Southern Sojourns: The Best Day-Trips from Seville, Spain

Jump on the train or rent a car and discover the most inspiring day-trips from Seville.

From the dazzling Moorish-inspired Plaza de España and Medieval Cathedral to the royal family’s Alcazar palace complex, there’s plenty to see and do in Seville. But for more adventurous travellers looking to explore beyond the beaten track, there’s even more to culture and history to discover.

Granada ~ The Spanish Dream

Granada, SpainA true Andalusian arcadia, Granada is an orange-scented living museum. Seemingly unchanged by the passing of time, many believe it to be one of the most authentic cities in Spain.

Lose yourself in the epic Alhambra Palace and soak up its ornate Moorish architecture, or ramble through the white-washed gardens of the ancient Realejo quarter. And as the sun begins to set behind the snow-capped Sierra Navara Mountains, it’s time to join the locals at the many bars and restaurants of the old town, most of which still serve free tapas with every drink you order.

Follow the sounds of live guitar to experience spontaneous flamenco performances. Make no mistake, you’ll want to stay in Granada for much longer than a day.

How to get there: Granada is located about 2.5 hours away from Seville by road. Hourly trains connect the two cities via a scenic 3-hour rail journey.

Mérida ~ History, Culture and Bar Hopping

Merida SpainMérida is the capital city of Extremadura and was once the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania. Unsurprisingly it is home to the most inspiring and extensive Roman ruins in Spain, and that’s really saying something.

Stroll around the old town and you’ll stumble upon ruins all over the place, often in the most unlikely places. But the main protagonists include the Aqueducto de los Milagros, the Roman Theatre and Temple of Diana, which date back to the days of Emerita Augusta, who founded the city in 25 BC. Find a sunny terrace to enjoy a glass of wine and a few tapas whilst you let the history soak in.

Can’t bring yourself to leave? Stay for a night of fiestas and bar hopping along the vibrant Calle John Lennon.

How to get there: Mérida is located about 2 hours north of Seville by road. There are no suitable train routes but the local ALSA bus line offers a scenic way to travel between the two cities.

Jerez de la Frontera ~ Sherry, Flamenco and Sunshine

Jerez, SpainFamed for its thriving sherry industry, Jerez is a small but exuberant Andalusian town that’s overflowing with old world Spanish charm.

Wander from tapas bar to tapas bar, stopping to soak up the sunshine and listen to live guitar aficionados plucking their stuff in white-washed plazas. Visit in May to take part in the annual “Feria de Caballo” (Horse Fair) and witness the magnificence of the region’s famous stallions in full dressage.

September sees the region’s venerable “Fiestas de la Vendimia” (grape harvest celebrations), where you can try to hand, or foot as the case may be, at bare-foot grape crushing. As if you needed another reason to slurp your way through a few glasses of the city’s famous ruby liquid sunshine!

How to get there: Jerez is located about 1 hour south of Seville by road. Regular trains connect the two cities via a scenic 1-hour rail journey.

Ronda ~ A Mountaintop Marvel

Ronda SpainIf you dream of travelling to the realms of Hemingway’s Spain then Ronda is the destination for you. This dramatic mountaintop city is perched perilously above a deep gorge that separates the city’s 15th century new town from its Moorish old town.

Stroll over the giddying Puente Nuevo bridge and soak in the jaw-dropping views of the Serranía de Ronda Mountains, before exploring the colourful 18th century bullring. Then it’s time to steady your nerves with a drink and a few tapas dishes in the leafy Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, which overlooks a convent, two ornate churches and the handsome government offices.

Stay the night and join the locals for dinner in the workaday area of San Francisco, where you’ll find an abundance for delectable and affordable bars and restaurants.

How to get there: Ronda is located about 2 hours southeast of Seville by a series of dramatic, winding roads. There isn’t really any other way to get there, which is perhaps how it’s managed to remain so well preserved.

Córdoba ~ Flowers and Flamenco

Córdoba SpainCórdoba was once the capital of Islamic Spain and Western Europe’s largest and most cultured city. This wealth of history and culture can still be felt today, with its wealth of Islamic buildings and flower-potted courtyards, especially at the gargantuan Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral. Don’t miss the Mercado de la Victoria, a thriving food market, and be sure to try the city’s speciality dishes of “salmorejo”, a sort of hearty tomato soup, and “flamenquín”, pork rolled in ham and cheese before being decadently deep fried.

There are cultural celebrations held throughout the spring and summer months, but the best month to visit is May. This is when you can witness the various floral competitions, which sees the city’s squares and balconies burst into colour. It’s also when the “Caracolada” snail eating celebration is held, as well as the main event of the year, the “Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud”.

How to get there: Córdoba is located about 1.5  hours northeast of Seville by road. The fastest way to get there from Seville, however, is on the AVE high-speed train, which leaves hourly and takes only 45 minutes.

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