Once in a while, someone gives you a present so wonderful that you will never, ever forget it. Turning 30 means you get a few of these (one of the few major bonuses to getting older).
One of my favourite presents was from my boyfriend: a five-star trip to Seville. We stayed in the Gran Melia Colon, a stunningly stylish hotel with a jacuzzi and sun terrace on the roof with an amazing view of the city. Each floor of the hotel features a different Spanish artist. We were on the top floor, Goya, which had a description of the artist and the back of every hotel room featured a different painting by the featured artist, with a light at the top and a description at the side so the corridor looked like a gallery. I can’t recommend the hotel enough and I miss the incredible breakfasts every day I sadly microwave an egg in the morning at work.
My glam friend Emily loves Seville so much that she has been there five times – she put together a list of things to do, which, trusting her taste (impeccable), we followed quite carefully and had the most incredible time. I include her list, with some additions of my own, below.
Seville genuinely has it all: great weather, friendly people, cheap and amazing food (mmm tapas), massive gin and tonics and some of the most stunning architecture I’ve ever seen. Budget airlines fly there, meaning you can have an incredible weekend trip for very little, depending on your accommodation. My top tip would definitely be to hire bikes when you’re there, especially if it’s very hot, as it was when we visited. It’s such a great way to see the city and you get a bit of exercise too, making for guilt-free tapas munching in the evening. The riverboat tour is a must for romantics.
A Stylish Guide to Seville
Things to do
Alcazar – stunning interior and gardens – don’t miss the labyrinth.
Plaza de Espana (in María Luisa Park) – beautiful building and park. Hire a little paddleboat and go around the front.
Seville Cathedral Tower – walk up into the bell tower for amazing views of the city.
Riverboat tour – lasts around an hour, great way to see the other ends of the city that you wouldn't necessarily walk to – go to the one on the opposite side to the Torre Doro (tower) – cross the bridge and it’s next to a bar called Rio Grande. It’s the best one – electric boat with drinks that are super cheap on board.
Bullring – you don't need to pay for a tour, you can just walk around the outside.
Flamenco! We went to this one. It’s amazing, warning: you might cry.
Rent bikes - we just asked our hotel and it was so cheap. The only way to see the city when it’s hot.
Taberna Coloniales – on Calle Fernandez Y Gonzalez 36 41001 – amazing local tapas for local people. Eat the whisky pork and patatas bravas. Super cheap. You might have to wait a bit – get your name on the list on the blackboard and drink some sangria until it’s time.
Vineria San Telmo – inventive, incredible tapas. Eat their goats cheese and aubergine ‘tower’ mmmm.
For casual lunch tapas there are quite a few along the Calle Mateos Gago street (2 mins from Eme Hotel), these are more local and less touristy:
These are both Italian!!
Drinks and going out
Try the native orange wine which is super delish – vino naranja
Have a posh drink at The Hotel Alfonso XIII
Or clubby Cocktails at Eme cathedral hotel rooftop bar
There are quite a few places around Plaza Nueva if you walk around the square - there's a good one directly opposite the O'Clock Bar. Also quite a few along the river – round the corner from O'Neills Irish pub on Paseo de Cristobal Colon street there's a parade of gin bars etc.
We also went to the ‘Rio Grande’ which is on the river – open super late (it was still open at 3am when we left) good, Brazilian vibes. Ask the supermodel barmaid for a gin and tonic with Rothmans which is like a fruity gin.
Clubs – FYI Spanish go out so late and party until 6am plus!!
Antique Theatro – an indoor/outdoor place
You can get a bus from the airport – super cheap at 4 euros. You pay on board.
So pretty - see it by river
A traditional wedding for someone in the military
Chilling on the rooftop of the Gran Melia Colon
Our stunning Goya hotel door
The cathedral at night
The cathedral bell towe
Pretty park near Plaza Espana
Look at the SIZE of their G&Ts!
A lovely little shop near the Alfonso Hotel