Skip to content

Posts from the ‘walking tours’ Category

Seville | Noche en Blanco (sleepless night) 2015

noche-blanco-sevilla

“Noches en blanco”, literally meaning Nights in White, but here used colloquially to mean sleepless nights, have become increasingly popular around Spain in recent years, including here in Seville, where the fourth annual Noche en Blanco event will be held on the evening of Friday, October 2, starting around 8 pm and continuing into the small hours of the morning. It’s organised by the Association Sevillasemueve in conjunction with many of the city’s monuments, museums and theatres, as well as tour companies and guides, with the purpose of promoting Seville’s rich cultural life to as wide an audience as possible.

The night visits and tours allow you to see monuments and museums in a different light (both literally and figuratively), and some will give access to parts of buildings normally closed to the public. Among this year’s top attractions are guided tours of the Cathedral, Los Venerables, the Archives of the Indies, the Antiquarium, Saint George’s Castle (headquarters of the Inquisition), and the Triana ceramics centre and museum, as well as exhibitions at the Casa de Murillo, Casa de la Provincia, Contemporary Arts Centre and Santa Ines Monastery.

noche blanco flamenco

Musical events include flamenco at the Casa de la Memoria and Casa del Flamenco, and a rock concert at the Mudejar Museum.

If you want to know more about Seville there’s a wide range of themed walking tours through the night time streets that will introduce you to aspects of the city you didn’t know existed.

The full programme of events can be found here.

If you’re coming to Seville on holiday, renting one of our apartments will give you the flexibility to stay out as late as you like. Have a good weekend.

Seville | City of Opera

don juan

Statue of Don Juan

Did you know that there are more operas set in Seville than in any other city in Europe? As well as a number of minor works, three great stories have been the source of a huge number of operas (and books and plays, too). Who hasn’t heard of Don Juan (Don Giovanni), Figaro (the Barber of Seville), or Carmen, the gypsy girl who works at the Royal Tobacco Factory? The stories and the characters are timeless, and resonate through the ages, and even today new works based on them, and their themes of freedom, revenge, love and jealousy continue to be written. The great age of opera composition, however, was the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when some of the most famous works, such as those of Rossini and Mozart were written. By this time the “Golden Age” of Seville was already over, and these operas were set in a city that had become distant from the centres of cosmopolitan culture in Paris and Vienna, almost on the edge of the world, but still remembered for the time when it was the richest city in Europe. It was consequently a great stage, partly mythical, partly real, on which grand dramas could be played out.

1-photo 4 (2)

Commemorative Plaque in Plaza Doña Elvira

Seville today still has something of the same character. On the one hand it’s a modern, working city, a place where people live and work, but as you stroll around the narrow streets and pretty squares of the historic centre it’s another place, too, a place where the stories of the past linger on. Beautiful and historic, city of gardens and blue skies, dreaming palaces and rowdy taverns, bustling gateway to the new world, full of wealth and poverty, this Seville has captured the artistic and romantic imagination through the ages.

1-photo 4

The Prison of the Royal Tobacco Factory

To be sure, you don’t need to have a great knowledge of opera, or even to have actually watched any of the operas that are set here, to follow in the footsteps of legendary characters. As you walk around Seville you may have noticed brass plaques bearing the legend “Seville city of opera” set into the pavement, and white china “plates” with operatic information on them placed nearby. These are part of a local initiative to introduce visitors to the magic of Seville by means of self-guided tours around the city’s operatic locations.

1-photo 1-001

White China Information Plaque 

For me, Seville is always an uncompleted work of the imagination, stretching into both the past and the future, and walking these routes is less about the operas themselves than about thinking yourself into the life and times of these characters from Seville’s mythic past. The itineraries can be found online here, together with background information about the key operas and places. For some light and entertaining operatic performances, Sevilla de Opera  have a venue in the Arenal Market, with a show of excerpts from popular operas.

But don’t take it all too far. Unlike opera characters, who often find themselves in uncomfortable situations, you can retire at the end of the day to one of our very comfortable apartments without leaving the picturesque streets of our historic city.

Seville | City Walking Tours

santa cruz detail

There can be few experiences in life that offer greater excitement than the thrill of arriving in a new city, especially if you’re not a seasoned traveller. But how do you go about getting the most out of your stay? What should you see and do? Where are the best places to eat? The questions are particularly important if you have a limited budget of time and/or money. You can (indeed should) do some research before you leave, of course, and this will certainly tell you something about the principal monuments and museums, and these days something about the best restaurants and eateries too. One drawback with reviews on travel sites (even the most respected ones) is that most of them will have been written by other visitors who have only experienced a limited selection of what a city has to offer, or (worst-case scenario, but it happens) by the proprietor’s friends. Reading between the lines will give you some ideas, and even some sure-fire must-sees, but they’re less likely to give you a real insight into how a place works, its culture, and how it connects to its own past.

plaza espana detailOne popular and often useful way of getting some background is by way of some sort of guided tour. These days tours come in all shapes and sizes; food tours, history tours, cultural tours, tours on foot, tours by bike, and sightseeing buses and boats. You may be in a small group, or a coachload-size group, with a guide who speaks perfect English, or one that barely speaks any English at all.

With all these options, how do you choose a tour that’s right for you, and just as importantly, avoid some of the pitfalls, at a price that won’t break the bank? Again, unless you’re happy to take pot luck, you’ll need to do a little research. If you have a specialist interest (food and flamenco tours are very popular), or particularly enjoy walking or cycling, for example, this will help to narrow things down; check reviews, and the guide/operator’s information page – is it well written, do they sound knowledgeable, and can you choose the time or the theme of your tour? Finally, email your likely prospects for more information, prices etc. How quickly and helpfully they respond is likely to be a good guide to how they conduct their tours.

Some Seville walking tours we recommend are: ReallyDiscover,  SevilleConciergeMarta Casals (Toursevilla)Sevilla Walking Tours and SevillaLowCost

You can find more information about these and other tour options on our website.