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Seville

Photo © david.byne

Travel Guide Europe Spain Andalusia Seville

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Introduction

Real Alcazar, Seville

Real Alcazar, Seville

© All Rights Reserved Peter

Seville (Sevilla in Spanish) is a city in Andalusia in southern Spain best known for its Moorish fort-cum-palace, the Alcázar. It also boasts the distinction of being the place where tapas were first invented.

Seville was founded over 2,000 years ago by the Romans, who were displaced from the region early in the 8th century by the Moors. The city was a part of Muslim Andalusia for several centuries before Fernando III, the King of Castille, fought the Moors and conquered Seville. A strong Moorish influence is still readily apparent in the city's culture and architecture.

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Neighbourhoods (Barrios)

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the old Jewish quarter in the centre of the city. Narrow streets lead past typical restaurants and bars. Santa Cruz is also the barrio where you will find the cathedral and the Alcázar.

El Arenal

El Arenal is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Seville, on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir.

Triana

On other side of the Rio Guadalquivir lies the working class barrio of Triana.

La Macarena

La Macarena lies north of the city centre and houses the Basalica de la Macarena. The flea market is also held there every Thursday morning.

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Sights and Activities

Cathedral and La Giralda

Sevilla - Giralda tower

Sevilla - Giralda tower

© All Rights Reserved Herr Bert

The Cathedral in Seville is the biggest cathedral in Spain and the third largest Christian cathedral in the world. It was built in the 15th and 16th centuries on the site of a Moorish mosque. Of this mosque only the tower called La Giralda survived. This tower once was the highest building on Earth, and is special because it doesn't have any stairs to climb, instead you can climb to the top of the tower on 34 ramps, which made it possible to get to the top riding a horse. From the top of the tower you have a nice overview over the city.

Inside the Cathedral you will find numerous chapels, paintings and gold metalwork, as well as one of the biggest altarpieces in the world. There is also a tomb for Cristobal Colon (better known as Christopher Columbus), although the remains inside the tomb are not those of Columbus. There is also a small exhibition room, where paintings and other artifacts are on display.

Real Alcazares

Next to the Cathedral, on the other side of the Plaza de Triunfo lies the Real Alcázar (Royal Castle). Inside you will find a Palace that was build in the typical Mudajar style. The Palace was build in the 14th century, but there are also older parts, as it was build on the site of a Moorish palace. Highlights are the Patio del Léon (Lions courtyard) at the entrance of the building, the Palacio de Pedro I and the Patio de las Doncellas, the Patio de la Monteria, and the beautiful gardens.

Basalica de la Macarena

The Basalicade la Macarena is a beautiful Neo-Baroque church, with lavish decorations. It was build between 1936 and 1941, and it has the most important relique in town: the Virgin de la Esperanza Macarena. This icon is worshiped by a large group of followers. During processions she is carried around the rest of the town.

Torre del Oro

Sevilla

Sevilla

© All Rights Reserved bibias

The Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) was build in the 13th century by the Moorish rulers and had a military purpose. Later it was used to store the gold and other treasures that were taken home from the Spanish conquests in South America. It now houses a naval museum.

Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza

Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is the bullfighting ring in the barrio El Arenal, and is located on the banks of the Rio Guadalquivir. The ring can be visited, and also houses a museum.

Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija

El Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija or The Lebrija Palace can be found in Seville’s Calle Cuna. The palace is considered the “best paved house-palace in Europe” owing to its collection of roman mosaics, which paved practically the whole of the ground floor. There is also a collection of well parapets, vases, amphora, columns and sculptures of incalculable worth. On the upper floor you can visit the residences previously inhabited by the Countess and her decedents, up to only a few years ago; extremely well preserved, they are today filled with ornaments and furniture from all over the world, priceless artwork by Van Dyke, Bruegel, Alonso Cano, amongst others, as well as collections of porcelain and glass. Opening times: Monday to Friday 10:30am-7:30pm (July and August: 09:00am-3:00pm), Saturday 10:00am-7:00pm (July and August: 10:00am-2:00pm), Sunday 10:00am-2:00pm (Jul-Aug: closed).

Isla Magica

La Isla Magica is a modern theme park on the site of Expo 92.

