Sevilla Things to Do Tips by fairy_dust
Sevilla Things to Do: 1,009 reviews and 1,961 photos
Nathan and I being silly at the feria (2007)
I had wanted to experience the April Fair for years and when I went to Seville in spring of 2007, I finally did! The magic appeared with the lighting of the portada (opening gate) at midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Then, for the rest of the week, I wore a flamenco dress, drank rebujito (manzanilla sherry mixed with 7-up), danced sevillanas, watched horse-drawn carriages going back and forth in the fairground streets, and had a great time. I even met up with a VTer (Spanishguy) and partied in his friend's caseta (entertainment tent) on two evenings. Every day at the feria brought new surprises, and it ended up being one of my favorite weeks of my stay in Seville.
When I returned to Seville in 2014, I definitely wanted to go to the feria again. And this time, I was lucky enough to get invited into several private casetas even if I didn't know anyone beforehand. I realized it totally pays off to know how to dance sevillanas and rumbas - members of the casetas saw me dancing outside and invited me in. And again, I spent the week in a flamenco dress, eating tapas and drinking rebujito, and dancing sevillanas and rumbas. ¡Olé!
Directions: The fairgrounds are in the Los Remedios district, across the river close to Triana. And during feria week, you'll see crowds of people in flamenco costume walking over to the grounds during the day so just follow along.
Where they have the show
This is a small museum hidden in the Barrio Santa Cruz. It is run by the legendary flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos, and it is an interactive museum - not just objects and artwork, but also video and audio presentations about the history of flamenco, descriptions of styles/palos, etc (with translations in many different languages if you don't speak Spanish). It also includes a small school where you can take dance classes (mostly for beginners), and there are also shows. There is a gift shop where you can buy flamenco-related souvenirs, books, as well as dance shoes (the brand I saw there was Begoña Cervera).
The entry fee for the museum is 10 Euros for the general public, 8 Euros for students and seniors, and 6 Euros for children. You can either buy a ticket in advance or pay at the door. It is open 10am-7pm every day.
Address: Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos 3
Directions: Close to Plaza del Salvador.
Phone: +34 954 34 03 11
Plaza by day (2007)
This is truly a beauty - made of tiles, mosaic, etc, it's colourful in the daytime and glows golden at night. I was most impressed by the benches - decorated to represent every province in Spain, and the tile bridges. Unfortunately, there was no water under them in 2007 (don't know why, in every postcard I've seen, there was!) but they were quite beautiful. In 2014, there was water under the bridges, and people could rent rowboats.
Address: Parque de María Luisa
Directions: East bank of the Guadalquivir, south of the Cathedral
The show in the big room
If you're looking for a free flamenco show, La Carboneria is a good place to go. The show usually starts at around 10 or 11 pm and though most of the tourists leave when the show is over, the locals often stick around and jam. Before midnight, the place is very crowded and noisy (the flamenco artists often have to go "ssshhhhh" loudly to get the crowds to pay attention), and the crowd is mostly tourists. But late at night, the locals take over.
I usually preferred the late-night jam sessions, you never know what to expect and this flamenco is considered more "pure" than the tablaos and shows. It's improvised, random, and people just play/sing/dance as they feel inspired. Sometimes, I'd see a group of young guys knocking out a flamenco beat on a wooden table and singing - you'll never see that in a tablao. Whenever the music was particularly good, I'd get up and dance, and even the gitanos would compliment me.
Address: Calle Levies
Directions: The red door on Calle Levies.
Felipe Mato and Luna (2007)
If you want to see a flamenco show, there are many possibilities, but I highly recommend the shows at Casa de la Memoria. They have a different show every night and it's always worth seeing. Mostly young artists (guitarist, singer, dancers) and many of them are well-known in the flamenco community - teachers, prize winners, etc.
It's a small venue and very intimate, so it's best to reserve a ticket in advance (these shows often sell out). And if you ever get a chance to see Felipe Mato dance at the Casa de la Memoria, take the chance - he is one of the best dancers I've ever seen. And I'm not just saying that because he was one of my teachers at the flamenco school. When he dances, with his long hair dripping with sweat and his feet stamping out zapateados so fast and strong that I half-expect to see smoke rising from his feet, he has a look of absolute passion on his face that is the mark of a true dancer.
Note to people who know this venue but haven't been there in the last few years - it has changed locations (as you can see by comparing the background in my photos from 2007 and 2014). It used to be at Ximenez de Enciso, but is now on Cuna. The old place is now La Casa del Flamenco, but I haven't seen their shows.
Address: Calle Cuna, 6
This is a huge park close to the Plaza de Espana, and filled with trees, hills, fountains, statues, gazebos, etc. There is also a duck pond with all sorts of water birds there (my favourites were the swans). It's a great place to chill out and relax. Also, sometimes there are markets and events going on there - I went to a Medieval-themed market in the park once in 2007.
Directions: Next to the Plaza de España.
Triana across the river
The Triana district is across the river, and the people who live there have such a strong pride for their neighbourhood that some say that it's like a town of its own rather than just a district in Seville. Historically, it was the gypsy/working-class neighbourhood (though it's much more modern and expensive to live in now), and many famous bullfighters, singers, and flamenco dancers are from Triana. The neighbourhood itself is colourful and great for an afternoon stroll.
There are a lot of beautiful churches, as well as cafes, flamenco bars, shops, etc. The Triana bridge is one of the most famous icons of Sevilla, and I think the area by the river (Calle Betis) is one of the most beautiful parts of Seville.
Directions: right bank of the Guadalquivir
If you want to see a flamenco show, Casa Carmen is a good place to go. Though I myself prefer Casa de la Memoria, this one is worth seeing too. I went to see one show there, and it was a little bigger than Casa de la Memoria but still small and intimate. No two shows are the same - every night has different artists. We had to reserve tickets in advance because it sells out quickly. You can also order a drink there, but it can be expensive.
The Alameda is a big street with a pedestrian area in the middle, and lots of bars and restaurants lining it. The police station is also there. When I was in Seville, there was construction work so it didn't look as nice as it normally does, but in the evening that area is quite popular with the punk/goth/alternative crowd. I was told that it used to be the seedy part of town and there was a lot of prostitution going on there, but apparently it's been cleaned up.
Night time in the Barrio Santa Cruz
This is one of the most touristy parts of Seville, but it's definitely worth a visit. It's the old part of town, with a lot of narrow winding cobblestone streets, ancient buildings, beautiful churches, etc. There are also a lot of restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops here. My favorite flamenco bar - La Carboneria - is in the Barrio Santa Cruz. My favorite flamenco show venue - Casa de la Memoria - is there too. It's a very charming neighbourhood, even if it seems like a maze sometimes! (definitely bring a map - it's easy to get lost here!)
Directions: From the Alcazar main entrance make a right turn. Right at Plaza de la Alianza, start exploring
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