Time Out has vacation ideas for Dubai expats, including a Seville travel guide, with things to do on your holiday, hotels, deals and flights to Spain
Time Out Dubai staff
One of Spain's sunniest cities, basking in an average 129 clear days a year, it's little wonder Seville is so renowned. Complementing the sun is the warmth of its residents, colourful festivals and buzzing centre. According to myth, the city was founded by Hercules thousands of years ago, and with its stunning, varied architecture and ancient monuments, it feels utterly steeped in history.
Alcázar A royal palace built primarily in the 1300s, initially constructed by the Moorish, The Alcázar of Seville is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most striking structures in the country. A maze of courtyards and corridors, created in architectural styles ranging from Mudéjar to Gothic, parts of the palace are still in use by the royal family as its official residence in the city. Just as impressive are the lush surrounding gardens, filled with sky-scraping palms and home to the famous Mercury Pond.
Seville Cathedral This is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and a sprawling, stunning landmark in the pedestrian-friendly centre of the city. Its bell tower, La Giralda, is one of the enduring symbols of Seville, while the cathedral has also served as the resting place for numerous historical figures, including the 15th century explorer and coloniser, Christopher Columbus
Shopping Throughout the city's largely picturesque network of busy squares, narrow roads and wide pedestrianised (save for the tram) streets, you'll find all manner of shops. Major high street brands sit alongside classic Spanish leather shops selling great investment pieces, art stores offering the chance to take home something different and the usual medley of souvenirs, in the form of flamenco dresses and handbags emblazoned with bulls. There is, sadly, still regular bullfighting in the city, at the 12,000-capacity Palaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla.
Where to stay
Callejón del Agua This beautiful boutique B&B occupies a 16-room, 19th-century mansion. Its elegant rooms have been modernised in minimalist style, but with classic architecture touches very much in place. www.callejondelagua.com
Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla A three-storey, palatial mansion with 33 regal rooms and a stunning terrace that boasts views of the famous La Giralda bell tower, and across the colourful rooftops of the city. www.hotelcasa1800sevilla.com
Club de Campo If you don't fancy the hustle and bustle of a week in Seville, stay further afield and explore the rest of Andalucía. Sanlucar de Barrameda, just 45 minutes’ drive away, is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the region, sprawling golf courses and famous bodegas. The fully-equipped, self-catering villas overlooking the countryside golf course at Club de Campo feature private pools and sleep up to ten guests. www.costaandsierra.com
Fly direct to Madrid with Emirates, and onwards to Seville with Iberia, which takes about 12 hours with the stopover. From Abu Dhabi, you’re looking at a mammoth stopover, so it’s probably quicker to fly from Dubai. Doha residents can fly to Madrid with Qatar Airways and onto Seville with Iberia in around 12 hours. Fancy a road trip across Spain? Fly direct to Madrid and spend a day in the capital before hiring a car. Take in the country's varied terrain, ancient towns and Roman ruins on the five-hour journey down to Seville.
Getting Around The best way to explore Seville is on foot, roaming down side streets, along the river and through the vibrant, exotic gardens. Taxis are easily found and work on a meter system, while guided boat trips along the Guadalquivir can also be booked and taken from near the Torre del Oro, the iconic former military watchtower on the river's banks.
Travel Tip Seville is a hot spot for hen and stag parties thanks to its lively nightlife scene. During the day, expect to see groups whizzing past you on the main road, pedalling together on what is essentially a bar on wheels. Each trip lasts an hour, can host between eight and 18 guests, and offers the option of karaoke and party lights. www.citybiketoursevilla.com
What's happening In July Seville welcomes the biggest celebration of the Guadalquivir river, taking place in Triana, traditionally the neighbourhood of the city's sailors. Known as the Velá Santa Ana, it is held from July 24 to 26. Other than that, summer is fairly festival-free in Seville, so head out and explore other areas in Andalucía for events such as the Alfarnate Cherry Festival in Malaga in June, and the Medieval Fiestas Calatravas around Alcaudete's Moorish castle and the iconic Fiesta of San Fermin (Running of the Bulls) in July.