When it comes to Spain, Barcelona and Madrid are considered the main gay destinations, but don’t tell that to Seville. This artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain and the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia is the fourth largest Spanish city with a metro-area population of around 1.5 million.
Hercules was considered the mythic founder of the city, known in Roman times as Hispalis. Well-preserved Roman ruins of the ancient town of Italica, or at the modern city of Carmona nearby, give an idea how it might have looked. Today the buildings at Seville city center show strong influences of the more recent Moorish, medieval, renaissance and baroque periods.
Gay nightlife is vibrant year-round: stroll down to La Alameda de Hércules, a square named after the legendary founder, where most of the city’s best gay bars are located. As for finding your own demigod, you’re on your own, but if it's big you like, you're in luck. The city has a large bear population, and every fall the population swells even more for a hirsute festival called GuadalkiBear The name’s a play on the Guadalquivir River that runs alongside town. There’s also a developing gay presence at the carnival-like Feria, a citywide festival held each year in April or May.
The Aeropuerto de Sevilla is about 20-30 minutes by bus from downtown. These run from the airport to the center every 30 minutes between 6:15am and 10:45pm. Single tickets cost €2.30. Taxis are another way to get to your hotel.
Seville has a compact downtown made for strolling. Traffic in these narrow streets is difficult and signs are confusing, so except for taiking out of town trips, having a car is more hassle than it's worth. Taxis are everywhere, and not expensive. A short trolley line will take you down the main street - for public transportation information in English, see Explore Seville or Andalucia.com. Besides metro train and bus options, they list bicycle rentals, taxi referrals, even horse & carriage rides. Tussam, the official website, is Spanish-language only.
Tourist Offices at the airport, the Santa Justa train station and at Plaza del Triunfo (among other locations) can help with maps, pamphlets, transportation information, and tips on current exhibits and events around town - in English and (except for some guide books) at no cost.
What to do
The Moorish-style Alcázar, the old palace, is a stunning sight. Make sure to take a stroll through the formal gardens in the rear. The Catedral de Sevilla dominates the center of the city — not surprising, as it’s one of the largest cathedrals in the world. The bell tower, called the Giralda, is obviously in a different style because it’s the minaret from the mosque at this site. Don’t miss the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, which was the old Jewish Quarter, until the Jews were expelled from the city in 1483.
Currency and Money
Spain’s official currency is the euro. There are ATMs scattered about the center, so you won’t have trouble getting more cash. Check with your home bank before leaving to avoid credit card transaction red flags, and consider getting a credit card with a chip (and pin number) for more security, and to use in machines that require them. If a local bank is a partner of your home bank you can avoid or discount the ATM withdrawal fees when using your debit card. Also ask for a non-800 number to reach your bank in case of emergency -- most toll-don't work outside North America.
Phones and email
If your cell phone won't work here (consult your provider) you can pick one up for as little as 10 euros and add time as you need it. Some major companies have brand stores (Orange, Vodafone, Movistar), but the main post office and many other stores also sell them. You need to show your passport and give an address. They're great if you're in a group of people who like to roam solo, then meet up again later; also for ways to follow up with new friends made along the way. Incoming calls are free but transatlantic outgoing calls cost about a dollar per minute. For longer calls home find a "locatoria" storefront - for rates of about 10 cents per minute (ask ahead or risk paying the "dumb tourist" surcharge). These small independents also have computers to check your email or use skype. Even cheaper, if you can find them, are the phones at some post offices with 2 cent/minute rates. They also do Western Union transactions. In a crunch, most pay phones do take coins - but have 5 or 6 euros in hand to feed it, before you dial (for North America) 001, area code and number.
Media & resources
Shangay, the Spanish national gay magazine, has some Seville listings and news on their website, in Spanish; but it's the German website Patroc which has perhaps the most reliable and up to date listings for gay Seville - in English.
For local info on bears, chubby mature, supporters, admirers & chasers in Andalusia, check the website of GuadalkiBear.
See locations and web links of bars, saunas and other Seville businesses at our map & listings tab.
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