Home to the mushrooms (the sculpture not the food) Seville is the perfect destination if you’re looking for class, culture and constant sun, says unLTD’s Sarah-Louise Kelsey.
With 3000 hours of sizzling sunshine a year, it’s no surprise that Seville is known as the frying pan of Europe. Not only that but Seville is the fourth biggest city in Spain meaning you will never be stuck for things to do and sites to see.
It’s one of the hottest cities in Spain – and we’re talking about more than just the weather.
Speaking of sites to see, it’s hard to miss one of Seville’s biggest attractions, the Metropol Parasol, known locally as ‘the mushrooms’. It’s the world’s largest wooden structure standing at approximately 26 meters high with five levels to explore. From a market to a museum the mushrooms are filled to the brim with things to do.
Created in 2004 by German architect Jürgen Mayer, the sculpture is based upon the arches of Seville’s cathedral and the “ficus” of Plaza Del Cristo de Burgos. The sculpture itself was the winning project in a competition made by Seville’s City Council to carry out a renovation of the square where it’s situated. The bold design is meant to create shade, which in 40-degree heat, can’t go amiss for the locals – or pale Brits! So, if sizzling sunshine might not be your thing, don’t let it put you of as shelter is always readily available.
It’s safe to say Seville is far from stereotypical, although it does have some sights you might recognise. Seville’s Plaza de España is featured in the films Lawrence de Arabia and Attack of the Clones for all the movies buffs out there.
For those who are a bit more traditional, the city’s cathedral is one not to miss. Santa Maria de la Sede is the world’s largest gothic cathedral which you can visit for as cheap as nine euros. Without providing too many spoilers you can visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus and climb to the top of the Giralda, it’s safe to say that the views will speak for themselves. There’s even something for the kids. El Lagarto, also known as ‘the stuffed crocodile’ always provides a bit of family fun. The crocodile was a gift from Sultan of Egypt to Kin Alfonso X for asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Unfortunately, the love story doesn’t have a happily ever after for the couple – or the crocodile. The pair never got married and the crocodile was stuffed. After visiting maybe just keep an eye out for what the kids put on their Christmas list to Santa.
If heights and history just isn’t your cup of tea, then not to worry. For all the foodies out there, Spain is home to the much-loved dish of tapas. While they may seem like comically small dishes, remember that’s why you can get away with having loads. You don’t even have to find it for yourself, Seville offers personal guided tapas tours. Just make sure you go on an empty stomach and don’t expect to be tucked up in bed before 10pm.
Moving swiftly on from food to dance, Andalucia is the birth place of the flirty flamenco and lessons are readily available. Flamenco is known simply as a “baile” which translates into ‘dance’ but with ‘palmas’ thrown into the mix which is flamenco’s distinctive hand claps, clicks and stamps. As well as learning the dance itself, there’s also opportunity to learn about its history and see it in action with one of Seville’s many Flamenco tours.
If flamenco isn’t to your taste, maybe football is. Just a 20-minute walk from the centre you’ll find Seville FC’s football stadium, also known as Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. The stadium opened all the way back in 1958 in replacement of Seville’s old Estadio de Nervión, as it wasn’t big enough to fulfil the club’s ambitions. The stadium now holds a total capacity of 42,714 people.
It’s safe to say Seville isn’t short of things to do and sites to see, all for relatively cheap and some even free. So, if you’re looking for a weekend escape filled with everything from football to flamenco (and everything in between) grab your bags, book a flight and get away. After all it’s not every day you can climb up a giant tower of mushrooms.