Madrid Atocha to Sevilla Santa Justa
Travel Time: 3h
Total per person: €70,40
We woke up at 6am to catch the train to Sevilla. The best part about our Airbnb in Madrid was that it is located 10 minutes’ walking distance from the train station! It was fairly long train ride so we got plenty of rest on the train and it was non-stop so we still managed to arrive in Sevilla before people started their day.
2 nights in Sevilla
Calle Torneo 77
Seville, Andalucía Spain 41002
Total: $296 (for 3 people)
Total per person: $98.67
Our Airbnb was located right by Plaza de Armas so it was easy to get to by bus. Single rides for buses are only €1,40 (cash only) and to get to our Airbnb, we just needed to take Bus 21 to the final stop, which took about 45 minutes. Our host let us in early to drop our things off so that we could enjoy our day without carrying our luggage around. Sevilla was to be our base for the next two days (our second day would be a day trip to Córdoba.
As soon as we dropped our things off, we walked alongside Guadalquivir River (which was a nice stroll and we saw people kayaking and riding boats on the river) to our first stop of the day: Real Alcázar. It is roughly a 20-minute walk from where we were staying and I had booked tickets in advance. If there is something I learned about western Europe, it is to book all tickets to major attractions in advance. Entrance is free on Mondays during various specified time frames.
Real Alcázar Entrance Fee: €10,50
You can purchase tickets online in advance here
Tidbit: For those who are Game of Thrones fans, Real Alcázar is definitely a must-visit. An iconic Moorish-Renaissance royal palace, it represents the kingdom of Dorne, only one of the Seven Kingdoms to retain its independence, on the famous show.
Real Alcázar is the oldest royal palace in Europe still in use and is considered one of the beautiful palaces in all of Spain. When the moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula, they introduced a style of medieval Iberian architecture influenced by Moorish workmanship (Mudéjar). Real Alcázar is regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of this type of architecture within the Iberian Peninsula.
The palace is fairly large and there are a few outdoor gardens (they provide you with a map) with a peacock roaming around the grounds. The weather was absolutely perfect at this point (it was incredibly cold in the morning when we were taking the train to Sevilla) and with the sun shining brightly, the gardens just looked too unreal with its perfection. Sevilla is also known for its orange trees – the oranges are actually quite bitter but are supposed to be perfect for orange marmalade. I snuck an orange just to taste but be careful about it!
After the palace, we decided to grab lunch at Mercado Lonja Del Barranco. Located by the river, it’s a pretty large marketplace – with plenty of outdoor seating – with various vendors selling drinks, desserts, food, and ice cream. You can find the available vendors here. One of the dishes I wanted to try in Sevilla was salmorejo, a thick, smooth Andalucian chilled soup traditionally made of tomato. There was a stall selling salmorejo in various flavors though! I ended up getting a sampler set and got to try it the original along with black squid ink, sweetcorn, and avocado and plankton topped with a variety of things like jamón and chopped boiled egg on top. We also ordered some croquetas, pimientos with fried quail eggs, and mushrooms. For dessert, I had to get helado since I am all about ice cream and I managed to try some interesting flavors: Crema catalana and fresa natural. Crema catalana tastes like a crème brûlée and fresa natural was fresh strawberry. With all the violets in bloom, it made for quite the pretty picture.
Catedral de Sevilla Entrance Fee: €8 (includes access to La Giralda)
Once we finished our lunch, we headed back over to Catedral de Sevilla. It is located right next to the palace and is the largest Gothic building in Europe built in the late 15th century. The cathedral has over 40 chapels and is where Christopher Columbus is buried.
The best part about the cathedral is La Giralda. One of the few remains of the site’s original mosque (the mosque was torn down in 1402), it is among one of the world’s longest-surviving minarets from the 12th century of the Almohad Dynasty. Entrance to the bell tower was included in the ticket and you can climb up the minaret for a sweeping view of the city! You can get an amazing panorama of Sevilla from the top of the tower and it is seriously worth the stop – one of the most memorable city views in Spain.
When we were in Sevilla, it was actually the week of La Feria de Abril. Set two weeks after Holy Week, it’s a week-long celebration where women dress up in typical flamenco-type dresses and there is a midday parade of horses and carriages (also known as paseo de caballos)! It brings in even more color into the already vibrant city as the women wear spectacular gowns and flowers are everywhere. During this April Fair, there are these tents called casetas, each of which are set up differently and access is on an invite-only basis. They literally party all night long for an entire week! There are casetas that are open for tourists who don’t have connections to the private ones as those are hosted and organized by the wealthy families of the city.
The best part about Europe in the spring is that the sun doesn’t set until 21:00! We decided to visit Parque de María Luisa after the cathedral to take advantage of this never-setting sun! It is the most notable city park with orange trees (which you can definitely get away with stealing a few) that stretches along the river. As it serves as a botanical garden, there are a wide variety of flowers and birds all throughout the park. It was gorgeous during the spring time with all the flowers in bloom and was quite the reprieve from all the tourist activities we did earlier during the day.
Inside the park is Plaza de España, which offers one of the most picturesque panoramas in the city. There is a giant, neo-Moorish building and an expansive mosaic patio with a small canal. In the center is a large fountain and four footbridges. The tiled alcoves surrounding the plaza are labelled with the different cities all around Spain. You can also rent little boats to row around the canal as well.
At this point it was nearing dinner time so we decided to go to El Rinconcillo, the oldest restaurant in Sevilla. You can view the menu here; tapas are standing room only. We got the seafood paella which is made to order and it was really delicious. It’s a very old-school type of ambience so it felt a lot more relaxing in comparison to our dinner experience the following night at Espacio Eslava (we spent the day in Córdoba but had dinner back in Sevilla).
Another dinner option is Espacio Eslava. It’s a very popular tapas-style restaurant so it’s better to get there earlier than later. A few dishes that were highly recommended that I personally enjoyed were the cigar, which was a warm brie pastry with cuttlefish and algae, and the egg, which was a slow-cooked egg yolk on boletus soufflé with caramelised wine sauce. Their sangrias are also amazing. The menu can be found here.
Our last stop of the day was Metropol Parasol. It is a small plaza that looks like a giant mushroom and has a bar with outdoor seating that stays open past midnight and a great outdoor hangout. Once we had our final drink, we headed back to our Airbnb since we had to wake up early the next day for our day trip to Córdoba.
OTHER TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Casa Palacio de Las Dueñas
- Built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences
- Ticket price: €8
- Address: Calle Dueñas, 5, 41003 Sevilla
- Casa de Pilatos
- Duke’s palace covered in bougainvillea
- Ticket price: €8
- Barrio Santa Cruz: Jewish quarter prior to Spanish Inquisition