Seville’s Best Neighborhoods for Living

So, you’ve gotten the visa, packed your bags and moved to Seville. The first order of business (after your cervecita and tapita) 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. 

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-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. After all, a bad living situation can make or break your experience in Spain.

Not all neighborhoods in Seville are listed on this post (not even where I live!). Consider more than just price or location: think about commute to work, ease of public transportation, noise and the people you’ll live with.

El Centro

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. Housing costs tend to reflect the fact that you’re smack in the center of it all, hence the apt name.

Not to miss: having a drink at Hotel Dona Maria 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.

Santa Cruz

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.

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.

El Arenal

The neighborhood, named for its sandy banks on the Guadalquivir, 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. 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.

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 and its stamp stores and turnstile sweets, the 4,50€ copas at Capone.

Triana

Disclaimer: I’m 100% biased that Triana is the best place to live and wish the lure of free rent and hanging with my Novio on a daily basis didn’t take me away from my querido barrio. 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. 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.

The homes here are a bit older and a bit more rundown, though Calle Betis has some of Andalucía’s most expensive property values. 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€.

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.

Los Remedios

Triana’s neighbor to the south is Los Remedios, where streets are named for Virgens. The apartments are enormous and suitable for families, so don’t be surprised if you have three other roommates. 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.

There’s also a university building, 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.

Alameda

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. From the center, it’s a nice ten-minute walk. This does, however, lend to litter and noise. 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).

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. 

Macarena Sur

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.

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.

Nervión

The city’s business center is located in Nervión, where houses are meant more for families. This means they’re bigger, newer and better-equipped (most apartments for rent come already furnished with the basics). 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 is enormous – it stretches essentially from the first to second ring road in the area due east of the center. 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 and come unfurnished. Studios and one bedrooms are not common and expensive (think 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, Parque La Buhaíra’s summer concert series.

Where do I live? Currently in a working class neighborhood where prices are cheaper, parking more abundant and noise almost non-existent. BUT I’ll be moving back to Triana before the end of the summer!

Where are you planning on living, or live already? What do you like (or not) about it? 

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Here’s a vote for Triana. I loved living there. However, the Alameda is very cool, especially for young adults. In truth, you can find everything you need regardless in every neighborhood.

  2. Alameda all the way… Who doesn’t love finding a flamenco dress for 15€ during the barrio’s “mercadillo” on Thursdays! I miss how you can leave your flat without calling anyone and still happen to run into about 40 people you know on your way to your favorite bar. Plus Piola has the best tostadas… or maybe Hercules by the fresh food market… I don’t know! It’s all so good!!!! And you can’t beat my 180€/mes rent!

  3. Great summary of the most popular neighborhoods. When I visit Seville, I stay in an apartment in el monasterio san Clemente in the barqueta area. Love it. Only a 15 minute walk to the center, 10 minutes to the Alameda, typically Sevillano with few tourists, and cheap. Love the peaceful atmosphere of the convent, waking up to the chiming of bells. For me, there’s no better place.

  4. So true about n’Ice Cream! That was the first thing our host dad told us to do when we arrived!!

  5. ugh I want to live in ANY ONE of those neighborhoods (well, except for Nervión, never liked it there) but the one I live in. Macarena Norte SUCKS! I have lived many years in Triana and when I left, said I would never go back, but it’s now on my short list of places to potentially make home. I also did a short stint in the Arenal and LOVED it.

  6. viva triana y ole .. viva mi barrio del arte :) my bias is right there contigo, guapa.

  7. QUE VIVA EL GINTONCITONEO Y OLÉ

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I love that La C is your name!! I’m going to the opening of a new bar in your hood next week…tipo flamenco y taurino. Will bring back the report!

  8. I lived in La Alameda briefly and then just around the corner from the Museo de Bellas Artes. Not sure which neighborhood that is considered, but it was great!

  9. Sunshine and Siestas says:

    Great feedback, guys. I think that the right neighborhood for you depends greatly on what you want out of it and how you are, personally. I loved that Triana was close enough to the center, but still seemed like I could get wrapped up in the Spansh musings of my dry cleaners. I miss living there all the time and feel my barrio has little character. If only, Kelly and Jeremy, we’d all lived there together! La Grande nightly, for sure!

  10. I tried to find bits of Jewish history in Barrio Santa Cruz; it turned out to be a little bit of hit and miss. However, one of the highlights was sitting in a café in one of the less-trodded alleys, and listening to two women chat about their respective children and their grandchildren. My Spanish is poor, but as with most languages, context is everything.

