by Adam Turner
If you’re looking for a Spanish city where you can drink cocktails out of jam jars, and party all night until the rubber on the souls on your Dr Martens melt into the dancefloor…I probably wouldn’t recommend Seville. Spain’s fourth largest city isn’t as cosmopolitan or vibrant as the likes of Barcelona or Madrid just yet. However, if you look hard enough you’ll find some absolute gems and I was lucky enough to be shown some of them by a young, eccentric local musician.
Where to drink
Head down to Alameda de Hercules (Alameda) to drink a few beers and watch local musicians practice flamenco. My regular haunt was Bulebar because the beer is cheap (€1.30 for a small beer) and the open terrace looks out over the gorgeous, sprawling tree-scattered plaza, which looks a bit like Barcelona’s hipster HQ, Ramba Raval.
Nightlife during the week in Seville is relatively quiet – barring the occasional rowdy Erasmus bar or cheesy international club. However, there is one place worth checking out. Bicicleteria is a small, smoky bohemian bar where you’ll find young creative types perched on flea market furniture tooting on cigarettes (amongst other things). The vibe here is chilled and they play good indie rock music (think The Clash, The Beatles and Tame Impala), a rarity in Seville. To enter this former bike shop, you’ll have to bang on the shutter and wait outside until the doorman deems you’ve waited long enough. A caña (small beer) at Bicicleteria is only €1 and a glass of wine around €2.50.
Bizarrely, Bicicleteria doesn’t open on a Friday or Saturday, so if you want somewhere a bit livelier on a weekend then head to Kafka – a small, dark and dingy underground club – for techno, deep-house, and minimal beats.
Where to eat
Swing by Pitacasso for a tasty, healthy and inexpensive lunch. It’s also a great place to sit and watch locals haggle with traders for fresh food at the old, rustic meat and fish market across the way. Sink a beer and graze on a delicious falafel pita for less than €5. The hummus rosa (hummus with beetroot) here is something that dreams are made of.
If you’re tired, depleted and hungry after a long day traipsing around Seville in the sweltering heat then check out Al Solito Posto for the best pizza in Seville. On a Tuesday it’s all you can eat for €5, just make sure you buy a drink or the owner will be a tad upset.
For reasonably priced tapas (€2-4 a dish), check out the tiny pit stop that is Bar Alfalfa. Make sure you try their delicious bruschetta with jamon, and salmorejo, a local thick soup that tastes a bit like gazpacho. The staff are super-friendly and the atmosphere always buzzing. They also have some great vegetarian options like the spinach salad, as well as gluten-free bread.
Postiguillo, near the Cathedral, is also worth a visit if you’re looking for a tapas restaurant that looks and feels a bit more upmarket but doesn’t cost the earth. I’d recommend the pork cheeks (€2.80) with the chickpea and spinach dish (€2.80). Four of five tapas dishes between two should suffice and you can wash down your meal with a large jug of homemade sangria for just €10.
What to do
Probably the only tourist hotspot I’d pay to visit in Seville is the Alcázar – a striking Moorish-style palace with the most idyllic gardens you’ll ever see. I’m no Alan Titmarch, but I was blown away by the beautiful, vibrant flowers and ballsy peacocks that parole the walkways. If you’re a fantasy fan, you might know it better as Dorne from Game of Thrones. On a Monday between 6-7pm it’s free, but at other times it’s €9.50, with a €2 discount if you can get your hands on a student card.
If you happen to be in Seville on a Sunday, there’s a free small jazz concert on at Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, which is located around a ten-minute walk from Plaza de Armas (the main bus station). Here you can bask in the sun on the soft grass and sit guzzling cañas (€1.50), eating bravas (€3.50) and listening to sweet sounding jazz until you feel like an extra in a Woody Allen film. It’s open from 2-5.30pm and is definitely worth the short walk.
Where to stay
La Banda is the only place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere with a laidback vibe and relatively cheap (dorms range from €16-25 per night). The décor is relaxed – think upcycled furniture and abstract artwork – the dorms are immaculately clean, and the staff are incredibly affable.
The biggest pull for me when booking this place was the rooftop bar and family dinners, which cost just €5. The meals are wonderful, usually chicken in a tasty sauce with rice and a salad, and you can unwind with a cocktail, chat to inspiring people from around the world, whilst looking out over Seville’s breathtaking Gothic Cathedral. Oh, and the breakfast here is free!
To find out more about Seville, see visitasevilla.es