Despite how much its changed over the last several years, Sevilla is my favorite city in Spain. It’s not even a contest. So if I had to move anywhere in the country, it would definitely be Sevilla. (And yes, I know it’s Seville in English but I speak Spanish so I can’t bring myself to anglophy it.)
Since the last time I visited, Sevilla has become an incredibly popular tourist destination. The small tabernas filled with locals in the middle of the day have been replaced with trendy restaurants who offer up a twist on tapas to the hordes of tourists who flock to Sevilla every day. It’s still possible to find the relaxed local vibe in certain neighborhoods, even in city center if you’re willing to venture there. But it’s not quite the same.
That being said, the modernization brings some benefits. For one, tapas restaurants have become inventive, appealing to other international flavors, and there are more restaurants open throughout the day. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and having zero open restaurants. So even though it’s lost a wee bit of it’s characteristic charm, we’ve earned the ability to have oxtail cannelloni in truffle béchamel in the middle of the day, which is actually a pretty fabulous trade. Plus, Sevilla has a jaw dropping beauty that I know I would never tire of seeing around me.
Sevilla is fairly large but it’s pleasant to walk when the weather is good. Otherwise, there’s public transportation. I love a city with trams, buses, and a metro because you know that you can pretty much get anywhere you need to. This includes the airport. Traffic is kind of hectic so I wouldn’t drive there, and I would probably avoid cabs at all costs. I definitely don’t want to be caught in traffic for 20 minutes with a chatty Spaniard.
In terms of travel, it’s probably not the best connected city in Europe but it does have an international airport that has one terminal and is nice and easy to navigate. It’s not so small that it’s a fucking mess, but it’s small enough that the security line is short and you’re in and out in a few minutes.
The food in Sevilla rocked my world. After eating the same three tapas for a few days, it was a breath of fresh air to see what the culinary geniuses in Sevilla have done to modernize traditional Andalusian flavors. There are multiple places that I would love to return to, so I feel like I already have a roster of favorite restaurants in Sevilla – a huge green flag that makes a place feel like home. And if I was in the mood for a counter bar that hasn’t been updated in 150 years where locals bring their guitar for entertainment, I can get that too. It’s nice to know that I would also have a good selection of international flavors around. As a basic prerequisite, I think a city needs to be able to provide good pizza and Asian food.
I suspect the influx of tourism and Airbnb rentals gutting the city have probably priced some folks out of city center. Nonetheless, Sevilla probably still has affordable neighborhoods that would make living there downright cheap. And who wants to live next to a smelly horse carriage stand next to the cathedral anyway? Eating and drinking out is incredibly affordable, which provides an easy luxury for a relaxed life in Sevilla. This is great, because you don’t want to be the kind of person who works a lot in southern Spain; you will be the only one.
As someone who really values the annual novelty of fall and winter, it would probably be difficult to get used to Sevilla weather. It’s a paradise to visit (especially when it’s cold at home), but it would be a horrible never ending summer if I lived there. That’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow. There’s nothing worse than crowds of tourists cramming into a sweaty tram on a scorching day in the middle of summer.
Total livability score: 7/10
I absolutely love how Sevilla feels. Save for the crowds and the heat, it would make an ideal home.