Touring a city by bike gives you the freedom to dance to the beat of your own cajón (that’s a Spanish drum).
As soon as you’re in that saddle, you become a different kind of tourist: You’re fully independent, have the ability to cover lots of ground. You even start to feel like a local. Plus it’s more economical than a tour bus and environmentally friendlier too, not to mention, soooo much fun.
I’ve seen the sights in this way in a few foreign cities and towns including: New York, Vientiane, London, Chang Mai and possibly my favourite two foreign cycling adventures were in Siem Reap as I explored Angkor Wat and the temples and the time I spent in Hoi an in Vietnam, speeding past rice paddy fields and ambling around the UNESCO town of Hoi An.
No matter where I am, I always feel like part of the community, as I pedal swiftly around the streets freely, excited about what I’ll discover at the next turn. Our recent city break to Seville was no different.
There are several hire bike companies in Seville, but I urge you to go and see Justo (Justin). Justo is a dude. Such a lovely chap with an infectious personality, who speaks perfect English and is more than happy to pass on his local knowledge.
See by Bike – Seville Rentals & Tours
Located near the Bull Ring on Mercado del Arenal C / Pastor y Landero, Puesto 48. You can hire bikes for 3 hrs, 10 hrs, 24 hrs or for longer. We opted for 24hrs at 15 Euros each, which included a front basket and a bike lock each. Bargain. For more info go to www.seebybike.com
There’s a designated cycle path that circumnavigates the city and that mirrors the road the Romans were rumoured to have built – it takes around 30 – 40 minutes to do a complete loop.
My suggested route partly follows some of this circuit but shoots off at various points. Before you start, it’s worth visiting the Tourist Office near the cathederal so that you have a local map to take with you.
On our first afternoon, we cycled around the orange trees and crossed bridges until sunset. After this spontaneous spin around town, we were then armed with a map and some ideas for the following day.
My suggested route starts at Almeda de Hercules, a beautiful square dotted with pretty fountains, located south west of the city. Below are my eight favourite spots, which follow a clockwise circuit around the city and ends at a wonderful tapas place not far from the start:
Eat like a local. Traditional breakfast is a thick, toasted baton of bread with sweet, fragrant ripe tomatoes, local nutty olive oil and sea salt. Simplicity rules when the ingredients are this good. Order with freshly squeezed Seville orange juice and café con leche (coffee with milk).
Passing the historic hospital and remains of Roman walls, after around a fifteen minute cycle, stop-off in the north of the centre for some Spanish fuel – a café con leche for around €1.50 per cup.
3) The Alcázar of Seville – Spanish Palace and Gardens
Originally a Moorish fort, it’s renown for being the most beautiful palace in Spain. Try to beat the crowds and claim the palace to yourself by wandering around early in the morning as we did. These days it’s an extremely popular filming location. In recent years they’ve filmed Star Wars here and whilst we were visiting, it was the filming location for the Game of Thrones.
From Roman ruins to Moorish minarets, Baroque palaces to Renaissance churches, Seville offers visitors an incredible mix of architectural choice. As does it’s iconic cathedral located towards the right of the centre.
Cross the Triana bridge to reach this, the flamenco district located to the south of the city. Here you’ll stumble across the Flamenco Academy, impromptu dancing and some beautiful homes, typical of the region.
This salmon-coloured Roman Catholic church is Baroque architecture at its finest. With roots dating back to the Roman times, it’s the city’s largest church, second to the cathedral.
This controversial structure consists of six parasols in the form of ‘giant mushrooms’ and inspired by the vaults of the Cathedral of Seville and the ficus trees. Designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, it claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world.
We ate here two days in a row, it’s that good. A MUST visit. Located on an unsuspecting side-street, the staff are swift to serve, warm and friendly. Some of the things we devoured: mini hamburger with homemade brioche; grilled cod fish served over a basil hummus and almond béchamel; calamari ‘noodles’ cooked in sherry with the creamiest mash and fresh, crushed tomatoes; deep-fried rice paper parcels with Spanish cheese, prawns and leeks served with a red pepper sauce.
La Azotea: Calle Jesús del Gran Poder, 31, 41002 Sevilla
Above: Keen beans – waiting on the step on our second day, waiting for La Azotea to open for lunch at 1.30pm.