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
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.
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.
The Giralda Tower.
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
Mentiroso Café-Bar is an LGBT friendly cafe bar with modern, laid-back atmosphere, and some good and friendly staff. The smell of incense inside is a bit overwhelming but you can comfortably sit outside under the warm halogen lamps. It's good for a date or casual chat.
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!
There's a good selection of gay bars like:
El Gallo Negro on Calle Arfe, which has some of the best strawberry mojitos ever. It's a great place to
hangout with locals and somewhere to party at night too. A little loud but always a good time!
Versalles Bar de Copas on Calle Arias Montano is a nice little bar in a quiet street near the Alameda place.
Cheap drinks and the allure of an outdoor terrace in a LGTB friendly environment.
You'll find that most of the LGBT and Gay bars 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. Bartenders are super cool and there's a nice vibe to the music!
If you nip next door into its adjacent bar sidekick El Bosque Animado
you'll find punters from both mingling gaily on the road outside.
Close by, 1987 Bar is another option - it's a pretty busy place on weekends, known for its mix of very danceable
music from the 70s, 80s and 90s - if one can find a spot to dance on as this small venue
gets crowded rather quickly. It's very LBGT-friendly, cozy and serves good cocktails.
If you just want to cop off, head straight for Men to Men
back over on Calle Trajano, just below Alameda de Hércules.
This is not the typical dark nightclub or bear bar that made you feel
uncomfortable in the past. Men To Men is on two floors, with fairly spectacular lighting, a dancefloor with DJs, and although 100% masculine
it attracts a varied croud - young and mature, locals and visitors, bears and next-door pals.
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!
Another possibility is OBBIO
which is a disco and nightclub found on Calle Trastámara. It doesn't open until 11pm, so don't expect a big or a
young crowd. The good thing is that you will have plenty room for yourself!
If you're still hanging loose, there are a couple of saunas:
Sauna Alameda Gay at Jesús del Gran Poder offers Finnish sauna, Turkish baths, Jacuzzi, Dark room and Glory hole. It has
had some mixed reviews, both good and bad in the past, but they all agree it tends to attract an older clientelle.
Termas Hispalis on Calle Céfiro is further out west but no longer gay. It's now rather upmarket and luxurious but
if you want to pamper yourself with a spa and wellbeing few hours, it could make for a good time.
Alaternatively, 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 Expo92
Wherever you go in Seville there's plenty to see and places to take your photographs. The scenery is
stunning and you're bound to end up with some really memorable holiday pictures.
Couple enjoying tourism in Seville |
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.
You can get direct scheduled flights from the UK with a number of airlines including
Easyjet, BA and Ryanair.
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
1987 Bar (Alameda de Hércules 93; T: +34 672 664 455; Website)
Aire Sevilla (Calle Aire, Barrio de Santa Cruz; T: + 34 954 500 905; Website)
El Barón Rampante (Calle Arias Montano 3; T: +34 647 249 537)
El Bosque Animado (Calle Arias Montano 5; T: +34 954 916 862; facebook)
El Gallo Negro (Calle Arfe 7; T: +34 954 230 344; Website)
Itaca (Calle Amor de Dios 31; Website)
Libreria Amaranta (Calle Pérez Galdós 24; T: +34 954 222 790; Website)
Librería Pérez Galdós (Calle Hortaleza 5; T: +34 915 312 640; Website)
Mentiroso Café-Bar (Pl. de la Encarnación 29)
Men to Men (Calle Trajano 38; Website)
OBBIO (Calle Trastámara 29; T: +34 692 529 093; Website)
Sauna Alameda Gay (Jesús del Gran Poder 70; T: +34 634 535 327; Website)
Termas Hispalis (Calle Céfiro 3; T: +34 954 580 220)
Versalles Bar de Copas (Calle Arias Montano; T: +34 690 348 749)
Revised January 2019