So, you’ve gotten the visa, packed your bags and moved to Seville. The first order of business (after your cervecita and tapita, of course) is looking for a piso and a place to call home while you’re abroad. While living in the center of Seville can mean a long commute or blowing half of your salary on rent, it is undoubtedly one of the most liveable and lively cities in all of Spain.
Let’s begin with the basics: Seville is a large city with an urban population of around 700,000. As the capital of Andalucía, it’s home to the regional government and a hub for transportation. Seville also boasts miles of bike lanes, enormous parks and passionate, traditional citizens.
Encompassing the left and right banks of the Guadalquivir River about 50 miles north of the Atlantic, the river splits the old town from Triana and Los Remedios; further west is the Aljarafe plain.
To the east lies a number of residential neighborhoods stretching to East Seville, a newer housing development. South of the center are Bami, Reina Mercedes, Heliópolis, Los Bermejales and Bellavista, as well as the buildings erected for the 1929 Iberoamerican Exposition.
Seville’s city center is one of the largest in Europe, encompassing two square miles, and is extremely walkable.
Choosing a neighborhood that’s right for you is imperative for your experience in Seville. After all, you’ll be living as a local and skipping the well-developed tourist beat. Each has its own feel and character, and not every one is right for you and your needs. Ever walk in a place where you can see yourself – or not? Here’s a guide from a seven-year vet to the most popular neighborhoods in Seville’s city center, from what to expect from housing to not-to-miss bars and barrio celebrations.
But should you choose a place to live before you make the move?
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t smart for me to pay a deposit on a house I’d never seen. I hadn’t met my roommates or staked out the nearest supermarket. While I lived in Triana happily for three years, I’d suggest renting a bed or room in or near the neighborhoods you’re interested in before making a decision about where you want to live for a year.
If you’re hoping to lock something down before coming here, consider Spotahome. This venture pre-checks all properties, essentially cutting out those awkward conversations with landlords. You can rent entire apartments, or a single room, and have peace of mind so you can focus on exploring your barrio and meeting amigos.
Not all neighborhoods in Seville are listed on this post, and I’ve generalized some larger areas, like the Center, Macarena and Nervión. Consider more than just price or location: think about commute to work, ease of public transportation, noise and the people you’ll live with. After all, a bad living situation can make or break your experience in Spain.
And for reading Sunshine and Siestas, you can get 20% off your Spotahome fees – just use the promo code CGSS15 before December 31st, 2015!
photo by Christine Medina, run on Sunshine and Siestas
Seville’s beating heart is the most centric neighborhood, El Centro. Standing high above it is the Giralda tower, the once-minaret that guards the northeast corner of the third-largest Gothic cathedral in the world. This, along with the Alcazar Royal Palace and Archivo de Indias, forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site (whose status was threatened by the controversial Torre Pelli recently).
Life buzzes in these parts, from the public meeting point in Puerta Jerez to Plaza Nueva’s Town Hall, the Triana Bridge to the cathedral.
What’s great: Because you’re in the center, you’re close to all of the wonderful things that Seville has to offer, and you can move around on foot. The shopping, the nightlife and everything in between is never too far off.
What’s not so great: Keep in mind that many apartment rentals clog apartment blocks, and that many properties are offered by inmobiliarias, or real estate agencies. This means you’ll have to forfeit a month’s rent as an agency fee. It’s also difficult to park, the supermarkets are further away, and there seem to be a lack of recycling bins.
Average price: Housing costs tend to reflect the fact that you’re smack in the center of it all, hence the apt name. Because it’s such an extensive area, you can find a shared room for 200€ a month, or you may be forking over closer to 400€. Studios can run up to 500€, and you may sacrifice space and natural sunlight.
Not to miss: having a drink at Hotel Doña María next to the Cathedral or in Plaza del Salvador, the interior patios of Salvador which was once home to a mosque, the winding Calle de Siete Revueltos, cheap and oversized tapas at Los Coloniales, the fine Museo de Bellas Artes and the art market out front on Sunday mornings, Holy Week processions, having a pastry at La Campana Confiteria, the view from Las Setas.
The traditional Jewish neighborhood of Seville borders the historic Center and oozes charm. That is, if you like Disneyland-like charm. The narrow alleyways are now lined with tourist shops, overpriced bars with lamentable food and hardly a native sevillano in sight. For a first-time tourist, it’s breathtaking, with its flamenco music echoing though the cobbled streets. For the rest of us, it’s to be avoided as much as possible.
