BARRIO SANTA CRUZ
Once Seville’s Jewish quarter, Barrio Santa Cruz is the most picturesque district of the city. It’s dominated by the Giralda tower and the magnificent Alcazar palace built by the Moors. The cathedral is a short walk away. But the charm of the neighbourhood lies in wandering the maze of closely built winding alleys called the ‘kissing lanes’. Here you’ll stumble upon cute tree shaded squares, white washed houses and buildings, flower filled courtyards, art galleries, flamenco shows, quaint restaurants, pavement cafes and tapas bars. No wonder it’s the most visited neighbourhood of Seville. Keep your camera handy. Tip: The Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes with its gorgeous frescos and courtyard was once a home to elderly priests. Today it holds art exhibitions and is worth a visit.
El Centro, the city’s historic centre bustles with people and activity all day. After all, Seville’s biggest tourist draw, the cathedral, is located in this district. So are 2 of the city’s most popular shopping streets, Calle Sierpes and Calle Tetuan, along with churches, museums, hotels and some of the city’s best restaurants. The area around Plaza Alfalfa plays host to a number of good and inexpensive tapas bars. The neighbourhood is also home to Casa De Pilatos, the residence of the Spanish aristocrats and a stunning example of Andalusian architecture. El Centro can be crowded but if you are looking to be in the middle of the action, this is the place to stay in. Tip: For tasty nun baked cookies head to El Torno located across the cathedral’s main entrance.
Located on the eastern shore of the Guadalquivir River, El Arenal is non-touristy compared to the Barrio Santa Cruz and El Centro neighbourhoods. Naturally, it’s quieter and not exactly known for its nightlife. But it has some excellent local restaurants and tapas bars. It’s also home to a number of theatres, historical buildings and 3 major tourist attractions: the Maestranza bullring, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Royal Shipyards. El Arenal’s close proximity to the centre and the cathedral make it a convenient district to stay in. Must see: Tablao El Arenal (Calle Rodo 7), one of the best flamenco show’s in the city.