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Italica (Santiponce)

Half Day Trip to Italica

Just 9 kms away from Sevilla stands the oldest Roman city in Spain called Italica, founded in 206 BC and the birthplace of 3 Roman Emperors. The city is known for its elaborate Amphitheater, which was the 3rd largest in the Roman emperor with a capacity of 25,000 spectators, the ruins of the Public Baths (Termas), intricate mosaic works & Aqueducts. Another amazing fact about this small wonder is that it was used as a shooting location for GOT Season 7 when Cersei meets Khaleesi! Although Sevilla keeps your hands busy with its splendid site and structures, Italica cant be missed. Take out 2 hours of your day to be transported back in time!

Entry to Italica (EU citizens - free entry ; Non EU citizens - 1.5 €/adult)

 

Well preserved statues of the Roman Gods

 

The city of Sevilla is visible through the Roman ruins

 

Well preserved intricate mosaic works with manicured and pruned trees adding to the beauty of this place

 

Ruins of the Roman Public Baths (Termas)

Entering the Elaborate Amphitheater through high stoned walls

Most parts of the amphitheater could not be preserved as they were destroyed beyond the point of conservation due to floods

The central pit where the Gladiatorial Fights took place was covered during the shooting of GOT and hence isn't visible in the series.

 

The covered corridors under the amphitheater opened to public recently

 

Avoid visiting this city during summers specially the months of July and August as South of Spain is burning. We visited this place on a very pleasant day in December 2017 which was the hottest winters of Sevilla with day temperatures rising up to 22 degrees Celsius.

 

 How to reach from Sevilla

Car : 12 mins drive from the center
Bus : 20 minutes from the center
Taxi : 12 mins drive (18-23€)

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Córdoba

Córdoba, an Andalusian city of Spain is the perfect one night getaway from the city of Seville. Once the capital of Islamic Spain, Córdoba is a living example of a splendid multi-cultural history which is visible through its Roman bridge alongside a Mosque now converted into a Cathedral. The Mezquita  built in 780-785 AD, is the landmark of the city  around which the city sprouted and today the city holds many more site of interests including the streets of blue potted plants, the hidden plazas, the Alcazar, roman bridge, the Light of Culture Show in the night and much more. Considered among the hottest cities in Europe, Córdoba should be avoided in the months of July and August with temperatures rising to 47-48 degree Celsius.   

HOW TO REACH

Car : 2 hr Drive  |  Bus : 2 hr Drive (12€)  |  Train : 40 mins (21€)

Visit GoEuro to book your tickets

MEZQUITA-CATEDRAL

Dating back to 600 AD, the Mezquita-Catedral (Mosque-Cathedral) once a Visgothic church, was purchased by Abd al-Rahman I (founder of Muslim dynasty) in 784 AD who demolished and constructed it to a mosque which today has a Catholic Church standing on it very centre. One can see the amalgamation of a mosque and a cathedral inside!

COMPLEX OF MEZQUITA

The Mezquita is surrounded by cobbled courtyards full of blooming orange trees and fountains which adds beauty to this monument. Also to the north of the courtyard stands the BELL TOWER which can be climbed up to get a view of the complex and the Córdoba city. (Price : 2€/adult). Click here for timings and ticket details

CALLEJA DE LAS FLORES

A pretty and picture perfect walk along the narrow street called Calleja de Las Flores (just behind the Mezquita) with blue painted pots hanging on the white washed walls of houses, restaurants and shops leading into a small plaza cannot be missed. A short visit worth many pictures!!

PUERTA DEL PUENTE

Puerta del Puente is one of the significant Roman monuments of Córdoba. In English meaning Gate of Bridge, it was first constructed during the Roman reign to provide entry to the Roman Córdoba city from the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge). Since then the gate has been remodeled and reconstructed a few times, the recent one being in 2007 to welcome King Felipe II.

PUENTE ROMANO

First constructed by the Romans in the early 1st Century BC and since then reconstructed a few times last dating to 1876, this roman bridge provided an entry of Romans to invade the city of Córdoba. Halfway across the bridge stands the statue of San Rafael (Archangel) and on the other end of the bridge stands the Tower of Calahorra.