What’s great: Santa Cruz is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seville, and its squares and orange trees are beautiful. It’s sandwiched between the Alcázar palace and Jardines de Murillo, and thus close to the Prado de San Sebastián train station.
What’s not so great: Like El Centro, the novelty likely wears off when you realize that many of your neighbors are tourists and that you can’t park your car. If you look for a place a bit further from the sites, you’ll find peace and quiet, though you may have astronomical rent.
Average price: Rents here are typically not cheap. For a studio or one bedroom, expect to pay 450-700€. For a shared apartment, you’ll pay 300 – 400€.
Not to miss: chowing down a pringa sandwich at Las Columnas, Las Cruces festival in May, the Jardines de Murillo and its fountains, free entrance for students to the Alcazar and its gardens, the beautiful Virgen del Candelaria church (one of my favorites in all of Seville), having a beer at La Fesquita surrounded by photos of Christ crucified.
The neighborhood, named for its sandy banks on the Guadalquivir where ships were once contracted, boasts a number of gorgeous chapels, the bullring and the Torre del Oro, as well as the gintoncito crowd sipping on Gin & Tonics at seemingly every hour. Wedged in between the Center and the Guadalquivir River, the houses and apartments here tend to be cramped and overpriced, having belonged to families for years. Still, the neighborhood is lively and the taurino crowd ever-present.
What’s great: This is the place for you if you’re too lazy to walk elsewhere and are attracted by the nightlife, which is as varied as old man bars and discos.
What’s not so great: Is it bad to say there’s nothing I don’t like?
Average price: For a studio or one bedroom, expect to pay 350-500€. For a shared apartment, you’ll pay 200 – 300€.
Not to miss: the café con leche and tostadas at La Esquina del Arfe, a bullfight at the Maestranza (or at least a view of those trajes de luxes along C/Adriano), the churros lady at the old city gate, the tranquility of Plaza El Cabildo with its stamp stores and turnstile sweets, the 4,50€ copas at Capone.
Disclaimer: I’m 100% biased that Triana is the best place to live. Trianeros believe that the district west of the Guadalquivir should be its own mini-nation, and with good reason: everything you could ever need is here.
Once home to the Inquisition Castle (Castillo San Jorge, at the foot of the Triana Bridge) and the poor fisherman and gypsy of Seville, Triana is emblematic of Seville. Quaint homes, tile for miles and churches are Triana’s crown jewels, and it’s become a favorite among foreigners.
What’s great: While it boasts few historic sites, Triana is all about ambiente – walk around and let it seep in, listening to the quick cadence of the feet tapping in its many flamenco schools. Some of the city’s most beloved bars, shops and even pasos are here, and the view from the river-flanked Calle Betis is gorgeous.
What’s not so great: The homes here are a bit older and a bit more rundown, though Calle Betis has some of Andalucía’s most expensive property values. It’s also difficult to park, especially when you get closer to the river.
Average price: Typically, if you opt for El Tardón or the northern section of the neighborhood, prices are more economical. For a studio or one bedroom, expect to pay 350-400€. For a shared apartment, you’ll pay 250 – 350€. Our mortgage in Barrio del León is less than we’d pay for rent across the street!
Not to miss: Calle Pureza’s temples and hole-in-the-wall bars, slurping down caracoles at Bar Ruperto (or try the fried quail), the Santa Ana festival along Calle Betis in late July, the ceramics shops on Antillano Campos, Las Golodrinas’s punto-pinchi-chipi-champi meal, the afternoon paseo that the trianeros love so dearly, typical markets at Triana and San Gonzalo.
Triana’s neighbor to the south is Los Remedios, where streets are named for Virgens. While there’s not much nightlife, save trendy gin tonic bars, the barrio is located along the city’s fairgrounds and comes alive in April, two weeks after Easter. If you’re looking for private classes, this neighborhood is where a lot of the money is (so ask up!), and the many schools and families mean there’s no shortage of alumnos.
What’s great: Huge, newer apartments with elevators, two metro stops and proximity to the fairgrounds.
What’s not so great: Los Remedios is home to many families and was built as a housing development, meaning there are few green spaces or quaint squares.
