Avid Traveller, Malaga, nerja, travel literature, TravelWatchNews

While eagerly waiting to disembark our flight at Malaga Airport, I become aware of my fellow passengers’ rising anticipation of sun and warmth, the brief excited chat going on around me is about where people are travelling on to. The vast majority were heading West of Malaga to the popular resorts of Marbella, Mijas and Benalmadena. Knowing where we’re going I feel we’re pushing against the flow by saying, ‘I’m heading East to Nerja’.  This makes me think that Marbella (West) or Nerja (East) may be the question!

Heading East to Nerja on the Spanish Sunshine Coast

Nerja - A Great Spanish Sunshine Break

Nerja can be described as quaint, quieter and probably more family-orientated than Marbella. There are very few stag parties or ‘football tops’ in comparison to Marbella and its surrounding coastal towns. Dining in Marbella however can be superior, although often more expensive. So saying, Nerja has its share of top class restaurants. Marbella also has Puerto Banus on its door step with its shopping, coffee venues and sight-seeing attractions during the day, then its mega club scene at night. At my age thankfully the club equivalent is relatively small scale in Nerja, the most well known being Plaza Tutti Frutti which is a large square, lined with numerous bars and which is frequented mainly by locals at weekends.

Your own destination choice will be very much dependent on what you’re looking for in a Spanish holiday. This blog takes in several visits to Nerja when I was staying in the award winning and beautiful pueblo blanco of Frigiliana.

Nerja on the East of Costa Del Sol

On our frequent visits to Southern Spain and mostly to the autonomous region of La Axarquia, I have spent many a sunny day in and around the town of Nerja.

Nerja is a picturesque Costa del Sol resort town sitting along Spain’s Southern coast. Just 50 kilometres east of Málaga city and connected by the Mediterranean highway. Once a sleepy fishing village, Nerja now has a population of over 25,000.

Nerja a picturesque Costa del Sol resort town
Balcón de Europa from Hotel Balcón de Europa.

It boasts an impressive seafront promenade and stunning blue Mediterranean sea views from the famous Balcón de Europa. Sightseers are mesmerised looking out across the water and often forget to turn around and take in the stunning views of the rugged mountains behind. Nerja is home to several historic churches and beside the Balcón de Europa is the impressive El Salvador Church, first erected in 1505 but rebuilt in 1697. If you catch sight of a wedding there you will be impressed by the set up and fashion on show. On either side of the Balcón are sandy beaches and numerous coves in the cliffs.

Balcon de Europa

The Caves of Nerja (Cueva de Nerja) are nearby and house unusual stalactites and stalagmites, although I’ve yet to see these as every time I’ve visited they’ve either been full or closed!

Nerja is also known for its paleolithic paintings (early Stone Age) which are best viewed by guided tour with many on offer. The town also has a three story museum covering the history of the first settlers based at the Nerja Caves until the tourist boom of the late 1950’s.

Festivals in Nerja

Similar to other local towns and villages, Nerja is served well with festivals. Catch one if you can, the main ones being:

Three Kings (January),
Carnival (February),
Semana Santa (March/April),
San Isidro (May),
San Juan (June),
Virgin del Carmen (July),
and the Feria (Second week in October).

Nerja Attractions

If you ask a local they will list the following attractions as the best places to visit:

1. Old Town
2. Balcón de Europa
3. Church of El Salvador
4. Museum of the village of Nerja
5. Beaches
6. Caves

Nerja Accommodation

There are a large number of hotels, hostels and self catering rental options in Nerja. To be honest you are spoiled for choice and you will easily find what you require and meet your budget needs.

Hotel Balcón de Europa

Plaza Balcón de Europa

Plaza Balcon
Balcón de Europa

Built into the rock face, this impressive hotel has direct access to Caletilla Beach and Playa el Salon. It features an outdoor infinity swimming pool and a restaurant with great sea views.

The hotel has a lovely outside terrace on the Balcón itself serving drinks and light meals. Sitting relaxing and people watching with a glass of Juve & Camps Cava is one of my favourite pastimes here.

Located in the centre of Nerja, the hotel is close to many shops, bars and restaurants. Its only downside is it’s accessed via the pedestrian walkway so unless you arrange a meet and greet you will have to carry your luggage for about 10 minutes from the transport drop off point to the hotel which can be strenuous in the heat, especially if you overpack.

