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.
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!
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.
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 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