There's never a bad time to visit Seville, the capital of Andalusia and one of Spain's most beautiful cities, but springtime, when the scent of orange blossom hangs heavy on the air, might just be the best time.
Seville's Holy Week (Semana Santa) processions are a wonderful mix of devotion and drama. It seems like most of the city take to the streets to watch the procession of hooded penitents and elaborate floats file solemnly from their church to the Cathedral of Seville and back again.
A couple of weeks later, Seville takes to the streets again, for the April Fair (La Feria de Abril). The Sevillanos' famous zest for life is evident here - with flamenco, funfairs, bullfighting and eating (tapas was invented here, after all) and drinking.
Seville's other sights include the Giralda, a Moorish minaret, and now bell tower, dating from the 12th century; the Alcázar, home to Catholic kings for 400 years; and the cathedral, the largest gothic cathedral in the world.
Given its popularity, it's worth searching for cheap flights to Seville as early as possible. Another option is to look for cheap flights to Malaga and take a train or bus from there.
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Hot in the summer, Seville is 21 degrees (Celsius) or warmer for more than half the year. July and August temperatures are near 37 (C) and there is little rain. By contrast, winter has plenty of rain and cooler temperatures. January is the coldest month when temperatures can be in the low single digits. Autumn and winter are the wettest months with heavy showers and thunderstorms. Spring is moderate and warm.
When to fly to Seville
Most visitors step off their flights to Seville between April and November. National Day is October 12 when the Spanish are also on holiday. If you are coming for a fiesta, make your reservations in advance.
If you do not mind wet and chilly weather, winter is less crowded in Seville, fares tends to be lower, and there is still plenty to do. Late autumn can be warm and mild, even into November.
Getting around Seville
Stretch your legs after your cheap flight to Seville by setting out to explore the city on foot. Seville is a walkable city, but it also has a very dependable network of buses and trains. The metro system started running in 2007. If you’re going to use the bus and metro often, buy a bonobús pass, available at newsstands and tobacco shops, to save money.
Seville insider information
- The Cathedral of Seville was built on the site of a mosque that had been there since the 12th century. It is said to be the largest church in the world with its central nave rising to 42 metres (138 feet) and the total area covering 11,520 square metres (124,000 square feet). It houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus, a great tourist draw. The Giralda (the cathedral’s minaret tower) was used by the Moors for the call to prayer and as an observatory. It offers wonderful views of the city.
- Alcazar, the beautiful Moorish palace. In the 14th century, Alfonso X and Pedro I, the Christian kings, employed Moorish craftsmen to build the palace. Highlights are the Puerta del Leon, Patio de las Doncellas, Hall of Kings and the gardens. Just outside the walled defences is the Torre de Oro, a 13th-century tower, which houses the maritime museum.
- The Museo de Bellas Artes is housed in a former mercy convent and boasts a great collection of Sevillian art from the Gothic period to the 20th century from artists such as El Greco, Pacheco, Velázquez and Alonso Cano.
- Plaza de España was built for the 1929 Ibero-Americano World's Fair. Architecturally, it draws from the Renaissance as well as from the city of Seville (exposed brick, wrought iron and ceramics). Film trivia: it was used for one of the scenes in Episode II of George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
- La Real Maestranza, the bullring, dates from the 1760s. There is a museum under the bullring.
- The Queens Sewing Room looks as though it should be in a fairytale. The pink and yellow striped hexagonal building has small corner towers. This is where María de las Mercedes came to cure her ill health and spend time sewing with her ladies-in-waiting.