Spain's most romantic city has a little bit of everything for everyone – from historical landmarks to up-and-coming gastrobars and quaint neighbourhoods, which is why so many expats make up Seville's colourful community.
Living in Seville means having many of the amenities a more cosmopolitan city like Madrid or Barcelona would have, but with a more small-town feel. The central neighbourhoods are compact and retain an old-world charm, despite the inception of a Soho-like trend and change in dining options. Still, the flamenco, bullfighting and dark-featured sevillanos are hallmarks of Seville, and cheaper rent, better weather and oodles of cultural offerings make it a place that many foreigners come to call 'dulce hogar dulce' – their home sweet home.
Shopping in Seville
Seville is a fashionista's paradise, and the main shopping streets, Sierpes and Tetuán, are pedestrian friendly and only steps away from attractions, hotels and dining. Flanked by brand names like H&M and Camper, shoppers can also find Spanish fashion houses like Mango, Desigual and Adolfo Dominguez. Sales usually happen each year in January, February, July and August.
Seville is also a special place to buy gifts. Known in the Spanish fashion market for trajes de gitana, the colourful, ruffled flamenco dresses, Seville is home to top moda flamenca designers who roll out their designs for the dozens of local fairs during the spring and summer months. Francos and Puente y Pellón are the most popular streets to pick up dresses, hand-embroidered shawls, accessories and shoes.
Other popular gifts include ceramics from the Triana neighbourhood, hand-painted fans, hand-sewn shawls and veils, olive oil and old-world bullfighting posters.
What's more, food markets and artisan fairs in Seville are wonderful ways to glimpse how Sevillanos socialise and do their shopping. The Mercado de Triana stands out, with food vendors selling everything from produce to saffron packets to pig heads.
Eating out in Seville
Seville is the home of tapas. Indeed, these tiny dishes are the city's culinary hallmark – and a part of its dining culture that should not be missed. Another interesting feature is the daily Menú del Día. For a reasonable fixed price, diners can have a starter, main course, dessert, bread and a drink.
For traditional dishes, venture a little bit further outside of the city's attractions. Buried deep in the heart of the more traditional barrios, there are loads of food gems. Bares de tapas are traditional tapas bars, restaurantes and mesones are sit-down restaurants where one can order full or half-ration dishes, and pastelerías are pastry shops.
Gastrobars, which offer a spin on traditional dishes, have become increasingly popular in Seville. Look for them in Triana, near the Cathedral and in the Macarena neighbourhood.
International food is less popular in the Hispalense capital, though there are a few good Italian restaurants and places with a bit of Moroccan cuisine. American eateries are becoming popular dining options, too.
VAT tax is included in all restaurants in Seville, and leaving a tip, called a propina, is not necessary. In most cases, patrons round off the bill.
Nightlife in Seville
Seville constantly appears on lists of top places to party in Spain. Drinks are relatively cheap and patrons can find a little bit of everything within walking distance of the city's attractions.
Flamenco has been a staple of Sevillano culture for decades. While the flamenco in Seville tends to be geared towards tourists, some of the smaller peñas (clubs) that welcome students learning flamenco to perform in front of a crowd are often more authentic.
Seville boasts everything from pubs to clubs and outdoor music terraces. For the best nightlife spots, check out the Alameda. For a more relaxed, dress-down crowd, the area known as El Arenal for fancy cocktail bars, Calle Betis for student bars, and the riverfront for summertime terrace bars.
Rooftop bars are also becoming quite popular in Seville for the weather and the breathtaking views of the city, particularly at night. Many can be found in hotels near the Seville Cathedral.
Sports and outdoor activities in Seville
Home to many parks and botanical gardens, nature lovers can easily take a break from city life. The various parks and playgrounds are popular among families residing in Seville as well as visitors who want to explore some of the city's top attractions and best green spaces, especially Parque de María Luisa. Alamillo Park is another popular green space.
Thanks to the presence of the Guadalquivir river, boat rides, rowing and kayak adventures are on offer in Seville.
While golf, basketball and horseriding are among the popular sporting activities, there’s no avoiding the football hype. Whether expats play football or prefer to watch games on TV at a local bar or live at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, life in Seville will suit them just fine.
►Learn more about life in the city in Pros and Cons of Moving to Seville
"What I love most is the ability to be outdoors for most of the year, the wonderful museums and cultural events that the city hosts, cheap cost of living and entertainment, and that Seville is large enough to have all of this but small enough to feel manageable." Find out more about Cat's experience of life in Seville in her interview.
Are you an expat living in Seville?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Seville. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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