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Events and Festivals

  • Semana Santa de Sevilla - The Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the most important religious event of the city and one of the best known in the country. Although Seville is not the only city to stage the Semana Santa in this way, it is the most famous one. Semana Santa is the week leading up to Easter. From Palm Sunday, until Easter Sunday, there are daily processions through the city, which are organised by several brotherhoods. On Good Friday, there are two processions, one in the evening, and one in the early morning, and it's the most visited one of the whole week. The number of brotherhoods that participate in a procession varies. Along with the procession, wooden sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion, or images of the Virgin Mary are carried, and they have an important place in the procession. The most famous of the sculptures is the statue of Maria from the Macarena Basalica, which is carried around in the early procession on Good Friday. All of the processions lead to the Cathedral.
  • Bienal of Flamenco - The Bienal of Flamenco in Seville is a famous festival setting the benchmark for achievement in the fields of flamenco dance (baile), guitar (toque) and singing (cante). Established in 1980, the Seville Bienal has taken place every two years ever since.
  • Seville Feria - This spring festival occurs every year in April two weeks after the Easter celebrations. Seville Feria is a city-wide party, where locals throw an incredible week-long party of dancing, singing, eating, and of course, wine and sherry tasting. The most coveted parties are set up in private tents, or casetas. If you're lucky enough to receive an invite, it will be an experience you're sure to remember for a long time!
  • Virgin del Rocio - This largely celebrated religious event occurs every year during the weekend before Pentacost and is always televised. Catholic pilgrims parade in a procession from the city center to the marshlands of the Guadalquivir River delta to worship the statue of Virgin Del Rocio, or "Madonna of the Dew". This long-standing tradition has been celebrated annually since 1280.
  • Bullfighting Season - The locals in Seville very passionately celebrate bullfighting as a sport, and many believe that it was in Seville that the modern-version of this tradition began. All of the bullfights are held at The Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is on Paseo de Colon, which is a large, yellow stadium in the middle of town (you can't miss it). Bullfighting season runs from April to late September or early October, with the exception of July & August.

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Weather

Seville enjoys a Mediterranean climate with generally hot and dry summers and mild winters when most of the annual rainfall occurs. Still, compared to the southern coastline of Spain, temperatures are much warmer in summer and somewhat colder in winter. In winter, frost at night is rare but possible. In summer, be prepared for temperatures mostly around 35 °C, but that is the average: temperatures up to 45 °C are possible, and it is best to visit the city therefore somewhere around April/May or mid-September to early November. During the summertime, it is best to walk the streets on Seville utilizing the shaded sides of the streets, either by buildings or trees. You will notice that there is usually a way to way down most streets in the shade; however be sure you aren't walking in the established bike paths on the sidewalks (they are either green with white lines or, which is less noticeable, lined with small, evenly-spaced metal circles that have a small bike symbol on them).

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max15.9 °C17.9 °C21.2 °C22.7 °C26.4 °C31 °C35.3 °C35 °C31.6 °C25.6 °C20.1 °C16.6 °C
Avg Min5.2 °C6.7 °C8.2 °C10.1 °C13.1 °C16.7 °C19.4 °C19.5 °C17.5 °C13.5 °C9.3 °C6.9 °C
Rainfall65 mm54 mm38 mm57 mm34 mm13 mm2 mm6 mm23 mm62 mm84 mm95 mm
Rain Days876862013789

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Getting There

By Plane

Seville Airport (San Pablo Airport, interational code SVQ)) has pretty good connections to destinations outside of Spain. Iberia, Ryanair, Air Berlin and Vueling are among the airlines that operate from Seville airport.

The airport is situated to the east of the city. Seville Airport is situated on the A4 motorway (known as E05 in the International E-road network) which connects Seville with Madrid. The motorways around Seville provide relatively easy access to Jerez de la Frontera, Málaga, Cádiz, Huelva and Portugal. It is served by half-hourly buses to the centre of Seville, stopping at Santa Justa railway station and Puerta de Jerez, which take about 40 minutes. Buses run between the city and the airport from 06:15am until 11:00pm. This is the most cost-effective option because it only costs about €2.30.
There are also taxis that cost about €21 flat fee from the airport to anywhere in Seville. Do not let them charge you more. The prices are clearly marked on the door of the taxi and on posters around the airport. There are a few special fees during Semana Santa and Feria, but do not pay more than the advertised price. If they are causing problems ask at the hotel or if you speak Spanish whip out your mobile phone and threaten to speak to the police. That shuts up the taxi driver very, very quickly!

