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Posts tagged ‘monuments’

Seville | Holiday Tips

Have you ever been somewhere on holiday, and discovered something near the end of your stay that makes you say, “I wish I’d known that before I came on holiday”? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, as it happens to all of us, and however much planning we do will probably continue to do so. Nevertheless, here are some tips that will help you avoid at least some of those moments when you’re in Seville.

First off, when is the best time to come to Seville? Spring and autumn have the best weather – warm enough for shorts and T-shirts, but not oppressively hot. On the other hand low season (winter and summer) means cheap deals on flights and accommodation. Try to avoid Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the April Fair unless you’ve come to Seville specifically for those events; the city is extra crowded and hotel and apartment prices are often double the normal rate.

If you’re staying more than a couple of nights (which you need to to do Seville properly), and particularly if you’re a family or a group, consider renting an apartment rather than staying in a hotel. It gives you more freedom to come and go, as well as self-catering and laundry options, and often works out cheaper. These days there are lots to choose from in all size and price ranges.

Seville is a fabulous city for just wandering around, and if you’re in the centre (if not, the buses and taxis are cheap and easy to use) everything is within walking distance. It’s very easy to get lost in the mazes of small streets, though, so get a map from the tourist office. You could also try starting your stay with a walking tour, which will not only help you find your way around, but also give you an insight into the city’s past, and how it came to be what it is today. Principle must-see sights include the Reales Alcazares (royal palace), the Cathedral (there are often long queues, but you can avoid them by buying a combined entrance ticket at the El Salvador church), the Plaza España (González’s masterwork built for the 1929 Spanish-American exhibition) in Maria Luisa Park, and the modernist Metropol Parasols (the world’s largest wooden building).

Seville is famous as the birthplace of tapas, so get to know this typically Andalucian way of eating. It’s informal, and the bars are often busy, but don’t be put off or intimidated – really, the locals are friendly. If there’s no space, wait; people often go from bar to bar and don’t stay long in one place. Don’t order everything at once, just one or two tapas each to start, and order more as you need it. In some bars tapas are only available at the bar, so check before ordering. The bill is “la cuenta” and is usually paid at the end. There are also lots of tapas tours available if you want someone to show you the ropes, explain the food and give you helpful tips and suggestions. It’s also worthwhile visiting one of the local food markets to see how the locals shop.

Although the audiences are mainly tourists, the best way to see flamenco is still at a proper show – The Flamenco Dance Museum and the Casa de la Memoria are among the best. Book an early evening show and you’ll have plenty of time for tapas afterwards.

For the little things. It’s worth going somewhere high up for an overview (literally) of the city. The Giralda Tower and the Metropol Parasol are the best. Also try and catch the deep, dark blue of dusk over the Cathedral from Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. This is also the time when the swallows come out to hunt insects, and can be seen swooping around the tower and nearby streets. This is a magical time of day to be out and about.

Seville | The View from Triana Bridge

Every city has its impressive and/or beautiful monuments, the things that residents boast about, and visitors come to see, but often it’s the less spectacular sights and sounds that capture the heart and make a place feel like home.

0131_betis-blue-1-01view from our Betis Blue apartment

The Isabella II (Triana) Bridge in Seville is definitely one of those places. It connects the old city of Seville proper with the neighbourhood of Triana on the other side of the River Guadalquivir. Triana, whose origins go back to Roman times (it is thought to be named for the Roman Emperor Trajan, who was born nearby), has always been a neighbourhood outside the city walls (an arrabal in Spanish), a marginal community that was something of a refuge for “outsiders” such as the gypsies. It also sat astride the main road westward to the Aljarafe and the coast, which is why the Muslims built a castle on the site of what is now the Triana market, followed in 1171 by the famous “bridge of boats” that was the only crossing of the river until it was finally superseded by the Isabella II bridge in the mid 19th century. The castle, meanwhile, became first the headquarters of the Order of St George, giving it its modern name of Castillo de San Jorge, and then from 1481 to 1785 of the Spanish Inquisition. By about 1800 the castle was demolished, and became the site of the Triana market.

lovers locks-001lover’s locks on the Isabel bridge

With their working class and immigrant roots Trianeros have always regarded themselves a breed apart. Many of those who sailed on the voyages of discovery and trade to the New World came from there, as did many famous flamenco artistes and bullfighters, for whom this was the way out of the ghetto. During Semana Santa (Holy Week) the processions of El Cachorro, La O, La Esperenza, and La Estrella are among the most fervently followed in all Seville, and the annual July fair of Santa Ana, Seville’s second largest, has been held since the 13th century.

