Seville is very well known for its heartwarming historical centre, where tourists and locals come together to enjoy a few tapas on the sunny terrace. However, the province of Seville also offers beautifully renovated cortijos and equestrian fincas, as well as hunting estates. These are what make this province complete, and what attract people from all over the world to enjoy the Andalusian lifestyle.
Living in Seville, city and countryside
Seville’s city centre offers so much to see! Places to visit range from historical buildings, monuments and museums, to endless shopping streets and bars and restaurants with exquisite food made by the locals. The city is never empty, there are always activities to do or flamenco shows to attend! If the city is too much, the province of Seville is big enough to find a plethora of activities outside the centre, as well as nearby places where one can find rest. Carmona, for example, is a spectacular city at a 40km distance, where one can hide from the busy city for a day. Carmona is one of the oldest cities in the province and can definitely add to a cultural and historical experience. If a smaller city is still too busy, then within Seville, numerous cortijos can be found where the Andalusian lifestyle is still being lived to its full potential. What makes Seville even greater than it already is, is the varied landscape it has. One can find mountains with stunning views, contrasting with large eternal fields covered in sunflowers.
The contrast between the vibrant city centre and the calming countryside is significant. Also for the quieter environments, tourists are demanding. The surrounding villages of this Andalusian province provide visitors with a wide variety of rural accommodation for anyone who wants to practice outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, horse riding or canyoning.
The locals from Seville countryside are professionals at making the best wine, the best olive oil, and the best ham – Jamón Ibérico de Pata Negra. This ham is one of the best delicacies Spain has to offer; even eating a tiny piece of this ham is an experience! Whilst the ham melts on your tongue, the flavours create a magical sensation.
Nature in Seville
Talking about nature, it is at its best in the Natural Park of the Sierra Norte of Seville! It is located within Sierra Morena, a Biosphere Reserve that extends for more than 400 km around the north of Andalusia. Its mountains are low and it is composed mainly by meadows, which makes it ideal for pig farming and cork production. Something you may not have known about the hills of the Sierra Norte is that a few centuries ago Monks from different brotherhoods constituted their Monasteries there, to provide food and wine for their brothers in the city. A fantastic, historical hacienda lies within the Sierra Norte Natural Park, near Cazalla de la Sierra. Where it has been the silent witness to history since the 16th century.
It is said that Seville is the city with the most oranges in the world, and I’m not surprised! Everywhere you look there are rows and rows of orange trees. These are bitter though and are mainly used for the British favourite, Seville Orange marmalade. The orange trees are a hallmark that invades every year the city with a spectacular scent of orange blossom when spring comes.
Furthermore, the riverbanks of the spectacular Huéznar river are populated with elms, ash trees, willows and alders that together with the cork oak make up the main flora of the park. In terms of wildlife, the otters and trout of the same river, as well as the deer and the wild boar, provide Seville with fantastic hunting estates for big and small game.
Culture and Popular Parties
There are two emblematic celebrations in Seville of international prestige that is celebrated during the spring. These are the Semana Santa and the Feria de Abril. The celebration of the different events that take place during Holy Week become one of the most important cultural, religious and artistic events that take place in the region. The Feria de Abril is a popular party that takes place in Seville in the spring, almost always in the month of April. It is considered as a Festival of Tourist Interest of National scope, and since 1965, also International. Another very popular festivity with the Sevillian citizens is the pilgrimage of El Rocio.
For many, the climate of Seville is a concern since we have all heard about its hot summers. Don’t panic, it has a mild temperature the rest of the year! The climate in Seville is Mediterranean, with variable rainfall. Winters are mild and often rainy, they concentrate more than half of the annual rainfall. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 11.0 ° C; and July is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 28.2 ° C. They exceed 40 ° C several times a year. The climate offers perfect opportunities for cultivation since the everlasting sun and the casual rainfall makes a perfect combination for creating an orchard. How great is it be to collect your own figs, tomatoes and oranges from your own garden?
Especially for the summer season, living in the mountains is a blessing since in the higher altitudes temperatures drop a little more; the climate is slightly different in the mountains. It is on those cooler summer nights where the night sky is the prettiest when the best memories are made.
The Sevillian gastronomy is very conditioned by the prevailing climate in the city. Therefore there is a typical gastronomy for the winter and another very different adapted to the hot and high temperatures of the summer.
To stifle the high summer temperatures, the Andalusian gazpacho (cold tomato soup), the Ensaladilla Rusa (potato salad with mayonnaise) and various types of cold dishes called salpicón (vegetable salads) stand out. Something that must not be forgotten is the Serrano ham as well as the different types of cheese Seville brings to us. In the winter months, more typical dishes are warm soups and stews; these are eaten while grandma sits in her rocking chair with a warm blanket over her legs.
Among the most typical drinks are the ‘tinto de verano’ (red wine with soda) and at the fair vino fino of Jerez (the fine sherry wine) and the manzanilla of Sanlúcar.
Rebecca Marriott | 20th July 2017