Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘shopping’

Seville | El Centro

Often overlooked for the more obvious tourist neighbourhoods around the Cathedral, El Centro, the commercial hub and main shopping area of Seville, has a surprising amount to offer the visitor. It starts with the shopping, of course. Seville’s two main shopping streets, Sierpes and Tetuan-Velazquez run parallel from La Campana (the bell) to Plaza San Francisco and Plaza Nueva. They tend to be dominated by international names these days, but Sierpes still has a number of “Sevillano” shops like Juan Foronda, where you can pick up a nice handmade fan or shawl, and SohoBenita around the Metropol Parasol is the up and coming area for trendy boutiques. At weekends browse the street markets in Plaza del Duque or Plaza de la Magdalena. And of course there are always lots of shoe shops.

1-photo 1 (4)

The limits of El Centro are set in a rough triangle by three of the city’s most important buildings (after the Cathedral and Alcázar). The splendid and ornately carved (on one side) edifice with plazas to either side at the end of the Avenida de la Constitución is the Casa Consistoriales, which houses the ayuntamiento (city council). The original casa was built in the early 16th century along the outside wall of the Franciscan friary, which occupied what is now the Plaza Nueva, and gave its name to Plaza San Francisco. The archway at the end of the building was originally the entrance to the friary. When the friary was demolished in 1840 to create the new square a new facade and main entrance were built. The sculptures by the archway include the figures of Hercules and Julius Caesar, the “founders” of the city.

1-june052014 011

To the west of El Centro is the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum). This is one of the most important collections of (mainly) classical age art in Spain, housed in the lovely old Merced convent. Outside is one of those pretty plazas that Seville is so good at, where you can relax in the shade of a pair of enormous fig trees. It also has a local art market on Sundays. Buy a painting, put it in your attic, and who knows – in a few hundred years your descendants might suddenly become very rich indeed.

mushrooms 1

To the east is Seville’s contribution to modern architecture, the Metropol Parasols, the world’s largest manmade wooden structure. Completed four years ago, after a long period of gestation (the old Encarnación market that stood here before was demolished in 1973), there was a lot of controversy about both the design and the cost of its construction, but now it’s done it’s one of my favourite places in Seville. Come here during the day to visit the market and the Roman ruins in the basement, and take the lift up to the walkways on top for a bird’s eye view of the city. Come after dark to see it lit up like a scene from Close Encounters.

1-October22013 029

Other things to see in El Centro include the Motilla Palace (you won’t find it in the guidebooks as it’s still a private residence, but it’s the Italian style palace with the tower on the corner just down from the Parasols), the elegant Baco 2 and the Casa de la Memoria just across the street, the Casa Palacio of Lebrija and the El Salvador church. This was built on the site of the old Grand Mosque (and the Roman basilica before that), and still has original Moorish archways and minaret (now the belltower).

Veoapartments have a wide range of apartments in this central neighbourhood that cater to all budgets and numbers, and give you an excellent central base to explore the historic centre of the city.

Seville | El Jueves Street Market

el jueves (7)

Go down to Calle Feria on a Thursday morning and you could be in for a big surprise, as a long section of the city centre end of the street and some side streets are taken over by the stalls of the El Jueves (Spanish for Thursday) market. Officially it’s an antiques market, but though you can find antiques here, the range of things on sale is much wider and more eclectic. Ceramics, paintings and furniture jostle for attention with second hand books and toys, watches and accessories, CDs and recycled fixtures and fittings. As with all such markets, it’s this almost anarchic mix of products, the possibility of the unexpected, of never knowing when you’re going to stumble on that unmissable bargain or perfect souvenir, that draws the crowds. Looking for a pepper mill to match your salt cellar? A lava lamp? A console for your old video-games? You just might find them here. If not, never mind, half the fun is in the browsing, the wondering why anybody would ever by one of those, or even what one of those actually is. Feel like a break? Go and sit in one of the local bars with a coffee and toast – or a cheeky cold beer – and just watch the bustle outside.

el jueves (1)

Time also to reflect on just how long people have been coming here on  Thursday mornings to buy and sell their wares. El Jueves is thought to be the oldest still-existing market in Europe, dating back to the 13th century, just after the Christian reconquest of the city (and there are rumoured to be one or two items from that era that have shown up every Thursday since then), when it was set up to help stimulate the economy Indeed, the very name of the street, Feria (Fair) reflects this history. Originally it would have been an agricultural and craftsman’s market. After the discovery of America it would doubtless have seen new exotic objects from overseas to add to the mix.

el jueves (4)

el jueves (2)

el jueves (5)

In the 19th century, the farmers’ market moved into its own building, now the Feria market, and the street would have begun to look something like it does today, with its small shops and businesses. But through all the changes, it seems the Thursday Market goes on forever.