0131_betis-blue-1-apartment-14view of Triana from the Seville side of the river

The bridge itself, with its arches and iron rings, is highly distinctive, and if you’re walking across it you may notice that the railings are often festooned with padlocks, sometimes bearing the names of those who have chosen this way of “plighting their troth”. At the Triana end the Carmen chapel and the roof of the Triana market above Saint George’s castle are also instantly recognisable. It’s certainly worth taking the time to pause midway across the bridge and looking down the river at some of Seville’s other landmarks. On the left are the wharves of the old river port, once one of the busiest and most important in Europe, where the sailing ships moored to load and unload the riches of the Americas. Beyond are the Torre del Oro and the towers of the Plaza España, and on the right the unusual shape of the old Moorish dock.

Our Betis Blue apartments on the Triana river front are the perfect place to be a part of this special atmosphere.

Malaga | 10 Things to do in Malaga

Malaga airport is the busiest in southern Spain, and every year tens of thousands of visitors pass through it on the way to various holiday destinations in the region. Sadly, all too many still think of Malaga itself as a somewhat tacky Costa del Sol beach resort, and don’t stop to see what it has to offer. And there’s lots. So much, in fact, that despite some cheating in the form of two things for one item, our list of the top ten things to do doesn’t include the Cathedral, most of the city’s eclectic collection of museums, or the famous Botanical Gardens, although it does include a few more unusual and personal choices that you might not find in the tourist guides.

malaga view from gibalfaro

1. Get a View from the Top

Take a bus or a taxi up to the top of the Gibralfaro Hill, visit the fortress, and have a drink on the terrace of the Parador Hotel. Both are worth doing in themselves, but the real attraction is the stunning view across the city and its harbour. It’s a great way to start your stay. Afterwards walk back down the path that leads to…

2. The Alcazaba

The 11th century Moorish palace-fortress complex stands on a rocky outcrop at the edge of the old centre. Reminiscent in many ways of the Alhambra, though smaller, it has some opulent living quarters and beautiful formal garden courtyards, though it’s principal function as a castle is always obvious. Nearby are the well-preserved Roman amphitheatre (rediscovered by chance in 1951), the Palacio Aduanas and…

3. The Picasso Museum

Málaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, so a visit to the museum in the Palacio Buenavista is a must. Although it’s not by any means the biggest Picasso collection it does have some interesting works and special exhibitions in a gorgeous building complete with Phoenician ruins in the basement. While you’re in the centre of town you should also look in at the Carmen-Thyssen museum, and the house in Plaza Merced where Picasso was born. From Plaza Merced…

4. Walk the Main Drag

For a flavour of the historic centre walk down Calle Granada, past the church of St James and the Restaurant El Pimpi to the Plaza de la Constitución, and on down Calle Larios, perhaps the most elegant shopping street we’ve seen in Spain, to the entrance to the old harbour, now totally refurbished and known as…


5. Muelle Uno

muelle unoThe inner harbour has recently been redeveloped as a shopping and leisure area, with a marina and restaurants where you can watch the sun sparkling on the water while you eat. The old landmarks of the lighthouse and the fishermen’s chapel preserve some of the original character of the port. Stroll the Paseo El Palmoral de las Sorpresas to…

6. Málaga Park

Beside the harbour is the long shady promenade through Málaga Park, full of exotic plants, statues and one of my favourite “water features” anywhere. Although it’s right next to the main road it’s still a peaceful oasis and a lovely place to walk or just sit for a while. There are more gardens across the street with little hidden paths below the walls of the Alcazaba.