I’ve heard people say some areas of the hotel look dated but for service and views of the Mediterranean I’d recommend this as an accommodation choice.

Parador de Nerja

Calle Almunecar, 8

Parador de Nerja a Malaga gem

A ‘parador’ in Spain and some other Spanish speaking nations are establishments where travellers can obtain accommodation, food and beverages, similar to an inn. Since 1928, the Spanish National Tourist Board in an attempt to boost domestic and international tourism began to nationalise these paradors and develop a national network. Paradors range from historic buildings, monasteries and castles to modern buildings that tend to hold ‘special appeal’. At the impressive 4 star Parador de Nerja this appeal is recognised in its panoramic views of Burriana Beach, the Mediterranean and Nerja Old Town.

This is a large, bright modern hotel with terraces facing the sea, a beautiful garden with an outdoor swimming pool, a lawn tennis court, a paddle tennis court and is very close to the pedestrian walkway into the centre of town.

Nerja Restaurants

During our visits we found several great tapas bars and restaurants all within a very short distance of each other in old town Nerja.

Redondo Bar

Calle Gloria 10

 Redondo Bar

A busy bar with limited tables outside, Redondo Bar serves good food with a large selection of drinks. It offers free tapas with each drink ordered but be sure and ask for your tapas. Very popular and in a busy street, sometimes there’s a wait for a table particularly in the evenings or if the weather is not sunny. Recommended for a quick drink and tapas, don’t expect a relaxing evening meal as it can be slightly chaotic when busy but the atmosphere is great!

Mum Indian Restaurant

Calle Pintada, 3

I do like an Indian meal and we have eaten in Mum several times. Each time we are impressed with the incredible tasting food and excellent service. Not really sure what is going on with the decor mind you but some people seem to like it. If going ask for a seat through at the back terrace of the restaurant. Overall really nice food however the stuffed tandoori mushrooms were a personal firm favourite and the chicken hyderabadi biryani really did tingle the taste buds without being too spicy!

We will revisit when next in Nerja or nearby and I recommend if you like good authentic Indian food.

La Braseria de Pacomari

Calle Almte. Ferrándiz, 31

La Braseria de Pacomari in the heart of Nerja

Situated in the very heart of Nerja, with a family friendly atmosphere. This is a brilliantly different restaurant where the menu merges Asian and South American options with premium Spanish cuisine. It’s truly an art form and your taste buds will love it! Combined with an excellent wine list from all corners of Spain to go hand in hand with the delicious dishes. I cannot recommend highly enough but be sure to book especially in the evening as you have little chance of getting a table without a reservation.

Restaurant 34, Hotel Carabeo

Calle de Hernando de Carabeo
Hotel Caraba- Restaurant 34

We were kindly invited to a meal at this restaurant to celebrate friends Kevin and Jenny’s special birthdays (not 21!). It’s neatly tucked away in the boutique Hotel Carabeo in a fantastic setting. The authentically Spanish-focused menu comprises many delicious, mouthwatering dishes. It claims that the organic fruit and vegetables used in the cuisine are sourced from their finca, as is their own homemade extra virgin olive oil.

Daily chef specials run alongside the a la carte menu and there is also an impressive set menu at €30 for three courses.

There are various dining areas to choose from, including the original hotel dining room, tables secluded in hedge trimmed alcoves around the impressive swimming pool, or on the summer terrace overlooking the beach. Truly a wonderful experience and comes highly recommended, the octopus starter and the suckling pig main were incredible dishes, just delicious.

Hotel Carabeo
Hotel Carabeo pool and dining alcoves

We can’t thank Kevin & Jenny enough for our introduction to Restaurant 34 and inclusion in their special celebrations. Feliz Cumpleanos to you both!

Terraza Buddha Lounge Bar

Calle de La Gloria 13

If you’re looking for night time entertainment, Bar Buddha is it. It has various levels with a restaurant, outdoor lounge and karaoke area. A wide selection of cocktails and chipitos (shots) are available at the impressive rooftop bar. Fairly priced and a great atmosphere although it can be very busy. The entrance is tucked away but can be accessed from opposite the Rodondo Bar.

Beaches

As previously stated Nerja is a small town but it punches well above its weight for excellent beaches. The coastline is dotted with loads of small coves and sandy beaches. You are spoiled for choice whether looking for watersports, sunbathing or simply swimming in the crystal waters of the Mediterranean.