Average price: Remedios is considered posh, with wide avenues and small boutiques. The apartments are enormous and suitable for families, so don’t be surprised if you have three other roommates.
Still, there’s also a university faculty located in this area, so cheaper student housing can be found in the area just south of República Argentina. For a studio or one bedroom, expect to pay 350-500€. For a shared apartment, you’ll pay 200 – 300€.
Not to miss: Asuncion’s pedestrian shopping haven, the VIPS boasting American products on Republica Argentina, Parque de los Principes’s lush knolls, the ambience in the surrounding bars during the Feria, Colette’s French pastries.
source: ABC online
My host mother once warned me not to go into the Alameda, convinced I’d be robbed by the neighborhood’s hippies. While dreads and guitars are Alameda staples, the barrio is, in fact, one of the trendiest and most sought after places. By day, families commune on the plaza’s pavement park and fountains. By night, botellones gather around the hip bars and vegetarian restaurants.
What’s great: The pros are obvious: close to nightlife (and most of the city’s GLBT scene, too) and the center, and well-communicated (especially for the northern part of the city).
What’s not so great: From the center, it’s a nice ten-minute walk. This does, however, lend to litter and noise.
Average price: For a studio or one bedroom, expect to pay 350-500€. For a shared apartment, you’ll pay 200 – 300€.
Not to miss: Viriato’s gourmet hamburger, the cute shops on nearby Calle Regina, Cafe Central on a Friday night, Teatro Alameda’s offerings, El Jueves morning flea market, the Feria market and its hidden fish restaurant.
source: Dominó por España blog
Ever heard that famous song by Los del Río? Yep, it was named for Seville’s
famous life-sized statue of the Virgen Mary, whose basilica and procession in the early hours of Holy Friday draw crowds and shout of “¡GUAPA!” Rent prices here are lower, bars more authentic and fewer tourists. The markets bustle, and the winding roads beneath plant-infested balconies are breathtaking. It’s also not uncommon to see processions or stumble upon a new boutique or pop-up bar. It’s also located just steps away from Alameda and encompasses Feria and San Julián, making it easy to get to the center, Nervión and Santa Justa.
What’s great: Apart from being close to the center and well-connected, Macarena is a barrio de verdad. It’s working class but typical, and the neighborhood is experiencing a bit of gentrification, bringing with it cool shops and restaurants.
What’s not so great: From what I’ve heard, there are some scary and not well-lit areas, and parking is nearly impossible on the small streets.
Average price: Studios and one bedrooms run about 350 – 500€, whereas a bedroom in a shared apartment are about 200 – 350€.
Not to miss: Plaza de los Botellines, Calle Feria and its market (and the freshest Cruzcampo I’ve encountered!), numerous kebab shops for a late-night snack, the Macarena basilica and old city fortress walls.
The city’s business center is located in Nervión, where houses are meant more for families. Still, Nervión is well-connected to the center, airport and Triana, is sandwiched between the central train stations, and boasts a shopping mall and the Sevilla Fútbol Club stadium. This area also bumps up to La Buhaíra, which is a bit more upscale.
This area is enormous – it stretches essentially from the first to second ring road in the area due east of the center.
What’s great: Many students choose to live here because of its proximity to many university faculties, like business, education and travel. The apartments tend to be newer, larger and come unfurnished if they’re not meant to be housing for young people. Nervión has great shopping and dining and is well-connected to all other neighborhoods of Seville (and still within walking distance of Santa Cruz!).
What’s not so great: Nervión doesn’t have much by way of Gothic architecture or quaint cobblestone streets, though it more than makes up in better digs and connectivity.
Average price: Studios and one bedrooms are not common and expensive (think closer to 500€), and sharing a flat will run you between 275 and 400€.
Not to miss: n’Ice Cream cake and ice cream shop, the Cruzcampo factory, El Cafetal’s live music on weekends, Nervión Plaza Mall and original version films, Parque La Buhaíra’s summer concert series.
I lived in a shared flat in Triana for three years before moving to Cerro de Águila to live rent-free with the Novio. We bought a house in Triana last summer, and while I love having a place to park and going everywhere on foot. Still, I really miss my places in Cerro – my dry cleaner, David at the cervecería, my neighbors. Where you live in Seville is really about feeling and making the street your living room!
Where are you planning on living, or live already? What do you like (or not) about it? What is your rent like?