Lonely Planet Writer

Just back from: Seville, Spain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Claire enjoying some sun-soaked sightseeing in Seville © Claire Naylor

Claire Naylor, Senior Editor at Lonely Planet, recently returned from a trip to Seville.

In a nutshell... If you love architecture, good food, friendly people and sunshine, then Seville is for you!

Tell us more... Seville has been on my travel hit list for a long time, and this June my husband and I finally had the chance to go. We packed the kids off to my mum's place and spent three magical days wandering the streets of this wonderful city. We had a lovely riverside apartment in Triana, which is a buzzing little neighbourhood. There's a superb fresh food market open throughout the day, with a handful of small bars and restaurants. Each evening the pavements and riverside are packed with people enjoying tapas.

Claire_Seville3 Lunchtime dining doesn't get much better – or fresher – than this! © Claire Naylor

Good grub? Excellent grub! Seville has many traditional tapas bars, as well as some more experimental ones. A day can very easily be spent strolling the atmospheric streets, stopping for a plate or two with an ice-cold beer, before moving on to do the same at a different restaurant or bar. I lost count of the number of croquettes and tortillas I devoured.

In Mercado de Triana, there are restaurants serving mixed plates based on the fresh produce on sale at nearby market stalls. On a hot afternoon, the dimly-lit air-conditioned atmosphere of the market is very welcome. Pair it with a bottle of Cruzcampo beer for €1.10 and you've got the perfect pre-siesta refreshment.

Fridge magnet or better? As an avid collector of fridge magnets on my travels, they are an essential purchase, but they're not all that's on offer in Seville. The shopping district is surprisingly large and varied. You can pick up lovely decorative tiles, flamenco gear and decent shoes at very reasonable prices, as well as a range of stylish and more gaudy fridge magnets, of course.

Claire_Seville2 The gorgeous gardens of the Real Alcazar © Claire Naylor

If you do one thing... It has to be a visit to the Real Alcázar fortress. It’s definitely worth lining up at 9:30am to make the most of your time. We spent a whole morning exploring this vast complex, admiring the intricate carvings and tiles that cover many walls and ceilings. The beautifully maintained gardens are huge and very peaceful – find a quiet spot, sit by a fountain, watch peacocks strutting around and pretend you’re in the city of Dorne in Game of Thrones.

Fave activity? Seville is much larger than I expected, and there are a couple of excellent viewpoints where you get a sense of this. Walking the many ramps up to the top of the Giralda bell tower is definitely worth that ‘jelly legs’ feeling – although beware the bells – they're very close and very loud! Try to duck back into the tower before they strike, particularly if you’re there at midday. The panoramic walkway at Metropol Parasol gives another angle of the city, allowing you to get a proper look at the striking architecture of the vast Cathedral.

Want more behind-the-scenes adventures? Check out where Head of Marketing Katharine Nelson has just got back from.