Sevilla – The hottest city in Europe
Sevilla is the fourth largest city in Spain and the hottest city in Europe, literally. The average yearly temperature there is 19.2 °C, and in the summer temperatures regularly rise above 40 °C. Sevilla receives a lot of sunshine, which is nice, but it also means it’s unwise to visit there in the summer months because of the persistent heat.
So why go there at all, you might ask. Well, Sevilla is truly a beautiful city, full of culture and brightly colored buildings. There are palm trees everywhere, and even in the winter, the temperature rarely drops below a pleasant 16 °C. To protect people from the sun, a lot of streets in the city center are covered with white sheets. Also, most of the sidewalk café’s in Sevilla have a water vapor installation to keep their customers cool while they drink sangria.
Where to go
There are a few sights in Sevilla that you should absolutely visit during your stay. Most of these sights are close to each other, so you can easily walk from place to place. Almost all of the interesting places are located on the east side of the Guadalquivir river, including the historic city center.
The Real Alcázar is probably the most famous landmark in the city. It’s an enormous former Moorish palace, hundreds of years old, and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit all the rooms and imagine what it must have been like to be a king (or queen) in a sunny Spanish city. It also has a large beautiful garden for you to stroll through.
Across from the Alcázar is another awe-inspiring site: Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, the largest Gothic cathedral and third-largest church in the world. This is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even if you’re not religious, this extraordinary building is worth a visit. Fun fact: Christopher Columbus (discoverer of America) lays buried here.
Attached to the cathedral is the Giralda, a 104 meter tall bell tower. You can climb this tower, but be warned, you’ll need quite a bit of stamina to reach the top (especially in Sevilla’s typical hot weather).
A little further south of the cathedral and the Alcázar you will find the Plaza de España. This is a large square with a huge building in the shape of a half-circle. The square has a big fountain in the middle and a moat with bridges over it. People can take gondola rides on the moat, although this seems a bit like a tourist trap. Adjacent to the Plaza de España is a nice park.
Tapas and Flamenco
If you’re looking for a nice restaurant in Sevilla, there are a few great places on the west bank of the Guadalquivir river, across from the Torre del Oro, that offer good food with a view over the river. If you want to go less fancy, but still enjoy great food, go to Zarabanda’s. This cozy tapas bar is located in a small alley in the city center. They’re open late and you can eat tapas at the bar or have a Mediterranean meal at a table.
Because Sevilla is the capital of the Spanish province of Andalucía, flamenco is a big part of the local culture. All across the historic city centre are so-called “tablaos”, where you can enjoy authentic flamenco performances. A trip to Sevilla is not complete without seeing one of these shows at night.