Playing tourist in Seville: a visit to the cathedral rooftop

Earlier this week I talked about 5 things to see in Seville in a day. They’re kind of the essential monuments and sights. Everyone knows about them, all the tourists flock to them.

They’re important. Unmissable, even, but what happens when you live in Seville? Should you still visit them?

In today’s post I’m going to tell you about one option people living in Seville can enjoy to be tourists in their own city.

Playing tourist in your own city

I was lucky enough to grow up in a small Spanish pueblo which had a beautiful Mediaval castle right in the centre of town. We often had visitors and one of the first things we would do was show them around.

I had lost count of the times I had visited the castle that year and we were about to go again. Sometimes we looked forward to showing our guests around, others we groaned as the grown ups suggested yet again we ‘do the tour’ of the town.

The castle can be seen for miles around, standing out among the houses, beautiful and tall in the centre. It’s a point of pride, it gives the place character and deep down we loved running around the courtyard or up the slopes to the top of the tower, a feature many pointed out over the years as rather unique. In fact, it was frequently compared to a more famous monument: the Giralda in Seville.

When visitors came, it was time to play tourist and take them to see the highlights in town.

This weekend I was reminded of those sloping corridors from my  childhood. As I wound around bend after bend ascending the Giralda, I thought about home and the slopes leading to the top of the castle in my town.

It had been ages since I set foot inside Seville Cathedral. Living locally, it’s not the kind of place you go unless you have a purpose for your visit. So as I headed with my visiting brother to the foot of the Giralda tower, I was glad to take a moment to appreciate my surroundings.

We had come as part of a tour that features the cathedral rooftops. The visit around the Giralda and main cathedral were included in the ticket.

Anyone can visit the cathedral but only a few get the privilege of exploring it from above. It’s a different kind of visit. It’s fresh. Original. It offers great views and fun facts, teaching you about the city’s most famous monument and how it came to be.

A guide welcomed us in to the cathedral outside opening time. Most people had left the premises and all who were left were a few cleaners, a security guard or two and our reduced group. Headsets on and we were off up a narrow set of steps to admire the nave from above.

An hour and a half later, having climbed up and down spiral staircases, waved at passersby from the rooftops and said hello to the gargoyles, we concluded a memorable visit.

Local friends had recommended the tour and in turn I now recommend it too. So, next time you need to take a visitor to do tourist-y things, be sure to check it out.

What place did/do you always take visitors? What is your favourite spot in town to play tourist?


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