By Train

The train station in Seville is called Santa Justa and its very easy to take a taxi from the train station to your destination (generally should range from €7-15 as long the distance to your destination is not extremely far from the station). Seville is connected to Madrid via the AVE (run by Renfe), which takes you from Madrid Atocha train station to Seville Santa Justa in 2.5 hours. Córdoba can also be reached by AVE in 45 minutes. The trip from Barcelona takes about 10 hours and can be done on a sleeper train. From Seville you can travel pretty easily to Granada (approximately 3 hours), and to Jerez de la Frontera (just over an hour) and Cadiz (just under 2 hours), which can be done as daytrips.

You can check the website of Renfe, the Spanish Railway Company, for timetables to cities within Spain.

By Car

Seville is not an easy place to navigate with a car due to the fact that many streets are one way and the street signs may be difficult for tourists to understand. Finding a parking spot can also be hard. Therefore, if you travel by car, it is recommended to book a hotel that has a parking lot that is reserved for visitors only.

By Bus

Sevilla has two big bus-stations: Plaza de Armas, near the Puente de Cachorro bridge, and Prado de San Sebastian, near the Jardines de Murillo. Bus services go to many destinations in Spain and also to Portugal and cities further afield to central and western Europe. Eurolines has some international connections.

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Getting Around

By Car

Seville is not an easy place to navigate with a car, and finding a parking spot can be hard. Besides, the city centre is small enough to walk around and is actually quicker than driving and parking etc.

By Public Transport

The bus system is rather comprehensive and inexpensive. The metro only has one line that travels to many main locations, construction is currently underway for the other lines. It would be useful to have a metro pass in order to decrease walking time between sights.

By Foot

Most sights are within walking distance of each other. Seeing the city by foot might be the best option (see also weather section about walking in the summertime).

By Bike

Seville is one of the places in Spain that takes bikers seriously and actually has bike lanes, though whoever designed these must have been having an off day when he or she did some of them. Don't be surprised to find orange trees in the middle of the lane, or to suddenly find the lane being reduced to a single narrow track that you have to share with pedestrians! All part of the experience.

Having said that, Seville is a great place to cycle. It is pretty much flat and there is very little rain. The best thing about Seville is that there are little stations, run by Servici, all around Seville where you can rent bikes for €5 a week. Just go up to the pay points next to the bike stations dotted around the city and get yourself a bike. See the Sevici website for more details.

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Eat

Seville is where tapas were invented and it's still a good place to take a tapas tour and try some of the traditional Andalusian dishes. A hint: if it has pictures of the food, on the menu, you are probably going to a tourist trap and will be ripped off.

Rabo de Toro (oxtail-stew) is a traditional Andalusian dish, although many tapas bars do not serve it. Jamon Iberico, Manchego cheese and croquetas can be found more commonly. Other classic and tasty dishes include Salmorejo (a kind of thicker version of Gazpacho), Boquerones (whitebait or small sardines, aka anchovies before they are cured), patatas bravas and carillada (pig's cheeks, but don't be squeamish - it is very tasty).

The best and the oldest bar in Seville is Rinconcillo on Calle Girona. It is a classic, and not full of tourists as you might expect.

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Drink

  • Calle Betis is a great place to head to on a weekend if you are looking for cheap drinks. Just be aware that there will be plenty of other tourists there with the same idea as you.
  • Plaza Alfafa is a fun place to head with more of a local feel to it. Don't be surprised if you see children and dogs roaming about and playing around midnight or later on a weekend. The culture is different, embrace it.

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Sleep

Budget

The Oasis Hostel is a good hostel, with good kitchen facilities at the Plaza Encarnacion, if you are looking for a cheap place to stay. The hostel has dorms but also a couple of double private rooms. The staff organises activities for the guests, that you can attend, including a tapas tour, and visiting a flamenco performance in the Santa Cruz barrio.

