JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ABDIYA IMAN FROM SEVILLE, SPAIN !
Abdiya Iman, a 26 year old local of Seville works in the modest fashion industry, collaborating with small brands, supporting women in business. She is now building a modest fashion platform to support the community even more. Originally from the UK, Abdiya has lived in Morocco, France and Spain (including three years in Granada). She believes Seville attracts a lot of tourism from all over the world and some of them love it so much that they end up staying there.
The country of Spain is divided into 17 autonomous regions and further divided into 50 provinces. These autonomous regions have the right to exercise their own executive and judicial powers, giving them freedom from external authorities.
Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous region of Andalusia bordering Spain’s southern coast and the province of the same name. Famous for the siesta, the flamenco, bullfighting, festivals like Semana Santa Sevilla and Feria De Abril and tapas, Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain.
Seville is home to the world’s largest Gothic Cathedral, which has a well-known minaret on top called the Giralda having 25 bells, 24 are in the belfry and 1 in the attic. On being rung on important holidays and events they make spectacular sound. The NO8DO symbol can be seen all around the city which means in Spanish ”No me ha dejado” or “It has not abandoned me”. It is said that it was awarded to Seville by King Alfonso X the Wise.
The Real Alcázar, the Cathedral and Archivo de Indias are three UNESCO heritage buildings in Seville out of the 48 sites in Spain, third only to China (55) and Italy (55). Sevillanos do not welcome changes and love their city. Seville is modern yet so rooted to its history that things remain same here year after year and Sevillanos see no need to change.
When is the best time to visit Seville?
My favourite months of the year in Seville would have to be May and October. The weather is great, lots of street attractions and you are saved from the “oven” that we call the summer months (July/August). It doesn’t mean to say that you should definitely avoid Seville in those months, it can actually be quite peaceful as there is less tourism, but you should travel with caution, keep hydrated and bring your favourite sun hat and lots of sunscreen!
Winter is also a lovely time to visit this majestic city, they have Christmas fairs including artisans from the local area gathered in Plaza Nueva and a nativity fair next to the Cathedral. Also, the Spanish Christmas Lottery is the world’s largest lottery. Hence, during this time there are long queues in front of lottery stores.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Seville? What are the different modes of transport available from the airport to the city?
Seville is one of the best places in Europe for its public transport.
It has Servici, a bike rental service that is available from many banks across the city from the city centre to the suburbs. It is cheap and with it’s 486 km of bicycle path it is a safe and easy way to get around, especially in the cooler months. We also have metro, train, tram and plenty of bus routes.
The best way to get from the Airport is by bus as the metro and train have not yet reached the Airport. The Airport is located in the North-East of Seville, outside the city. Seville city buses are run by Tussam, a municipal company. The EA (Especial Aeropuerto) bus line is part of Tussam and stops at the Santa Justa train station reaching the Plaza de Armas, in the center of Seville. The bus is 4 euro and they run very frequently. Depending on where you are staying you can figure out the best stop to get off at. A newer addition to the city’s transport is the electric scooter which can be found dotted around the city centre and electric mopeds too!
What are the top three must visit places in Seville?
Cathedral: The Cathedral can be found in the city centre and is quite spectacular. Originally built as a mosque in the twelfth century it is now the third-largest church in the world after St.Paul Cathedral in London and Vatican in Italy. It has an incredible tower that is 104.5 metres tall. This is one of the many incredible views on Seville and is definitely worth the visit. It is also the final burial place of Christopher Columbus.
Alcazar: The Alcazar is situated just next to the Cathedral, originally a Muslim fortress. It is known as the Royal Palaces of Alcazar and is still used as a home to the Royal Family today. It is an incredible example of Islamic Architecture, Gothic and Late Rennaisance coming together. I would definitely recommend you buy your tickets in advance and get the guided tour. It is not as impressive in my opinion as Granada’s Alhambra but definitely something not to miss in Seville.
Plaza España: This is another of Seville’s treasures. It is within walking distance of the Cathedral and the Alcazar. It was built in 1928 as part of the Ibero-American Exposition along with buildings, along the Las Palmeras (a parallel road), built by many different countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and Columbia.
I would recommend going a couple of hours before sunset as the lighting is incredible for those #goldenhour selfies everyone loves! It has small benches representing the provinces of Spain which is a great place to read a book or to have a rest. It is right next to the Maria Luisa Park which is also really beautiful.
You may also want to visit Las Setas (or Metropol Parasolis) you can pay three euro to head up to their mirador which is quite spectacular and on your way down enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the bars just below courtesy of your entrance fee. It is a very interesting architectural piece in the city centre but in my opinion, fits in effortless in the city. It is the largest wooden structure in the world.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Seville?
Seville is a great place to base yourself while you visit other places within Andalusia. Some of the day trips I would recommend would be Cordoba, Carmona, Aracena and Cadiz.
Cordoba is the first city in the world to have four world heritage sites. It homes the incredible Mosque of Cordoba. The mosque is an incredible example of Mezquita architecture with only an alteration that a Christian cathedral plonked right in the middle of the mosque in the 16th century under the order of King Carlos I, thereby giving it the name Mezquita-Catedral De Cordoba. I would say an afternoon is enough to visit the monument and the neighbouring streets.
