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Places

Off-season wanderings in Seville

Seville is a southern European hub that never sleeps, even during off-season months. This is the Andalusian city of romance, long nights, flamenco music, endless tapas and even more glasses of fine wine in tiny, uber-charming bars and restaurants.

Seville is literally one of the warmest cities in Europe. Winters are mild and springtime is perfect, with flowering jasmine and orange trees dotted throughout this lively urban center of Andalucía. Seville is Spain to the max, but you won't find the typical hustle and bustle of other major cities on the Iberian Peninsula. 

One of the best ways to explore Seville is on bike.

View of a street in Seville. Photo: Shutterstock
Sevillanos are good-natured, open and friendly people who enjoy life in a slow and intense way.

Cozy restaurant in Seville. Photo: Debbie Papyn

Their city is the beating heart of steaming Andalucía, where bars open their shutters at 7am and restaurantes serve albondigas (meat balls) until well after midnight. It’s a city that never sleeps, that rocks its hips to the tunes of electrifying Flamenco music that’s intoxicating during the heat of the day and lingers in the narrow streets until the early hours. 

Typically Spanish classic foodie things not to be missed here are worth their weight in gold – standing at the long wooden counter in a tiny bar sipping ice-cold sherry matched perfectly with rich pata negra ham, freshly sliced from the bone, for example. On one side of the city lies a green cordillera (mountain range) where Jabugo is the world’s jámon Walhalla, and on the other side lies the Atlantic, with seafood hotspot Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where salty Manzanilla sherry rests in ancient barrels. Seville mixes all this together, and then some. A city to explore from early until late morning. And don’t worry, in the afternoon you can always indulge in a guilt-free siesta, just like the locals.

Here are the best restaurants & hotels in Seville:

People having a good time outside of La Fresquita. Photo: Debbie Papyn

Tapas at La Fresquita

Take a stroll around one of the countless squares in El Centro, usually surrounded by bars, pretty restaurants and endless terraces. There are plenty of tapas bars in this area but one of our favourites is La Fresquita. Come early (around noon) or very late (after 10pm) to mix with real Sevillanos along the bar inside, or at the high folding tables hanging along the facade. The theme and décor inside is Semana Santa (the Holy Week) while, thanks to the fast pace of serving super-fresh Cruzcampo beers, the vibe and ambiance is often less holy. Come for the statues of the Virgin Mary, but also for the fun vibe and the tapas, several of which are vegetarian, like the mouth-watering Espinacas con Garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas).

La Fresquita

Mateos Gago, 29, Seville

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tel +34 954226010

Tapas at the contemporary restaurant Mamarracha. Photo: Debbie Papyn

Restaurant Mamarracha

To counterbalance the innumerable classic tapas bars in the city, you can try more contemporary places like Mamarracha near the cathedral. This tapas bar 2.0 serves small and inventive savory dishes and superb grilled meat and fish from the huge parilla. To die for is their version of patatas bravas, the perfect fuel after an evening of too much sherry or vermouth. The interior hides a vertical garden on one wall and another wall with an estantería, a food rack several meters high, filled with local culinary ingredients.

Mamarracha

alle Hernando Colón,1, Seville

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, tel +34 955 12 39 1

Bar Gallo Rojo

Santa Cruz is the real heart of Seville, an old Jewish quarter where you could spend days exploring the narrow streets. After wandering around in Santa Cruz and needing a well-deserved break, there is Bar Gallo Rojo, “una Factoría de creación,” (a place of creation.) In the evening, it becomes a cool bar where you can taste traditional craft beers from the region and Spain, even on tap. During the day, Bar Gallo Rojo is a creative space where both artists and knitting clubs are welcome. The bar’s ambiance is casual, cozy and there’s often live music.

Bar Gallo Rojo

Calle Viriato, 9, Seville

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Tapas at Morales. Photo: Debbie Papyn

Folky El Arenal

A must-explore is the El Arenal district, which runs along the banks of the Guadalquivir. A classic tapas bar not to be missed is Morales, which was founded in 1850 and is still run by the same family. Morales is one of those places where you’re best off ordering small glasses of sherry to get in the mood as fast as possible and mix with the locals. The gigantic sherry barrels are still there in a room behind the huge bar. The service is smooth and friendly, the chicharrones (pork rinds) are crispy and by the end of the evening the floor is covered with small white napkins – a sure-fire sign of a very good evening.

