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Posts tagged ‘miradores’

Miradores of Seville

This week’s post is by guest blogger Peter Tatford,
former Londoner and long-term Seville resident, aka Seville Concierge

Okay, it’s true that Seville doesn’t have miradores (lookout points) in the sense that Granada has them, up on the hillside facing the Alhambra, but if you want a bird’s eye view of the city, and most of us do, there are several vantage points you can head for that take you up and out of the maze of narrow streets.

The first, and it has to be admitted, most obvious, is the Giralda tower, alongside the Cathedral in the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. Built in the 12th century as the minaret of the Moorish Grand Mosque, it’s original purpose was not for vision, but for sound – allowing the voice of the muezzin to carry across the city unobstructed by taller buildings. This is also the reason why the top of the tower is reached by means of a ramp, rather than stairs; climbing the tower five times a day in Seville’s summer heat was too demanding, and the ramp allowed the muezzin to ride up on his donkey. From the top you can see a fabulous roofscape of the Barrio Santa Cruz (it’s a whole other world up there, invisible from ground level), and of the Alcázar Palace and gardens.

View from the Metropol Parasol, Seville

Stop number two is the Espacio Metropol Parasol, the futuristic mushroom-shaped structure in the Plaza de la Encarnación. Completed just two years ago, it features not only the rooftop bar and walkway, but also the Antiquarium Museum, and one of the city’s principal provisions markets. Great views of the Macarena and San Vicente, and towards the river and la Cartuja.

Moving on to stop number three we arrive at the Torre de Los Perdigones, near the Macarena end of the Barqueta Bridge (the one that looks like a strange musical instrument). The original purpose of the tower was the making of lead shot, but it’s now been converted to house a camera oscura and an external viewing platform that’s a bit of a challenge for anyone with vertigo. Worth the trip, though, for the unusual views of the Expo ’92 site, the Alameda, and the old walls.

Finally, although not as tall, the Torre del Oro offers not only an excellent vantage point overlooking Triana and the river  (its original function), but also an unusually clear view of the upper parts of the front of the Cathedral.

If you’re more adventurous, or just have more time, you could head out across the river to the Aljarafe, specifically to Camas, where you can look right across the valley from the hilltops, a view that visitors don’t often get to see.

In addition there are a number of rooftop bars that give good views of the city (personal favourites are at the Fontecruz and the Hotel Inglaterra), so take advantage of the one at your hotel, or the terrace of your apartment.

Seville will shortly acquire a new lookout at the top of the Torre Cajasol. This will have the double advantage of being the highest in Seville, and also the only one which doesn’t have the tower itself as a feature of the view. Enjoy!

Granada | Miradors in the Albaicín

[view from San Nicolás mirador]

If you’re in Granada, the main reason is probably that you’ve come to see the Alhambra. You may already have been inside the complex, wandered around the palaces and gardens, and climbed the towers of the fortifications, or you may still have that pleasure to come. Either way, it’s worth the effort of making your way up into the Albaicín, the old Moorish quarter of the city that faces the Alhambra across the deep, narrow valley of the River Darro, for a totally different point of view of this amazing fortress.
There are a number of miradors (lookout or vantage points) where you can get the best views, of which the best known is the Mirador San Nicholas. From here, you can see exactly why the fortress was considered impregnable. You can also see the the slightly-out-of-place Palace of Carlos V, and the tiny figures of myriad tourists on the walls and towers. Just below the mirador is a little terrace bar and restaurant called the Huerto de Juan Ranas, where you can enjoy the sight with a long, cool, if slightly pricey, drink. A bit further up, but with the advantage of being directly accessible by the little minibuses that serve the Albaicín, is the Mirador San Cristobal.

Walking up the hill into the Albaicín is quite strenuous, and the hillside faces south, so the best times to do it, especially in summer, are the early morning or the evening. But whenever you go, be sure to wear comfy shoes! You can find several good tapas bars on the way up. Our favourites are Mesón el Yunque in Plaza San Miguel Bajo and Bar Aliatar in the Plaza Aliatar. If you want to splash out then the Carmen Mirador de Aixa in Carril de San Agustín offers exquisite views and excellent food.

After dark the walls of the Alhambra are spectacularly lit up and it’s definitely worth going up a second time, though you may want to take a taxi back down afterwards rather than braving the steep narrow streets, which can be tricky to navigate even in daylight.