Burriana Beach

Burriana Beach in Nerja' in Malaga Sunshine Coast

Burriana beach is the longest beach in Nerja, virtually one kilometre in length with as many watersports on offer as you can imagine. Lined with some of the best chiringuitos in the area, you can also find numerous beachside shops selling snorkels and all sorts of beach paraphernalia.

Chiringuito Ayo

Burriana Beach

A local favourite to visit is Ayo for a lunch on Burriana Beach. Every day you can watch chef Alfonso make fresh paella in traditional big pans on an open fire. Great photo opportunity.

Chef Alfonso at work

It’s certainly no palace but straight forward and simple with plastic chairs and tables. However, the paella is the top attraction and very good, loaded with chicken and shellfish. It used to be known for free paella refills but following the pandemic and mindful of the waste that people left, this is no longer an option. The service is great and even in the height of summer when there are long queues, table turnaround is quick due to the efficient and friendly service of the waiting staff – Nico, Livia and young Jose certainly look after you! You can’t really beat the price and quality on offer, the paella is fabulous and must be sampled but the rosada a la plancha is a winner for me and simply delicious! Eating grilled fresh fish while sampling local wine, sometimes it’s hard to remember you’re in a chiringuito on a beach and not a top class restaurant! Also worth knowing about is the breakfast here which is excellent – a large strong coffee and pan con tomate sets you up nicely for a day on the beach.

Nico, Livia and Jose at work

This is a local institution and certainly not to be missed! Go and visit Nico, Livia and Jose who work as a great team at the far left hand side of the restaurant.

Playa la Caletilla Beach

This is one of my favourite Nerja beaches, which is accessed by a steep downward hill and has a small shop selling drinks and snacks. Facilities such as showers, sun loungers and umbrellas are also available.

The beach is home to what were fisherman’s huts, now renovated into summer accommodation. It’s a fairly popular beach in the heart of Nerja town so can get busy. Although there are no restaurants or chiringuitos on the beach it’s only a short walk to the heart of Nerja and a huge choice of restaurants and tapas bars.

Carabeo Beach

Nerja - A Great Spanish Sunshine Break

Only accessed via the pedestrianised Carabeo street although with parking available in the adjacent town car park. Carabeo Beach is really a very uncomplicated beach, there are no sun loungers, bars or restaurants available. The simplicity of this beach is not to be understated however with its sandy crystal clear waters beautifully enclosed by high cliffs it’s the most natural of beaches.

Travel & Transport

While West of Malaga has a terrific train system, the East relies on its bus and taxi infrastructure. Nerja bus station is a 15 minute walk from the Balcón de Europa although this is somewhat of a misnomer as it’s effectively a layby on the N-340 with a small ticket kiosk. But don’t be mistaken as it provides excellent and regular bus links throughout the region. There’s also plenty of cafes and bars nearby to grab a refreshment in between journeys.

There are a multitude of taxis in operation but if you’re going to pre-book an airport transfer or a pick up from outside of Nerja, I suggest you use Taxi Frigiliana. WhatsApp or call them on +34 696969469 or check out their website www.taxifrigiliana.com if you require a taxi service to get to Nerja or to travel from Frigiliana. Owned and run by Paulino Lopez, it is a stand-out in service provision, honesty and integrity.

Historically West v East?

So back to the original conundrum. Local folklore states that dictator Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939 until he died in 1975, divided the area in two:

West of Malaga was for tourism; East of Malaga designated for agriculture. To be honest who really knows if this is true or simply an urban myth, but actually there is some logic in the statement particularly driving East along the Mediterranean Highway gazing at the farmers’ green hilly fields!

So here is a quick debrief on the original question of West or East of Malaga?

West

The western part of the region stretches 60 kilometres from Malaga to Marbella and beyond. In between you will find Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Mijas, and past Marbella you will reach Estepona and Gibraltar. All familiar names that roll off the tongue and true favourites with tourists.

East

East is very different and most readers will not have heard of Rincon del Victoria, Algarobbo or El Morche. Velez-Malaga and Torre del Mar may be better known along with Torrox and Nerja. This 69 kilometre agricultural stretch is lined with poly tunnels and greenhouses, it’s also the largest mango and avocado cultivation area in Europe. Tourism clearly exists but not to the same degree as the West. I know I’m not alone in saying that the East and in particular Nerja is rather more relaxed.