7. Atarazanas Market

No visit to a Spanish city would be complete without going to its main market. The Atarazanas has been refurbished in recent years, but has a history dating back to Moorish times, when it was the city’s shipyard (and on the waterfront). There are the usual great displays of fresh produce, a market bar with really fresh tapas, and more unusually, a big stained-glass window at one end.

8. The Automobile Museum

A little way out of the centre, but still easy to get to, is the Automobile Museum, regarded as one of the best of its kind in Europe. Housed in the splendid old tobacco factory building it boasts a large and immaculately maintained collection of vintage and modern cars, as well as fashion and art exhibitions. Definitely worth a visit even if you’re not an enthusiast.

9. Pedregalejo Fishing Village

Take a walk out along the palm-tree-lined seafront road from Malagueta Beach, past the rustically dilapidated Baños del Carmen, to the fishing village of Pedregalejo. Have a seafood lunch or dinner at one of the beachfront restaurants where they grill your food on a barbecue, and stroll along the wooden boardwalk beside the Mediterranean Sea.

10. Tapas

Malaga has a thriving and innovative tapas culture, with lots of great places to eat from small traditional tapas bars to beachfront chiringuitos to stylish world-class restaurants. If you find the whole tapas thing a bit daunting then born-and-bred Malagueño Victor Garrido can take you on a tour of the best traditional and gourmet tapas bars and show you how it’s done (in five languages!). We Love Malaga Tapas Tours

Malaga | Welcome to Veoapartment in Málaga

This week our new Málaga page goes live on our website, and it gives us great pleasure to be able to offer a selection of high quality holiday rental apartments in another of Andalucía’s beautiful and historic cities alongside Seville and Granada.

malaga view from gibralfaro

Málaga is the principal city of the Costa del Sol, one of the first parts of Spain to become popular with tourists from the north of Europe looking for sun, sea and sand, and though it still has all of these, and a buzzy cosmopolitan feel besides, there’s a lot more to the Málaga experience these days.

For those with a taste for history, there’s plenty in Málaga. The city was founded around 770 BC by the Phoenicians (a piece of their city wall can be seen in the basement of the Picasso Museum), passed to the Romans (the Roman theatre was rediscovered by accident in 1951), and later to the Moors, who were here from 711 to 1487, and have understandably left a considerable mark on the old city, notably the Alcazaba palace-fortress and the Gibralfaro castle on the hill above. To the Christian period belong the Cathedral, the Bullring, the harbour, and much of the general appearance of the old city, with an important period of civic development in the late 19th and early 20th century that included the main shopping street (Calle Larios), Parque Málaga, and parts of the harbour.

Although the western part of the city and a small area on the east side of the harbour have some high rise blocks developed during the first tourism boom of the sixties and seventies, Málaga is an amazingly pretty city, surrounded by mountains that come down to the sea, seafront promenades with avenues of palm trees, beautiful gardens, grand squares, and picturesque narrow streets.

malaga port

For a view of the whole city take a bus up to the Gibralfaro and have a drink on the terrace of the Parador Hotel. For culture, go to the Picasso Museum (Picasso was born in Málaga), the Carmen-Thyssen Museum and the Contemporary Arts Centre. For shopping go to Calle Larios, Atarazanas Food Market, or the new Muelle Uno development on the harbour. Take a walk along the seafront to the fishing village of Pedregalejo. Eat at some of our recommended restaurants and tapas bars.

And, of course, stay in one of our well equipped and perfectly located holiday apartments.

Seville | Our New Information Pages

We’ve been working hard to create some informative and interesting pages on our website about what to see and do in Seville. You can find descriptions of the different barrios (neighbourhoods) with maps, photos and videos, as well as things to do and where to eat. We have also included a section on the additional services we offer you at veoapartment.

We hope this will help you to enjoy your stay in Seville and would love to hear your feedback. Did you find them useful? Is there anything else you’d like us to add?

Seville Information Pages