Carmona is a small village on the way to Cordoba and has a beautiful castle that is used as a hotel. I would recommend going for afternoon tea or lunch on your way to Cordoba or for a sunset drink on your way back. The beach is just over an hour away from Seville and there are many to choose from. If you have the luxury to spend a day at the beach, it is something you should consider as you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just relax.
Aracena is in the neighbour province of Huelva, to the west of Seville. I would recommend going there to see the cave Gruta de las Maravillas. This cave is located in the centre of the town. It is quite big, a total of 2130 metres and a great place to escape the heat of the summer as it is always 21 degrees inside.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Seville?
Seville is famous for it’s Easter processions. Easter is a huge holiday/festival here in Seville and if you are interested in that kind of thing and don’t mind huge crowds then it is very impressive. All you need to do is type ‘Semana Santa Sevilla’ into Youtube and you can get an idea of what you are in for. The whole city shuts down as the statues of Jesus and Mary are paraded through the main streets, normally going past the Cathedral.
Another important date to put in your calendar is the Feria de Abril. Just on the outskirts of the city centre, they host a huge fair that consists of small huts where music, food and lots of dancing are to be found. private/free/public and there is a fairground too!
The flamenco outfits that are worn to this fair are very traditional but have now found their way to the fashion industry and are in constant change. People arrive on horse and cart or on horseback.
What is the most loved local food of Seville? Is it a vegetarian friendly city?
There are so many great restaurants in Seville. Some of my favourites are El Postiguillo, Restaurante Carmona, Bartolomea and Coloniales. These are all fairly typical Spanish restaurants that offer affordable authentic cuisine, sometimes with a twist. They all have vegetarian options too!
If you have a sweet tooth, and you like ice cream, then check out Puro e Bio, Loco Polo and Creeme. If you want good coffee, try Torch Coffee, Virgen Coffee and Kobayashi Café. They all offer locally roasted speciality coffee and a great vibe. Spain has the highest number of bars per inhabitants after Cyprus. You will find hundreds in Seville too.
Which are the best places to stay in Seville?
I would suggest staying in one of Sevilla’s Airbnb apartment in areas such as Triana, Hercules de Alameda or in El Barrio de Santa Cruz which is dotted with orange-tree-filled plazas. You will find incredible views and nice apartments for a reasonable price. If you are trying to save your pennies why not opt for one of Sevilla’s many hostels that are dotted all over the city. They are a great place to meet people too.
Where to head for shopping in Seville? Which is the local craft or souvenir of Seville?
Seville is an incredible place for artisan products and small independent boutiques. You only need to walk around the city centre, in the old part of the city and you will find some real gems. You have the typical big chain stores on Calle Tetuan, Torre Sevilla or in one of many Seville’s shopping centres.
Cuerda seca “dry cord” is a traditional art from Seville. It is technique of applying coloured glaze onto ceramic as you see in the photos. It can be found in touristic shops all over the city. I would suggest walking around the old city and Santa Cruz and you are bound to find some pieces you will treasure forever.
Spain produces 45.5% of the world’s olive oil, more than Italy and Greece and most of it comes from Andalusia. So get your bottle of Olive oil at the nearby grocery store or from local experts like La Oleoteca Sevilla, La Tragoneria, Productos de la Sierra and Aceitunas el Puente in Triana market.
Seville is the city with the most orange trees in the world. In Seville, more than 15,000 tons Seville oranges are grown every year, mainly to make marmalade. You might as well buy a can of marmalade to take as a souvenir back home.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of Seville?
Some of the best viewpoints in Seville can be found at the Pabellon de la Navegacion, Torre Sevilla, Las Setas and of course La Giralda like I mentioned before.
Would you suggest any shows in Seville to drama, music or art lovers?
Seville is a great place to experience street art from live music, puppet shows and dance performances. A lot of these spectaculars can be found on one of Seville’s main streets La Avenida de Constitucion. I love strolling along on a weekend evening and enjoying a snippet of local artists sharing their passions. You can never get bored in this city, there is always something going on.
I would suggest checking out the programme for the Teatro de la Maestranza as they often have concerts and dance performances. Seville is often called the City of Opera as it has provided the setting for several operas including Carmen, The Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni, La Favorita, Fidelio, The Marriage of Figaro and The Force of Destiny.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Seville?
Servici for renting bikes. Tussam and Underground Seville have apps too but they aren’t very user friendly. Try their websites instead.
Do you want to give any suggestion to tourists coming to Seville?
I have fallen deeply in love with this city since I have lived here and I can’t wait for you to experience it and let me know how much you loved it too!
Things to know :
Visa : A Schengen Visa is valid for entering Spain. General required documents for Spain Visa application can be found here.
Tap water : Drinking tap water is safe in Seville. Infact, it is said that Seville has the best tap water of all big cities in Spain.
Electric Socket : In Spain the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
Drones : Flying drones is legal in Andalucia. Here are the requirements you need to fulfill.
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING TO SEVILLE OR WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ABDIYA’S TRAVEL EXPERIENCES THEN BE SURE TO FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM