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.
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!