Seville

Seville has must-see sights of its own and is also a good jumping off place for day trips and tours. We chose Cádiz but there are lots of other options.

Day 1: Madrid to Seville

We had our usual pastry-and-coffee breakfast. We also had time for a walk before we left since check out time wasn’t until noon and our train was at 2:00. So we walked over to Plaza De la Paja. It was a pleasant walk. The square didn’t look like all that much but it was early in the morning and it looked like maybe after the bars and restaurants around the square opened up it would be a bit livelier.

Thankfully the metro wasn’t as crowded going to the train station as it was when we arrived. We had some anxious moments at the train station when our train was late arriving although all we knew was that they weren’t showing which platform it was going to be at. We could tell they were making announcements about it but couldn’t understand what they were saying other than “excuse-us-pardon-the-inconvenience.” Which I figured meant it was just late for some reason and they didn’t know how late. Anyway we got the train without any further issues. It wasn’t a terribly exciting journey but it wasn’t painful either. Until we got to Seville and had to find our hotel. We had our usual challenges with Google maps and when we finally found a Hotel Murillo it wasn’t the right building. So we asked at the bar next door and they pointed us down the narrow little street.

It actually wasn’t raining when we checked in so the woman who checked us in suggested if we wanted to go to Plaza de España that we do it that day because they close it when it rains. So we headed straight over there.

Buy tickets ahead and skip the lines

We bought tickets for most sights ahead of time. It meant committing to a time slot in some cases but saved us waiting in line.

We bought some beer on our way back to the hotel and by that time we were tired enough and it was late enough that we decided to just eat at the place right across the street. ordered in Iberian croquette which was actually a kebab of pieces of steak that came on a skewer that dangled over a plate of fried potatoes, peppers, and onions. Fancy! Then we went up on the rooftop deck to drink our beer. And look at the illuminated cathedral that we will be visiting tomorrow.

hanging skewer of meat

Day 2: The Alcázar and Cathedral

No coffee this morning since we had to get a fairly early start to be in the alcázar at 9:30. So we just had our breakfast cakes with water. And we had another adventure finding the alcázar. It’s right next to the cathedral you can see from the roof. And we walk past the alcázar gardens to get to our hotel. You would think it would be easy. But no! Google maps just doesn’t do well in narrow city streets where cars can’t drive. But again we ended up finding it after asking for directions only once. Then we had fun figuring out if we needed to stay in the long line even though we had tickets. Turns out we did. There was a different long line to buy tickets.

alcazar entrance
The entrance to the alcázar. This line is for people who already have tickets.

It took us about 2.5 hours to do the alcázar. We had about an hour before our time slot for the cathedral which was right next door. So we took the opportunity to walk down to the river and take a look at the Torre de Oro. And we got in a little early at the cathedral.

cathedral at end of street
The cathedral and alcázar border the Barrio Santa Cruz, the touristy (and charming) neighborhood
where we stayed.

On our way back to the hotel we ran across a Mexican restaurant, La Cantina, and decided to try it for lunch or a snack. It was fancy Mexican food, like duck with mole sauce. We found a little supermarket right up the road where we got beer and came back to the hotel to sit on the roof again and drink beer this time in daylight. And we got to bed early because we have an early start tomorrow.

Seville cathedral from roof deck

Day 3: Cádiz Day Trip

Our train to Cádiz left at 8:30 in the morning so we got up at 6:15 to eat breakfast and walk there in time. We carefully plotted out directions back to the train station both in step-by-step directions and on our map to try to avoid the miscues we had getting here. And it worked very nicely. This was a slower train: only a hundred miles an hour!

Unfortunately the weather forecast for Cádiz was rain all day and that’s pretty much what we got.

Back in Seville we again had some challenges finding our hotel. We’ll have to look at our directions again but somehow we turned the wrong way on one of our streets. Thankfully we figured it out before we got too far. We stopped at a couple of supermarkets, one to get some ham and bread and cheese for snacks tonight and breakfast and another one to get cold beer. We’re very cold and wet and tired and just want to get back to the hotel and take a shower and have something to eat and relax.

Seville cathedral
Another view of the cathedral from the roof deck.

Day 4: Past View Tour

Today was our last scheduled event in Seville, a tour with Past View. We were late getting there because someone had a heart attack on the street and there were EMTs working on him while a policeman was blocking foot traffic. So we had to reroute.

After the tour we walked over the Guadalquivir River to the Triana neighborhood since the tour ended near there. Our walk also took us past the old bullfighting ring.

Then we walked back over into our neighborhood and just wandered around for a bit. We decided to hit the grocery store and then go eat.

When we got back to our hotel we discovered that housekeeping had taken our washcloths. Turns out our microfiber washcloths look just like the ones they had on their carts for cleaning. So there was some discussion with them and with the front desk and eventually cleaning cloths appeared in our bathroom again. They’re not the ones that we brought with us but they’ll work.

We had a tapas lunch at Alfaro that was very good. A couple of oranges fell near us while we were eating and it started raining about the time we were finishing up. So we paid the bill and dashed back to our hotel in the rain because we optimistically left our raincoats at the hotel.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that the orange trees are blooming here and they smell wonderful.

Seville cathedral
We never got tired of admiring the cathedral from the roof deck.

Day 5: Palacio de las Dueñas and more

Today we had our first sunny day! We had a real breakfast with coffee at Alfaro. We both had bacon and eggs and toast and jam. We even ordered an extra coffee. Then we went back to our room to relax for a bit before heading out for the day.

Steve practiced navigating with Google maps today since we weren’t on any kind of schedule. Our first stop was the Palacio de las Duenas. Our second step was the Iglesia del Colegio El Salvador, a stunning baroque jewel box of a church.

Our third stop was the Museo de Baile Flamenco. A little more frivolous but no less interesting. Since it was a museum about dance it was nice that many of the displays were videos of dancers with audio. There were also some nice displays of dresses and props. And we couldn’t resist photos of the charming restrooms. 

Some of the streets we walked today even outside our old neighborhood of Santa Cruz were so narrow that cars and people wouldn’t fit in them at the same time. We had at least one point where a car had to wait for us to exit the street before it could drive down it. And it was such nice weather today that it seemed like every sevillano was at a sidewalk cafe enjoying the sun and amigos.

We finished the day with thin crust pizza from Orsini at a sidewalk table near the museum. And back at the hotel we headed up to the rooftop one last time for some views of the cathedral with a dramatic sky (if not exactly a sunset) and some more beer.

cathedral from rooftop

Essentials​

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Lodging

We stayed at the Hotel Murillo. It’s in a great location near sights and restaurants, with a rooftop terrace with a cathedral view (which we loved). Clean, comfortable room with a generous closet. It was interesting to try a bidet. There was no coffee in the building which we assumed was due to COVID so no points taken off, but it was a minor annoyance. A cafe down the street was recommended.

Dining

Seville has tons of great dining options. We ate at El Rincon de Murillo right across from our hotel, which was convenient, tasty, and friendly. Our best meal was at Alfaro, where we tried a local potato salad, a local variation on gazpacho, fried cod, and meat cooked with whiskey that was served with french fries.

Transportation

We were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go. The train station was a bit of a hike. Without backpack carryons I would have grabbed a bus or a cab. 

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