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Pension Nuevo PinoCalle Tarifa 6Hostel85
Bed & Breakfast NaranjoSan Roque 11GUESTHOUSE84
Casa del Buen ViajeCalle Cristo del Buen Viaje 12--SevillaGuesthouse-
Finca La LuzUrbanizacion Torrepalma 164 CarmonaGuesthouse85
Hostal CatedralC/ Tintes 22Guesthouse80
Hostal Da VinciAvda. de la Constitucion 20GUESTHOUSE82
Hostal DalisPuerta Jerez 3GUESTHOUSE81
Hostal Doña PepaC/ Juan de Vera,20 Escalera n 1Guesthouse75
Hotel El DuquePlaza del Duque 11HOTEL84
Hostal FloridaAvenida Menendez Pelayo 27Guesthouse-
Hostal GravinaGravina,46Guesthouse79
Hostal Lis IIOlavide 5Guesthouse79
Hostal MonetC/ Albareda, 15Guesthouse80
Hostal MuseoC/Abad Gordillo, 17Guesthouse-
Nuevo SuizoC/Azofaifo 7Hostel69
Hostal Paco'sPedro del Toro 7GUESTHOUSE83
Hotel Paris SevillaSan Pedro Martir,14HOTEL81
Hostal RedesC/Redes, 28 41002Hostel81
Hostal RomaGravina, 34 SevillaGuesthouse-
Hostal Santa CatalinaAlhondiga 10- 12 41003Guesthouse78
Hostal SierpesCorral del Rey 22Guesthouse79
Hostal Van GoghMiguel de Manara 4GUESTHOUSE75
Hostal ZurbaranMariana de Pineda 10Guesthouse77
HostelOne Sevilla AlamedaJesus del Gran Poder 113Hostel85
Monte Olivo HotelMonte Olivete 5Hotel81
Hotel Aacr MuseoCalle Pedro del Toro, 9Hotel-
Hotel AbanicoAguilas 17Hotel87
Hotel AbrilJeronimo Hernandez, 20HOTEL83
Hotel Don PedroGerona 24Hotel82
Hotel Doña CarmelaAvenida de Jerez, 14Hotel-
Hotel LondresSan Pedro Mártir, 1Hotel84
Hotel MarengoCalle del Enmedio 26 Castilleja de la CuestaHotel-
Hotel Medium Virgen de los ReyesAv. Luis Montoto, 129Hotel-
Hotel PasarelaAvda de la Borbolla, 11Hotel87
Hotel San GilCalle Parras N 28 41002Hotel-
Hotel Un Patio en Santa CruzDoncellas, 15Hotel90
Husa Los SeisesSegovias 6 41004Hotel-
Oasis Backpackers' Hostel SevillaCalle de la Compañía 1HOSTEL81
La Casa del SolSantas Patronas, 31Hostel86
Pension MontorenaSan Clemente 12Guesthouse84
Petit Palace Sevilla CanalejasCanalejas 2Hotel82
Petit Palace Marqués Santa AnaCalle Jimios 9-11Hotel-
Petit Palace Santa CruzPza.Ramón Ybarra Llosent, nº4 (Muñoz y Pabón,18)Hotel-
Residencia Fernando VillalónParaje de Paterna s/nHostel81
Feetup Samay Hostel SevillaMenendez Pelayo 13HOSTEL87
San Francisco HostalC/ Gonzalez de Leon, 4Guesthouse89
Sevilla HomeMarques de Paradas, 28Apartment-
Sevilla Inn BackpackersCalle Angeles 11Hostel87
Urbany Hostel SevillaDoña Maria Coronel, 12 - SevillaHOSTEL-
Seville Picasso BackpackerC/ San Gregorio, 1Hostel-
The Garden BackpackerSantiago 19Hostel90
Traveler's Inn SevilleAugusto Plasencia 5Hostel84
Triana BackpackersRodrigo de Triana 69, SevilleHostel87
YH GiraldaAbades N°30GUESTHOUSE82
Huerta La CansinaCamino San AgustinGuesthouse-
Sevillas Center ApartmentsCalle Feria, 4APARTMENT82
Hostal Lis *C/ Escarpin No 10GUESTHOUSE83
Pension BienvenidoArcheros 14Guesthouse75
Eurostars Gran Hotel SolúcarCarretera Nacional Sevilla Huelva A-472Hotel-
Hotel Sevilla CongresosAvda. Alcalde Luis Uruñuela s/nHotel-
Exe Isla CartujaEstadio Olimpico Puerta G (formerly Isla Cartuja)Hotel84
Eurostars ReginaSan Vicente 97Hotel-
Hotel Un Patio Al SurCalle Fernán Caballero 7Hotel84
Hotel Las Casas de La Juderia‎Calle Santa María la Blanca 5Hotel-
Hacienda OlontigiVentorro, 23Guesthouse-
Hostal Casa Sol y LunaPerez Galdos 1-AGuesthouse81
The Living RoofC/Dos de Mayo 16Hostel92
La Caja HabitadaC/ Credito 20Hostel83
Hostal GeneralifeFernan Caballero, 4Guesthouse82
Oasis Backpackers' Palace SevillaC/ Almirante Ulloa, 1Hostel89
Metropolis Sevilla Hostel & SuitesC/Bajeles 20APARTMENT84
