Wander through the maze-like streets of the colourful Santa Cruz neighbourhood, known for sights such as the Alcázar palace and Seville Cathedral with its Giralda tower.
It was into the beautiful barrio of Santa Cruz that Seville’s Jewish population was confined when Ferdinand III took the city from the Moors in 1248. Brutal as the Catholic monarch could be, you can’t help but feel, as you wander the neighbourhood’s pretty streets, that there are worse places to be banished. Here are the top things you don’t want to miss when visiting Santa Cruz.
Along with Granada’s old Arabic quarter of Albaicín, Santa Cruz is the best barrio in Andalusia for aimless wandering. Its unfeasibly narrow streets make those of Triana, Seville’s former gypsy quarter, look like Parisian boulevards. Most are impassable by car – meaning you’ll have this charming neighborhood to yourself. Discovering its secret squares and stumbling upon its beautiful old palaces and churches is one of the best ways to pass a long morning or afternoon in the Andalusian capital.
For a dose of history-laden luxury in the centre of Seville, head to Aire Ancient Baths. The Seville branch of this super-sleek bath franchise was established in a refurbished mansion. No expense was spared in the stunning renovation. The mansion’s original brickwork has only been enhanced by the addition of sleek glass and wood fittings and the beautifully illuminated bathing spaces feature pool at a range of temperatures. For those who want a little pampering while exploring Santa Cruz, this place is unbeatable.
This narrow, shaded alleyway runs alongside the walls of the Alcázar to the beautiful Alfaro and Santa Cruz plazas. It’s named after a mini aqueduct that ran along the top of the Moorish palace’s wall. This mysterious, winding path provides one of the most romantic strolls in Seville. Plaza Alfaro, incidentally, is likely to be busy with tourists pointing their cameras upwards and snapping away at the ornate old buildings. This is because one of them (it’ll be obvious which) is said to have inspired the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.