As the sun sets


I’m certainly not discrediting Marbella, Mijas or other resorts west of Malaga as we have several good friends who own impressive properties in these areas. We have also spent many a happy holiday or long weekend with friends and family in these locations.

So despite the West v East conundrum the resort choice is as always down to the individual traveller. No matter what your choice you will enjoy warmth and hospitality. If you’re undecided perhaps opt for the ‘middle’ as I personally find Malaga an exceptional city to visit and it should be classed as up there with the best of Spanish cities.

In conclusion I’d say Nerja is an excellent choice for a holiday, it has it all and is friendly and relaxed. For me, one of the best secrets attached to Nerja is its easy access to the award winning and beautiful pueblo blanco of Frigiliana. Only €1.20 (£1) on the bus or €12 (£10) in a taxi to visit this stunning village but be ready for its many stairs and hills – as my local friend Antonio Domingo says ‘it’s all ups and downs in Frigiliana!’.

Summary Video


Video @RoguesinParadise

AvidTarvellers.News Blog by Calum Glenny

 

Calum Glenny
Gourock’s Avid Traveller

More like this – The AvidTraveller.News

Associate of Rogues Guide and the Book
Rogues in Paradise –


Avid Traveller, barbados, rogues in paradise, Slavery, travel literature, TravelWatchNews

I am delighted to have read the draft copy of this delightful and informative book. Rogues in Paradise. Here is a synopsis of my Rogues  Review. The full review is available here >>>

Book By Author Ian R. Clayon

ianrclaton-author
“Rogues in Paradise” is a captivating book about Barbados that delves deep into the heart and soul of this enchanting island.

The book, written by author y Ian R. Clayton, founder of the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia, provides a unique and intimate perspective of the island’s people, culture, heritage, and history.

Rogues Heroes, Legends, and Everyday Bjans

Rogues introduces readers to unforgettable people like Queen Bee Peggy, who finds herself on a high-tech medical stretcher, and Rex Wooton, embroiled in a comical caper with ‘stolen’ construction lights. It also recounts the uproarious courtroom antics of ‘Fred’ as he tries to save the Race Horse Bathing at Pebbles Beach. The stories of people are warm and vibrant everyday characters who embody the true spirit of Barbados.

a Captivating book by Author Ian R. Claton

However, “Rogues in Paradise” is not just about these characters; it’s about the legendary heroes who are often also rogues. Clayton seamlessly weaves significant historical events and special places into the narrative, shedding light on the island’s rich heritage and remarkable people. He discusses Errol Barrow, a visionary leader who introduced free schooling and meals for all children, making Barbados one of the most literate nations.

Reflection on a Dark Past

The book’s entertaining stories transition seamlessly into a more solemn reflection on the inhuman and brutal slave trade and its lasting impact on Barbados. Throughout it all, Clayton underscores the unwavering resilience of the Bajan spirit, emphasizing that it has endured and risen above all adversities.

the dark side of colonialism and the african slave trafe

“Rogues in Paradise” offers readers an engaging account of history, with humour, and poignant reflection that deepens understanding and connection to Barbados. For those who have visited the island, the characters in the book will feel like old friends encountered on beaches, in town squares, or even in the local rum shops and restaurants. Clayton’s narrative reinforces the idea that the people define Barbados, and Barbados, in turn, is a reflection of its people.

its humour will make you snile

As an avid traveler who has frequented Barbados, I eagerly anticipate the updated edition of this book. I assure readers that “Rogues in Paradise” is a delightful and enlightening read, offering laughter and profound insights of the history and people of of Barbados.

Summary Video of My Rogue Review

Original Review Blog –  https://RoguesinParadise.com/reviews-videos/

Calum Glenny – The Avid Traveller

Calum Glenny Avid Traveller
Whether planning a trip to the island or intrigued by its rich culture and heritage, this book is essential to understanding the essence of the island and the  Bajan people.

