Seville was a city that captured my heart. From coming across flamenco in the streets and eating tapas, to discovering castles and parks that the kids could enjoy, it was a vibrant place. It worked as a city break with tots in tow, and we found an UBER child friendly hotel, that made our life a bit of a dream.
This castle is unmissable, and in my mind should be mentioned in the same breath as Alhambra, in nearby Granada. The building itself is a stunning mix of Arabic, Spanish, Moorish, Catholic and Renaissance influence. The colour, the glory, the mosaics, the shine and shimmer kept the kids moving from room to room. As adults, we had to pick our jaws up from the ground, it was so stunning.
If you or your kids are fans of Game of Thrones, then getting them to buy into the concept of the Alcázar is easy. It featured in the hit series as the fictional world of ‘Dorne’!
Seeking out the ‘underground swimming pool’ was another hit. The subterranean bathrooms of Maria Padilla are an eye-catching, sculptural space. Then there are the extensive gardens to run around, including a maze and multiple courtyards to explore. Little legs can dash about, their voices can be raised, and fun can be had. History, heritage and culture, with such beauty.
Find out more, including ticket prices, here. For lunch dine at any number of cafés and chains located around the Alcazar.
Plaza de España
Also unmissable is the staggeringly grand, Plaza de España. Created for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition, it is a bit of a showy masterpiece. But wow, seeing all the detail in real life is quite something. With bright ceramic tiles decorating several bridges, the kids ran back and forth over the canal. Or take a few minutes to sit in one of 48 shaded alcoves, each one highlighting an area of Spain, complete with a pictorial representation of the region and a useful map. Again, film buffs may recognise the setting as the backdrop from the Star Wars movie Attack of the Clones. Appropriate as it’s beauty is grand and otherworldly.
Maria Luisa Park
The Plaza is set within Maria Luisa Park. The Park and Square are free, as it’s a public space. The park provides a green sanctuary in a hot city. It’s the starting point for Seville’s popular carriage rides, if your family fancy one of those. It also features Plaza de America, another grand square that houses several museums. And for a couple of Euro you can also buy seed to feed the birds. Mr Husband thought this would be a fun idea, until he ended up absolutely covered in birds!
Another beautiful creation to admire, this time bang up to date. The Metropol Parasol is a modern creation, from 2011. Designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, it provides artistic shade to the good people of Seville.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea apparently, but I adored it. It’s organic-looking, flowing, natural, undulating, a curvaceous, honeycomb tree in the heart of the city. But that’s not all, for €3 per adult, you can catch an elevator and walk on top of the creation. The kids loved this. And it’s the most novel viewpoint I’ve experienced in a long time. We took the buggy with us, and the site is relatively child and buggy friendly. On top of the Parasol we found one of the most unique settings for a café in Europe. It was a really unique spot to give the boys some juice, and eat cake! A free postcard in the gift-shop for every visitor was another bonus.
Lunch in the Triana Neighbourhood
Seville has several colourful neighbourhoods, but a central option, right by the river, is Triana. We took in the Torre del Orro, the famous watch-tower, before crossing the bridge over to the pastel and bright buildings of Triana.
Lucky enough to explore on a Sunday, we realised this is a neighbourhood of riverside bars, restaurants and tapas, and we experienced a slice of local life, as Seville locals enjoyed a Sunday afternoon of meeting, eating and drinking. Choose between one of many tapas spots. We stopped at La Primera del Puente, where service was swift, atmosphere chilled, and prices good.
For a fairground attraction, Isla Magica is the ultimate kids’ dream. Based around a theme of Spain discovering the new world, it’s a riot of fairground rides and adventures for wee ones.
Where to Stay
For family luxury then consider Hotel Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento. The five star facilities and pools offer a resort vibe in the city. The pools were such a welcome relief for the kids at the end of a day’s sightseeing. The rooms are stylish and modern (the suites are to die for.)
The Barcelo summer bar-b-qs are a work of genius. Adults dine outdoors from a notably good bar-b-q menu, think grilled octopus alongside more traditional offerings. A ‘pirate’ approached our children and escorted them to a kids table where about 20 children dined together without a backward glance. I’ll write a separate post on this hotel, as it was particularly good, so more info to come soon.
We had a pass for the Hop On, Hop Off bus but it didn’t work especially well for us. At our first stop we waited 25 minutes for a bus in 37 degree heat – the kids counted ants on the pavement to pass the time. Our second stop worked smoothly. At our third attempt the bus had a crew break. We sat for 30 minutes in the heat before we abandoned ship. On our fourth attempt we just missed a bus, then waited 20 minutes before finally flagging down a passing cab. Maybe we were unlucky.
Taxis cost about €10 per trip, tip included, from our hotel to a central venue. A few Euro in town, then €10 home again. For a family of four with a buggy, this was relatively economical, as we only visited 2-3 sites a day.
Seville was part of a mini tour of Southern Spain. We drove to Newcastle (stopping at Almond Valley Heritage Centre near Edinburgh en route), flying to Malaga, spending three nights at the very relaxed Macdonald Dona Lola resort, before spending two nights in Granada, followed by two nights in Seville. We flew out with Ryanair but didn’t return with them due to staff strikes. Dreadful experience, but this won’t overshadow our memories of Spain.