Here are some walking routes that take in key sites:
1) Starting at the Giralda, the Cathedral tower, head for Calle Sierpes, passing the town hall with its exuberant, Plateresque carving. Sierpes was the old silversmiths’ street and still has workshops you can pop into. At the Corte Inglés turn left along San Eloy and head for the River Guadalquivir passing the enormous Dominican convent church. Crossing the Isabel II Bridge into Triana, you go past the site of the old Inquisition. In Triana turn right into the Alfarería, the old potters’ district, then double back to the chapel of the Esperanza de Triana. During Lent she will be decked out ready for the Easter processions. Canaries singing, geraniums on window ledges and winding streets with colourful locals enjoying a ‘tapa’ in the many bars- all this makes Triana a treat. Come back over the Guadalquivir pausing to admire the Torre del Oro from the San Telmo bridge. It is between the river and the Cathedral where the old shipyards were. On your way back to the Cathedral, stop in at the Santa Caridad the hospice church of a lay brotherhood founded by Miguel Mañara in the seventeenth-century. There is a great painting of a skeleton with his foot on a coffin inside!
2) The Cathedral is right next to the Alcázar, the royal palace, where you can admire the Mudéjar and Renaissance ornament and its enchanting garden. As you exit, walk past the Casa de Contratación, where all trade with the Americas was controlled for centuries. Head past the old tobacco factory, now the University, the setting of Bizet’s opera, Carmen. Around the corner you will find the entrance to María Luisa Park. Shaded walks between ancient trees will lead you to the Museum of Folk Art with an impressive display of lacework. When you return you can take a walk around the huge Plaza de España monument put up for the 1928 International Trade Fair, with azulejo tiles representing all the regions of Spain. Skirting the back of the Alcázar along Avenida Menéndez Pelayo we enter at the Jewish court at the first turning on the left. Make sure you pop in as you walk past Sta María la Blanca, the former synagogue. Its gesso work is astounding. Turn left off the road here and allow the winding alleyways to lead you back to the Cathedral. Keep your eyes open for those details showing the local colors that make Seville so magical: ancient and mysterious doors, window grilles and patios.
3) Starting at the Giralda head up past the Archbishop’s Palace into the Jewish quarter. Stop in at San Ildefonso, and when you come out take a right that will lead you to the Casa de Pilatos, a noble mansion with attractive gardens, sculpture and tilework. There are more churches and convents on the back routes that lead you to the Puerta de la Macarena, or you can just enjoy the 30 minute walk through the streets. This is one of the gateways in the city’s enormous defensive walls, a fragment of which still remains here. You will also find the Basilica de la Macarena. More than just a dance, the Macarena is one of the iconic virgins of Seville. Carved by Luisa Roldán, her mysterious expression has given her thousands of devoted followers who process behind her during Holy Week. The museum has an interesting exhibit of her processional gowns and the float which is borne on the shoulders of the beefy confraternity men who vie for the privilege of carrying her. On your return, head for the Alameda de Hércules, where there is a flea-market on Sundays, and dip into the pretty church of San Lorenzo, then let Calle Jesús del Gran Poder lead you back to the Corte Inglés, Calle Sierpes and to the Cathedral.
Enjoy the magic of Andalucia’s Seville – a very special place!