It's an art form in Seville, a serious business. Strolling down Calle Sierpes on a Saturday evening with your family or friends, discussing the merits of the various wares in the window displays, from fans to hotpants - it's an unmissable part of a Sevillano's weekend.
The main shopping area is the square between Plazas Nueva, Magdalena, Encarnacion and San Francisco, with Calle Sierpes at its heart. For more touristy gear (flamenco aprons, T-shirts, bullfighting souvenirs) Barrio Santa Cruz has a wealth of places; for more individual shops, Barrio San Vincente and the Alameda; while for ceramics, Triana is where the beautiful azulejos (ceramic tiles) which adorn many Sevillano bars, hotels, churches and private houses are made.
Most shops are open from 10.00-14.00 and 17.00 to 20.00 Monday to Friday, and 10.00-14.00 only on Saturday, although some larger ones in the centre stay open all day and on Saturday afternoon. Nearly all accept major credit cards.
|Enrique Sanchis, watchmaker, Sierpes street|
Your visit to Seville isn't complete without a walk over to the old gypsy quarter of Triana, the centre of tile-making. You can watch the craftsmen at work in their studios in C/Alfareros (20 and 22). Don't miss Ceramica Santa Ana (San Jorge 31) with its beautiful tiled façade, a testament to local workmanship. Inside is a treasure trove of every imaginable item of ceramic and pottery, from tiny bowls and jugs to statues and huge pots. The sizeable array of pieces can be overwhelming, so take your time to wander round and absorb it all.
Tiny cobbled c/Antillano Campos has several shops worth a look, including Ceramica Rocio Triana, which has ceramics with pretty yellow and blue designs and large beer mugs, which make great presents. Also on this street is Ceramica Santa Isabel, an outlet for its factory, which has everything from plant pots to earthenware jars. The prices in all these shops are reasonable - around 20 to 25 euros for a large plate or bowl, down to 2 or 3 euros for the smallest bowls.
If you don't have time to go to Triana, there are plenty of ceramics shops elsewhere. Martian and Sevillarte on Sierpes (74 and 66) both have good selections, Sevillarte offering more contemporary Matisse-type designs, while El Postigo (Arfe, near the Cathedral) is an indoor craft market with stalls selling ceramics as well as silver, glass and metal wares. Look out for the mosaic tiled mugs, dishes and mirrors. Coco Seville (Ximenez Encisco 2) in Santa Cruz has tiles, fans and ceramics with modern designs by local artists, as well as hand-painted silk scarves with bold geometric and flower designs. Plates with 18th-century style patterns cost 25 euros. There are some unusual handbags made of small wooden tiles with Chinese-style flower designs, from 35 euros. Plaza Dona Elvira has some small shops selling beautiful Moroccan pottery and ironwork, such as lamps for 15 euros.
El Corte Ingles
Plaza de la Magdalena 1 (clothes, accessories, toiletries, food)
Plaza del Duque 7 and 13 (kitchenware, electrical goods, linen)
It's no exaggeration to say you can buy almost anything here; they claim to offer 500,000 items in their 200 departments. The main store at the top of Sierpes has fashion departments for men, women and children, a great toiletries hall and an excellent supermarket with a wide selection of olive oils and wine. You can also buy English newspapers and magazines. Beware though, prices are steep.
|Souvenirs from Seville.|
C/Francos has a good selection of shops selling Flamenco dresses. Expect to pay at least 200 euros for a quality one; remember you also need flower, combs, jewellery, shawl, bag, fan and shoes.
Fans cost from 5 euros for the smallest, simplest one upwards. You can get one with pretty carving for 25 euros in Dizal (Sierpes 48), while many shops stock collectors' items made of materials such as ebony and mother of pearl. Abananicos de Seville (Plaza San Francisco 7) has a wide range, including handpainted ones from 15 euros and trademark bold designs and bright colours of ubiquitous Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.
Buying bags, jewellery and sholes (shawls) is a serious hobby for Sevillano women, whether it's for every day, Feria or a wedding. That's why you'll see such a profusion of shops packed with bags of every shape, size and colour, along with mantones (triangular fringed shawls, often embroidered), an essential element of your flamenco outfit (see above). For shawls, you can pay anything upwards of 20 euros for a small, plain one, to 150 euros for a large silk one with hand embroidery. The price depends on the size, fabric and quality of the embroidery.
San Eloy and Alcaicería de Laloza
Near Alfalfa, both are good hunting grounds for complementos (accessories); Aldebaran in San Eloy has an impressive range of bags.
Sierpes 50 and branches
Several shops, including one dedicated to flamenco accessories, ie shawls and flowers, in an extraordinary range of colours. The shop opposite has an equally impressive array of bags and jewellery. Elena Berenal is a Sevillano institution.
General Polavieja 3 (off Cuna)
Headpieces made of wisps of chiffon and flowers make an original finishing touch to a wedding outfit. This more upmarket shop also sells dainty shoes and bags.
