10 Highlights In The Pearl Of Andalucía

by Stacy Moreno

Step off the plane to study abroad in Seville and be immediately transported to an atmosphere only read about in books, heard of in the lyrics of folklore, or seen in a beautiful fantasy. It offers all this along with a history, culture, and lifestyle that is enriching and captivating. It embodies all that the senses can absorb and is the perfect destination for any student ready for adventure, art, history, culture, music, culinary intrigue, or romance.

Sunflowers
After a long day of tackling these highlights, a few minutes in this sunflower field can be a life saver. Photo Courtesy of Kaitlin Powers.

To understand why Seville is considered the Pearl of Andalucía, try this list of ten exciting activities and you will wonder no more. Whether traveling alone, or in a large group, these suggestions are sure to make any visitor fall in love with the dynamic city that has captured the hearts of so many.

1. Fútbol

You do not have to be a Soccer, or fútbol aficionado to have fun and truly feel like a true Sevillano! Soccer is the heart of many countries all over the world, and if you are going to study in a country that has won the World Cup what better way to experience Spanish culture than to take part in the national pastime. Sevilla Futbol Club is the well known team in the region with games played about every month of the year. This is an easy must do whether you study abroad for the summer, a semester, or a whole year.

2. Bullfighting

Plaza de Toros de Maestranza is a sight to see, even on a quiet day free of events. The structure is magnificent and the colors are brilliant to see in person. The corrida de toros, or bullfights, as they are known today first began in the early 1700s but the event was practiced long before that. Although controversial, the spectacle is still a centerpiece of Spanish culture. Brightly adorned matadors and the bulls they fight are both believed to be courageous. The bullfighting season traditionally kicks off with Holy Week, or Semana Santa, in April and tapers off in late summer with very limited events in the Fall. Matches are usually held in the evenings and consist of six bulls and three matadors.

3. Parque de María Luisa

An explosion of the senses is what awaits visitors at the Parque de María Luisa. It is situated near the Universidad de Sevilla and major avenues, making it an easy escape no matter where students are living during their stay. The history of its development and growth is amazing and includes a major exposition in the 1920’s. Now sightseers are left to enjoy its endless pathways, parks, cafes, museums, rose gardens, palm trees, orange trees, and even more! Horse drawn carriages meander through the green paths with tourists and locals alike enjoying the park’s beauty.

4. Tapas

Tapas and Seville go hand in hand. No matter where you live, expect to step outside your door and find a little café, bar, or restaurant to enjoy this late afternoon snack. The selection is wide and offers everything from olives to tortillas, which in Seville is a traditional egg and potato casserole. Other favorites are fish, meatballs, cured ham, and sandwiches. No need to ask too many questions about the ingredients; just dive into the culinary adventure and make tapas a regular activity. The streets are aligned with locals, students, professionals, and families. This makes tapas a great way to meet the locals and immerse yourself in all things Seville!

5. Seville Cathedral

This iconic Cathedral is seen in many advertisements for Seville. Construction began in 1402 on the site of a mosque and it took over a century to complete. It is the largest Gothic building in Europe and was built as a demonstration of the city’s wealth and power. The Cathedral’s self-guided tours offer a great chance for students to augment religion and art history classes or simply feed personal curiosity. Its walls bring to life a time and beauty many people only read about in textbooks.

6. The Alcázar

The Alcázar of Seville, or locally known as Reales Alcázares de Seville, is another wonder for the eyes located in the city center. This structure is a fusion of Moorish design, with additions added by future rulers. The castle draws visitors time and time again because one look just isn’t enough. The delicate design, elaborate gardens, and extensive history come together to create pictures of a lifestyles from centuries ago. The Alcázar Gardens are captivating at all times of year.

7. Flamenco

Flamenco is an art that is best known in the Andalucía region, and specifically Seville. To get a good introduction to the artform, go to local cafes and bars any night of the week and be surrounded by the music, dance, singing, and clapping. The whimsical colors and textures of the Flamenco dancers’ clothing can be one of the best parts. Want to get even closer to Flamenco?  Take a Flamenco dance class, or Sevillanas class, a local folklore dance and music that is influenced by Flamenco. Classes are easy to find by the eager traveler, and are an enriching way to utilize your time and money.

8. Paella

A culinary adventure in Seville is impossible without a taste of this staple cuisine. Locals and travellers alike revel in this traditional dish that includes many variations of rice, chicken, seafood, seasonings, and other ingredients. It is advertised along most city streets and is easy to find. Ask a Sevillano to guide you to a restaurant where locals eat and is known for its amazing paella.  

9. Shopping At Calle Sierpes and Tetuán

What is a true experience abroad without hitting the popular shopping areas? Calle Sierpes and Tetuán are great pedestrian shopping streets that include local stores, tourist shopping, and well-known department stores in Spain. This is one of Seville’s main shopping districts and is a great way to pass the afternoon after the siesta and to get almost anything your heart desires.

10. Triana

Triana is a magical neighborhood that is nestled along the Guadalquivir River. The majestic Puente de Triana, or Triana bridge, leads to this neighborhood, which is home to a river bank full of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Triana is set apart from other neighborhoods by its pottery and beautiful ornate tiles. Looking for a unique and local gift for a loved one or yourself? You will be amazed with what can be found there.