The view from the top of the Giralda at the cathedral is worth the view, and the climb is sloping which is much easier than steps.
The Alcazar is beautiful and very cool and peaceful inside. Lovely gardens too.
La Giralda: Plaza Virgin de los Reyes;
tel: 954 214 971;
Alcazar: Plaza del Triunfo;
tel: 954 502 323
For the best view of Seville you just can't beat the one from the La Giralda - the highest tower in the city. It's a steep climb up the ramp but it's worth it.
Plaza Virgen de los Reyes; tel: 954 214 971;
Open: Mon-Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 2pm-6pm
Named after Christopher Columbus, this river plays host to tourist steamers and pedal boats. On the weekends, the enchanting paseo is bustling with couples enjoying a romantic stroll and Spanish families dressed in their Sunday best. The scenic view across the river offers Andaluz houses with wrought-iron balconies.
The Murillo Gardens are very Sevillian in style, full of arcades and foliage, ceramic work and abundant flowers. A very peaceful haven in the centre of Seville. Ideal for children and families.
On Calle de Menendez Pelayo. The gardens border the walls of the Alcazar, leading into the Santa Cruz district.
Carmona is a beautifully located town founded by the Carthaginians and later made into a vital political and economic centre of the Roman and Moorish empires, giving it a glorious Roman necropolis with tombs, two gateways (Puerta de Sevilla and Puerta de Córdoba), a 15 century church (San Pedro) and an awe-inspiring Gothic Mudéjar-style church (San Felipe). There are numerous other Gothic churches, noble mansions and houses tucked away in the streets and squares of the old town, so just get lost in it all. To appreciate Carmona fully go up to the castle (now a parador) which looms over the town.
Carmona is 20 miles east of Seville, just off the motorway to Córdoba. Buses leave from Seville's Prado de Sebastian bus station (just across from Murillo Gardens) and the journey takes 1 hour.
The Roman city of Italica is one of the most important and largest Roman ruins in the whole of Spain. It is a great example of Roman architecture, with intact mosaic work, broad paved streets, and one of the largest ampitheatres (20,000 seater) in the Roman Empire. You can still walk around where the gladiators once walked. Hadrian (he of wall fame) was born here. The site is so large that it may never be completely excavated. It's 9kms north-west of Seville, in the village of Santiponce and is easily reached by local bus. Entrance is free if you take your EU passport, otherwise it's 1.50 euros. Closed on Mondays.
This is a restaurant with a modern take on Spanish food. Ideal if you are getting a little bored of the standard tapas of jamon and tortilla.
Great value and exceptional food. Relaxed cafe type setting
Plaza Puerta Real 6 (just down from the NH Hotel on the river);
tel: 954 909 720
On sunny days this is a great place to sit and to take shelter at the square's eastern end, should it rain. The élite of Seville society use this square as a meeting place so it's a fantastic spot for people-watching. The plaza is also a good place to hail a taxi should you need one.
Plaza Nueva is close to the cathedral at the end of Avenida de la Consitución.
The Plaza de España is a massive half circle with palatial buildings. The fountain in the centre is a great place to rest (especially in the middle of the day) and appreciate this purpose-built exhibition showpiece of Seville. This square is also a must for Star Wars fans as it is featured in the films.
Plaza de España is a 10 min walk east of the cathedral and is signposted from there.
If you've been on the Thames or the Seine, you really won't get anything from this - views of old Expo '90 buildings and a lot of wasteland. We went because it was a massively hot day and we wanted to cool down, but we'd have been better off boiling.
Seville is famous for its Easter celebrations, but if you can't face the crowds go in September. The weather is tolerable and you can take part in the street parades and activities that are part of the Festival of St Michael (Feria de San Miguel). Watch the locals struggle with heavy silver tableau through the streets at night, sit at the back of candlelit churches and breathe it all in. And it's free!
Feria de San Miguel takes place at the end of September each year (2006: 23 - 24 Sep).
For me Seville is a more interesting place than can be realised from the top of the Giralda. Locals who are most likely to talk about this are the 'Camareros' (staff) in the local bars. I found out from one of them that many younger people congregate in a neighbourhood called La Alameda de Hercules. There are numerous eateries and bars there, but leave your valuables behind.
Don't be put of by the name, this "charity hospital", in particular the entrance patio and it's gem of a chapel, are well worth a visit. The place was built in 1676 as a home for the destitute and still operates as such. There is a small entrance charge, but the original paintings by Murillo and Valdés Leal (including one of a dead bishop being eaten by worms) plus the chapel itself, make it great value.
Calle Temprado 3, Sevilla - it's a side street parallel to the river road near the Torre del Oro; tel: 95 422 32 32;
Open: Mon-Sat 10.30-13.30 and 16.30-18.30
A lovely hotel in Deia, a small town nestled in the north western mountains of Mallorca (the Tremuntana range). The hotel is situated ideally, the breakfast terrace overlooks the pool and is surrounded by mountains which makes you feel like you're floating.
Deia is a beautiful place, although the presence of two five-star hotels means a lot of restaurants are pricey (although excellent). The tapas bar at the end of the road out of town is fabulous. A walk up the hill from town takes you to the cemetery where Robert Graves is buried. It's a beautiful place with spectacular views. If you need a pinch of reality, take a trip to Palma, for a day of shopping and city stuff, before taking the orange train (wooden narrow guage train, which used to transport oranges) across (and through, literally) the mountains over to Soller - a nearby port, which is quiet and friendly and a million miles from Magaluf, but just a 15 minute taxi drive back to Deia.
A pleasant and cheap hotel located in a quiet town. Located 5 minutes from the small but nice beach, it is handy for commuting to the FIB festival (provided you have a car - there are buses though). Friendly staff and it's disabled friendly (there were a group staying there).
And what else is Menorca famous for?
Gin. Not quite the strength of Gordon’s but with a wide range of flavours. A trip round the gin factory will educate the taste buds. Menorcan gin is made from a grape distilled spirit, not cereal based as ours is. The juniper now comes from the mainland but the distilling process continues to be done in copper stills.
But it’s hard to beat Gordon’s
The gin factory is in Mahon.
It’s worth hiring a car here, either the modest Seat, which is fine unless you’re deciding to explore some of the little roads which run off the main and only road of the island that connects Mahon and Ciudadella.
In which case beware, as these roads are not even tracks, but in some cases boulder-strewn wastes ready to crack the careless sump or bend the odd steering arm, or as has been known, break an axle of even the cleverest of drivers.
This is territory for big four by fours. So check your insurance. Have you a damage waiver?
Going down these tracks brings the explorer to the hidden coves that are rarely seen, except by boat, and even then some are unapproachable because of reefs. Stay here and be fairly sure no-one else will be there.
The now infamous Jet Apartments on Playa D'en Bossa's main beach are very basic accommodation. However the location cannot be beaten. The complex houses the famous Bora Bora beach bar and is across the road from Space Nightclub, the Waterpark and a €6 taxi ride to Ibiza town. Location location location.
Here the credit card reigns supreme. One floor alone devoted to all those brand names which women die for. Tommy Hilfiger, Liz Claiborne, Mondee...soft music, the most pleasant of sales assistants and it is so easy to put it on le plastic.
The shoe floor is exquisite, even to me. Nothing less than three figures on the price tags.
I’m told King Juan Carlos of Spain comes to Palma for his holidays and has done so for many years. So. If it’s good enough for him, then it’s good enough for...
Follow the noise of the credit cards
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