Living in Seville, southern Spain – First Impressions

by Paul Goodchild on March 28, 2011

Horse and Cart, Seville, Spain

I arrived in Seville (‘Sevilla’ in Spanish), in the south of Spain, around 10 days ago.  The plan is to do work/business, while immersing myself in the Spanish language and culture.  It’s been an interesting time since I arrived and as with moving to live anywhere, Seville is no different when it comes to having heaps to learn, and of course to re-learn.

This article is a brief outline of my impressions of Seville with some basic info and tips, and websites you might find useful if you visit the south of Spain.

Things you should know before you travel to Seville

To travel from Seville Airport to the city centre, just look for the sign for the bus.  It costs around €2.40 to the city centre, and from there it will be a short trip either by taxi or bus to where you need to go.  Or of course you can get a taxi straight from the airport, but it’ll cost you.

Seville is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain – a city oozing an historic and culture-rich heritage.  It’s more than 2000 years old and many remains of the Roman city upon which it stands are visible, and being discovered and excavated even today.

Like the rest of Spain, as I’m discovering, English is not a language well understood in Seville.  You can get away with some English words and phrases, but on the whole they don’t have a first clue.  This is great for learning the language, not so much as a temporary visitor just passing through.

My advice for visitors is to grab a guide/phrase book that covers food and menus extensively. Seville claims that they invented “tapas” and it shows.  It’s hard to walk down a street without a cafe or bar serving tapas.

What is tapa?  It is basically a small serving of a dish and costs typically around €2~3

Tapa is by far the best way to sample heaps of different food without the trappings of a sit-down meal at an overpriced restaurant.

Whether you think you have a decent sense of direction, or you have a good map, or both, you will get lost in Seville. There is no grid system – the narrow streets and lanes are arranged in a seemingly random fashion, and there’s no direct route from where you are, to where you want to be at any given time.  But as with everything, Seville is no exception and you’ll get used to it eventually.

Tourist sites worth a visit in Seville

Many of the hostels in Seville are affiliated with organisations that operate various tours.  I highly recommend a walking tour around Seville to give you a basic introduction to the city and its history, and some of the important attractions.

Places you need to sus out during your time there are:

  • Barrio Santa Cruz – home to many attractions and a great atmosphere as provided by countless tapas bars and cafes
  • The Cathedral and its Giralda – the world’s 3rd largest and its accompanying tower.  At the time it was built, it was the tallest building in the world, and the Giralda is what is left of the minaret from the old Moorish mosque.
  • Plaza de España – arguably the grandest plaza of them all, found in Maria Luisa Park.

There are heaps more I’m sure, but this is the pick of the bunch.

How is living in Seville?

Since I’ve only been in Seville for around 10 days, it’s a little early to say what I think of it.  Overall however, so far, I love the place.  The weather is great, the food is fantastic, and there’s a buzz in the air.  Most people I have met here are friendly and fun, and I’m sure that once I get the Spanish language nailed, Seville, and indeed Spain will open up much more.

I’ve had a nagging cough for about 2 weeks now and I decided to boldly go where no man has gone before – in search of a doctor.  It took the whole day from when I left the house at 11am, until around 6pm, to leave a pharmacy with medicine in-hand.  A more frustrating experience I haven’t had in a long time. Seville was cursed in many terrible ways that day.

But that is down to my ignorance of the language, if nothing else, and is to be expected when you move to place where you cannot adequately speak the language.

Finding a place to stay was painless and I was relatively lucky in that regards.  My impression is however that renting an apartment to share in Seville is easy and there are plenty of them.  Check the links section below for one such service that speaks English.

For everyday groceries and such, they have everything you’ll ever need and they even have a Lidl (right around the corner from my house, conveniently).

Moving here, and finding a place to live really isn’t much of a challenge – just get here, network, grab a local telephone SIM card, and start digging around.  It’s work, but not difficult.

Some useful websites pertaining to Seville

If you have any other websites or information pertaining to Seville that you would like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section below and I’ll add it to the list of links. I trust you found this brief guide on Seville useful as a summary of what you can except to find here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg January 18, 2012 at 03:15

As you there for just about 1 year – how do you find it?!

I’m thinking of moving there myself (I’m just a beginner in Spanish) and would welcome your comments now you’ve been there a while – any new or additional tips/advice?

thanks for your help!




Paul Goodchild January 18, 2012 at 12:51

Hi Greg,

Actually I was in Sevilla for 3 months and I left in June – the summer in Sevilla is extremely hot so I didn’t to move to another place in Spain – Valencia.

I have to say there’s a heap about Valencia I like but it will never have the feel of Sevilla. All-in-all though, I prefer Valencia because it’s a big city without the huge city feel.

Sevilla is great though! Tapas options are the best there!


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