In the summer of 2016 I decided to go on adventure with two friends and discover Seville. We did a road trip in my car from Porto (Portugal) to Spain, more than 800 km, stopping also in Algarve on our way back, in the south of Portugal.
Facts about the city:
When you visit Seville, you will undoubtedly go out for tapas. These small, tasty dishes, now found all over the world, originated in Sevilla.
Christopher Columbus is buried here, in Sevilla’s mighty Gothic cathedral, that variously described as either the third, second or biggest cathedral in the world. After Columbus died in 1506, his remains were buried first in Valladolid, then taken to Sevilla; thence to the Dominican Republic, and finally Havana, from where they were returned to Seville after Cuban independence in 1898.
Seville is a monumental film city and several known movies were shot here: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Lawrence of Arabia, Kingdom of Heaven, Game of Thrones, etc.
In August, completely out of the blue, I decided last minute to go to Seville (Spain) in my car. I went with my best friend Soraya and with Laura, our Italian friend. I drove for 8 hours. I’ve never driven that much in my life. The trip went really well, with no problems what so ever! We sang musics on the radio, we shared our love adventures… When we got to Seville it was passed midnight and we went straight to the hostel.
We stayed in Urban Sevilla and paid 69€ for two nights in a triple room, so around 11€ per person, per night. It was very well located, right in the city center, and it had a nice internal patio, typical from this region of Andaluzia. The weird part was that we never saw anyone from the hostel. We just picked up and dropped the keys from a box.
We started by visiting Torre del Oro. It’s a military watchtower next to Guadalquivir river. Constructed in the first third of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river.
Then we visited the beautiful Seville Cathedral. It’s the biggest one in Spain and third one worldwide. Since the world’s two largest churches are not the seats of bishops Seville Cathedral is still the largest cathedral in the world. The bodies of Cristóvão Colombo and Juan de Cervantes lay inside.
Next to the Cathedral we can see the big tower called Giralda. It was originally built as a minaret during the Moorish period. The tower of 104.1 m remains one of the most important symbols of the city, as it has been since medieval times.
After that we went to the Arabic palaces complex – Reales Alcázares. It’s very similar to Alhambra, in Granada, but smaller. These palaces are very beautiful, with Arabic walls, water mirrors and amazing gardens. This place was originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings and it is now one of the most beautiful monuments in Spain, being regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of Mudéjar architecture found on the Iberian Peninsula. Some episodes of Game of Thrones were shot here.
We decided to have lunch in a restaurant located in the typical neighborhood of Sta. Cruz. It was sooo hot that day – 47ºC! I was not used to these temperatures and even though I was constantly drinking water, I started to feel really weak. I was playing strong and didn’t say anything to them but when I went to the toilets I had a meltdown and almost fainted. I was scared because I couldn’t see and I was not coming back to normal. I had to rest for half an hour and only then I was OK enough to go back to the hostel and rest for a bit.
Later that afternoon we went to Plaza de España, a complex of buildings, fountains, bridges and a lake with small boats. Its inside Parque Maria Luísa. It was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of the Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival styles of Spanish architecture. Even at 9pm was still 38 degrees! That places is very nice.
We went to have dinner in a pizza place and then we saw a live show of flamenco in Carboneria, a typical non-touristic place. I loved it! It’s really an energetic dance. Flamenco includes singing, guitar playing, dance, vocalizations, hand clapping and finger snapping. In 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The next day we had breakfast in the cafe in front of the hostel and we hit the road. When we left, we decided last minute to stop in Algarve, in the south of Portugal. The Algarve is Portugal’s most popular holiday destination due to the clean beaches (approximately 200 km of them), the cool, unpolluted water, and the facts that it is relatively cheap, very safe and overall welcoming. English is spoken at most resorts.
The entire region is graced with over 100 different beaches. Of those 100, 88 beaches are designated as blue flag beaches. So we stopped in Monte Gordo, bought a bikini in one of those stalls near the beach and went to take a nice swim. It was the best dive of my LIFE!
I had only been in Algarve once and I didn’t remember how amazing and warm the water is down there. It was not something planned ahead, so it felt even nicer! After that we went back to the road and arrived home at night. It was totally worth the ride!