SEVILLE ON A BUDGET

In December, my family visited me in Spain. We had plans to spend Christmas in Seville, but catching COVID ruined those plans for me. Months after my family visited Seville without me, I finally made it!

Below, I will detail my trip, and make budget-friendly recommendations for all my fellow solo travelers:

WHERE TO STAY

Oasis Backpacker’s Palace OR Oasis Backpacker’s Hostel

Oasis Backpack-packer’s hostels are pretty well known in Europe, and for good reason. These hostels are great for meeting people, especially if you are a solo traveler. I stayed at the Palace, and I met people as soon as I entered the front door. Obviously, you can’t expect luxury at these places (I was in a mixed dorm with twelve people). However, you can look forward to a friendly atmosphere and a good time.

Price: 20 euros/night

My advice: When I went (in June) the Palace was jam packed. While it was fun to be around so many people, the pool was dirty, and there were so many people. If you want a more relaxed environment (and a clean pool!!) I would stay at the Hostel (just a few blocks away).

WHAT TO DO

Alcazar

If I was going to pay money to see one touristic site in Seville, this would be it. The Arabic influence and azulejos in the Alcazar are just so unique from the rest of Spain. Beautiful, picturesque, magical. The gardens on the grounds are full of wildlife, including baby peacocks!

Price: 14 euros

My Advice: Try to get tickets at the door instead of buying them online.There was barely a line when I went, and if you buy tickets online, you will have to wait longer for a specific time slot.

The Setas

The Setas, are hard to miss when you’re walking the streets of Seville. For a fee, you can take an elevator to the top and get an impressive view of the city. I visited the Setas at sunset.

Price: 8 euros (prices vary depending on the time of day)

My advice: Get there early! I went about an hour before sunset, and I walked around and enjoyed the scenery a bit before people showed up. It gets crowded, so getting there early ensures you a spot along the railing to watch the sunset.

Flamenco Show

Some girls from my hostel and I went to the bar, Lo Nuestro, in search of Flamenco. We thought we would be seeing a live dancer, but we were surprised that, in fact, WE were the dancers. The bar brought in musicians, and the people in the audience danced. I think we were the only non-Spanish people in the bar, and it was exciting to watch the group of older Spanish women next to us dance their hearts out to Flamenco.

Price: 7 euros (for the copas)

My Advice: Do not pay money to see Flamenco. You should be able to find it free with the purchase of drinks/tapas. Also, arrive early if you want a seat!

Cathedral

Seville’s Cathedral is the largest in Spain. I have seen many a cathedral in Spain, and while the sheer size is jaw-dropping, I feel as though once you have seen one cathedral, you know what to expect from the rest.

The Giralda Tower is cool. It requires walking up 40 flights (luckily the tower has a ramp, not stairs.) However the view is a bit blocked by the bars on the windows and the massive amount of tourists.

Price: 11 euros

My Advice:

I would skip the Giralda and get the much less obstructed view from the Setas. I feel as though the Cathedral is a must-see, but you can also go at mass-time and avoid paying. I went to mass on a Saturday morning, and I sat in a beautiful chapel. The downside was that I couldn’t walk around the whole Cathedral.

Plaza de España & Parque de los Cisnes

Seville’s Plaza de España is the plaza of all plazas. Every town, city, and village in Spain has a Plaza de España, and Seville’s is probably the most notable. It is stunning. When I visited, the scaffolding from a Christian Dior fashion show were scattered around the plaza from the previous day, but it was still beautiful. Here, I was finally able to see some live Flamenco dancing performances. I stumbled upon the Parque de los Cisnes on my way there, and I spent my time leisurely strolling the park, watching the wildlife, and enjoying the shade.

Price: Free

My Advice: Visit Plaza de España when you have time to walk slowly and enjoy. It is a bit farther from the rest of the city center. Check out the flamenco performances happening there every day in the arches. There is a free military museum located in the plaza as well. Tired from all the walking? Bring a book and find a nice place to read in the park. Cool off in the shade while you watch the swans.

I hope you have the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Seville and experience the rich Spanish culture it has to offer.

Un abrazo,

Mags

4 DAY VIENNA ITINERARY FOR THE YOUNG TRAVELER

In the beginning of March, I had some time off for Semana Blanca, so I headed to Austria with my friend Abby. This trip was the result of a sky scanner search for cheap flights back in January. You bet I listened to Billy Joel’s Vienna on repeat during the trip. For four days, Abby and I discovered Vienna nonstop. We came to the city with very little planning, but with some luck along the way, we managed to make every minute count. Below are my recommendations for how to spend 4 days in Vienna (exactly how we did). Get your walking shoes ready!

