We were expecting sunshine and orange trees on our short break to Seville at the end of November for my partner's birthday treat. Instead, upon arrival we were greeted with “It’s a miracle… it’s raining!” and my favourite “You should have come here last week! It was so sunny!” Despite the bucketing rain, the good news was that we had timed it perfectly to see the world famous Sevillian trees heavily laden with lots of beautiful, bright orange fruit. The end of November is the perfect time to go to Seville for a pleasantly warm, winter break. I think we were just a little unlucky that the rain in Spain fell mainly on… us!
Being slightly food mad, we had an excellent time exploring this lively, foodie destination. From dining at popular tapas bars like El Rincincillo and Casa Roman where locals and tourists drink wine and chat excitedly underneath dangling Iberico ham legs, to eating our way around Mercado Lonja del Barranco the gourmet food market designed by Gustave Eiffel (think Tower, Paris). If you’re wondering if the cathedral at the heart of the city is worth a visit... inside you’ll find the impressive resting place of the explorer, Christopher Columbus and a courtyard filled with holy orange trees. Here are a few of my favourite discoveries and photographs from our trip to the Adalusian capital in southern Spain.
What to do in Seville
Metropol Parasol - Setas de Sevilla
This waffle-like, wooden formation located at Plaza de la Encarnacion in the old town has been photographed millions of times since it was completed in 2011. My photographs of Metropol Parasol are quite rare I would imagine, as there are not many overcast or thunderous shots of it (as it never rains in Seville!) We couldn't work out how to get up to the walkways and cafe on top and wandered about for ages... the lift and ticket office can be found next to the escalators, downstairs. It's well worth taking the lift to the top of the world's largest wooden structure for incredible views across the city.
Alcazar of Seville
The upper levels of the Alcazar are still used by the Spanish royal family as their official residence in Seville, making it the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. Game of Thrones fans will know the Alcazar of Seville as Dorne. Instagram stories could be endless here as the palace grounds are truly spectacular. I loved the incredible tile work throughout the Moorish influenced architecture and gardens of the Alcazar. Make sure you book a time slot in advance of your trip, otherwise you’ll join the back of a very long queue to get in.
Plaza de Espana
The Plaza de Espana is a wonderful location for an early evening stroll, whilst enjoying many more impressive examples of Arabesque tiling. During our trip to Seville, I became a fan of the colourful Spanish tiles everywhere and the blue and white arched bridges at the Plaza were my favourite. As the sun set on Parque de Maria Luisa, the buildings of Plaza de Espana lit up beautifully for this idyllic shot of happy tourists enjoying the boating on offer.
Where to eat in Seville
Hotel Alfonso VIII
Lunch at San Fernando restaurant in Seville's most iconic, luxury hotel, Alfonso VIII did not disappoint. It was the perfect spot for a very special birthday meal. We started with a delightful Andalusian octopus and potato salad, followed by the most delicious, buttery seafood paella which was skilfully shared to our plates by our waiter wearing white gloves.
Bar el Comercio
Bar el Comercio is a must-do breakfast spot in Seville, with beautiful blue tiles throughout the cafe and churros made fresh to order. A large plate of deep fried goodness was delivered to our table alongside a mug of thick, dark chocolate for dipping. The coffee was great too. Nice and strong! An excellent place to start the day before heading to nearby Metropol Parasol.
El Pinton have a modern menu consisting of thoughtful, creative tapas, making it very difficult to choose what to have for lunch. Luckily, I ordered the battered egg with quinoa and truffle parmentier which to my delight, was one of the most delicious things I've eaten this year... if not ever. I love it when I discover a new combo that works well and this small plate was really surprising. We made the most of being able to sit outside in November, but the interior of the restaurant was very stylish too. Check out their instagram @elpinton
Where to stay in Seville
El Rey Moro
El Rey Moro is one of the most unusual places that I have stayed in Spain. This centrally located hotel in Seville's charming Barrio Santa Cruz was recommended by Conde Nast Traveller for offering amazingly good value for money. I figured that staying at El Rey Moro would mean that we'd have more Euros to spend on tapas! The hotel decor is extremely quirky (our room was bright green) with a mix of Moroccan and traditional Spanish flair. The hotel has an impressive three-sided patio with hanging plants which is very Instagramable. The sweet smell of orange blossom fills the reception area, where the hotel staff on the front desk are all very friendly and helpful. Included in our stay was a walking tour of Seville, the use of bicycles and a roof-top hot tub with splendid night time views of the cathedral.
Despite the unexpected rain, Seville exceeded my expectations and was the perfect place to go for a short break in November. Not quite the winter sun that we had been hoping for, but the food was next level and I would be delighted to go back to do some more F&B and destination photography in this charming and vibrant city.
I first started keeping holiday journals as a child on our family travels around New Zealand. My parents always told me “See your own country first” Their reason for this was that when I grew up and went on to travel the world, I could tell anyone I met all about New Zealand. And they were right! After 22 years of living in London and travelling the world extensively, I am regularly asked about what to see and do in NZ and I love sharing information on my favourite places back home. We spent many happy holidays together as a family of four exploring our own country, from Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island to Bluff in the deepest South. I would paste entrance tickets, maps, brochures, photographs, even white feathers found on the beach into my travel scrapbook and at the end of each day, I would write up a full report on the days activities. My mum once commented on my enthusiastic descriptions of what food we had eaten and where. I remember thinking then, as I do now, that it was the most important part of the day and deserved to be mentioned!
Back then, my holiday photographs were shot using what’s now known as a ‘vintage’ Canon Demi Blue - half frame camera. I remember the joy of winding on the film to the end after taking 48 very carefully composed snaps and dropping it off to the chemist to be developed. I would have to wait a week before picking up the photos. It felt like Christmas Day every time I opened the Kodak yellow envelope of holiday pics. I would always be so delighted if I got one or two good ones! I still get the same feeling today when I return from a trip, export my photos to Lightroom and make my selections for editing... although these days I expect a few more than just one or two good ones! For me, there's no better feeling than when you've shot a great photograph that perfectly captures a moment in time and that’s why I am a photographer. I still get excited by my images and I enjoy the delight they bring.
After almost 20 years of working in travel at both ends of the industry, from the budget youth market to representing high end, luxury hotels and having undertaken many fabulous personal trips all over the world, I have decided to start putting my forthcoming travel journals online. I want to combine my words, my recommendations and my discoveries alongside my photographs once again, but this time, perhaps in a more mature way!
I have stayed in tents, hostels, boutique and 5 star hotels throughout my life and I am enthusiastic about all levels of accommodation, although these days I tend to opt for luxury hotels as I am the Operations Director & Head of Photography at Mason Rose. Whatever the accommodation, my personal view is that if some thought has been given to the design, if it’s clean and in a good location with adorable staff and friendly service then it’s a great place to stay.
Before each trip, I often buy the latest Insight Guide as a starting point to my destination research, which as a series of travel guide books, have a good balance of information and photographs... but more and more I find myself asking my well travelled friends for their own travel tips or checking Instagram for ideas on where to stay, where to eat and what to see. I have decided that those will be the three main categories that I will cover for each destination that I visit from now on. Where to Stay. Where to Eat. What to do. I hope that my new travel blog is inspiring and helpful, but most of all leads you to having a good time as you explore the destinations that I cover and in turn, make your own exciting discoveries that you will want share with us all.
Andie Moore is a London based destination and lifestyle photographer writing about travel, hotels and destination weddings.