Views from the Parasol in Seville

A Hot Day in Seville

  |   Spain   |   20 Comments

As I crossed the city of Seville on foot with my little pink suitcase in tow I thought that I must indeed be crazy. I had just arrived at Seville’s Central Station on a regular summer day. The mercury just hit 37 degrees and fleetingly I was wondering why the asphalt hadn’t melted yet.

The sun was relentless, the air felt like breathing fire. Nobody in his right mind was out and about, only me and a handful of equally crazy people, tourists probably. It was the wrong time of day to arrive in Seville, but most importantly, it was the wrong season.

Sweat ran down the middle of my back, the hair in my neck stuck to my skin, the handle of my suitcase threatened to slip from my grasp on more than one occasion. I didn’t help that Seville’s streets were old. There were so old that sometimes only a single car would fit with no space for anything else, let alone me with my little pink suitcase.

Yet, there was something about visiting a hot destination that gave me great pleasure. Was it the feeling of achievement at the end of the day? The thought that all of us in this place were in this together, like a ship full of survivors drifting on a sea of lava? Or was it simply that special atmosphere, that particular quality of light, the warmth of the smells that made me appreciate the heat of summer day in Seville?
Seville experiences regular heat waves

Views Over the City – Catching a Breeze

With all formalities of arrival sorted, it was time to hit the streets of Seville. This was not our first visit, which allowed us to explore some lesser known sights, such as the Metropol Parasol. A large wooden construction that oddly resembled the shape of mushrooms, which is why the Spanish preferred to call this structure Las Setas – the mushrooms – rather than Parasol – umbrella, even though parasol could also signify a particular type of mushroom.

This strange construct was located in the north of the old city centre of Seville and served mainly as a market space. However, we came here to enjoy the outstanding views of the sunbaked city, the organic lines of the building, and most importantly, the breeze.

As it was with many things in life, you have to face adversity to enjoy the small wins along the way. Walking to Las Setas in the scorching heat and exploring the observation platforms under the evil eye on the Spanish sun, it was a godsend relief to catch some of the balmy breezes that blew over the roofs of the city. In the shade of the wooden panels we enjoyed an ice cold drink and cooled down enough to face a walk to the next station of our walk, Plaza de España.
Under the Parasol in Seville

Cool air in the Park – Enjoying the Evening Atmosphere

Leaving the mazes of streets behind we followed the crowds to the green surrounds of Parque Maria Luisa. Plaza de España was more than just a square in a park. It was an ensemble of buildings that form a semicircle around a big spurting fountain. Bridges crossed a broad canal, you could rent a small rowing boat to glide along the neo-Moorish style buildings and under the bridges. Vendors all around, selling ice-creams and parasols and traditional fans. Horse carriages would start and end their rides here.

The sun was finally setting behind the trees, letting the exposition buildings first glow in shades of red and orange, then bathing them in a satisfying shadowy light. The temperatures hadn’t dropped a single bit, it was just as hot as it had been around lunch time. Yet, people gathered around the refreshing fountain, taking selfies with the water and the beautiful buildings as a backdrop.

There was a celebratory atmosphere at the Plaza de España, despite the heat, despite the strain. A clever man entertained the crowds with soap bubbles, adding little rainbow coloured baubles to the photos of people. Brides and grooms appeared with their photographers to make use of the soft evening lights for their wedding photography. In the shadow of the arches, fiery music reached our ears – it was the sound of flamenco played on a Spanish guitar, a beautiful dancer interpreting the music with passion and elegance.
The Plaza de España in the warm glow of evening light

Celebrating Survival and the Joy of Life

As the light faded and the day turned to night we returned to the city centre. All the restaurant tables were full, the streets packed with crowds, all in a celebratory mood at the end of a hot, endless summer day in the city. We were lucky to find a free table near the Cathedral, ordered croquettes and seafood salad and beers. Around us, the city was alive, the revellers came out to play, children and old people, visitors and locals.

I have been asked many times if it was a good idea to visit Seville in summer. Many times I have answered back to pick a better time. Looking back now I realise that there was indeed no better time to visit Seville than in summer. The city was made in summer, made for summer, made to enjoy summer.

Yes, it was hot in Seville, hotter than in most places in Spain. But at the same time, this was what Seville was all about. The heat was part of the city, just like the Cathedral, the river, the Royal Palace. I needed to experience a day like this with all its light, its breezes – sharing a passion for life with its survivors – to fully appreciate what Seville was all about.

Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Under the constructionThe observation platformStunning views of SevilleChurch TowerComplex structure with organic linesWalk in the parkExposition buildingCanals at Plaza de EspañaDetail of Plaza de EspañaVisitors playing with bubblesBuilding glowing in the light of the setting sunBridgeThe BridgeFountainFlamenco DancerThe sections of then different Spanish regionsHot summer night atmosphere in Seville

You might also want to read this

Seville Cathedral: A church of superlatives

The Real Alcazar in Seville: Palaces of dreams, gardens of pleasure

A day in Cordoba: A mosque, Don Quixote and a water garden

Silke Elzner

AUTHOR - Silke Elzner

Hello! My name is Silke. Happiness and Things is a travelogue about amazing European destinations and beautiful places around the world. I believe that beauty is even in the smallest things and I want to inspire you to see the world differently. Read more about it here.

