Alameda de Hercules in Seville, Spain – How to Spend the Afternoon
If you are living in or visiting Seville and need an idea of how to spend an afternoon or evening with your family, I know the perfect thing. In the northern area of the city center, there is a plaza called, Alameda de Hercules. It’s one of those places in Seville that my husband, son, and I find ourselves going to again and again. Typically, it’s an area for young single people, but it’s also great for families. It isn’t particularly touristy, (not touristy at all actually), so it is the perfect place to really partake of the Spanish culture and just dive in with the locals.
Here is a list of things to do, see, and eat when visiting Alameda de Hercules as well as some history of the area to make your time there the most enjoyable as possible.
At the very most northern and the very most southern points of the plaza, there are two giant Roman columns, with sculptors of Hercules and Julies Caesar on top of them. Their size makes them hard to miss. They are massive, each measuring at 30 ft. tall. They are made of Egyptian granite and local Spanish marble. I always used to think that Alameda de Hercules was their original location, but I found out recently during a historic tour of Seville that I was wrong. In 1574 they were moved to the Alameda de Hercules from Calle Mármoles, in the Seville city center. This original location was a public gathering building, possibly a temple. At this spot, there are two more columns still standing. They stand 15 ft. below the current street level. My how Seville has changed! (If you have the time, go check these out. It is quite fascinating and gives you a glimpse into historic Seville.) When visiting the Alameda de Hercules, make sure to take a look at these massive historic columns and sculptors and be sure to snap a couple of pictures too.
The first time I went to Alameda de Hercules was for my first ever Spanish / English language exchange with my friend, Eva. We found each other on a language exchange website where we viewed each other’s profiles and connected, in hopes to help each other learn a language. She told me to meet at the clock tower at the Alameda. At the time I didn’t know what or where that was, but now it is something that is common knowledge. There is a large clock on the south side of the plaza, right next to one set of the Roman columns. It is a great initial meeting spot when connecting with friends or family for the evening.
Jimmy loves running around and being free. We don’t have a backyard for him to play in here in Seville, so we make our own backyard with the public plazas, parks, and playgrounds. Alameda de Hercules has a ton of wide-open space for kids to run around in. The plaza is in the shape of an oval and both sides are lined with massive trees, creating some shade here and there.
When heading to Alameda, we always bring Jimmy’s soccer ball with us. Recently we bought him his own Betis “football” soccer ball. He’s a Betis fan now. since he lives in Seville. The three of us love kicking the ball back and forth with Jimmy in this area without the constant worry of him getting hit by a car or motorcycles. The only downfall is that the ground isn’t even in some places, making it hard for Jimmy to keep his balance. This often leads to a fall or two, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by it too much and always gets right back up again. Alameda is also a great place for kids to play other outside games like tag and hide-and-seek.
The playgrounds at Alameda de Hercules are fantastic. There are two different playground structures – one taller and better for older children and one lower to the ground and better for younger children. Since Jimmy is only two, we stick to the smaller one. It’s completely shaded. There are always many local Spanish families playing there and hanging out. Jimmy usually makes a friend or two. For more info on my other favorite playgrounds in Seville, check out my blog post here.
The best part about this area of town is the energy in the air, especially in the evenings. There is always something going on here. Often times they have concerts that are fun to attend. Sometimes they are big concerts with a stage and sound equipment set up, and other times they are smaller concerts with one person playing their guitar in a quiet corner of the plaza. I’ve also seen people making gigantic bubbles. They had buckets of bubble liquid for kids to use with string to make large bubbles that fly through the plaza. Jimmy loved this and chased the bubbles as far as he could before they finally popped. I’ve also seen blankets set out with toys for kids to sit on, ride, and use while they are playing in the plaza. You always see people walking their dogs in this area. Jimmy loves to stop and pet each one. It is a really fun place to be with your family because there is always something to do. It’s a plaza that never sleeps.
This is a small thing, but I still think it’s worth noting. Throughout the Alameda, there are several public waterspouts. The water in them is fine to drink. Jimmy likes to use it to spray himself off and cool down a bit after running hard in the sun. They are also great for people with dogs who need a quick drink.
