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), the Real Alcazar. I had heard things and read articles about the grand Muslim rule in the region and its tragic demise as well, but what I didn’t know till I set foot in the land itself was the transformative power of region itself, almost beckoning you to imagine what life here must have been like in 9th and 10th centuries and with this feeling I ventured on towards Seville from Cordoba. The city and its architecture, the old minarets, the intricate décor, the tile work, the rustic colours, spices, and cobbled streets all act as guides to another, richer, cultural time and place.
We arrived in Seville from Cordoba by train which is almost an hour and a half long journey and cost roughly 10 euros one way. We opted to stay in an Airbnb in Calle Torneo which is about 11 minutes to the city center (Santa Cruz) by bus but personally we preferred the 20 minute walk as you get to see a lot more of a city that way! Most tourist attractions can easily be done on foot, as the city is not that vast and can easily be covered walking! I chose to use paper maps as a challenge from my mum not to use my phone and we got to the center in under 20 minutes quite easily, having seen lots of local surroundings and lovely local and international high street shops along the way! This part of Spain is well known for its amber stone jewelry and intricately decorated bulls. Calle Jesus del Gran Poder takes you across the nicer part of town with coffee shops, cafés and boutiques.
Things to do in Seville
If you are visiting Seville for a day or two there is a lot of ground to cover at a leisurely pace! Seville hosts some of the world’s most iconic buildings, the Seville Cathedral, the Real Alcazar and Plaza de Espana. Aside from these, I would recommend a walk over to Isabel II Bridge which connects the tourist part of Seville to the residential side, a walk around the campus of Universidad de Sevilla and finally wandering around the quaint narrow streets of Barrio Santa Cruz.
Since I was on a bit of a time crunch, I had to choose between fully exploring either the Cathedral or the Alcazar as a full immersion of both can take up to 3-4 hours each. I would advise buying tickets at the gate rather than being roped into spending way more with a tourist bundle offer which will be presented at several points when you walk through the city. The bundle is highly overpriced and doesn’t offer any useful extra perks. The standard ticket price for the Alcazar is approximately 9 Euros per person.
The Seville Cathedral is considered to be the largest Gothic cathedral of Europe and third largest in the world. It has an awe inspiring exterior (both in the day and lit up at night) with delicate details and mammoth history represented all over the building and with the extra added garnish of the local orange trees surrounding the front, the contrast is simply beautiful. If I had more time, I would have definitely loved to have explored the area more!
The Alcazar in contrast has a minimalist entrance but once you get to the main areas, it is hard to get your jaw back up from the floor. The way that the Andalusian building was designed has been respectfully maintained with only a few minor changes to the décor. The open corridors overlooking vast, lush green gardens with palm trees and water pools swarming with fish, a green maze, fountains, the separate harem for the women of the time, the grand rooms (you have to pay extra to see these) of the royals, the colorful tiles on the floor and ceilings as well as walls along with the Arabic calligraphy, the royal baths (also featured in Game of Thrones) are all fascinating and make you feel like you are walking in a whole other time with rich history electrifying your senses. This place is not something to be missed!
If you want more ideas on specific activities or foods, check out my friend’s post:
THINGS TO DO IN SEVILLE FOR 3 DAYS- HALAL VERSION
Halal food in Seville
Although vegetarian and fish tapas are plenty in this region (Google translate before you order, I ended up with baby eels on bread when I thought I’d ordered cod fish!) there are a lot of halal options in the way of Turkish and Lebanese cuisine. There are a bunch of restaurants with generous shawarma and kebab options for reasonable prices! Our designated favourites for both days was a sidewalk café with outdoor seating near the University/ Plaza de Espana called Rincón de Beirut (Calle San Fernando). For dessert I picked up a massive chocolate filled churro from across the Cathedral, and for coffee I would recommend either trying a local Spanish Cortada (espresso shot with condensed milk) or grab an Alaska from a Dunkin’ Doughnuts nearby!
Where to pray in Seville?
Although I didn’t come across any designated muslim prayer areas in the centre, I prayed in a quiet corner inside the Alcazar and no one bothered me as such. There are always fitting rooms in nearby shops that can be used for more comfort and privacy.
If you are more comfortable praying in a mosque, there are two mosques that are close by to the old city and the touristy sights:
Where to stay in Seville?
There are so many options in Seville from hotels to apartments. The price of the accommodations changes based on location and services. Here are some of the lovely hotels that spoke to us visually! They also have great locations and good reviews:
If you would like more options, it’s always best to search on the map feature to see the best location for you:
I haven’t personally tried halal bookings before, but you might also find suitable Muslim friendly options on there!
Thank you for the great guest post Shafaq
Author’s Bio: Shafaq Khan is a university lecturer by day, photographer by holiday, an aspiring wanderluster and a travel enthusiast. Currently working in Pakistan, she is planning to start a blog about solo female travel in Europe and other parts of the world. Keep in touch with Shafaq over instagram.