"Seville," wrote the poet Lord Byron of Spain's fourth largest metropolis "is a pleasant city, famous for oranges and women." Visiting Seville Spain, it becomes apparent that not only are the men and women uncommonly beautiful, but the city itself more than lives up to the romantic images it conjures for world travelers. With flamenco dancing, quaint tapas bars, wondering guitarists strumming melodies in cobbled streets hung with geraniums, Seville Spain is one of the finest Spanish cities.
Seville tourism reaches its peak during Semana Santa (Holy Week), when self flagellating Christs and weeping Virgins wearing the finest jewels, parade through the streets on floats borne by barefoot penitents. A week later, this time wearing the brightest flamenco costumes, Sevillanos cut loose for the annual Feria de Abril (April Fair). Some of the best Seville sightseeing occurs during these weeks. But if you can't make it to Seville in April, Seville tourist options abound all year round, due in no small part to the mild weather Seville Spain is blessed with.
A good walk through the city begins at the cathedral in the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. Followed by a climb up the Giralds Minaret. From here you can dive into the Barrio de Santa Cruz and get pleasantly lost in the tangle of narrow streets as you bargain for jewelry and practice your Spanish with the animated merchants.
A longtime Seville tourist attraction is the colorful flamenco dance, and the accompanying flamenco music. Seville tourism affords many opportunities to experience flamenco. From professional clubs to grassroots amateurs, and the flamenco penas (societies) that offer travelers a chance to learn the dance. But for those searching out a truly authentic flamenco experience, head to the tascas (bars) of Triana, La Maccarena, or Las Tres Mil Vivendas, the outlying and largely gypsy community.
In addition to festivals and flamenco, Seville is home to Spain's most storied bullring, the Maestranza. Touted by the Seville tourism board as the cathedral of bullfighting, few toreros (bullfighters) gain nationwide recognition until they have offered themselves upon the altar of Maestranza.
Whether it's the thrilling spectacle of a matador challenging an angry bull, or an impassioned flamenco dance in a darkened gypsy bar, Seville sightseeing is a feast for the senses and a must for anyone searching out an authentic southern Spain experience.
Top image: Jorge Franganillo (flickr)