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48 Hours in Sevilla, Spain

sevilla

Sevilla has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The rich history, the culture, the beautiful buildings and streets, the food and the people all make Sevilla a place that will always have a special place in our hearts. Even if we did only spend a few days there.

On our European adventure, we spent two wonderful days in Sevilla.. It didn’t matter that it was well over 100 degrees during our entire stay, we spent every second walking around and taking in as much as we could.

How we got there.

After our first day in Barcelona, we woke up early to catch an 8:00 train to Sevilla. I loved the train stations in Spain. They are like miniature airports, so finding food isn’t a problem. There was also security, much like airport security, before we got on the trains, which made me feel far more comfortable. Because of the security, I would suggest getting to the train station 30 minutes before your train actually leaves. The trains are extremely prompt, and definitely won’t wait for you, but thirty minutes should be plenty of time to figure out where you’re going and get through security.

I will do an entire post later on about how we purchased our Spain train tickets and how we used them once we got there, so you have that to look forward to eventually 😉

We spent about 5 ½ hours on the train to Sevilla-Santa Justa Rail Station, but we actually didn’t mind. The train was really very nice! Picture an airplane-style layout, except the seats are much roomier, far more comfortable, and the windows are huge so you can enjoy views of the countryside. The ride was also incredibly smooth, since the train is going almost 300 kilometers per hour (about 186 miles an hour).

After arriving at the Sevilla train station, it was a mere 20 minute walk to the historic center where everything, including our hotel, was located.

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All about our hotel.

I will admit, we were very glad to actually be staying in a hotel, not a hostel, while we were in Sevilla. Having a comfortable bed, your own shower, and air conditioning really does wonders to improve the quality of your trip, especially when you spend ten hours a day walking around the city, and its 100+ degrees outside. At least those things are important to me when I’m traveling. Sometimes a hotel is more than “just a place to sleep at night”, it’s a guaranteed refresher and moral lifter.

Because we were in Sevilla for two nights, we wanted a place that was quality and close to everything. We stayed at the Hotel Rey Alfonso X which is right in the heart of the historic area, and literally just minutes from major sites like the Cathedral and the Real Alcazar. Yes, the hotel was very nice, but the best part about it was the location. We had so much that we wanted to see in Sevilla, so it was ideal to just step outside our doors and begin site-seeing. Plus, it was easy for us to go back to the hotel in the middle of the day to rest (again, a major moral lifter).

48 Hours in Sevilla – What We Saw

We made the most of our 48 hours in Sevilla! To make things easier on my memory, I’m going to break this part up into the two days that we were there.

Day 1:

We arrived at the train station around 2:00 pm, and were checked into our hotel and ready to explore the city by about 3:30. Without a destination in mind, we grabbed our tourist map and started walking towards some of the major points. We walked past the outside of the Alcazar, past the University, and continued slightly south.

By 5:00, we had arrived at the beautiful Plaza de España. While it looks as though it could have been built centuries ago, the Plaza was actually not built until 1929, for the Ibero-American Exposition, meant to strengthen ties between Spain and Portugal and their former American colonies. The detail of the Plaza is impeccable. Everywhere you look you see intricately painted azulejos, or ceramic tiles. These tiles are very popular in Sevilla, and can be seen in many places throughout the city.

The rest of the evening was spent wandering the cobblestone streets. We passed shops, and restaurants, and gelaterias. We ate dinner on the streets next to the Cathedral at 9:00 (during which time it was still light out because the sun didn’t set until 10:45), had some gelato, and found our way back to our hotel for some much needed sleep.

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Day 2:

After sleeping in a bit, we were out the door by 9:00 to continue our tour of Sevilla. First stop: the Real Alcazar, and one of my favorite places in both Spain and Italy! The construction of the Alcazar began in 1161, when Sevilla came under control by the Almohades, a Moorish dynasty. In 1364, after Christians took control of Sevilla, the Alcazar became a new palace, and was continually added on to for many years. The inside of the Alcazar is impressive with its detail, and the outside boasts dozens of beautiful gardens. We spent hours just wandering around and taking pictures. The price to get in was €9,50, and it was so worth it! We were traveling on a budget, but there are some things that are just worth paying for, and this was definitely one of those things!

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We finished our tour of the Alcazar by noon, so we walked around the city for about an hour, and eventually made our way to  Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla a bullfighting arena built in the late 1700s. This arena currently houses one of the most famous bullfighting festivals in the world. Regardless of your stance on bullfighting, you cannot deny that it is a huge part of Spanish culture, so we couldn’t miss an opportunity to see first-hand what an arena looked like. No, we did not go to a bullfight (I still don’t know if I could go through that), but it was fascinating to tour a museum and hear what bullfighting has meant to the people of Spain.

We ended our afternoon at 4:00 with a visit to the Torre del Oro (the Golden Tower) a watch-tower built along the river around 1220. At this point in the day, we were hot, hungry, and tired, so we skipped a tour, but marveled at the towers beauty and location.

After a quick nap and a shower, we were back on the streets at 8:00 looking for dinner. We ate tapas for almost two hours, and then headed to our final destination in Sevilla: La Casa del Flamenco where we were about to witness the traditional Spanish dance. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! The show we saw consisted of four individuals; a guitar player, a singer, a male dancer, and a female dancer. I cannot describe the passion that I witnessed in that show. I thought the tickets were reasonably priced (I believe around €18), and I was not about to miss seeing this incredible form of art that started right there in Sevilla. Again, sometimes the best things are worth paying for. I highly, highly recommend seeing a show if you ever find yourself in Sevilla.

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Our Favorites:

Everywhere we went in the heart of Sevilla, we could see the Cathedral. I have seen a lot of beautiful churches, and I think that this is one of the most beautiful (at least from the outside). We never went inside, and it was never really a “destination” of ours, but the beauty and prominence of the Cathedral was my favorite part about Sevilla.

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Our Advice:

If you can afford it, I really suggest setting aside a little money to spend on eating tapas and going inside some places that I mentioned, like the Alcazar, and seeing a Flamenco show. Sevilla in of itself is a beautiful city. Wandering the streets is something out of a movie. But, I think Sevilla is one of those cities where you’d be missing out on a lot if you didn’t pay a few admission fees. Now, I don’t necessarily feel this way about every city! I was totally happy just walking around Barcelona without spending much money on tourist attractions. But I don’t think I would have appreciated Sevilla the same way if we did that. Sure, there are many things you can see without spending a lot of money, and Sevilla is no exception; however, sometimes, to really experience the culture, you do have to give a little. If you plan ahead to spend a little more money on the attractions and the food in Sevilla, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

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