People love to talk about how Spain has great weather, about how wonderful it is to plan a holiday where ‘sunny’ will be the default forecast for the foreseeable future. However, if you live in Seville, you soon learn that the sun is not your friend. At least, not during the summer months.
Get the dates right.
The weeks between the end of May and the beginning of September are probably the worst time to visit Seville. Still, many tourists understandably flock to the city at this time of year in the hope of discovering its beauty and charm.
I have a local friend who frequently questions the sanity of travel agents abroad. Either that or their goodness. ‘Somewhere sunny?’ the agent asks the unsuspecting traveller. ‘Seville is the perfect destination for you!’.
‘What insane travel agent ever thought it was a good idea to send people to this city at this time of year?’ my friend asks. I’m afraid I have to agree. I mean, it’s sunny alright, just perhaps a little too sunny for most.
To be fair, this city is perfect for the sun seeking tourist, only sometime in early November or March would be much more appropriate.
Be smart and act like the locals.
If you’ve already booked your trip, though, all is not lost. You will simply have to plan your visit a bit differently. So, in order to help you make the most of your summer trip to Seville, I thought I’d share a few tips:
1) Start by choosing your timetable wisely. Avoid the hottest hours of the day, stay at the hotel, relax in the shade by the pool, enjoy the famous art of the siesta… Whatever you do, don’t try to go sightseeing in the full heat of the afternoon. From 2pm to 6pm, life slows right down and you’re better off staying within reach of the air conditioning, too.
2) If you do go out during the day, whatever time it is, wear sun cream. The sun here burns, it burns like you’ve never felt it burn before. I’ve seen far too many tourists with red necks, red shoulders, red faces, red arms, red legs, basically, any spot of skin that is showing and didn’t get enough cream. Be smart, you don’t want to look like a lobster. In addition to sun cream, just make sure you stay out of the sun as much as possible.
3) Organize your sightseeing smartly. I recommend you get up early and you get all the main outdoor sites seen before 11am. After this time it starts to get rather hot and walking around is uncomfortable, to say the least. I’d suggest you visit the Plaza de España, Torre del Oro or the city centre bright and early. The Alcázar opens at 9:30am, you should visit the gardens before it gets too hot and then wander around the rest of the beautiful palace.
4) Take the local bus. For the fantastic price of 1,40€ you can get a general view of the city. It may not be designed specifically for tourists but Lines C1 and C2 (wider loop) or C3 and C4 (smaller loop) do a general route around the main areas of the city and will allow you to see a lot without walking in the sun.
5) Drink lots of water. One thing you won’t be short of in Seville are bars. Take frequent breaks to enjoy a refreshing drink. Stop at a nice terraza in the shade or sit inside one of the typical air-conditioned cafés.
Tip: If you ask for a vaso de agua, you can get a glass of tap water for free. A botella de agua, on the other hand, will always be mineral and charged for. There aren’t really enough drinking fountains in this city, so I suggest your first stop of the day be at a supermarket to buy yourself a big bottle of water, it’s a lot cheaper than any kiosk.
6) To experience summer in Seville like the locals, you’ll want to go out after 9 or 10pm. Head to the Alameda area to enjoy a meal and drinks or simply take a stroll around the city centre. During the summer months there are also many activities programmed in the evening, with outdoor cinemas and other performances.
So, there you have it. Six things to keep in mind when visiting Seville in summer.
Do you have any other tips? Drop me a comment below.