  11. Hey Cat! It’s Matt in Granada. Like your blog! Oh yeah, and I’d like a vintage postcard too ;)

  12. I’m doing research for my upcoming trip to Sevilla, and this has been one helpful post! Thanks for laying out such a clear idea of the barrios and their individual characters.
    Cassandra recently posted..The lowdown on Year ThreeMy Profile

  13. I completely agree that Triana is the best place to live in Seville. Though I’ve never lived in another neighborhood in the city, my three years here have been amazing, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Specifically, el Barrio León, which is like a mini pueblo in Triana, is an amazing place to call home. When you do eventually move to Triana, Cat, I will welcome you with abrazos abiertos!

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I lived in Triana for three years, off of Manuel Arellano. Truly the best little barrio!! I would move back in a heartbeat, but Kike’s qualm is the lack of parking.

  14. ‘Twas nice to see a detailed list of some of the best places there. I find it kind of aggravating that you purposely left out your ‘hood altogether, though. Unless you hate it, and I doubt that. Ah well, not my site! Haha.

    Thanks for another great article.
    Ryan at Jets Like Taxis recently posted..A Regional Tradition: Making Rakija in Mojdež, MontenegroMy Profile

  15. you must live near the Alcampo (spanish walmart)! I lived right near there and the slums were very close. Tres Mil Viviendas or something like that. Hated it. Woke up to different “nomads” sleeping in the park in front of our building daily, on a mattress none the less. Love Sevilla though.

    • oh yeah, i forgot about having to watch my step, jumping over different syringes and used condoms on the way to the gym. no fun, trust me. the locals were very nice though, just the homeless drunks/drug addicts ruin it

      • Sunshine and Siestas says:

        I do, in fact, live there, in Barriada Hispalis. There’s literally no comercios, save the Chinese driving school. I don’t think I’ve ever met another guiri who dares live in Las Tres Mil – they say not even cops go there!

  16. Yeah, we had an apartment for free for 1 year. Right in front of the Alcampo. Couldn’t turn down free rent. Next time we move back again, I would rather pay any amount of rent than to have to live there again. Mostly just old people who do not understand why “guiri’s” live there and then of course the “tres mil” drifters who just roam around the area littering, drinking and blasting music from their cars. Rather annoying.

  17. Barriada Hispalis? So you definitely know the gym I am talking about. Right behind the soccer field and next to the “russian/romanian” strip club or whatever it is. lol

    Gym was small and people were nice but the area that you have to go through to get there was nasty old industrial places.

    There is a good restaurant on the corner though, I forget the name but they have like 2 others in seville. The have a good broschetta (sp?) or meat on a skewer. Went there all the time.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Boo, you’re talking about El Perol. All of them are closed but the one in Triana, sadly. That was our churros place!

      And, really, I only live here because the law tells me to, and my boyfriend cooks for me!

  18. El Perol! That was the place. That really sucks that it is closed. Good people and good food. Wow, there must really be nowhere to go now in that area. El Perol was about it.

    On a side note, my wife and I may be moving back at the end of this summer. She is a spaniard so I have no visa issues. Are things as bad as they are saying, economy wise, in Sevilla? Or are the news outlets just dramatizing the situation? If El Perol is now closed then I would imagine things are pretty bad, seeing how it was a famous place to go around that area.

    In other words, are we crazy for thinking about moving back at this time?

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I think it depends on what you are both looking to do. Drop me an email, and we can discuss! sunshineandsiestas @ gmail.com

      • Thanks for the info!!!

        I will definitely let you know if we decide to move to sevilla!!

        Enjoy la feria 2013:)

      • Sunshine and Siestas says:

        Please do – first cervecita on me! As for enjoying Feria….I always do!

  19. Right, reading this, I’m either going to choose Triana or Alameda. I am a student though (erasmus)… So just curious, price/vibe wise, would Alameda be more student friendly?

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Triana is much more traditional (and my pick!), but Alameda is definitely great for students and the prices are often right. Let me know what you decide!

  20. This post is SO useful – I have read it like 100 times since finding out I will be an auxiliar in Seville. Eyeing up Triana and Alameda, but who knows where I will end up.

    I was wondering what you think the best way of actually finding a room is? Through websites or? Apologies if you have answered this elsewhere already. Any tips appreciated :)

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