By Cat Gaa
As one of Spain’s premiere destinations, it’s difficult to stop in Seville and not load up on brand-name threads, kitschy mementos of flamenco dancers and bullfighters, or local artisan products. Given the city’s walkability and small historic center, it’s hard not to stumble on quirky boutiques, religious bookshops and heart-stopping (and neckline dropping) flamenco dresses.
Note that VAT tax is always included, so the price you see on the tag is the price you pay! Bartering is not common at shops and markets.
Big Name Shops
The main shopping streets are central, located on Calles Tetuán and Sierpes and the alleyways branching out from them. Local boutiques and shoe shops bump elbows with large fashion houses, like Zara and Mango, and old world clock stores and fan repair shops bring a bit of charm to this touristy zone.
The area near the Plaza de la Encarnación has dubbed itself the ‘Soho of Seville‘, thanks to its specialty shops. From handcrafted goods to import shops and antiques, the area encompassing Calle Regina and Calle Pérez Galdos has become a hip place to eat and buy.
Like all of Spain, the sales period, known as rebajas, runs through the months of January, February, July, and August. Stores are required by law to mark down their merchandise to make way for new arrivals. If you’re up for fighting the crowds, this is the best time to shop for bargains.
Local Artisan Markets
Gorgeous fans, ceramics, and ironwork are popular art souvenirs, but the traje de gitana, or flamenco dress, is one of Seville’s most eye-catching handicrafts.
Clustered around Plaza del Pan, Calle Francos and Calle Alvzarez Quintero, local designers show off their beautiful dresses of polka dots, ruffles and yards of fabric. The best time to get these dresses is during the sale season of July, where prices drop to under 200€. But don’t forget the accessories – on these streets, you’ll also find the fake flower, comb, and enormous earrings to complete your look. Expect to pay around 200€ for the dress and 50€ or more for the accessories.
Hand-painted ceramics also make a lovely gift – even if for yourself! The lively and colorful ceramics from the Cartuja factory, once housed in an old monastery, can be spotted in many bars, underneath balconies, and even on dinner tables around the city. Bargain prices can be found in the swarm of shops on Calle San Jorge and Calle Antillano Campos in the Triana neighborhood.
Fan shops on Calle Sierpes will sell you hand-painted fans in an array of colors, a gift that also doubles as personal air conditioning from the hot Iberian sun.
Food Markets and Food Products
There is no better place to witness life in Seville than the local food markets. Open mornings from 8am until 2pm, you’ll see old ladies bartering for spices, fresh fish (with the heads still attached!), vivid-colored fruit, and even live snails! The oldest is Mercado de Feria, on Calle Feria.
Food products also make great gifts to bring home. Seville is famous for its olive oil production, orange wine, anisette, and lard-based Christmas sweets, as well as convent sweets prepared by nuns. Apart from supermarkets, you can find these goods at specialty shops. Of note are Extraverde in Plaza Doña Elvira in Santa Cruz for olive oil, and Bar Peregil on Calle Mateos Gago for a garrafa, or jug, of sweet orange wine.
Other Fun Finds
The hallmark souvenirs of Seville are fun to give, but there are loads of options for other quirky gifts. Old world bullfighting and flamenco posters can be found at Carteles Félix on Avenida de la Constitución, just in front of the cathedral, or in postcard size at just about any tourist shop.
Seville’s Holy Week is among the most famous in the world, and shops dedicated to religious objects are scattered around the city center. For incense to busts of saints, tunics to rosaries (the Virgin of the Macarena and San Fernando are two of the most popular in Seville), stop by Juncia y Romero on Calle Chapineros.
For whatever your taste, Seville offers loads of options for gifts and souvenirs. Just make sure you’ve got enough room in your suitcase for your finds.
Upon receiving an offer to work at a radio news broadcast center in Chicago, Cat Gaa turned it down and turned up at the Consulate of Spain. Five years and daily cravings for Cruzcampo later, she writes at Sunshine and Siestas about life in Sevilla. Follow her on Instagram and twitter at@sunshinesiestas