Rogues Review By Calum Glenny-
http://AvidTraveller.News

 

 


africa, obeah-voodoo, travel literature, TravelWatchNews

 

Exploring the differences between Voodoo and Obeah in the Caribbean

The Rogues article on Voodoo inspired this blog. While Voodoo is not common in Barbados and many Caribbean islands, it has influenced religious practices in many islands. One of those derivates is Obea: An afro-influenced spiritual and magical tradition.  Obeah draws on African religious elements, including but not limited to Voodoo. It reinterprets and “Africanizes” Voodoo, Christian practices, and a combination of many religions—a creolization of religions. In some regions of the Caribbean, aspects of Indigenous and South Indian religions have been incorporated into the practice. While it draws on some elements of Voodoo, there are critical differences between Voodoo and Obeah:

Mysterious Differences

Obeah voodoo influences differences

  • Origins: Voodoo originated in West Africa and was brought to the Caribbean through the transatlantic slave trade. It has strong influences from the Fon and Ewe cultures of present-day Benin and Togo. Conversely, Obeah emerged in the Caribbean region itself, primarily in Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies.
  • Belief Systems: Voodoo encompasses a complex belief system that combines elements of African animism, spirit worship, and Catholicism. It emphasizes the veneration of spirits (loa) and the interconnectedness of the spiritual and physical realms. Obeah, in contrast, is often described as a more folk-based and individualistic practice. It incorporates elements of folk magic, herbalism, and ancestral reverence.
  • Rituals and Practices: Voodoo rituals involve elaborate ceremonies, drumming, dancing, and spirit possession. There is an emphasis on community participation and traditions typically held in dedicated sacred spaces such as temples or outdoor shrines. Obeah practices, on the other hand, are often more private and individualistic. They may involve using charms, herbs, divination, and spellcasting.
  • Spellcasting and Magic: Both Voodoo and Obeah practitioners engage in spellcasting and magical practices, but there are differences in their approaches. Voodoo spellcasting often involves the invocation of specific loa, intricate rituals, and using symbolic objects. Obeah practitioners, on the other hand, may focus more on folk remedies, charms, and spells tailored to specific needs or desires.
  • Cultural Influences: Voodoo has been more widely recognized and studied by scholars and has gained some degree of exposure in popular culture, particularly in Haiti and New Orleans. Obeah, in comparison, has remained more localized and less well-known outside the Caribbean region.
  • Variants of Obeah are practiced in the Caribbean nations of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Virgin Islands.

More about Voodoo

See the original article at Rogues in Paradise:

Discovering the Mystery and History of Voodoo

Rogues in Paradise is the real story of Babados’ People, place, and history. It traces the origins of several Bajans back to Africa and studies the tribal influences, philosophy, and heritage.

 

Related links

 

Thje story behind the Book Rogues in Paradise

About the Bajan People

More Historical Mysteries


barbados, rogues in paradise, travel literature, TravelWatchNews

Uncover the captivating story of Ferdinand Paleologue, Barbados Greek Dynasty at Rest in St. Johns Church. He is from the esteemed Palaiologos Greek family that ruled the Byzantine Empire until the 15th century. He embarked on a remarkable journey that brought him to Barbados. Fleeing the English Civil War turbulence, Ferdinand arrived on the island in 1644, immersing himself in its privileged circles and establishing his position among the elite.

His influence extended beyond agriculture, with Ferdinand playing a pivotal role in shaping the spiritual landscape of Barbados. From serving as a vestryman to ascending to the distinguished position of churchwarden at St. John’s Parish Church, he left an indelible mark on the island’s ecclesiastical affairs.

Greek Dynasty in Barbados Ferdinand was buried in the graveyard at the church. His tombstone reads, “Here lyeth ye body of Ferndinando Paleolocus descended from ye imperial line of ye last Christian emperors of Greece.” Died on October 3, 1678.

Unearth the allure of Barbados as a refuge for those seeking new beginnings, witness Ferdinand Paleologue’s contributions to the island’s economic and spiritual fabric, and marvel at the spectacular home he built,  Clifton Hall, a testament to his grand vision. This is your invitation to experience the captivating legacy of Ferdinand Paleologue and the extraordinary people who have shaped the paradise of Barbados. See the spectacular St. Johns Church, perched on the breathtaking Hackeltons Cliff.

 

St. Johns church on the edge of the cliff.

Don’t miss the opportunity to delve deeper into the captivating stories of Barbados’ rogues, heroes, and emperors. Discover the thought-provoking book,Rogues in Paradise,” which challenges traditional perspectives and showcases the extraordinary individuals shaping the island’s vibrant culture.