Also, just north of the small playground is a “splashpad” area. I put splashpad in quotation marks because it technically isn’t a splashpad. There is a sign there that says that the water isn’t drinking water. It would be great for kids to run through quickly to cool off, but maybe not the best choice for long-term play because of the danger of ingesting the water. I’d say use caution, especially with toddlers.
The café culture is one of my favorite things about Spain. There is nothing like sitting under an umbrella on a warm day, sipping an ice cold drink, and eating a tapa. So much people watching. So much fun. This relaxed eating atmosphere has made me fall in love with this country. And the tapas….YUM! But we will save that for another post.
The café cultural is strong here at Alameda de Hercules. There are so many restaurants and cafés that it makes it hard to choose where to eat. Most if not all of them have an outside seating area, which is where I prefer to dine when the weather is nice. The restaurants line the perimeter of the plaza making for a great dining experience. If you have little ones, it’s fantastic because your kids can play while you dine and you can watch them while you eat. It’s a win-win situation for kids and adults alike.
Where to Eat?
Duo Tapas –
This is my favorite restaurant in Alameda de Hercules. It is located right at the top of the Alameda, just north of the plaza. The food is fabulous, delicious, and fresh. It serves the typical Spanish dishes but with a new-eye and creative flair. I would highly recommend the pork with the roasted potatoes and black sea salt as well and the tempura vegetables. When you sit outside, you can enjoy a view of the cutest little church, Hermandad Santa Cruz del Rodeo sra del Carmen. I find it very charming. Calle Calatrava, 10.
Arte y Sabor –
This restaurant is delicious and has great quality food for the price. It is located right next to the smaller playground so it’s perfect for you to eat while keeping an eye on your little ones. This restaurant is a fusion restaurant of Spanish and Moroccan flavors and has many great options for vegetarians and vegans. I recommend the goat cheese dip with toasted bread. Alameda de Hercules, 85.
Our Italian friends recommended this pizza place. You know if an ltalian likes this pizza, then it has got to be good. Buoni is located right by the big clock on the south side of Alameda de Hercules. They sell several kinds of pizza by the slice as well as focaccia bread. It would be great for dining-in, as well as for take-away. Calle Amor de Dios, 56.
100 Montaditos –
If you want a cheap dining option that’s totally Spanish, this is your place. It’s the Spanish fast food joint that’s worth trying at least once. Especially on Wednesday and Sunday – everything on the menu is €1. They make montaditos, which are small little sandwiches on a chewy baguette roll. They have so many choices for sandwich fillings that you could read the menu for forever and still not know what to order. I prefer sticking with what I know and usually get the jamón and queso. You can never go wrong with that. Alameda de Hercules, 33.
If you’re not in the mood to eat out and would rather grab something quick for a picnic lunch to enjoy at the playground, there are some grocery store options in the area. Right in the middle of Alameda de Hercules is a common grocery store called, Dia. It isn’t anything fabulous but it’s cheap and meets your needs. There are also two Carrefours close by – one on the north side of the plaza and one on the south side. Both are a tad outside of the main oval-shaped plaza, but not by much.
Freskura is the best ice cream in this area of town. It isn’t the best ice cream in Seville by any means, but if you’re in this area and are in need of a cold and refreshing treat, this is a good choice. They have a decent selection of flavors. Give me an ice cream with chocolate and hazelnut, and I’m in! Kinder bar ice cream? Even better. For a list of my favorite ice cream shops in Seville, read my post here. Calle Vulcano, 4.
What to do Now?
Buying Treats from Nuns
Want to have a totally unique and different experience during your time in Seville? Go visit a Spanish convent and buy some treats from the nuns who live there. It is quite the memorable experience. There are two convents about a 5-minute walk away from Alameda de Hercules – Convento de Santa Ana and Convento de San Clemente. Both sell typical Spanish baked goods that are worth checking out. For more information and pictures about buying treats from the nuns in Seville, read my post here.
The area of Seville called, Macarena, is just a short walk north of Alameda de Hercules. The famous Arco de la Macarena. is always nice to go and see because of its grand size and bright yellow color. Right next to the Arco de la Macarena. is a very famous and beautiful church, Basílica de la Macarena. The two together make for a stunning site to see when visiting Seville. Don’t forget your camera. Calle Bécquer, 1.
I hope you enjoy your day at Alameda de Hercules and that you fall in love with the Spanish culture like I have. Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below! I’m more than happy to help.