One of the most spontaneous trips that I have ever done was from Lisbon to Seville and then to Granada. The trip itself has an entire story behind it, which you can read here. However, just in case you want to go there someday, I want to offer you some quick tips about Seville and Granada and some general information about the main sights that you can visit there.
Main things to see in Seville
Seville is the city where I always wanted to go. I always imagined Don Quijote de la Mancha being played there, along with carriages, flamenco, and Spanish accent. During my trip there, I did not find Don Quijote, but I found the most passionate land: the land where dance and poetry meet. That’s where I remembered myself that I love dances and I should start them again. See in my video below, the beauty of flamenco, salsa and tango, danced with real latino blood.
1. Plaza de España & Maria Luisa Park
The lungs of the city, this park celebrated its centenary in 2014; it was the setting for Expo 1929, whose centerpiece was Plaza de España. Many films have been shot in this spectacular space with its canal, bridges, and amazing ceramic tiles.
2. Cathedral + Salvador Church
Buying the ticket for the cathedral, you get free pass for Salvador Church. Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site (along with the Alcazar), this is the world’s largest cathedral (or largest Baroque cathedral, depending on which stats you believe). The old minaret from Moorish times when a mosque stood here – now the basilica’s bell tower – is Seville’s icon: the Giralda.
Monday: 11:00 to 15:30 6 euros with Euro < 26.
3. Reales Alcázares (Royal Palace)
An exquisite Mudejar palace (made by Moorish craftsmen under Christian rule), with fabulous patios and salons, and a pretty garden of pools, palms and pavilions. It’s the oldest occupied palace in Europe – the King of Spain stays here when he visits Seville. Don’t miss the outdoor plays and concerts in summer.
Prices: 9,50 euros general admission 2 euros concession (with valid ID) Free on Mondays from 16.00 in winter, and from 18.00 in summer.
4. Santa Cruz (Jewish quarter)
While this historic area of Seville is on every tourist trail, the old Jewish quarter is still worth exploring – windy, narrow, cobbled streets; tiny bars with hams hanging above your head and black-and-white. Don’t miss Callejon del Agua (Water Alley), a narrow, shaded lane which follows the Alcázar garden walls and is named after a watercourse which ran along the top of the wall. At the end of it is Plaza Alfaro,
At the end of it, you can find is Plaza Alfaro, the inspiration for the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. The covered passageway heading off the Patio de Banderas (part of the Alcázar) called the Judería is worth visiting; enter the Patio from here and you’ll get an unforgettable view of the cathedral.
5. Triana – the flamenco quarter
This area, located across the river Guadalquivir from the main part of the city, calls itself an “independent republic”, because it is the birthplace of bullfighters, flamenco artists, and sailors. Worth visiting: the market, Castillo San Jorge (the Inquisition Museum) next door on Triana bridge, and the new ceramic tile museum, Centro Ceramica Santa Ana, due to open in April 2014.
6. Metropol Parasol
It is Seville’s contemporary architectural icon, the largest wooden structure in the world. Its multi-level attractions feature a rooftop-level walkway, bar and restaurant; performance and play area; market; and Roman ruins.
Walkway opening hours: 10.00 hrs – 14.00 hrs and 18.00 hrs – 24.00 hrs Entrance: 1.35 euro (free if resident in Seville).
7. La Cartuja
The 15th-century Carthusian monastery where Columbus planned his voyages; subsequently a ceramics factory founded by an Englishman (hence the chimneys); then headquarters of Expo 92. It’s now a contemporary art centre; a delightfully quiet, contemplative spot.
***All museums are free on Mondays from 9 a.m to 7 p.m
If you want a Flamenco show, I recommend you a free show in La Carboneria.
Cheap places to eat
Main sights to see in Granada
Granada is a beautiful city in the Andalusia region, being home to the Moorish citadel, Alhambra, which was left behind by the Islamic people. Also, it is a University city, with more than 80.000 students. I loved the colors of the city and its alleys which reminded me of Istanbul and its Grand Bazar.
The main reason why you should visit Andalusia is for this amazing temple. You need to get tickets at least 2 days in advance. This is one of Spain’s most-visited monuments, it is a UNESCO recognized complex of exquisite palaces, patios and fortresses date back to Moorish times. Unmissable. Your visit will be organized around Nasrid Palace, which I recommend you to visit first. There are only 2 times/day that you can enter it, and the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces is strictly limited to the time slot indicated on the ticket.
2. Generalife Gardens
The summer gardens of the Nasrid rulers, complete with pools, fruit trees, flowers and tumbling streams. It is part of Alhambra and they host events in the International Festival of Music and Dance, held every June/July.
3. Albaicin, Mirador San Nicolas
The Moorish quarter, which spreads up the hillside opposite the Alhambra, is full of steep, narrow streets and hotels in converted courtyard houses. At the top is the Mirador San Nicolas, with stunning views of the palace. Prepare yourself for a workout, it is 30 minutes going up on stairs and hills.
Above the alleys of the Albaicin, the caves of Sacromonte are still home to gypsy families, who perform flamenco for tourists.
5. El Bañuelo
You should only go there if you have time. It is 5 euros for 15 minutes, and the price is not really worth for what you see. One of Granada’s oldest Arab baths, dating from the 11th century, complete with a star-shaped hole-filled ceiling.
During this trip, we stayed with Couchsurfers. This is the best way to get all the local tips. They took us out for salsa and tango parties, free flamenco shows and showed us where to eat the cheapest. The trip was around 300 euros for both and we traveled from Lisbon, by car.
It was one of a kind experience, see more in our video.
P.S Let me know if you need more.