Wait for the night to dawn in the city of Córdoba to witness the spectacular nocturnal 'Light of Cultures Show' which comes alive with light projections, fountains, pools and lit up walls of the fortress of Alcazar of Christian Monarchs. Stroll through the history and culture of Córdoba through this light and sound show. Click here to book your show 

MY EXPERIENCE IN THE CITY

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SEVILLA

SEVILLA

The capital of Andalusia, Sevilla is a historically significant city of Spain. The city oozes the old world charm with its Gothic Cathedrals, Mudejar Palaces and age old tradition of Flamenco Dances. The medieval feel of the city through its winding streets and architecture seduces you to get lost in this paradise. The city brings you to life with its Fiestas, such as, Feria de Abril and Semana Santa where the whole city stops to celebrate these festival to their heart´s content. Sevilla is a very walkable city and can be best explored on foot. The city is known for its Siesta lifestyle, which is, napping from 2 pm to 5 pm! Embrace the siesta, do some photography, or go take a nap and save yourself from the scorching Sun of the South!!!

Plaza de España

One of the most impressive plazas of Spain, Plaza de España of Sevilla, is a mix of Renaissance, Moorish and Spanish Architecture with heavy mosaic inlay works which makes it stand out. It is known as the Venice of Sevilla and one can enjoy a boat ride in the canal on a hot summer day. Also available are the horse and carriage rides at the entrance of the Plaza!

Cathedral of Sevilla

The largest Gothic Cathedral of the world and the 3rd largest Cathedral of Europe, the Sevilla Cathedral was constructed in a span of 500 years and is also the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The ticket to this grandiose monument includes climbing up the Giralda Tower.

La Giralda

Giralda Bell Tower is one of the landmarks of Sevilla and the bell tower to the largest Gothic Cathedral of the world. The top of the tower can be reached by clibing 34 sloping ramps to be rewarded by a splendid view of the city. During the Muslim reign, the tower was used by the muezzin to announce the prayers 5 times a day riding a horse up the ramps, the reason why there are no steps!

El Divino Salvador

Under the rule of Muslims, El Divino Salvador was originally built as a mosque. But after Spain attained its freedom, it was converted into a Cathedral. It was the first ever mosque built in Spain. Now a Baroque church, El Divino Salvador with its intricate rich gold ornamentation, the interiors can't be missed. Recommendation : At the entrance of El Divino Slavador, purchase the combined ticket to El Divino Salvador, Cathedral of Sevilla and Girlada Tower in 9€. This also gives you the opportunity to skip the line in Cathedral of Sevilla be showing this ticket.

Metropol Parasol

This giant majestic sun shade also called Las Setas de Sevilla (The Mushrooms of Sevilla) is the largest wooden structure in the world. The basement of the structure holds an Antiquarium which displays the Roman ruins which are worth a visit. The top floor  which can be reached by walking on this structure, gives a spectacular view panoramic view of the city. The entry for the top floor is 3€ which includes a in the bar!

Alcazar

The Royal Palace of Sevilla, Alcazar, is adorned with stunning gold ceilings, hand painted tiles, water fountains and manicured gardens along with the influence of Moorish, Renaissance, Mudejar and Gothic Architecture. Also famously known to the Games of Throne of fans as the setting for Kingdom of Dorne,  this palace can't be missed! Book your tickets here to avoid standing in long queues. (9.5€/adult)

Townhall

University of Sevilla

Walk Along Guadalquivir

Puerta del Perdon

AIRE DE SEVILLA

The most relaxing experience in the heart of the city of Sevilla has to be the Ancient Arab Baths at Aire de Sevilla, a 16th century conserved mansion with stone arches and stunning lanterns. You have to experience it to believe it. Click here to know more! 

CASA DE LA MEMORIA

The traditional Flamenco dances of Spain with stomping feet and fiery passion is a must watch. Book your experience in 18€ per adult at Casa de Memoria. Click here to know more!

