Tapas, Flamenco and bulls' blood mix with Moorish palaces and Roman ruins: OutUK's Adrian Gillan finds oranges aren't the only low-hanging fruit in Seville, Spain's fourth largest city.
Capital of Andalucía in Spain's sultry south and fourth largest Spanish city after Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: the old port of Seville - before it silted up and receded inland - launched Columbus to (re)discover the New World and was torn between Muslim and Christian marauders for centuries.
The 2¾-hour flight from London parks you at the airport a few miles north east of centre; then a dirt-cheap 20 minute bus ride takes you in to just south of the Cathedral and historic core. From there, a pleasant five minute stroll takes you through the old cobbled and twisting Santa Cruz district to tiny Calle Aire and spacious, clean, stylish and brilliantly positioned Aire Sevilla - Seville's only gay hotel.
Before you hit the gay scene though, do all the hot sights in one wonderful day.

Mooch back down to the Cathedral - one of the world's largest - to gawp at Christopher Columbus' tomb and climb the Giralda tower for stunning views of the city, to get your queer bearings.

Skip over the road to be dazzled by the faultlessly intricate Moorish vistas and symmetries at the magical Alcázar Palace, with its huge, yet intimate ornate Gardens - an endless paradise of immaculately topiared hedges, orange-brimming trees, tweeting sun-basking songbirds and shady fish-swishing pools.

The Giralda Tower.
Then mosey - past the vast old Tobacco factory where fictional Carmen was supposed to have grafted - across to the gigantic coloured-tiled, crescent-shaped Plaza de Espana; and beyond to the shady, well-kept Parque de María Louisa. Then stroll back up the historic River Guadalquivir - from the banks of which many an Earth-shattering voyage set forth - whiffing the dung from the huge Maestranza bull ring as you go. Cross the ornate Triana Bridge into its namesake barrio - famed for Flamenco and gypsy roots, though more gentrified now - to lunch or dine, depending on the time. Again, schedule-permitting, gorge on local painters Murillo & Zurbarán back over the river at the Museo de Bellas Artes; or bus it out a few miles to the ruinous Roman city at Itálica, where Trajan and - most likely - Hadrian were both born, to explore the 200BC, 20,000-seat amphitheatre, communal baths and miles of mosaics.
As darkness falls, muster just north of Seville's historic centre, around Macarena - ayeeeeeeee… yes, the self-same as crooned over in that irritatingly addictive international pop hit; or, for queerest things, the nearby Alameda de Hércules - a long stretch of dusty ground where crowds of local youths mainly gather to booze and cheat the night away. View of the Alcázar Palace.

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

For fine local fodder - tapas or other - try frenetic, authentic and atmospheric La Ilustre Victima, just above Alameda de Hercules on Calle Correduria, in the direction of the Macarena. Top tip: as ever in Spain, to pace your night, have an early eve club nap; then don't eat before 11.30pm, nor hit bars before 1am nor clubs pre-three!

Although some gay bars - like El Paseo which is found just north of the Triana Bridge along the Paseo de Colón, most indeed muster around Alameda de Hércules. Start your crawl at the friendly and informal El Barón Rampante ('the Rampant Male') on side-street Calle Arias Montano, nipping into its adjacent bar sidekick El Bosque Animado whilst you're there - punters from both mingle gaily on the road outside.

Then cross the Alameda de Hércules to Hércules Mitico a small disco-bar that punches well above its gay weight - a wise warm-up for clubs-proper, with its hi-energy mixes to set your heels-a-reeling! But if you just want to cop off, head straight for Men to Men back over on Calle Trajano, just below Alameda de Hércules.

CLUBBING

To jive, hit Itaca - also on Calle Amor de Dios - though not, as said, 'til 3am. It's the mainstay gay club in town with good dance music, plus large men-only rear, complete with highly cruisy darkroom loft crammed with private cabins - just watch where you're kneeling!

STEAMING

If you're still hanging loose, there are a couple of good saunas: Nordik on Calle Resolana at the far end of the Alameda de Hércules, in Macarena; or Termas Hispalis on Calle Céfiro further out west. Or you can cruise Plaza España and the fringes of Parque María Luisa on foot, after dark; or - across the river in the Cartuja district - troll Zona Estacionamiento Expo 92, by car 24/7.

SHOPPING

Libreria Amaranta is a well-stocked, gay-slanted bookshop between Plaza Alfalfa and Plaza San Pedro; just north of the Magdalena church, and it's surrounded by several gay-friendly shops selling briefs and swimwear, and a a wider-range of clothes.

GETTING THERE

You can get direct scheduled flights from the UK at budget prices through ebookers, Ryanair also fly from Stansted. Our hotel partners Bookings offer a wide range of gay-friendly hotels at special online prices.

Seville is amazingly sunny and warm most of the year, especially April-September. You might consider visiting aroound the Easter period for the haunting Semana Santa festival, where hooded, cowled penitents process through the streets bearing crosses! Very SM but minus the whips!

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Aire Sevilla (Calle Aire, Barrio de Santa Cruz; T: + 34 954 500 905, Website)
Hércules Mitico (Alameda de Hércules 93; no phone)
La Ilustre Victima (Calle Correduria 35; T: +34 954 389 490)
Itaca (Calle Amor de Dios 31; no phone)
Libreria Amaranta (Calle Pérez Galdós 24; T: +34 954 222 790)
Men to Men (Calle Trajano 38; no phone)
Nordik (Calle Resolana 38; T: +34 954 371 321)
El Paseo & Isbiliyya (Paseo de Colón 2; T: +34 954 210 460)
Termas Hispalis (Calle Céfiro 3; T: +34 954 580 220)
El Varón Rampante & El Bosque Animado (Calle Arias Montano 3; T: +34 656 906 663)


Revised November 2015

 

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