Seville, Andalusia, Spain

Traveling through the Iberian peninsula for nine days was absolutely amazing. I hit up Barcelona and Seville in Spain, and Lagos and Lisbon in Portugal. I will admit, I tried to fit a lot in a short period of time and if I were to do it again, I would either do one longer trip or split it up into two shorter ones. Regardless, I think leaving a place wanting to see and do more is a great thing, and it’s probably impossible to fully explore places rich in culture in just one trip with the serious dearth of American vacation days.

But let me get to my favorite city on the trip — Seville or Sevilla as the Spaniards call it. It’s small but absolutely beautiful. Here are some highlights of my trip that I recommend if you find yourself there.

Alcázar of Seville: AKA the Dornish palace in Game of Thrones, it’s actually a Moorish royal palace. It does not disappoint — intricate arches, amazing 16th-century tiles, and an expansive otherworldly garden make it an architecture lovers paradise. Europe is full of castles, however, few are in this style (the other Moorish castle in Europe that I can think of is the Alhambra in Granada). So I made the mistake of not allocating enough time for the gardens — they’re huge! The inside was so enthralling and that’s where I thought I should be spending most of my time, until I stepped into the amazing wonderland of artfully manicured bushes, towering palm trees, and quaint fountains! Give yourself at least a half day here.


Plaza de España: A gorgeous plaza rich in history, it was built in 1928 for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. The style is a mix of Art Deco, Renaissance, Moorish, and Spanish architecture, visually combining the region’s influences. It’s pretty lively, but expansive enough that you can find a serene corner to read a book, people watch, or just chill. You may have spotted it in Lawrence of Arabia or Star Wars.

Zara dress  |  Zara belt bag

Casa de Pilatos: Another beautiful palace away from the super touristy sites. 16th-century Sevillian architecture with Gothic Mudejar style similar to the Alcazar, Renaissance touches, and scattered Roman statues. With all the different architectural styles, there are so many details to take in and enjoy.

 

Flamenco: Do it and do it right. What’s right you ask? Well, flamenco is about more than just dancing, it’s about the emotion, so always choose a small intimate venue over a large theater. The large theaters are tourists traps. You want to see the faces of the dancer, singer, and guitarists — that’s how you get into it and feel it. I sat in the second row of a small venue for the flamenco show I attended and despite my limited Spanish, I was moved by the raw emotion that went into every step, strum, and note. I can’t remember the name of the venue, but it was part of this Airbnb experience. Our guide was super great — she explained the history of the dance and all the origins behind all tapas and drinks that we had before and after the show.

Tips:

  • Spend at least 3 – 4 days. Since Seville is a small city, I thought that 2 days would be enough. I was wrong. There’s so much to take in at places like the Alcazar and Casa de Pilatos. I left without checking out so many places, many of which I added after taking a walking tour, which leads me to my next tip..
  • Take a walking tour on your first day there. This was extremely helpful for learning a bit about the history of the area and getting the lay of the land to figure out the most efficient way to hit all the places I wanted. There were a ton of free walking tours (just Google “free Seville walking tour”). My friend and I couldn’t find the one we originally planned to do and just joined another group. Just remember to tip at the end!
  • Plan your day before you leave your hotel or Airbnb. Unlike most European cities, Seville DOES NOT have free wifi at every cafe and restaurant, so it was essential to map the day out in advance. And even our hotel wifi was pretty shoddy.
  • Save your maps on Google, but also take screenshots of the step by step directions. Google maps kept getting confused by the many winding alleyways, so it was helpful to also have the step-by-step directions with street names.
  • Buy your ticket online ahead of time for the Alcázar. The line is LONG, especially in the morning. Get a timed entry slot online (there’s a separate, shorter line for this) and go in the afternoon when the crowds are dying down.

Real Madrid

I couldn’t go to Spain without seeing where the name of my favorite futbol (soccer for you Americans) team came from. I wore a tried and true outfit clean with muted metallics to visit my future home Madrid’s royal palace.

This was another of those “no photo zones” that I was not amused by in Madrid. The palace has 3,418 rooms (whoa!), but we only saw about 30. It is absolutely beautiful and the rooms were to die for…like, I need that interior designer on speed dial for when I win a multi-million dollar lottery. There was gold, patterns, and art everywhere — I was about ready to move in! It’s crazy that nobody lives there now (it’s only used for state ceremonies).

Afterwards we wandered over to the Temple of Debod before calling it a day. Donated by Egypt, this temple was pulled apart in Egypt, transported, and reassembled in Madrid. Pretty generous of Egypt if you ask me.

Zara Tunic Top | Lulu’s Pants (similar here and here) | Keds Sneakers

Taste Treaty Travels

One thing you have to know about me if you know nothing else: I love to travel! Exploring new places can be refreshing, inspiring, and eye-opening (always remembering safety first, of course). I recently took an amazing trip to Barcelona and Madrid with my main ladies, my mom and my grandma, which was definitely too short. My first day in Madrid I went for a breezy, colorful, yet comfortable look suited for hours on hours of walking.

I’m definitely not a Type A personality, but traveling brings out my research and organizational side, mainly because there’s such a short period of time to learn so much! With my two main ladies in tow, we walked the city on foot hitting the Museo Nacional Del Prado, Real Jardin Botanico, and Buen Retiro Park (major props to my 70+ year old grandmother for keeping up!). The Museo Nacional Del Prado is Spain’s expansive national art museum with an impressive collection of 12th to 20th century European art. I found myself nerding out at and in awe of the magnitude of beautiful pieces. Unfortunately, there were no pictures allowed in the museum (not cool), but I guess that gets people to come back time and time again, which I’ll probably do at some point in the future.

img_0942

Real Jardin Botanico was a short walk from the museum.  We mainly stayed in the outdoor sections, although there are five different greenhouses. Not gonna lie, my lack of plant knowledge made all the different plant names a little overwhelming, so after an hour or so we made our way to Buen Retiro Park in search of the Crystal Palace. Let me tell you, it felt like a trek! There was a hill and stretches of park involve, but it was worth it! We couldn’t go inside the Crystal Palace, but it’s made of all glass, so that didn’t matter. The palace is absolutely beautiful, especially surrounded by nature. After taking some time to adore the Crystal Palace and a much deserved break, we roamed more of the park, discovering a rose garden, Avenida de Mexico, Paseo de la Argentina, and many sculptures.

Don’t miss these spots if you find yourself in Madrid!

img_0908

Acler Dress | Indigo Rd. Sandals | Rope Belt (similar here) | Forever21 Bag (similar here and here)