Join us on this journey and unravel the rich tapestry of Barbados’ history, where elegance, influence, and a spirit of resilience converge to create a story that inspires you. Explore more and secure your invitation to the “Rogues in Paradise Free chapters book launch by clicking the link below.rogues in paradise celebrating Bajan culture

Related Links –

The Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia Blog on Ferdinand Paleologue

More Mysteries of History –RoguesinParadise Mysteries

The Real Story of Barbados People, place, history and Culture Rogues in Paradise. About Rogues in Paradise

 


Andalusia, Avid Traveller, Malaga, rogues in paradise, seville, travel literature, TravelWatchNews

Seville Andalusia Spain – A Stunning Spanish City with Sensational Sights
This personal guide by Calum Glenny provides a treasure trove of insight you don’t find in travel guides. It is a deeply personal experience of places and people. Join Calum as he chats with the local proprietors, sharing what he loves about the food, wine, and ambiance of the unique hotels, restaurants, and bars in historic settings. 

Arriving From Malaga

Arriving by train at Seville’s impressive Santa Justa station from Malaga the first thing we noticed was the sharp increase in temperature. 


A short taxi trip to our accommodation in 
Santa Paula Pool & Luxury apartments. Sounds very grand, and to be honest, for an Airbnb, it wasn’t far off it, first-class accommodation with a decent-sized bedroom, shaded patio, and pool area plus a large roof terrace with every requirement covered.

The apartment was in a very quiet area of the city near several impressive churches and monasteries. 


It’s also steps from 
Plaza San Marcos, which is like a little village in the heart of Seville. Everything you might need can be found at the square. Leon de San Marcos (Tapas Bar), El Nomada (Pizza etc), and Lo Que Diga La Sol (Tapas Bar) are complemented by a chemist, convenience store, outstanding bakers, and El Rincon Sagrado, an up-market deli. It also must be said that the prices charged in the square are very much less than that in the tourist spots within the city. 

The main monuments and attractions are a good 15/20 minutes walk from the apartment but with some interesting areas and sights to be found as you meander through the exceptionally narrow streets.


The square at the head of 
Calle Sol and Calle Bustos Taveras again houses some great restaurants and bars where you can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. La Huerta 9, Los Caveles, and Taberna Manzanilla are all recommended. Taberna Manazilla was a great spot for a nightcap on the way home. Staff were incredibly friendly, under the watchful eye of the old lady owner from her seat at the door of the bar. 

Just around the corner is the world-renowned El Rinconcillo.

El Rinconcillo

tapas

This 17th-century restaurant and tapas bar is always very busy, and people often queue to get in on a one in one out basis. We had a local fino sherry with Iberico ham and local cheese! As Rick Stein said, ‘ the sharp dry Jerez (sherry) just cuts through the ham!’ Some reviews suggest the waiters and bar staff are a bit offhand, but our impression was they were under pressure, always busy, but did their job efficiently. The experience was worth it, and to have the cost of your order chalked on the bar in front of you just added to the buzzing atmosphere. If you’re booking the restaurant, do so well in advance.

Mushroom of Seville


Walking along Calle
Imagentowards the Plaza de Incarnation, you will be taken aback by the Setas of Sevilla,  more commonly known as the Mushroom of Seville. It’s an amazing wooden structure covering all of the Plaza and includes a rooftop walkway where at night, there is a light show with music. The structure is a very cool architectural landmark in Seville and one which we used regularly to find our bearings and location. 

Cathedral of Seville


Keep walking through the narrow streets, and you will eventually burst out into the sunlight and the striking
Cathedral of Seville, which is an impressive gothic cathedral containing the tomb of Christopher Columbus. You could spend hours, if not days exploring the cathedral and surrounding area.

Although Italian by birth, Columbus has been adopted by the Sevilanos as Seville was where he studied navigation and was from where he started his expeditions, sponsored by Spanish monarchs. These expeditions resulted in the first known European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

Walking further through courtyards and exceptionally narrow streets, we came across Rosina’s Balcony, which is legendary as being the inspiration behind the iconic opera The Barber of Seville’.

Next is the beautiful gardens and the Royal Alcazar of Sevilla.

Another landmark, this time a Moorish royal palace with fountain-filled gardens, ornate arches, and 16th-century tiles.

Let’s head for a drink and some food while resting these weary legs! 

