A Weekend in Seville
To start off, we planned our first trip of 2018 in November 2017 and we decided to visit Seville for the second time.
As we were thinking about a short weekend in February, Seville was perfect for our expectations. We chose to stay one night at Palacio de Villapanes, which is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and two nights in the iconic Alfonso XIII which is part of the Luxury Collection. Sounds like a nice itinerary, no!
How to get to Seville?
We booked our plane tickets with Vueling in November from February 9th to 12th. Prices were low, and we only paid 160€ for two.
These days, the weather is difficult to predict as you well know, so we left Paris in the snow and after a short flight of 2 hours and 30 minutes and when we arrived in Seville it was a warm temperature of around 18°C!
Afterward, we took a taxi to get to the Palacio de Villapanés, that was the easiest way.
Exploring the Palacio de Villapanes and the Alfonso XIII Hotels
During our four-day stay in Seville, we spent one night at the Palacio de Villapanes and two nights at the Alfonso XIII.
The Palacio de Villapanes is located in a former 18th-century palace with a gorgeous, green and traditional Andalusian courtyard. It's so charming! The hotel is in a good location, a few steps from the historic district of Santa Cruz.
We loved how the hotel was designed, considering the spirit of the old palace that paired well with the modernity seen in the furniture. We stayed in room #201, a Grand Deluxe room, sized between 30 to 50m². It included a spacious bathroom with a bathtub designed by Stark, a big shower and all the facilities expected in a 5 star hotel. It was the kind of room where you want to stay for days.
The rooms that surrounded the central green courtyard are darker because they close the shades to keep the rooms cooler. But we could open them to have more natural light.
The hotel has an amazing rooftop with a view of other rooftops, the Giralda and some churches. It’s absolutely the perfect spot to catch some sunset shots. You can also relax and catch some rays in long chairs or cool off in the small pool there.
At the Alfonso XIII, we had a wonderful welcome and a huge surprise! They offered us the Grand Suite #247, a 79m² room or should we say apartment!
Built-in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, it reflects perfectly the Sevillian traditional architecture with its minarets, its gorgeous ceramic tiles that we can see all over the building and its huge Moorish arches. The courtyard is stunning, and it's pleasant to have a drink in this peaceful spot. For the hot days, you can take a dip in the swimming pool. It's incredible how you can feel the history of this place.
We were excited as always, to see our amazing apartment with its huge living room, bathroom, and bedroom! All the rooms have a city view plus the Giralda. We couldn’t ask for more!
Things to do in Seville
When it came to visiting the city, we explored the streets and the main landmarks such as Casa de Pilatos, the Alcazar, Plaza de Espana, the cathedral and the Giralda by foot as Seville is a small city. You can easily walk for hours.
We even visited Casa de Pilatos for the second time but this time with a camera. My wife and I went there around 4 pm, the sun was low, the light was perfect moreover, it was not crowded! A good tip if you plan some short weekends, try to also take that Friday off because usually there are fewer tourists, and use this specific day to visit a monument that is normally crowded.
In our case, we took the time to visit this small and gorgeous Palace and we took some nice photos that played with the light.
We also stumbled on the Jewish Museum of Seville. It was interesting to learn about how the life of the Spanish jewish community in Seville was not easy. In the beginning, they played an important role before they were either killed or chased out starting in the Middle Ages. In fact, the church and the monarchy tried to destroy all memory of the jewish people in that place. Only this tiny museum and a grave in a parking lot remains...no comment!
When we planned the visit of the Royal Alcazar by buying online the skip the line tickets the night before. We recommend that you do the same if you don't want to wait for hours in line.
The palace is a stunning building that features the most Arabic and Moorish design. If you have been to Morocco before, you could be less enchanted but the visit worth it! We spent a few hours visiting the Palace and the magnificent gardens, where some of the TV series Games of Thrones was set. Don't forget to go to the Grotto Gallery to have a great point of view of the Palace and the Giralda.
We couldn't leave the city without going to the iconic Plaza de Espana, which is probably one of the most beautiful squares in the world. This amazing square was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 like many other buildings in Seville. The architecture is a mix of Renaissance and Moorish architecture. Every arch represents a region of the country.
When we arrived, at the end of the afternoon, there were too many tourists to take nice pictures. Nevertheless, we decided to spend some time enjoying the beautiful light spreading over the square. We took advantage of our proximity to other landmarks to visit the Maria Luisa Park and its numerous buildings and ponds. We kept going until Plaza de America where there are the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla built in a Mudéjar style and the Archeological Museum of Seville. This square is very pretty and its architecture is too. If you have enough time stroll until there, it's totally worth it.
The only way to take pictures without anybody in the way is to wake up early, so that's what we did! At that time of day, Plaza de Espana was for us, and a few more motivated photographers and tourists.
Sunday morning I woke up at seven in the morning, that is early for me, to walk around the city alone and to take pictures with the morning light, my favorite time of day. For two hours, I went to different areas such as the Giralda, the city hall and old streets.
When we weren't visiting big squares, we spent our time walking in the old streets enjoying the architecture, passing through India Achieves, the Seville cathedral, the city hall, the Plaza Nueva, the Church of the Divine Saviour and much more.
At the Divine Saviour, we realized that it is surrounded by a lot of tapas bars and Sevillians. The place was overcrowded and noisy and we loved participating in these good vibes!
Don't miss a pretty spot close to the Cathedral called the Plaza del Cabildo. This place is quite surprising by its design. It's a semicircular building with decorated ceilings, a kind of hidden place from the crowd.
On Sunday the weather was so warm, every citizen was outside. We wandered to the Guadalquivir banks where all the Sevillians were relaxing. It's always pleasant to feel and live this kind of moment with the locals of a city.
Then we crossed the Isabel II bridge to go to the opposite bank, to explore the other side of the city. This side of the river is different, calmer and off the beaten track. We walked to the San Telmo bridge using small streets. From this bridge, you can have a nice view of the Golden Tower.
How DID WE manage to be Vegan in Seville?
Spain is not really suitable for vegetarians, except in Barcelona where we found so many delicious and inventive vegetarian/vegan restaurants. Unfortunately, in Seville, we couldn't say that!
We knew that there were a few restaurants in Seville - listed in HappyCow - but they were not close to our location. You know when you are on vacation and you spend all your day wandering in the city, you don't want to go far just for dinner. We spotted two nice restaurants close to our hotels.
We went to Habanita, located in the historic center, on a side street. They offer a large vegetarian and vegan, gluten and lactose-free menu. It's not a gastronomic restaurant but the food is good.
We also found a healthy restaurant named Milk Away near the city hall (they moved to a new address since our visit. They are now at Plaza de la Alfalfa). We were so happy to find them! We ate healthy sandwiches with gluten-free bread, an acaï bowl and had some great juices, all products are local and organic!
If you found some good vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Seville, do not hesitate to share them in the comments.
The time finally came to leave the gorgeous city. We left at four in the afternoon, our flight back to Paris was at 6 pm, and we were already thinking of our next trip. The next one was to Thailand the following month.
In collaboration with Palacio de Villapanés & Alfonso XIII