Sierpes 73 and branches
This bag shop has a huge range, from workaday beige leather shoulder bags to sparkly purses and vintage-style moulded plastic evening bags.
Seville is heaven for shoe lovers. While the many different stores offer a variety of styles and prices, overall the selection is impressive, the quality good and the prices extremely reasonable. C/Sierpes, Tetuán and Huelva are all packed with shoe shops. Nicolas (Sierpes 49 and branches) is slightly more expensive and conservative, Ziro's (Tetuán 11) also pricier and more designer-led - look out for abstract designs from Barcelonan brand Muxart - while Pilar Burgos (La Campana 3) is known for its amazing range of colours. Paco Rodriguez (Sierpes 37) has a good selection of elegant evening shoes with intricate designs, such as Lodi, from Alicante - as well as top-quality sports shoes from Italian company Geox. Many of these shops also sell bags to match your shoes, as the Spanish love their juegos (matching sets).
|Flamenco shoes for sale in Sevilla.|
Already hugely popular outside Spain with shops now as far afield as Japan and Australia, this highly individual Mallorcan family footwear company counts Woody Allen and Uma Thurman among its fans. Its sturdy, practical unisex shoes and boots feature quirky design touches, such as footprints, or photographs of flowers or animals. The prices reflect the excellent quality; these shoes are built to last but they aren't cheap. Look out for their free bi-lingual magazine, The Walking Society.
O'Donnell 10 and branches
Beautiful prints, good quality cotton and great lounging clothes make this underwear heaven. Highly recommended.
Victorio and Lucchino
The bold colour palette and flouncy styles of this Andalucian design team may not be to more sober northern European tastes, but they're huge catwalk stars here in Spain. Clothes are stored in cupboards with sliding doors, an unusual touch.
Minimalist, clean lines typify this avant-garde Spanish designer. Some seriously sharp suits for men and women, and the prices aren't bad.
Sierpes 2 and branches
Probably the most famous Spanish designer outside his own country, this Galician offers contemporary looks with quirky touches. His men's and women's collections are very wearable and aren't limited to one season.
Plaza del Duque and branches
Catch the latest women's trends at high street prices, with a wider selection and lower prices than stores outside Spain. Also men's and kids' clothes in the Plaza Nervion branch. The interiors collection, Zara Home, features gorgeous cushions, glasses and bedspreads. Between them, Zara and Mango (below) outfit most of Spain's 18-35 women.
Velazquez 9 and branches
Leather goods are especially good value from this Barcelona-based women's fashion haven, but funky tops for going out are just as desirable. This brand new store has a large main area with a glass ceiling making it beautifully light, as well as offering lots of seats for tired shopping companions to wait in comfort.
Cool, sophisticated women's clothes, with the added bonus that all the profits from its SOS line to homeless charities. Look out for the Prada-style prints and gorgeous eveningwear.
Three floors of funky streetwear for fashion-conscious chicas, with loads of fun prints and sexy tops. A great range of styles means you're bound to find something to your taste.
Plaza del Duque 2
Men will love this store with its great range of good quality smart casual shirts, trousers and jackets, plus a good selection of quirky shoes.
Food is life here, a Sevillano can argue for hours about whether the best jamon serrano (cured ham) comes from Huelva or Aracena. Recommended buys are local produce: sherry, olive oil, marmalade and, of course, ham.
El Cortes Ingles
Plaza de Duque
As mentioned above, this department store has an excellent food hall with a wide selection of olive oils from Andalucia plus a good delicatessen. Useful if you don't have time to shop around, and the quality's always top-notch. Plaza del Duque de la Victoria, 8, 41002 Sevilla. Tel: 954 597 000. Open Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 22:00 hrs. More>
Horno de San Buenaventura
Avenida de la Constitución and branches
The oldest horno (bakery) in Seville, this is also a popular café and delicatessen. It's open every day till 11pm, very unusual in Seville, and has a good range of meats and cheeses, which they will vacuum pack for you to take home. Also good for picnic food, with a variety of breads, chorizo and excellent salads such as salpicon de mariscos (seafood salad).
Meson Cinco Jotas
Jamon serrano is measured in Js, so five Js has got to be top quality stuff. The prices are steeper than elsewhere, but at least you know you're getting the best.
Plaza Ponce de León 15
Specialises in bacalao (cod) but also has a good selection of cheeses and Spanish wines.
There are flea markets on Sundays on the Alameda and every Thursday on Feria.
La Casa del Libro (Velasquez 8 and branches) and Libreria Beta (Sagasta and branches) have fiction and travel books in English.
There are shops selling a good range of foreign newspapers on Alemanes and Mateas Gago, plus at various newsstands around the centre.
Modern and Convenient shopping centres are located in Seville city and outside the city in the surounding satelite towns. More>