"It is impossible to resist its Andalusian charm, the flamenco, tapas, wine and sun. I love it! Maybe I’ll never return home."
Some people adore Barcelona, Madrid or even Valencia, but I believe the most beautiful city in Spain—the very heart of it—and the best-kept secret for many tourists is definitely Seville! It is impossible to resist its Andalusian charm, the flamenco, tapas, wine and sun. I love it! Maybe I’ll never return home.
Upon arrival, I was immediately impressed with the richness of history and architecture, the warmth and character of the people, and the palpable vibrant energy. The city itself is simply gorgeous—and then there are the festivals!
Seville is known as one of the most religious cities in the whole of Spain and has many events that demonstrate this devotion. The most faithful affair to happen in the city is La Semana Santa (The Holy Week) which takes place a week before Easter and includes many religious celebrations and unforgettable processions.
However, I must say that for me, the most exciting event in Seville happens approximately three weeks later: La Feria.
This event is actually just a fair. But what a fair! I have never seen anything like it. It lasts for seven days, and most of the locals take the entire week off so that they can participate and spend time with their family and friends. You could very well assume that the whole of Seville is there, with everybody on their feet, talking, dancing, drinking and eating.
For me, it all looked like one wonderful journey through time and space. Once you pass the magnificent entrance (specially designed and constructed each year), you find yourself in the middle of colourful stands of all different sizes, where the music never stops playing, and everybody is dancing “las sevillanas”, the typical dance of the fair.
The streets between the stands are bursting with carriages, horses, and revellers dressed in their traditional clothes—men are mainly decked out in suits, and women wear colourful dresses and flowers in their hair.
The gate at the entrance and the atmosphere would have most likely been the only things I would have experienced if I hadn’t attended with my friend Christina, a Spanish girl with her own stand. This is unique to Seville’s fair, as most fairs in other Spanish cities (particularly in the south) have stands open to anyone. Here, there are only a few large stands open to the public while the rest of them are private ones that you can only visit if you get an invitation from the owner. I realised fairly quickly that this is quite difficult if you are not from Seville, but somehow I made it!
It was here that I first tried the typical drink of the fair called “rebujito”: a special mixture of white wine and a soft drink with lots of ice—it will refresh you and make you tipsy at the same time! I also got a chance to try different Spanish dishes. My favourite ones were the mussels and prawns. Delicious!
To make the experience complete, Christina borrowed me one of her old traditional flamenco dresses, which she doesn’t wear anymore because it’s a few years old and sleeveless, and totally “out of fashion” this season. Apparently, there is an entire fashion industry for these types of dresses which can cost up to a few thousand euros! After putting on the dress, Christiana braided my hair and fixed a flower to my head.
Every time I met some of her friends, she introduced me with: “Ivana -Señorita Sevillana de Belgrado”, which means “Ivana, Sevillian lady from Belgrade”. Together with my dress, hairstyle and medium knowledge of the Spanish language, I caused more and more confusion with every new person I met. But in the end it didn’t matter—we all just laughed and had fun together.
On the first day, we arrived at the fair at 2 pm and didn’t get back home until around 6 am the next morning. And that was only the first day! The rest of the week I got to visit some other stands, try more of the typical Spanish food, learn to dance the first steps of the “las sevillanas”, ride on a carriage and carousel (of course there was an amusement park at the fair!), meet many of Christina’s friends and family, practice Spanish, and enjoy one of the best events in Europe.
Exploring Seville has been an unforgettable experience, giving me some of my most incredible stories and treasured memories. I hope I will get the chance to do it again someday!
Author - Ivana Stojadinovic
Ivana Stojadinovic is from Belgrade, Serbia. Born and raised in a small country in the Balkans with a big dream to see the world, she has loved to travel for as long as she can remember.
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