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The city on the banks of the Guadalquivir River belongs to the hottest spots in Spain. The Andalucian metropolis beams with beauty and exuberance and presents what everybody knows best of Spain: bullfights and flamenco. It is home of the famous fiction protagonists Don Juan and Carmen and the location of white washed houses. But Seville is also a remarkable business and service centre with many artistic, cultural, financial and social possibilities. A lot of historic buildings and colourful districts make Seville always worth a visit. Winding and cobbled streets lead to hidden churches, small intimate plazas, great museums and monuments. This doesn’t come out of the blue. Once a Roman colony, Seville used to be under Arab rule in the 8th. Since the conquest of Ferdinand III of Castile, Seville belonged to Spain. The change from Arabian to European dominion is visible nearly everywhere but especially in the architecture which presents itself in different styles. The massive Gothic Cathedral, the stunning Mudéjar-style Alcázar palace, the former Jewish quarter Santa Cruz or the traditional home of gypsies and flamenco, Triana, shape the atmosphere of the city. Apart from its cultural heritage and wealth, the city is a stronghold for culinary lovers. Restaurants, bars and cafes line up and satisfy nearly every culinary desire with typical Andalucian specialities. Also Seville’s nightlife is full of movement, festivities, great music and people having fun. So despite the laid back atmosphere in the city itself, the people are experts in kicking up energy.
The best time to visit Seville is during spring and late autumn as the temperatures are nice. The summers are very hot and last from June to September. The temperatures in July and August reach up to 45° C and are almost not bearable. Nights still have temperatures around 18 ° C. Winters are beautifully clear and have temperatures about 20°C during the day and 10 °C during the nights.
The language spoken in Seville is Spanish. In touristy places a lot of people understand and speak English too.
The Euro is the official currency of Spain. Euro (€) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Money can be taken from cash machines which accept most international cards and issue up to 150 Euro.
Tipping in Spain is not obligatory and the Spanish are fairly relaxed about this issue but nevertheless, as service is usually not included in restaurants ect. It is customary to leave some change or to give a tip of 5 – 10 %. It is also common to tip hotel porters or taxi drivers.
The VAT of 16% can be reclaimed by visitors from outside the EU as long as the purchase exceeds € 90,15 (VAT included) and was purchased at one store on the same day. In order to do that, you have to ask in the store for a tax refund cheque containing the description of goods, the personal data of the non European resident as well as the particulars of his passport or of any such equivalent document. At the airport your purchased items need to be taken to the customs clearance before checking the luggage in. In order to get the VAT refund, you have to cash the stamped cheque at any Bureau de Change in your chosen currency.
Tax refund information line: +34 45 64 64 00
To call Seville from abroad, first dial +34 for Spain and then 95 for Seville.
There can be high charges on calls made from hotels, restaurants and bars and it is generally cheaper to use a calling card ("tarjetas teléfonicas"). Public telephone boxes take coins or phone cards for local and international calls, which can be bought from tobacconists and post offices in units of 6 Eur, 10 Eur and 20 Eur. Some phone companies sell discount telephone cards which are not inserted into the phone but a free number needs to be called and your card n umber inserted.
During the week shops in Seville open at 9 or 10 am and close at 2 pm for lunch time. In the afternoon shops are open again between 5 pm and 9 pm. On Saturdays small shops might only be open in the morning. Opening hours for museums and sights can differ individually.
• January 1: New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
• January 6: Festival of the Reyes (Dia de los tres Reyes)
• March 19: Father’s Day (San Jose)
• April Good Friday (Viernes Santo)
• April Easter Sunday (Dia de Pascua)
• May 1: Labour Day (Dia del Trabajo)
• June 24: St. John’s Day (San Juan)
• August 15: Assumption (Asuncion)
• September 11: Catalonia’s National Holyday (Diada)
• September 24: Barcelona’s Patron Saint (La Merce)
• October 12: Columbus Day (Dia de la Hispanidad)
• November 1: All Saints Day (Todos los Santos)
• December 6: Constitution Day (Dia de la Constitucion)
• December 8: Immaculate Conception (Immaculada Concecion)
• December 25: Christmas Day (Navidad)
• December 26: Boxing Day
Major crimes are actually very rare in Seville but nevertheless petty crimes such as pick-pocketing do exist, especially with inattentive tourists which are usually the target of thieves. When wandering through crowded or touristy areas, especially Santa Cruz, belongings should be taken care of because the winding streets offer a good escape to thieves. Although the chances of a crime are very small in Seville, in case of robbery the national police ("policía nacional") is the right place to go to. There are police stations all over the city.
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