PARROQUIA SAN LUIS DE LOS FRANCESES

10 mins walk from Metropol Parasol

You can't get enough of churches and cathedrals in Sevilla. Another beautifully decorated church with frescoes all over reopened last year for public.

REALES ATARAZANES - ROYAL DOCKYARD

5 mins walk from Sevilla Cathedral

An old dockyard from the 13th century with vaulted arches was also used as a shooting location for Games of Thrones

ROMAN COLUMNS - ALAMEDA DE HERCULES

8 mins walk from Parroquia San Luis

You can't get enough of churches and cathedrals in Sevilla. Another beautifully decorated church with frescoes all over reopened last year for public.

PLAZA CABILDO

In front of the Sevilla Cathedral

A beautiful square just in front of the Cathedral, not known to many tourists. It also hosts Sunday morning markets 

CASA DE PILATOS

8 mins walk from Metropol Parasol

Another eye catching Andalusian Palace with decorated courtyards depicting Sevillan architecture of the 16th century

SANTA MARIA LA BLANCA

5 mins walk from the Sevilla Cathedral

Don't be fooled by its simple exteriors. It was a synagogue built in the 13th century now converted into a church has a unique style of Architecture called Borrominesque 

MONTE GURUGU

In front of Plaza de Espana

This charismatic mound located in the Maria Luisa Park has a small waterfall and gives a beautiful view of the park and Plaza de Espana

MY EXPERIENCE IN THE CITY

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TOP 4 BARS OF SEVILLA

TOP 4 BARS OF SEVILLA

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TOP 7 TRADITIONAL EATERIES OF SEVILLA

TOP 7 TRADITIONAL EATERIES OF SEVILLA

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TOP 5 MODERN EATERIES OF SEVILLA

TOP 5 MODERN EATERIES OF SEVILLA

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR SPAIN

We all have that one destination we have been dreaming to go to. Spain has been one of the dream destinations for millions of travelers. And when you get a chance to fulfill that dream one day, you want everything to be perfect. Here are my travel recommendations for Spain and mistakes which you can avoid ( I, unfortunately, learned with experience!) to travel like a Pro!!!   

LANGUAGE BARRIER
Language is the biggest barrier in Spain. The most amount of English you will hear will be in the cosmopolitan cities of Madrid & Barcelona. 

CULTURAL VARIATION
The culture of Spain differs from North to South and so does the language, gastronomy, topography and weather. Be prepared to experience the real Spain!

CAN´T BEAT THE HEAT
July & August are a complete no-no to visit South of Spain unless you want to be burned in a furnace! The temperature rises 50 degrees. May not be surprise to Indians but believe you me, the sun in Spain is harsher & stronger than India. P.S. I can't survive Sevilla July-Aug. The town becomes a ghost town!

LAYER IT WITH STYLE
The weather of Spain is very predictable but the issue is the direct Sun. When under the sun, you might just feel you are burning, but under the shade of a tree or building you will feel the cool breeze & might want a light stole or jacket. Dress smartly and wisely!

PETTY THEFTS
Be very careful of your belongings and specially your purses ladies as Madrid and Barcelona are hubs of petty thefts specially the city centres

EMBRACE THE SIESTA
Spaniards love their siestas (afternoon naps) which is from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Use that time to do some photography of the Spanish architecture and its beauty. You can hardly click pictures without people in it, Spain being super touristy! Or act like a Spaniard when in Spain, take a nap yourself and get ready for the nightlife of Spain.

ADJUST YOUR BODY CLOCK
Got to adjust your body clock or rather Food Clock as per the Spanish clock. Lunch is not served before 2:00 p.m. and Evenings start pretty late too! None of the restaurants open before 9:00 p.m. for dinner. Even that's early for them.. you won't see a single soul except yours if you arrive even at 9:00. Take it easy in Spain!

ALWAYS RESERVE A TABLE
Always, always reserve a table for your meal. Spanish people are foodies and can eat any time of the day & specially love having their dinners out even in weekdays. You don't want to be disappointed once you reach the restaurant and have to wait hours. Trust me, I have learned with experience, unfortunately!

