Seville (Sevilla) is the largest city and capital of Andalusia. Originally founded by the Romans in the 8th century, Seville was also under Muslim rule, before Christians gained control in the 13th century. Despite its inland location, Seville was a key port during the colonization of North and South America thanks to the Guadalquivir River and the trade monopoly it was given by the king of Spain. Cádiz eventually replaced Seville as the main trade port in Spain.
In my mind, Seville is the quintessential Spanish city. A short walk among the city’s winding streets showcases some of the iconic Spanish imagery that the country is known for, such as bull fighting, street cafes and flamenco dancing. With numerous restaurants and a vibrant nightlife, Seville was also one of the more active cities that I visited. I might even feel comfortable saying it was my favorite city in Spain (although I loved them all).
Granada is located near Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountain range in the eastern part of Andalucia. Granada — not to be confused with Grenada, the Caribbean island — isn’t as well known as some of Spain’s other cities, but it is just as charming and one of my favorite places I visited on my trip. As a side note, If you ever book a plane ticket to Granada or Grenada, make sure you’re going to the right place, unlike this unfortunate grandmother from the UK or this American couple.
The title of this post references ‘free tapas’ because with every drink purchase in Granada, most restaurants will give you free tapas. As far as I understand, the free tapas custom used to be more common throughout Spain, but now Granada is one of the only remaining places where this is still true. The free tapas weren’t anything spectacular, but I could sit down, purchase a couple of cheap beers and get a free lunch or snack out of it. The food that I actually paid for in the city was excellent.