*Note: Due to COVID restrictions everything was closed by 10pm, so night life is not included in this post.

Day 1

Check-in at hostel

If you’re balling on a budget, you most likely want to stay at a hostel. Vienna’s Hostel Ruthensteiner was an awesome choice. It is about a 15 minute walk to the city center, 5 minute walk to the train station, and 5 minute walk to the airport bus. This place was clean, had a fun young environment, friendly staff, and warm apple cider! Definitely recommend. I paid around 25 euros/night for a shared female dorm.

Try the Weiner Schnitzel

Our first stop after checking in was to get some food. I HAD to order the Weiner schnitzel as part of my quest to try all the local food. Weiner Schnitzel is a very large thin piece of breaded and fried veal. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite. I thought it was a bit bland, but maybe other restaurants serve it better. Regardless, I’m glad I tried probably the most popular local food.

See an Opera or Ballet at the Vienna State Opera House

Abby and I reserved tickets at the ballet for 12.50 euros. We had a box seat on the upper level, and with luck playing to our favor, we were able to move up to the front of the box, as those seats were empty. The ballet was impressive, but the State Opera House was even more enchanting. I suggest arriving early so you have the chance to wander around the ornate building.

Day 2

Breakfast at a trendy cafe

*Note: Most places open at 10 am.

Zina’s Eatery was an awesome find! It is super cute and health focused. I was surprised to find that Vienna is very vegan/gluten free conscious. This was just one of the many restaurants with a variety of options for those with dietary restrictions.

We shared the corn fritters (chef’s kiss) and strawberry peanut butter French toast. My latte was the size of my face.

Vienna House of Music

Abby and I stumbled upon this museum, and it was a pleasant surprise. This museum is great for music and history lovers, and it’s a fun interactive place to spend a few hours. Create your own waltz, conduct an orchestra, learn about the science behind sound and music and the history of famous musicians. We paid 12 euros for a student (under 27) ticket.

Free Walking Tour

Walking tours are a fantastic way to learn about the city from a local and get some insider recommendations. We used Good Vienna Tours and were thoroughly impressed. While these tours are “free”, it is standard to tip at least 10 euros if you had a good experience.

Lunch at Figlmüller

Upon our tour guide’s request, we went to Figlmüller at Wollzeile for lunch. We didn’t have reservations, so we were sent to Figlmüller Bäckerstrasse, their offshoot restaurant, and it was 10/10 delish! I didn’t order the Weiner Schnitzel here, but I think this would be one of the best spots to try it.

Albertina Museum

I don’t know a lot about art, so I was happy to have Abby along with me on this trip. The Albertina is huge, so I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to explore this gem. My favorite part was the Edvard Munch exhibit which compared Munch’s work to artists who were inspired by him. We payed 14 euros ( for under 26)

Day 3

Apple Strudel at Residenz Cafe

This is a MUST. Get the vanilla sauce. Trust me.

Schönbrunn Palace

This was my favorite part of the trip! I learned about the Habsburg regime in AP Euro back in high school, but it was fascinating to revisit the history of a more than 600 year old empire. In the palace, you are given an audio guide to use as you explore 40 of the 1,441 ornately decorated rooms. As our tour guide told us, the Schönbrunn Palace is the most visited site in all of Austria, wonderful for history lovers or those who prefer the finer things in life.

Schönbrunn Zoo

On the grounds of the palace, resides Europe’s oldest zoo. Purchase the winter pass, and you can explore the Palace and Zoo for 44 euros.

Day 4

Belvedere Palace

Can you believe there are more palaces?! The Belvedere Palace doubles as a museum, and is most notably known for the Klimt exhibit, including the famous painting, “The Kiss”. Also on display, was a ……. Even if you don’t enter the palace, the grounds are worth walking around.

Enjoy a Cozy Café

I love the café lifestyle of Vienna. Here, I have a creme brûlée latte from Wunderladen, the cutest little find! The server actually used a blow torch to crystalize the brown sugar. Yum!

Naschmarkt

Our final stop of the trip was a happy mistake. We stumbled upon Naschmarkt and could not resist the colorful rows of fruit stands and traditional goods. Aside from vendors, this market houses an array of restaurants and bars.

Well, that’s a wrap on Vienna. Thanks for coming along on the journey. Although we saw so much, I would love to go back one day, as the city has so much to offer! I hope you find these suggestions helpful if you find yourself in this whimsical city of music.

Un abrazo fuerte,

Mags