Ah, Seville. The hidden gem sneakily tucked away in a corner of Andalucia. It’s Spain’s fourth largest city, sure, but there is an air of small town goodness about this wholesome, thriving, happy city. If you’re a digital nomad, you’ll find the city well equipped to handle your needs…but let’s be honest, the main drawer is probably the fantastic weather and cheap beers. Here’s all you need to know if you’re thinking about moving to the city for a few months or more.
On the Plus Side
There are many advantages to settling in Seville, but the first one that might surprise you is: it’s cheap. The cost of living here is completely agreeable to those accustomed to the costs of the States or places like France and the UK. Not that the low cost of living means a compromise in the standards of living – you’ll have everything you need here. The infrastructure is sound, the food edible and the water potable. And on the plus side…yeah, the weather is pretty great. If anything, it’s too great. You’ll want to have somewhere else to go during July and August, when the temperatures hit uncomfortable peaks. For most of the year, it’s shorts, t-shirts, and good vibes.
And On the Down Side
But we wouldn’t be doing our duty if we didn’t tell you some of the less positive aspects of Seville. To be fair, there aren’t many – and in fact, the negatives are actually kind of positive. For example, there isn’t the working ethics that you would find in London or other big cities, where people exist there because of their work. Seville is about having a good time, and you might find it difficult to knuckle down to work when you’re constantly being offered afternoon beers in the sunshine (isn’t life hard?). Similarly, there aren’t a million places to work remotely there, either. Seville library is generally busy, also. However – buy a coffee in any cafe and they’ll let you stay for hours if you want to!
The First Days
Seville is a small city, but it’s still pretty big, especially when you don’t know your way around. So don’t commit to having too much work when you first arrive, because you’ll want to spend getting your bearings in the city. If the size doesn’t get you (and it probably won’t), then what will confuse you is the mazy, labyrinth passages that make up most of the centre. You’ll be walking to one destination, take a wrong turn, and then struggle to get back to your starting point. It’s worth having a GPS device on you, but don’t worry – time doesn’t really exist in Seville, so whether you’re on time or an hour late is mostly immaterial.
Getting into Swing of Things
You’ll soon be settled into your accommodation and be ready to really throw yourself into life. You’ll learn the routines of the day. For example, rise and shine at 8am, head outside, and you’ll probably be greeted with…nothing. Few people, few places open. The city doesn’t really come awake until about 10. You’ll get into a habit of visiting your favourite cafe around 9:30 and ordering breakfast, which is always inexpensive and mostly good. Sit back and watch the city come alive – there’s no rush here. In the evenings, you’ll learn to have your meals at around 9 or 10, even when you’re not eating out. Seville people ‘live on the street’, so you’ll be out and about all day; meals are so inexpensive that your kitchen might only rarely be used.
After a while, they’ll come a point when you want to get deeper into Seville life. Learn Spanish, it’ll be a great help – there’s an infographic by Upgraded Points that shows you just how easy it can be. The Spanish are friendly, hospitable people, but you won’t be able to really see just how much until you speak their language. Plus, when you’re outside, having a beer, the experience will be greatly enriched if you can understand what everyone is saying as there are some real characters living in Seville!
Discovering the Gems
Eventually you’ll discover that Seville, alas, isn’t only about having beers and tapas as you sit in the sunshine. There’s two big events on the Seville calendar: Semana Santa and Feria. During Semana Santa, you can expect absolute bedlam. The city is virtually at a standstill as church groups parade through the city to the sound of music. It’s a real sight, not to be missed, though it’s more enjoyable if you have a balcony overlooking the parade. Also, don’t expect to sleep too much during this week, as it’s a non-stop party. Feria takes place usually in April, in the Feria part of the city. This is also a party, where people host pop up homes, eat, drink, and be merry. Fun for a day or two, but after that you might to look at heading to the mountains. Which brings us on neatly to…
Seville is a good base to explore other regions of Spain, and also Portugal. If you travel a couple of hours east, you’ll meet the picturesque city of Granada, and just beyond that you have the Sierra Nevada mountains – a perfect place for skiing, hiking, cycling, camping, and so on. Around an hour to the south is the coast; many Seville locals head there for the weekend when the weather gets too hot. An hour west is Portugal, specifically the Algarve area.
One last thing: Seville is full of other expats, so you’ll have no problem making friends. Visit foreign specific cafes (there are plenty) and you’ll be greeted by many English and American accents, as well as those from other nationalities who also speak English. It’s a really social, young city, so you’ll be invited to hang out with people almost instantly. And in the future, when you hear a new English voice, you should invite them to hang out with you too!