This blog post was originally posted on November 17, 2015, and was updated on February 23, 2017.
The days have gotten shorter, temperatures have dropped, and we’ve fished out our warm coats and wooly hats. It can only mean one thing – winter is here!
A great way to chase away those winter blues is to have a trip to look forward to, and Seville is the place to go! Not many people would consider Seville much of a winter wonderland, but in recent years more and more people are visiting the city during the colder months. Certainly considered more of a summer destination, Seville is a city that manages to maintain its unique charm, even with a chill in the air. Not convinced? Allow us to reassure you with these eight reasons to visit Seville in winter.
1. Enjoy the weather
Is the winter weather quite extreme where you’re from? Seville’s scorching summers are perhaps what the city is most famous for, but its weather during the winter months is just as noteworthy. With average temperatures at a pleasant 10-12 degrees during the winter months, more and more people are choosing Seville as a winter destination.
You can still comfortably take a stroll by the river, wander through some of Seville’s famous parks or even make your way to one of the city’s rooftop bars and take in the sensational nighttime views. Whether you’re expecting 6 feet of snow or wind and rain, the gentle chill of Seville’s streets is the perfect weekend escape.
2. Taste some incredible food
Call us biased, but we consider the food in Seville to be pretty exceptional regardless of the season! However, when winter arrives, a number of the city’s traditional tapas become the perfect comfort food on a cold winter’s day.
The joy of stepping into the warmth of an authentic tapas bar in the Arenal or Alameda neighborhood, and devouring a plate of spinach with chickpeas or tender pork cheek stew in a red wine reduction has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.
3. Visit a Christmas Market
No festive season would be complete without a rummage through the stalls of a Christmas market. Seville has a number of wonderful markets located in various parts of the city, all selling beautiful, hand-crafted products – perfect for that unique Christmas gift.
With carols being sung in some of the central squares of the city, the smell of freshly roasted chestnuts wafting through the streets, and the flicker of the bright lights overhead, the atmosphere around the festive marketplaces is something truly special.
4. See the sights
Visiting the many incredible sights in Seville is an absolute must when you’re in the city. The good news is that queues for entry to see the astonishing architecture of the Cathedral and the beautiful gardens of the Alcazar Palace are generally shorter in winter.
As sunset gets earlier and earlier, a stroll through the atmospheric Plaza de España and the beautiful adjoining Maria Luisa Park is the perfect way to spend a winter’s evening. All in all, Seville’s many beautiful monuments provide a romantic kind of magic in winter that we don’t see at other times of the year.
5. Experience the Belén tradition
If you wander through the streets of Seville in the lead up to Christmas you will see elaborate displays of the nativity scene in shop windows and churches all throughout the city. In the Spanish tradition, the belén often consists of a depiction of the entire city of Bethlehem, not just the crib scene itself.
Each year, huge numbers of people in Seville make their way to the Feria del Belén, a market at the foot of the Cathedral that specializes in figurines and decoration for the nativity scene, to buy a new addition to the display. Seeing the passion of the locals as they comment on and appreciate the nativity displays throughout the city is an amazing insight into the importance of tradition here in Seville, something that makes the city so special.
6. Eat some grapes on New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is traditionally a family affair in Seville. After a feast of fish and white wine, once the clock strikes twelve each member of the family frantically tries to eat twelve grapes, one at each stroke of midnight. This tradition is said to bring good luck for the New Year and trust us, it is not easy!
Restaurants throughout the city will put on special menus for visitors and families who don’t fancy cooking, and huge crowds gather in Plaza Nueva to take part in the countdown while eating their grapes watching firework filled skies. As the following day is a public holiday, people will stay out long into the night to ring in the New Year in style.
7. See the Cabalgata de Los Reyes
In Spain, gifts are exchanged on January 6th as The Three Wise Men make their way to all the houses in the country bringing gifts to all the children.
In Seville, this day is marked with a huge parade through the city where Los Reyes Magos throw sweets and small plastic toys to the people who have lined the streets in their thousands to see the spectacle. This huge celebration marks the end of the holidays as children go back to school the next day, and the festive season sure does go out with a bang!
8. Take a day trip
With so much to see and do in Seville during winter, it’s hard to imagine there would be time for a trip outside the city, but it’s worth making the time! As we get towards the end of January the mountainous Sierra Norte region to the North of Seville gets coated in a soft layer of snow. There are some stunning mountain walks and amazing hiking opportunities if you’re feeling like a day trip with active tourism during your stay.
Or if you’ve got a few days to spare, make your way to Granada and take advantage of the ski slopes in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Ski season in Granada runs from late November all the way up to early May, but it’s at its peak around January and February.