When my family of four pulled into Sevilla, our 2 week-plus trip through Spain was winding down, and so were we. We had ideas of how we’d spend our couple of days there, but nothing set in stone. We were tired, and looking forward to a couple of days to just lay low.
Sevilla is the perfect place to slow down. It’s not a city loaded with must-see landmarks and tourist attractions. Park your car at the hotel and walk … wander actually — almost everything is just a pleasant walk away.
It’s OK to get lost
You don’t need to have a final destination. You’ll figure it out, trust me. Take a walk along the Guadalquivir River along the bike/walking path. There’s plenty of patches of grass for little ones to roll around. Or head toward the cathedral, window shopping along the way. Find a seat in the shade and watch street artists catch the spirit of the city on canvas.
Get lost in Barrio Santa Cruz, Sevilla’s former Jewish quarter. With streets too narrow for cars, it’s a delight for young families who want to walk. It’s obvious in this neighborhood, people love where they live. Peak in at their beautiful patios, overflowing with flowers. Oranges trees bud at every turn. My kids loved the “kissing lanes” – narrow walkways formed when buildings are built close together to take advantage of each other’s shade.
Picnic like a local
When hunger sets in, for a delicious bargain, grab a bocadillo. These are simple sandwiches, ham and cheese, or sometimes just a potato omelet on a baguette. You can find them everywhere, but our favorite place was 100 Montaditos. This family friendly chain serves up 100 different types of little sandwiches. The kids will love the nutella offerings, but parents might be more inclined to try shrimp with cream cheese, salmon or grilled chicken. The sandwiches all run about 1 euro … a bargain, and come with potato chips. With so many options, everyone in the family got what they want. Once you’ve got lunch in hand, head for the closest park or shady tree and enjoy.
Click your heels
If you do only one planned thing in Sevilla, make it a Flamenco show. It’s worth making reservations early and planning your night around the show. My recommendation, book the first show of the evening. Your hotel can probably do it for you. If they tell you the early show is booked, remind them you have young kids, sometimes tickets magically appear. There are shows all over the city. Some require the purchase of dinner or drinks, so know what you’re signing up for. We thought sitting through dinner and a show would put our girls to sleep, so we went with a performance at Casa de la Memoria. With folding chairs three deep around a small stage, the show was incredibly intimate and not touristy. And though the fancy footwork tends to steal the show, the singers and guitarists are a vital and amazing part of the performance. Arrive at least a half an hour early to line up. Seats are first come first served. There’s really not a bad seat in the house, but trust me, the kids (and dads) will love being in the first row.
Spain is passionate about bullfighting and Sevilla is no exception. I don’t recommend taking in a bullfight with your kids, the nightmare potential is huge. But if your kids are enthralled with the idea, the Bullfight Museum may be the way to go. My girls had no interest in the empty arena or the chapel where the matador prays before the fight, but the gift shop on the other hand seemed to grab hold of them. The collection of posters and postcards was impressive and neat to look at. (If you’re just looking to shop, skip the tour, entrance to the gift shop is free.) In the end, we left a few postcards and pencils heavier.
Get a different view
If your legs start to get tired, try exploring the city another way. Go for a horse and buggy ride. The carriages are all over the city, you won’t have any trouble finding one. Look for a driver who speaks English and you’re all set to clip-clop through town. I’m not a fan of tour buses, but if it’s all you can do, go for it. When my girls were showing signs of wear, we hit the water in paddle boats. It was headed for sunset and I can’t think of a better place in the city to be than on the Guadalquivir River. The end of the day glow reflecting off the water, made my whole family want to stay another day! That wasn’t an option, so I guess we’ll just have to visit again soon.
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