HOTEL SEVILLA PALMERAC/ Cardenal Ilundain, 28Hotel-
The Spot Central HostelC/Adriano, 6Hostel83
Sevilla District One HostelCalle Angostillo, 6HOSTEL89
R. S. Ana Alojamientos de VeranoC/ Gravina, 22GUESTHOUSE85
Apartamentos Suites Santa CruzPimienta, 4Apartment-
Hostal San LorenzoC/ Juan Rabadan 28Hotel79
Pension AlamedaAlameda de Hercules 31Guesthouse82
Casa Alfareria59Calle Alfareria 59Guesthouse82
The Architect HostelCalle Joaquin Guichot 8 1 PlantaHOSTEL86
Hostal GiraldillaCalle Gravina 23 41001GUESTHOUSE82
Trotamundos HostelBailen 12HOSTEL82
Albergue Inturjoven SevillaIsaac Peral, 2HOSTEL82
Sevilla's Center ApartmentsCalle Aposentadores, 5Apartment-
GENERALIFEC/OLAVIDE Nº5Guesthouse82
Cathedral House SevillaCalle Arfe 36HOSTEL85
Feeling Sevilla Hostelc/ Imaginero Castillo Lastrucci, 8HOSTEL-
Banos de la Reina Mora SevillaMiguel Cid, 25 Martinez Montas 10HOTEL-
Albergue Inturjoven ConstantinaAvenida del Doctor Larrauri s/n ConstantinaHOSTEL-
Backpackers Sevilla CenterPlaza de la Encarnación, 29HOSTEL-
Hostal JentoftC/ Benidorm 2GUESTHOUSE-
Sevilla City RoomsRiquelme Quiros 17, 1º DGUESTHOUSE-
Pension Virgen de la Luzc/ Virgen de la Luz, 18GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel Palacio AlcazarPlaza de la Alianza, 11Hotel-
Samay Rooms SevillaPlaza Curtidores n5 Floor 2 Door AApartment-
Residencia La CartujaGlorieta Beatriz Manchon s/nGUESTHOUSE-
Hotel El AnclaPlaza de los Pescadores, 1 Alcalá del Río SevilleHOTEL-
Hotel Palace SevillaPlaza de la Encarnación, 17HOTEL-
Casa ImperialImperial 29HOTEL-
Apartamentos Puerta del SurCalle El Compás s/nAPARTMENT-
Hostal Callejon del AguaC/ Corral del Rey, 23GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel SimonC/Garcia de Vinuesa 19. CPHOTEL-
Confortel Puerta de TrianaC/Reyes Católicos 5Hotel-
Grand Luxe HostelDon Remondo 7HOSTEL-
Patio de la Cartujac/ Lumbreras, 8 y 10APARTMENT-
Hostal Union SevillaTarifa 4GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel GoyaC/ Mateos Gago 31HOTEL82
Pension BailenCalle Bailen 75GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel AlcantaraXimenez de Enciso, 28Sevilla 41004GUESTHOUSE-
Pension RioSolMarques de Paradas 25 Sevilla 41001GUESTHOUSE-
Hosteria del LaurelPlaza de los Venerables nº 5GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel Dona Manuela, Casa ModestoPaseo Catalina de Ribera 2HOTEL-
Hotel BacoPlaza Ponce de Leon 15 SevillaHOTEL-
Hostal Nuevo PinoCalle Tarifa 6 41002 SevilleGUESTHOUSE-
Hostal ArenalPastor y Landero 21GUESTHOUSE-
Hostal Plaza Santa CruzCalle Santa Teresa, 15GUESTHOUSE-
Hostal TrajanoTrajano, 3GUESTHOUSE-
Soho Boutique HostelCalle Sales y Ferre 18HOSTEL-
DomasevilleCalle Matachica 23 Alcala de guadairaGUESTHOUSE-
Casa Rural Hoyo BautistaCtra Pedrera Finca Hoyo Bautista s/nGUESTHOUSE-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.

In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.

The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.

Post

If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.

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Seville Travel Helpers

  • krystenj08

    I am living in Seville as a study abroad student until late December; therefore, I may be able to answer questions that other travelers or visitors have.

    Ask krystenj08 a question about Seville

This is version 71. Last edited at 8:59 on Jul 10, 13 by Utrecht. 58 articles link to this page.

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