Just outside the gardens is Vineria San Telmo serving some fantastic food and drinks in a great setting with wonderful service by our South American waiter. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch his name. My recommendations are the hummus to start and the Argentinian steak. Just outstanding and a house specialty!

A slow wander back through the narrow streets sheltering in the shade of the high buildings from the intense October heat to Plaza San Marcos, ensured the necessity for a cool beer at Leon de San Marcos

On checking my steps, it becomes apparent that exceeding 20,000 steps in this stunning city is going to be a daily reality rather than a stretch target! 

Plaza de Espana


After a lovely breakfast at La Huerta 9 we wandered through the streets to the very impressive 
University of Seville and thereafter to the quite incredible and stunning Plaza de Espana.

If you’re in Seville, this is a place you’ve got to visit. The majestic semi-circle curved building is very impressive and well-maintained, no wonder it’s been used in so many movies. Spend some time exploring the huge site; the buildings are accessible by four bridges over the moat, which represent the ancient kingdoms of Spain. In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain. Many tiled alcoves feature around the plaza, each depicting the 48 different provinces of Spain. Quite simply stunning and a photographer’s dream location.

Parque Maria Luisa

 

After the Plaza, we moved on to the welcome shade of the Parque Maria Luisa. Strolling through the large park, which features scenic plazas, landscaped gardens, fountains, and numerous monuments. It’s simply a perfect place to relax away from the bustling tourist areas and a breathtaking contrast. Again a perfect location for filming with a movie being filmed as we walked by.

Torre del Oro

 

A slow walk back towards the Guadalquivir River finds us at the Torre del Oro, the 13th century military watchtower. If you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy the small but great museum inside, which offers a lot of information about the history of the city and the navy.

Sevirama Bus Tour

Trying to get a better idea of the city layout and a good view of the sights, we took the open-top Sevirama Bus Tour (Green Bus). Tickets were valid for 48 hour and included options to hop on and off wherever you want, a ‘romantic’ bus tour at night and a guided walk across the river.

The advert offered 15 sights with headphones providing commentary. To be perfectly honest most of the attractions were viewed from afar but the option was there to get off and walk to the sight if you wished. On some occasions the commentary was out of sync with whatever sight the bus was passing at the time! However, it gave us a good insight into the layout of the city and more confidence in working out our location as we explored. Near the end of the tour, the bus visits the 1992 Expo site which was a waste of time and really not necessary. 

The Bullring

The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla is the very impressive grand royal bullring dating to 1761, still used for bullfights today, plus it hosts the museum of bullfighting art.

A very well-preserved bullring and apparently the biggest bullfighting arena in Spain still in use. The season lasts from April until October. Tickets range from 30 to 130 euros, depending on the seat and the toreador (more famous means higher price). Tours outside of the ‘show’ times are guided and informative. Essentially another historical and classy sight but not one for everyone. 

Triana

We walked across the Puente de Triana, which is a historic metal arch bridge connecting the Triana neighborhood with the centre of Seville. It crosses the Canal de Alfonso XIII, one of the arms of the River Guadalquivir that isolates Triana as nearly an island.

Residents of Triana have been called trainers and identify strongly with the neighbourhood, they consider it different in character from the rest of Seville. Triana has a traditional pottery and tile industry, a vibrant flamenco culture, and its own festivals. Cafe culture is king here.

Mercado de Triana

First stop was the Mercado de Triana. Since 1823 there has been a market here, but the current facility dates from 2001. This fantastic indoor market had absolutely everything you could want food-wise. Fresh produce, fresh meats, desserts, etc, and small restaurants scattered around the market serving great food. Really interesting and colourful, too. I would recommend a visit! 

Bar Triana

Not the most aesthetically pleasing bar from the outside but the food and service was outstanding! Busy with locals, which really says it all. The staff were friendly, and the food was cooked to perfection. We had the Tomato & Caballa (mackerel) salad and the croquetas. We also tried the Sangria, which was lifted to new levels with the addition of some cinnamon. Highly recommended for lunch or evening meal.

Prior to our Seville visit my ‘assistant’ compiled some excellent research on the sights, restaurants and tapas bars we wanted to visit. This proved of utmost use although our problem was finding some of them, having to navigate around the very narrow streets of the historic areas. You will not feel alone wandering with your phone in your hand, seeking directions! 

