SEVILLA: BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE

by Roxana Mihailescu

In November 2020 I started a volunteering program with European Solidarity Corps in Faro, Portugal. You can read all about it here. It lasted for six months and at the end of it, I decided to travel solo around Andalusia for 6 days. In this blog post, I will cover everything, from traveling during the pandemic and how I crossed the border between Portugal and Spain, to what cities I visited, what I did, and, finally, what the future holds for travelers who want to choose Spain as their destination.

REACHING SEVILLA

Sevilla is a beautiful city situated in the province of Andalusia, in the South of Spain. The name of the region has an Arabic origin and a very interesting meaning – “all the time green but summer”. The province is known for being always green and with blooming nature, but in summer everything gets “destroyed” by the high temperatures. 

You can reach Andalusia either by flying to one of its big airports, located either in Malaga or Sevilla, or you could take a bus/ car from Algarve, Portugal. I chose to do the latter, as I was living in Faro, which is 3 hours from Sevilla. I booked my Flixbus from Faro to Sevilla and it cost around 10€.

WHERE TO STAY

Sevilla is not so big, so there is a big chance it will be easy to move around no matter in which area you choose to stay in. If you only have a day or 2 in the city, I would recommend staying in the city center, which is the area around the Cathedral. 

As I was traveling alone, I chose to stay in a hostel. This is the best way to meet new people with whom you can explore the city! Also, it is a good way to save money if you are on a budget. Not only it is cheaper than staying in a hotel or Airbnbs, but they sometimes offer free dinners/ breakfast, or you can cook your own meals in the common kitchen. 

I stayed at La Banda Hostel and I loved everything about it. It is very central, right next to the cathedral, they have a rooftop, and there are daily activities such as Sunday flamenco night or Thursday yoga. A bed was 20€ and, while this is a bit pricey for a hostel, I couldn’t complain since I was alone in the room. Right now, hostels are working at half capacity, meaning that only half of the beds could be occupied in a room. 

As an alternative, you could stay at Hostel One Catedral, other travelers told me it is a fun place.

WHERE TO EAT

Tapas tapas tapas! In Spain, when you go to a tapas bar and order a drink, it usually comes with tapas, which is basically finger food. You can also order tapas separately. Some of the most iconic tapas is tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet), jamon, or montaditos, which are small sandwiches (and really big sandwiches in some tapas places I will later tell you about). A fair price for one tapas is somewhere between 2-4€, so if you pay more it’s either a tourist trap, or you feel fancy and want to splurge (nothing wrong with that, and it is true that the quality of the food might also be better). 

My favorite tapas bars, as recommended by the locals: 

  • Bar Alfalfa – here they also serve fresh paella (a typical Spanish dish with rice) all day long. A tapa is 3,80€ and a plate is 12,50€. 
  • Bodega Santa Cruz – don’t forget to try tinto de Verano (a typical Spanish drink which is a red wine with Sprite or Lemon Fanta)
  • Mateos
BEST CAFÉS IN TOWN

Somebody told me that in Spain you recognize the places with good coffee from the way they serve it – if it’s in a glass, it’s bad, if it’s served in a cup, it’s better quality. I am a huge iced latte lover, especially during hot days, and every time I would ask for that, they would bring me a hot coffee, some milk aside and some ice in a separate glass, so I would need to DIY the whole thing. In case you don’t want to do this, I did the research for you, and here are the best cafés in Sevilla: 

  • Black Panthere – I ordered a cold brew latte and damn. They say that it has panther milk and I low-key believed – honestly, it was the best coffee I’ve ever had.
  • Le Petit Café – creamiest cappuccino

WHAT TO DO IN SEVILLA

REAL ALCÁZAR DE SEVILLA

I started my first day slowly in the hostel and tried to make a rough plan. The first stop was the cathedral, but because of the pandemic, it was closed. On normal days, you should go to the top of Torre Giralda to see the city from above. 

After that, you can make your way to Real Alcázar de Sevilla, a UNESCO World Heritage site (where some parts of Game of Thrones were filmed). Try to make your schedule a way that you are visiting on a Monday when the entrance is just 1€ after 6:30 PM. No matter if you pay for a full ticket (11€) or the Monday one, you still need to book it in advance on their website. 

Allow yourself at least 2 hours to get lost in the beautiful gardens of the palace (for Game of Thrones fans – the water gardens of Dorne). I visited Alcázar with a friend I made in the hostel and it was so much fun!

After your visit, take a stroll around Barrio Santa Cruz and make sure not to miss Jardines de Murillo and the balcony.

PLAZA DE ESPAÑA

Plaza de España is situated in Maria Luisa Park and is one of the most wonderful, quaint places I’ve seen in Sevilla. Words don’t make justice; you have to see it yourself.

LA CASA DE PILATOS

The entry ticket costs 10€, but on Mondays, it is free from 3 PM. So I would actually suggest visiting it on the same day as Alcázar, if you are in Sevilla on a Monday.

GO TO A FLAMENCO SHOW

The hostel I stayed in organized a flamenco show with paella and unlimited sangria for only 10€! Alternatively, you can check other places in the city that offer shows, such as bars or restaurants.

At a glance

Sevilla is one of my favorite cities in Spain and this is why I decided to book another flight ticket short after I returned home, simply because I feel there is so much more to explore. However, if you only want to see the important objectives, 4 days should be enough.

The prices for accommodation and food are quite cheap, which makes this an excellent place for budget travelers. You can either stay in a hostel or book an Airbnb and I recommend you grab a drink and get some free tapas with it!

In short, Sevilla should definitely be on your list if you plan to visit Spain and you are looking to spend your time in a charming city, filled with history and amazing cuisine.

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