BLA BLA YOUR WAY
Travelling from one city to another in Spain is made easy through the car sharing facility called Bla Bla Car. Download the app and reserve your seat in someone else's car. Pay minimal amount to reach your destination. This gives the opportunity to make new friends, know locals, their culture and maybe some of their recommendations. Cheap, Easy and Convenient... And YES SAFE!!! I do it almost every other weekend.

LADIES, HEAL THE HEEL!
Coming from a woman who loves her stillets, leave them home before they break or break you! The best way to explore Spain is to walk it's narrow meandering cobbled streets & trust me, its a pain to do so in your heels. My first day in Spain I tried it & for the next 10 days I had to put a band-aid to wear even a basic pair of shoes or sandals.

TIPPING CULTURE
There isn't a tipping culture in Spain, but if you really like the service or are habitual of tipping, tip only 5-10% of the bill (in cash)

AIRBNB
The best way to live like a local & enjoy under the roof of an old Spanish house in the city centre or the main plaza, is to rent an Airbnb. Spain is full of them and most of them provide great service and location. P.S. I have not yet stayed in any other mode of accommodation in Spain and have never been disappointed.

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SEGOVIA

The city of Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage City, echoes of a Roman history through its world famous Aqueducts which are one of the largest Roman structures in Europe. The city is just an hour drive from Madrid and is a perfect historical day trip. Segovia being a small city can easily be covered in a few hours by a tourist, but for a traveler there are so many sites to visit and appreciate that even a day might not be enough! 

AQUEDUCT

This grey stone arched structure, Aqueduct, is a Roman engineering wonder which was built 2000 years ago in 50AD without the use of mortar

SEGOVIA CATHEDRAL

Standing at the highest point of the old city of Segovia, the Plaza Mayor, in a bright yellow facade is a must visit site. The stained glass windows and the enormity of the cathedral can be viewed only in 3€.

ALCAZAR

The Alcazar, which looks like a Walt Disney Castle, provides great views of the surroundings. The museum can be visited in 5.5€ per adult

MIRADOR DEL POSTIGO

This is the view point to have a look at the magnificent Aqueducts and the Plaza Azuguejo on which stands the structure

We finally decided to visit this historical city on a rainy day as we needed to get out of the city for a day. This rown is a gem and has so many sites to offer. We started by parking our car near the Aqueducts which stand on the Plaza Azuguejo. After taking lots of photos and appreciating the beauty we moved towards the attractive winding street called Calle Cervantes in search for a great Segovian Lunch.

To my surprise their local and most popular dish is a Roasted Suckling Pig popularly known as Cochinillo Asado or Toston Asado, which is a complete pig roasted and presented to you with its head and complete body. Me and my husband not being a big fan of pig and that too in this form, thought to give it a pass.

But for those who are more adventurous than me, here are a few recommendations - El RedebalRestaurante Casares & Restaurante San Martin.  

Continuing on Calle Cervantes in search of food, we landed up at another viewing point called Mirador de la Canaleja which provides for great views of the city. Towards your right you can see a building with cemented spikes all over it, called Casa de los Picos. From here we walked on Calle Juan Bravo, a small narrow street lined with local shops & cafes to reach Plaza Mayor where we encountered the stunning Cathedral of Segovia impressing us with its yellow facade.

Plaza Mayor

The beauty of the cathedral lies inside in its mural artwork on the ceilings, stained glass windows, vaulted arches and intricate gold work.

After being enchanted by the Cathedral, we moved down further exploring cute and pretty nooks and corners of the town reaching the Disneyland castle called Alcazar. This castle in reality was an inspiration for many castles depicted in Walt Disney fairy tale movies. The view of the city and winding roads leading to the city are amazing from the complex of the castle.

From here walked back a different route leading us to other part of the cities finally taking us to the Mirador Del Postigo from where you could have the view of the city centre where stands the Aqueducts. This viewing point can be accessed just in front of the Aqueducts as well.  

At the Mirador del Postigo

P.S. we finally ate at a very lousy burger place!! Not recommended 

How to Reach Segovia

Car : 1hr 
Bus : 1hr (9euros)
Train : 28 mins (12-24 euros)
Book Bus/Train here