Morales

Casa Morales Garcia de Vinuesa 11, Seville

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Tel. +34 954 22 12 42

The interior at Torch Coffee Bar. Photo: Debbie Papyn

Torch Coffee Bar

Sisters Victoria and Sarah Parish were born near coffee plantations in Guatemala but moved on, via the States, to Seville. Since 2015 they not only import and roast coffee beans – from Yunnan to Ethiopia – in Seville but also use coffee as a connector via Torch, an international community-based coffee collective. While most old-fashioned bars in Seville still serve small, espresso-style coffees to be swiftly drunk while standing at the counter, Torch has introduced the slow way of enjoying an Aeropress or V60 served with homemade pastry or light bites. The coffee bar is airy with an industrial feel and high windows looking out on the Avenue Paseo de las Delicias and the river.

Torch Coffee Bar

Ave. Paseo de las Delicias, 3, Seville

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Have a glass of wine at La Antigua Abaceria. Photo: Debbie Papyn

La Antigua Abaceria

On the other side of the river you’ll find the still authentic and buzzy district of Triana. Many gypsies, bullfighters, flamenco dancers and musicians continue to live here. On the stone benches along the river banks, people eat, drink, play music, sing and dance all night long. In this neighborhood, far away from the tourist crowds of the Centro, you will also find La Antigua Abaceria, a small gem of a tapas bar. There is a serious collection of pata negra hams hanging above the old counter, while behind it stands the friendly patron, José, a big fan of high-quality products. He will let you try perfectly aged local cheeses – just heavenly when accompanied by a glass of full bodied Spanish wine. Or opt for a plate of rabo de toro estofado, or bull’s tail stew. In short, a kitchen with balls, in a very Sevillian setting.

La Antigua Abaceria

Calle Pureza, 12, Seville

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, tel: +34 620031832,

The rooftop terrace at Corral Del Rey. Photo: Debbie Papyn

Corral Del Rey

The parents of the charismatic Englishman Anthony Reid discovered the magic of Seville in the early 1990s, at a time when there was little tourism in the city. They bought some dreamy old mansions and opened the intimate Corral del Rey boutique hotel, a three-minute walk from the cathedral. Corral del Rey has now become the most stylish boutique hotel in the city. Our favourites are the rooms with rooftop terraces and private plunge pool. A detail we also love are the delicious, affordable bottles of cava, manzanilla and sherry in an ice bucket in every room. From €220 per night, including breakfast.

Corral Del Rey

Triana House

In the quiet Triana neighborhood, far away from the steaming hustle and bustle of the city center, the boutique hotel Triana House is a hidden gem. The hotel has only six rooms, all named after major cities, of which Beijing is the most beautiful with a terrace overlooking the Santa Ana church. Breakfast is always served in your room. The decor is eclectic chic with stylish tiles on the walls, marble floors and striking design accents such as the graphic patterns on the textiles and large mirrors everywhere that give the rooms more depth. A good and affordable address for those who love southern intimacy. From 115 euros per night, with breakfast.

Triana House

Calle Rodrigo de Triana, 98, Seville

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Junior suite at Hacienda de San Raffael. Photo: Hacienda de San Raffael

Hacienda de San Raffael

For those who want to stay close to Seville but prefer to bed down in quieter surroundings, this former hacienda, or Spanish square farmhouse, sits just outside the city and is well-hidden among olive groves, with a garden filled with fragrant flowers and wild plants. Choose between three swimming pools and countless nooks and crannies offering enough privacy to rest after a city visit. In addition to the 11 regular rooms and suites, there are also three casitas, perfect for families or groups of friends. It’s a 20-minute drive from the city and rates start from about €210 per night.

Hacienda de San Raffael

Calle Corral del Rey,12, Seville

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