  • Joanne Karcz | Oct 27, 2017 at 17:28

    I have so many favourite cities in Spain and having spent 5 weeks there, Sevilla is one of them. But phew, walking from Las Setas to Plaza de España – in the heat of summer? It’s from one side of the city to the other you have more stamina than most. Thanks for bringing back fond memories.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 27, 2017 at 20:19

      Haha Joanne, haha! What can I say? You only have one life… there is time for rest later… But yes, I wouldn’t recommend it, it is indeed quite strenuous. Thanks for your comment.

  • Lois Alter Mark | Oct 28, 2017 at 23:23

    Your photos are stunning! I always felt the same way – Europe in the summer is just too hot! – but I do see your point about visiting it the way the locals live it. That’s how you get to experience a culture the way it’s meant to be.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 29, 2017 at 1:27

      Thanks Lois, I couldn’t agree more! It’s not the easiest thing to do sometimes but it’s definitely something we should strive for every time.

  • Sreekar | Oct 28, 2017 at 23:28

    I kinda missed out on Seville on my last Spanish trip. Loved the intricate architecture and Plaza de España. Amazing photos too!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 29, 2017 at 1:28

      Sreekar, I am sure you will come back to Spain one day, and when you do make sure you include Seville in your itinerary. It’s such a vibrant city, full of colour and full of flavour! Probably the most Andalusian place in all of Andalusia. All the best xox

  • Lucy - Travel Textbook | Oct 29, 2017 at 12:56

    Seville is *so* beautiful – your photos capture the essence so brilliantly! Cannot wait to get back there one day.

    Lucy x

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 30, 2017 at 0:25

      Thanks Lucy! Yes, Seville is now the place to go according to Lonely Planet! Can’t wait to explore it some more 🙂

  • Linda de Beer | Oct 29, 2017 at 16:55

    It’s always nice to visit a place for the second time and explore lesser known places. I can understand why the Metropol Parasol is called The Mushroom. Sunset at Parque Maria Luisa looks like great way to end a hot day.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 30, 2017 at 0:28

      Thanks Linda. Which place did you visit a second time around that could surprise you with more discoveries?

  • Leah | Oct 29, 2017 at 18:51

    I’ve wanted to visit Seville for many reasons, but mostly for the food and the Moorish architecture. Perhaps I’ll look into the spring or fall. 😉

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 30, 2017 at 0:29

      Leah, You really should! The food is great, and so is the architecture. But there is so much more. Fall would be a great time to visit, less tourists too. Maybe combine it with a bit of a roadtrip to discover the rest of Andalusia as well. The countryside is very charming.

  • Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie | Oct 30, 2017 at 5:33

    I have so much more of Spain to explore, including Seville. Your photos do tell a story of a city come alive with the summer sun. The children with the bubbles, the flamenco dancer, and the fountains speak to the life in the city, despite the heat. Even still, I tend to visit Europe in the off-season to avoid the heat and the crowds, but you’ve made a great case to brave it all and enjoy the summer vibe in Seville.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 30, 2017 at 18:51

      Jackie, You are smart to avoid Europe in the heat of the summer but beware, Seville can still be very hot in the off-season! I visited in May this year and it was already 35 degrees. So you have good chances of experiencing the city in all its glory, even in spring or fall.

  • Jenn | Oct 31, 2017 at 4:08

    Your pictures of Seville are gorgeous! I was also in Spain during the summer in Ardales and even though it is hot, summer is the best time to be there! Plaza de España looks really cool and I bet taking the horse ride would be amazing.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Oct 31, 2017 at 18:38

      I am yet to see Ardales… can you recommend it?

  • Elisa | Nov 1, 2017 at 0:26

    Seville looks so gorgeous in your pictures! Unfortunately I didn’t get to visit last time I was in Spain but I’ll make sure to check it out next time. It sounds like the day heat totally sucked but when sun went down it must have been magical with the city becoming alive.

  • Megan Jerrard | Nov 1, 2017 at 14:01

    Yikes 37 degrees, no thanks! We’re heading into Aus summer and I’m good if it doesn’t go above 30 lol! Though I do understand what you mean about taking a certain pleasure about visiting a hot destination – I think it’s the special atmosphere in a place you haven’t been before which plays a big part in that.

    I would be one of those people who would try and plan a visit to avoid the heat of summer – but I’ve been quite convinced by your words that it’s a great time to visit. Sounds like there’s a great sense of community throughout Seville in summer, and public gatherings in the outdoors, which always lends itself to an upbeat mood.

    Definitely sounds like the season when the city is most alive!

  • Jessica | Nov 1, 2017 at 15:02

    Your photos are beautiful! I too visited Sevilla in the height of summer! Just as you mentioned, I loved how the city came alive at night. Had some fun nights up late partying in Sevilla! Your post brought back great memories.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Nov 2, 2017 at 20:20

      Hi Jessica, Thanks for your comment. And I am glad it brought back great memories. Hope you get to return one day!

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