The pretty city named Europe’s ‘hottest’ but also the best to visit in winter

Dodging crowds and sweltering 40-degree heat might be the norm in the scorching hot summers of Seville, but in winter, the Andalusian capital exudes a different charm when sights can be enjoyed at a different pace and a more comfortable heat.

Unlike much of Europe and the UK, you can sit outside at a pavement café in Seville during the winter as temperatures range from 16C to 20C, even between December and February.

There’s also an average of five or six hours of sunshine a day and usually only around six to eight days of rain a month in November and December, meaning you can still get your fix of vitamin D.

However, the weather can dip slightly in the evenings, so it would be a good idea to pack a coat, scarf and gloves, and don’t forget the umbrella.

The cool weather is a huge contrast to the heat experienced in the summer months as Seville is dubbed the “Iberian oven” due to the hot air which blows from Northern Africa. Repeatedly hot temperature levels in recent years, have led to concern among weather experts who claim the city is “essentially turning into a desert” over time.

The tourist hot spots are relatively quiet during the winter months so it is worth seeing the city’s best attractions such as Seville’s cathedral which is the third largest church in the world and was built in the 15th century.

The huge cathedral is overshadowed by the bell tower which was originally the minaret from a mosque, which was built when the city was under Muslim rule, modelled on the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech.

If you are visiting over the Christmas period, the city puts on festive events until King’s Day on January 6. The main shopping streets are decorated with lights and entertainment such as street musicians and makes for a great spot to pick up local gifts.

There are also several Christmas markets to explore such as the Feria de Artesanía Creativa by the town hall and the Feria del Belén outside the cathedral.

In winter, Seville has plenty of tapas bars to choose from which are a great way to spend the evening. Why not try warming, local favourites like pork with whiskey, spinach and chickpeas, and braised beef cheeks with local wine.

Then book yourself to watch a flamenco show – the dance originated in Andalusia. Watching a live show is a must in Seville, and there are usually more performances in winter when the weather’s not so hot.

Even in a city overflowing with spectacular architecture, the spacious Plaza de España is special to visit. Located in María Luisa Park, it’s made up of a grand sweeping semi-circle of rose-gold stone buildings surrounding a canal with arching bridges and a central fountain – the perfect photo taking opportunity.

It’s traditional for Spanish tourists to Seville to get a photo taken in their province’s alcove, and in summer there can be long queues. But in winter it’s much quieter, you’ll find the illuminated building beautifully reflected in the water – so get Instagram ready.


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