It’s lunchtime now, the stallholders packing up, the buyers drifting away. You’re hungry. There are lots of places to eat, but our favourites are La Cantina and La Cocinera Feliz, the little bars inside the provisions market. Taberna de Pasos Largos and La Duquesita are good too.

el jueves (3)

If you want to stay in this authentically Sevillano part of town have a look at our Macarena and San Vicente apartment listings.

Seville | The Pottery and Ceramics of Isabel Parente

Pottery is an essential architectural landmark in Seville, and you can find exquisite decoration everywhere, in a huge variety of different colours and styles. It can be like walking through an open-air museum. Unfortunately, because of industrialisation the techniques of handmaking pottery and ceramics were gradually being lost in the second half of the twentieth century, but more recently interest in the art has been reviving.

One of the artists at the forefront of this revival is Isabel Parente, who together with Salud Jimenez has been running a craft pottery workshop in Seville for the last 16 years. “Our handmade pottery was born from a love of the art, and from a concern not to lose the Sevillano ceramic tradition,” she says, “and we want to offer customers things they can’t normally find in the shops.” These include the bold, linear geometrical designs of the Islamic tradition, as well as the gentler curving shapes of the Italian renaissance and baroque.

In the video you can see them demonstrate some of the traditional techniques (for English subtitles use the captions icon), such as cuerda seca (dry rope), low relief, and stencilling and handpainting of pottery.

If you would like to buy one of these handcrafted pieces you can find their workshop at

ISABEL PARENTE
626 963 086
Calle Doña Maria Coronel 21
41003 Sevilla

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 | Things to do When it Rains

Although Seville enjoys around 300 days of sunshine a year, from time to time, particularly in winter – for example, like this week – you can get relatively long spells of wet weather. But it would be a shame to let that spoil your holiday, so we’ve come up with a list of suggestions for things to do for those rare occasions when the sun isn’t shining.

rainy plazaPlaza de la Alfalfa

Go to the cinema
The Avenida 5 Cines complex in Calle Marques de Paradas shows current movies in original versions. Curl up with your favourite stars and never mind the weather. Check the programme here (it changes every Friday).

The Museum of Fine Arts
One of Spain’s most important art museums with works by all the Spanish old masters including local boys made good Velazquez and Murillo. It’s in a lovely old building that was once the convent of the Order of Merced Calzada de la Asunción. Well worth taking a couple of hours.

The Cathedral
The Cathedral is on your list anyway, and you don’t want to waste good sunshine time indoors, so visit it now. It’s the biggest Gothic cathedral, and third largest church, in the world, but it isn’t just big, it’s actually rather interesting, with the tomb of Christopher Columbus, lots of gold, and a stuffed crocodile.

eating in the rainGo Shopping
Another of those activities that normally keeps you indoors when you’d rather be outdoors. Take advantage of the fact that everyone else is still at home to shop in peace. You don’t even have to buy anything unless you really want to.

Tapas Bars
Find a nice cosy tapas bars and order up a round (or two) of food and drinks. Sit where you can watch the poor unfortunates outside hurrying past with their umbrellas, and feel suitably smug because you’re on holiday. Or put your own umbrella to good use like this fellow and defy the elements.

The Antiquarium and Encarnación Market
Going topside may not be so great in the rain (though there are some nice bars up there), but going down under the “mushrooms” in the Plaza de la Encarnación takes you to the Roman ruins and museum. Marvel at the mosaics, columns, walls and wells while listening to the rain on the roof. If you’re there in the morning you can also take a stroll through the Encarnación market on the main level. This will work up your appetite ready for lunch.

Stay at Home
It may be the last resort, but you’re staying in a warm, comfy veoapartment, and there’s something primevally satisfying about being indoors and listening to the rain outside. So grab a book and a glass of wine, turn on the telly and settle down for an hour or two. The sun will be out soon enough.