Shopping in Seville: Gifts, Specialty Shops and Markets

by shawn.hennessey

From antique ceramics to limited edition serigraphs, you can find that special something either for yourself or as a unique gift

Whether it's a gift for someone else or something you want to take back as a special "recuerdo", Seville has plenty of places that offer something more unique than typical souvenir shops. Though having said that, one really must get a cheerful abanico (hand-held fan), even if it's just to put up on the wall when you get home.

For the past 20 years Maria de la Oliva has been running the wonderfully eclectic Maspapeles on Zaragoza street (Zaragoza 17, Tel 34 954 220 618), where you can find a wide selection of top brand writing equipment and beautiful hand-made Spanish paper (for both writing and wrapping), agendas (diaries) and Moleskine notebooks, as well as fabulous handbags and briefcases, jewellery, and more cute chochkas than I can remember. It's almost impossible to leave her shop without buying something.

Gourmet food and wine shops have become all the rage recenty with quite a few opening in the past couple of years, and from what I've heard, more to come. Many of them offer wine tastings or special food events, and great personal service.

La Azotea Vinos & Mas on Jesús del Gran Poder (no 44, Tel 34 955 116 748) is my favourite. Opened earlier this year as a complement to the fabulous La Azotea restaurant (in my top five) you can find a wide array of cheeses and wines, spices and salts, vinegars and oils, all gorgeously packaged. And if you find a wine you like you can take it across the street to enjoy with your meal at the restaurant (no corkage fee).

If you are a fan of Spanish olive oil then you really should go to Extraverde at Plaza Doña Elvira 8,(Barrio Santa Cruz)(Tel 34 954 218 417, www.extraverde.es ) A small shop and tapas bar specialising in olive oil and its products, you can have a snack while you shop and even do a tasting of five different oils with fresh bread.

La Jaboteca sells wonderfully scented handmade soaps and essential oils. You can find them either at Calle Cuna 9, (Tel 34 954 213 606), or at Asunción 21, (Tel 34 954 271 102).

Agua de Sevilla remains a popular perfume store where the original Sevillian scents based on orange blossom and jasmine prevail, but it is also known for its stylish clothing and accessories.

 

Ceramics & Artesania

Popularte at Pasaje de Vila 4, Barrio Santa Cruz (Tel 34 954 229 444)) often takes people by surprise. A stone's throw from the Cathedral it's looks like a tiny storefront at first, but once you enter you find an amazing array of antique pottery, tiles and ceramics that owner Laura has collected over the years. And if you simply must have that large clay urn in the corner she will also safely ship your purchase to anywhere in the world.

The recently renovated Plaza de España has largely been restored with the famous ceramics made by Triana artisans. There are several ceramic shops to choose from just over the Puente Isabel, and one of my favourites is the impressive Ceramica Santa Ana at San Jorge 31 (Tel 34 954 333 990) But take a walk down adjoining Antillano and Alfarería streets and you will be spoiled for choice by the many great ceramics places that each offer something a bit different.

For something quite a bit different, while you're in the area check out the Norler studio (Alfarería 26, Tel 34 954 089 802) for limited edition serigraphs and other artwork with a distinctive Sevillano feel by Norberto León.

El Postigo (Tel 34 954 560 013) is a small artesan market at the end of Calle Arfe, just behind the main post office, with several different vendors selling a selection of ceramics, jewellery and other craft items, generally at reasonable prices.

 


Markets

If you are staying in Seville for more than a couple of days, and especially if you are in a holiday rental with a kitchen, the food markets will be of special interest. You will find an astounding selection of fresh fish and seafood, poultry and meat products (some unexpected), fruit and vegetables, olives and cheese, and of course, jamón Iberico. I've seen people getting onto planes with a large jamón leg over their shoulder, though of course you should check your country's import laws before deciding to bring home this very definitive taste of Spain.

There are four main food markets: Triana, Arenal, Encarnación and Feria. Out of these my favourite is Triana, which has been recently renovated and has a fresh yet still very traditional look and feel to it. While there you can also visit the adjoining San Jorge Castle, which I've mentioned in Things To Do.

