Spain is one of those countries that I just keep going back to.  I don't love it in the way I love Germany, nor would it spring to mind when someone asks me for a list of my favourite countries, but I just keep going back.  Maybe it's the sunshine, the tapas, the sangria, the unspoilt old towns where you need to use your initiative to get around, rather than turning on Google Maps on your iPhone.  I'm not sure exactly what it is that pulls me back, but at the start of November last year, I headed to Seville for a few days to celebrate my 25th, and I've finally gotten around to writing about it...

We decided to spend 4 nights in Seville; this felt like enough time to see the sights, but also to relax and enjoy a little sunshine, a few sangria's and the tapas culture.  Seville is the capital of the Andalusia region of Spain and is about a 2 and a half hour flight from London.  We stayed at Casas de la Juderia, one of the most beautiful hotels I have had the pleasure of staying in.  It consists of 27 traditional Andalusian houses and has a total of 134 rooms, which I believe are all unique, and are described on their site as being "linked through patios, gardens and a labyrinth of small passageways". If you stay here, take the time to explore the hotel, it really is lovely and has some cool hidden places, great for sitting with a book when you want to escape.  You can find out more about the hotel here:

Casas de la Juderia is in Santa Cruz, the Jewish Quarter, and is a few minutes walk from Catedral de Sevilla, evidently Seville's most popular tourist spot judging by the queue to get in. Any poor soul that's been dragged on a trip with me will know that I bloody love cathedrals. When I'm planning what to get up to in a new place, chances are the cathedral (if there is one!) is top of my list.  Seville's cathedral was a dream. As one of the largest cathedrals in the world, it was such an impressive building and the Gothic architecture was stunning. We spent the best part of a morning here, including climbing the 34 levels to the top of the Torre Giralda, the cathedral's bell tower.  The views were beautiful, and it was quite an easy climb, although I imagine in the height of summer it could be a little more difficult for anyone like myself (someone who hates exercise or being too hot!)

Fun fact: The cathedral is the burial site of Christopher Columbus, arguably the most famous explorer of all time. 

Across the way from the cathedral is the Real Alcazar de Sevilla. Widely regarded as one of the most stunning pieces of Mudejar architecture, this palace has flown straight in to my top 5 favourite buildings ever.  I don't think I can describe how beautiful the Alcazar is.  From the gardens to the majestic ceilings to the most incredible Islamic tile work, every time you turn a corner it takes your breath away. Is it odd to say I developed a newfound love and appreciation for geometric patterns on this trip? The Alcazar had an abundance of them and I could quite happily have spent all day gazing at the little details.

One thing I love about a city break is finding a park to spend an afternoon in.  We already knew that we wanted to go to Plaza de Espana whilst we were in Seville, so took the opportunity to also have a wander through parts of Parque de MarĂ­a Luisa.  There is so much to see within the park, so we grabbed an ice-cream each and went exploring.  Whilst Seville is by far not the busiest place I've been to, it was nice to escape and immerse ourselves in nature for a few hours. 

I knew little about Seville before we booked our trip, but one place that was high on my list to see was the Plaza de Espana.  The square is one of the most magnificent places I have ever seen and if you are planning a trip to Seville, I would 10/10 recommend this is on your list.  I think one of it's most attractive qualities was that there were no crowds. Living in Europe, a lot of places have become a little spoilt by tourism, but we didn't find this to be the case at all here. Maybe visiting in November had something to do with it.  I will not ramble on about the tiled alcoves or the bridges over the canal, and will let the photographs do the talking... 

We sort of ended up at Casa de Pilatos by mistake, although it was a mistake I was glad to make. We were looking for somewhere else and as I am useless at reading a map, we ended up turning the corner toward this stunning house instead. Casa de Pilatos is a typical Andalusian palace, with both Mudejar and Renaissance architecture. The upstairs of the palace is a guided tour, focusing quite greatly on the art inside the building, but you can wander freely downstairs. Whether you are after something more simple (as far as Andalusian palace standards go) and head to the courtyard, or prefer something a little more fancy and spend your time looking up at the honeycomb ceilings, I am sure you can find something to fall in love with at Casa de Pilatos.

Now, I can't go to Spain without mentioning the sangria and the tapas.  Sangria always makes me think of holidays when I was a teenager, when me and my friends thought we knew everything about the world and would set off for a Spanish seaside resort for a week of sunburn, flirting and aggressively strong alcohol. We always had a day where we would go for a "nice" meal and share a jug of sangria, although I'm not sure if the less mature Naomi enjoyed it as much as I do now.  Whilst red wine does not spring to mind as a refreshing beverage, there is something so lovely and simple about enjoying a sangria in the afternoon sunshine, and we made the most of this on this trip.

I'd read about Seville's tapas scene and we were fortunate to stumble down some quieter back streets and find some excellent tapas places.  I love tapas, it is the perfect way to try lots of dishes without spending a fortune.  Whilst we had a lot of previous experience of seafood tapas from holidays in Menorca, Seville's offering consisted of cheeses and cured meats, as well as a mixture of cold and hot tapas. My favourite place we ate at was Bodeguita La Parihuela which was just a short walk from our hotel.  One evening on the walk back to Casas de la Juderia, we came across a delightful little cafe where we had the best hot chocolate.  I wish I could remember the name of this place because it was so cute. 

Seville in November had the perfect weather; the sun shone but it was not too hot, and everything had a warm, hazy glow.  Being able to walk around in a midi skirt, tee and trainers, with my backpack slung over my shoulder, was ideal.  If you are looking for a warmer city break in the later months of the year, I would 10/10 recommend visiting Seville.

Have you been on any city breaks lately? Let me know in the comments! This post was quite photo-heavy so thank you for getting this far! 

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