As a result of this research, below is an honest compilation of the restaurants we visited on our travels.

SedeMexici La Cantina

We didn’t expect to find such a great taste of Mexico in Seville, but somehow we did. To be honest, if it wasn’t for Google maps and some patience, we would have struggled to find this great restaurant tucked away in a corner of the beautiful Plaza de la Alianza.

Some cool drinks on arrival and a table visit and a quick chat with the restaurant owner, who welcomed us and genuinely made us feel valued on our first visit. 

A browse through the menu while sipping a very good mango margarita allowed us time to choose starters of pork and octopus tacos plus roasted onions which were incredibly simple but very tasty. We shared a main of chicken and verde sauce with rice which was also good but certainly didn’t beat the taste of the starters. An unexpected and unusual selection of Mexican wines and beers are also on offer. 

A nice restaurant in a lovely setting with attentive staff. Worth a visit, even to simply have a night off from Spanish tapas dishes. 

La Cacharreria

We had the best breakfast here and really liked the food and service. Essentially you choose your bread and toppings from a massive selection to make your own breakfast dish. They also have some good ‘combos’ as specials which combine the breakfast sandwiches with coffee, juice and smoothies, all fairly priced. 

Overall lovely food, not too expensive, courteous and helpful staff, busy with locals and in a good location near the ‘Mushroom’. We would highly recommend for breakfast. 

Casa Paco

On our visit, we only stopped for a pre-meal drink, it was busy with locals and the food looked so good so we changed our minds and ordered a meal. We ate outside in what was a perfect evening temperature. Over our two visits, we were served by the same staff, who were pleasant, helpful and obliging. 

We agreed that when we return to Seville, we would definitely go back to Casa Paco. It’s casual, relaxed with good food and great service. 

Based at Plaza de Hercules, this is perfect for people-watching and a chilled location.

El Disperate

 

Again on Plaza de Hércules, but more upmarket and undoubtedly the best meal we had in Seville. Very attentive and professional staff, the restaurant is a step above all others we visited. 

My vermut as an aperitif was just sublime, and the use of a retro soda syphon typified the lengths the staff go to, to make the step up to perfection. 

Our food was just as impressive, a starter of foie gras, which was rich and creamy, two mains of sea bass and lamb with hummus, washed down with a bottle of Marqués de Murrieta Reserva 2017. Only one word can describe our meal – delicious!

It was slightly more expensive than the other nearby restaurants but won’t break the bank, a brilliant and memorable experience which can only be highly recommended. 

It also has a stunning roof terrace where you can enjoy a drink in the roof before or after dining. 

No wonder it has a Michelin star! 

Pelayo Bar de Tapas

 

We stumbled across this bar and only stopped for a drink as there was a free table for two at the window. Quick service, great atmosphere, and the food looked fantastic; unfortunately, we had a booking elsewhere. From a look at the menu, the prices were very reasonable for a really nice tapas bar metres from the Cathedral, and as you exit a brilliant view of the Giralda – the stunning bell tower of the Cathedral.

The couple next to us had the works! Paella, prawns, cuttlefish, octopus, Iberico ham, croquettes, and baked cheese with jam. It was all well presented, and surprisingly with the amount they ordered, all plates were finished! 

Next time we visit, we will certainly try the food. 

Overview

Our 6-night visit to Seville was certainly an eye opener, from the very comfortable train journey to excellent accommodation, lots of walking (which allowed some extra tapas!), to the stunning sights within the historic city certainly appealed to us. The city was especially busy at the historic areas, but not once did we feel at risk. The local people were extremely friendly and helpful, our taxi driver from the station even asked for the accommodation phone number, as it was difficult to find and he wanted to make sure he dropped us off at the front door. 

My only negative observation is common to a lot of larger cities, where graffiti can be a problem. Some local shops and bars have countered this problem by contracting local artists to use their shutters or shop fronts as a canvas, this has ensured that graffiti is targeted elsewhere. 

Seville – a stunning city with sensational historic sights and sumptuous tapas bars and restaurants. Highly recommended – but make sure you avoid the extreme heat in the months of July and August. 

Calum Glenny

Gourock’s ‘Avid Traveller’

In association with the Rogues Guide by Rogues in Paradise
Rogues in paradise is the upcoming book on the History of the People of Barbados.