Runner up is the slightly ramshackle market on calle Feria, for its wonderful little seafood bar La Cantina. Open for breakfast and lunch it serves up some of the freshest and cheapest seafood tapas in town.

 

More expert advice on Seville

For suggestions on where to stay in Seville, see my Seville Hotels – Award winning expert hotel reviews, from cheap to luxury hotels in Seville page.

Read my overview on Shopping in Seville.

shawn.hennessey

Originally from Canada, I have been living and working in Seville, Spain since 1993. Aside from running several of my own blogs about Sevilla and doing freelance travel & food writing - I've had articles published in National Geographic, Slow Travel Europe and Travel Intelligence - I also manage social media for restaurants and wineries and do amazing tapas tours. http://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/tapas-tours

Before Seville I lived in Winnipeg, Toronto, Bristol (UK), and Salamanca, in that order. I am never quite sure how to answer the question "why did you come to Spain?" other than to say I had been looking for my real home all my life and - for reasons I still can't explain - thought I would find it here. I knew the first day I arrived in Spain that I was finally home and that feeling has never left me.  

I love the craziness of Semana Santa even though I'm not religious. I love that Sevillanos take their holidays seriously and think nothing of shutting down for a month in August or during Christmas holidays. And I love that people here take time for each other and don't worry about schedules too much, even if this means having to wait all day for the plumber to show up. It's give and take. It has heart. The first place I take a visitor from out of town is out for tapas. Then I help them "get lost" in the labyrinth of twisty streets in the Barrio Santa Cruz and point out one of my favourite things - that they even tile the underside of the balconies. The architecture here is exquisite and breathtaking.

My Sevilla

Where I always grab a coffee: My favourite place for a coffee is the Horno San Buenaventura on the Avenida de la Constitución. Not only do they make the best coffee in town, but also the best breakfasts, with a wide assortment of breads for toasting and lots of different toppings, as well as pastries that you can choose from the display counter. My favourite place to sit is at the bar so I can chat to the bar staff and make sure Paco makes my toast with "extra cariño". 

My favourite stroll: People live in the streets here. I love sitting in my apartment with the balcony doors flung wide open and listening to the "hum" of the people standing outside the bars having tapas and chatting, but when I'm in the mood for a stroll I prefer to just wander the streets and see where I end up.

Books for inspiration: The Seville Communion by Arturo Perez Reverte takes you through the winding streets of Sevilla with this intellectual thriller. It's great fun to read this after you've been here as the city is one of the main characters and you will recognise many of the places mentioned. 

Where to be seen this summer:  The newly opened Fontecruz Sevilla Hotel has the most fabulous rooftop bar with several different levels and a variety of seating, from comfortable tables and chairs to small sofas with low tables in front of them, as well as (my favourite) long sofa beds with cushions where you can take off your shoes and put your feet up as you enjoy your drink and the view. Oh yes, the view is of the splendid Cathedral and Giralda tower. Not to be missed.

The most breathtaking view: Has to be from the top of the Giralda Tower. You can see all of Seville from there.

The best spot for some peace and quiet: The Maria Luisa Park is an oasis of calm near the centre of town, across from the Plaza de España. It is so large you can always find a secluded spot with a lovely tiled bench to read or have a quiet chat. 

Shopaholics beware:  The two main shopping streets in central Seville (Sierpes and Tetuan) have probably the most shoe shops that I have ever seen in one single area. And if you are a lover of electronic gadgets then FNAC on Avenida de la Constitución will prove very hard to resist.

City soundtrack: I know it isn't a Spanish tune, but that old song by the Rascals called It's A Beautiful Morning seems to fit Sevilla so well, especially as summer mornings here are always the best time of the day. 

Don't leave without: Enjoying the tapas. Seville is reputedly the birthplace of tapas and you can find such a variety of food and locations, from tiny ancient bars serving basic traditional fare to trendy gastrobars offering innovative tapas and extensive wine lists. My Sevilla Tapas blog lists a lot of my favourite tapas bars and restaurants.