Off-season travel to Spain: Seville and Córdoba

Off-season travel to Spain: Seville and Córdoba

by Jessica Zen 
Stripes Europe

Ah, Spain. I can taste the sangria now as I sit here and reminisce about my time there. What an incredible country! From the friendly people to the tastiest tapas, Spain stole my heart right away. If you have the pleasure of traveling to Spain in the late fall/early winter, you’re in luck. The weather is perfect; all you need is a light jacket and you’re ready to see the sights. Check out what to see and eat while you're in Seville and Córdoba. 

Andalusia’s capital city is flowing with Moorish culture. In Seville you’ll find brightly colored tiles, beautiful arches on palaces and an incredible bell tower. Spain is known for its bullfighting, and if you want to check out one of the rings, this is the place to do it. Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza (the bullring), is one of Spain’s finest and oldest. The bullring has a Baroque façade and can accommodate 14,000 spectators. Unfortunately, the late fall/early winter time frame will not allow you to see a live bullfight, but you can visit the small museum on-site to get a look at posters, costumes and even bull heads! 

If you’re not a fan of bullfighting, that’s ok. There are plenty of other incredible things to do in the city, like tour the Seville Cathedral. The cathedral is massive, the fourth largest in the world. The connecting bell tower (Giralda), which you can climb using a series of inclines, is also quite impressive, topping out at 343 feet. The Gothic cathedral was completed in the early 16th century and its grandeur was meant to show the city’s wealth. It has 15 doors, 80 chapels, countless statues and so many works of art you may be a bit overwhelmed. 

Located right next to the cathedral is another spectacular site, the Real Alcázar (royal castle). This incredible palace was built for Peter of Castile, a Christian king, over the former Muslim residential fortress. The palace features Mudéjar, Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque design elements due to the various stages of construction. Here you’ll find lush gardens, beautiful water fountains, colorful tiles, intricate carvings and more arches than you could ever imagine.

Next up is the Plaza de España, an incredible semi-circle building in Maria Luisa Park that was designed to showcase Spain's industry and technology exhibits during the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 (world fair). Today the building houses the city’s administrative offices, but the inside isn’t what you’re there for. Outside there are four bridges that allow you to cross the moat to get to the building. Surrounding the building are 48 pavilions, each represents a province of Spain.

These are just a few of the amazing things to see in Seville. But one of the other great things about this city is the food! Certainly, you cannot give up the opportunity to eat endless tapas. Consider taking a tour where you get to eat delicious tapas and see a flamenco show, all rolled into one experience. With Devour Seville, you can enjoy tapas at three different locations and watch an intimate flamenco performance in the city. Is there a more perfect way to spend the evening in Seville? 

After an amazing few days in Seville, be sure to stop in Córdoba as well. It’s just a 45 -minute train ride away and well worth your time. Once there, the Mosque-Cathedral is worth a visit. It was affiliated with Islam from 784-1236 and is now a Catholic cathedral. Most notable are the columns, a mere 856 to be exact, that are made of jasper, onyx, marble and granite. The outside has a court of oranges and a bell tower. 

To take in some incredible outdoor scenery, head to Palacio de Viana. Here you’ll find 12 patios and gardens, each with its own design that pays homage to plants, flowers, light and water. In 2012, the courtyards were revamped. Since then, visitors have been able to visit a reception center, take a historical tour, utilize interactive multimedia formats and take thematic routes through the courtyards, both during the day and at night. Spend some time getting lost amongst these beautiful gardens. 

As with every European city worth its salt, the Old Town is a great place to explore and take in the culture. Roman, Arabic, and Christian times are all reflected in this historic center. The smells, colors and incredible architecture here are something amazing to behold. The whitewashed walls with colorful trim and blooming flowers are home to restaurants, spice shops and knick-knack stores. Get lost in the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and be sure to buy plenty of souvenirs. You’re surely going to want to remember this trip! 

For some seriously delicious Andalusian cuisine, be sure to eat at Bodegas Mezquita. This bar has a wide selection of traditional tapas like oxtail, gazpacho, tuna and orange salad. Stop for an entire meal or just to grab a drink and take in the scenery. The restaurant is located next to the Mosque-Cathedral, so you’re sure to have incredible views. 

All of these spectacular sights and more are just waiting for you in Spain. Explore, eat, drink and have the time of your life getting to know the Spanish culture. Both Seville and Córdoba are fantastic places for a vacation. Be sure to check your local travel restrictions before booking your flight to Spain. 

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