Hello! We are a couple from California in our 50s, traveling with our college-age son. We picked southern Spain for January in hopes of good weather. I knew we would never make a trip here in the heat of summer, and it was a good choice. We did 8 nights total, 6 in Seville, and 2 in Madrid. I hope to share some info that will help others in planning their trips! (I have some travel details that i'm going to put in the comments section for those that are interested)
We booked an apartment for 6 nights with veoapartments.com (https://www.veoapartment.com/apartment-seville-0466-ximenez-de-enciso.html) I was worried about street/vehicle noise and I finally found this one which faced a large courtyard, and it was excellent! We met the agency rep at the apartment and paid the balance of our rental fee to him in cash. I decided to get euros before we left and this worked out well instead of running to get euros as soon as we arrived.
We arrived after all groceries were closed and my son went right to bed, but we went down to the charming square outside our building and had a glass of wine at an outdoor cafe at 11pm (though shops are closed, cafes/restaurants are mostly open until midnight). Already our trip seemed great! Spanish wine is very reasonable - always under 4 euro a glass. Amazing to us compared to SF bay area prices.
We slept well and after picking up groceries in the morning the next day, we did a tapas tour with Shawn: https://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/ I really wanted to learn about tapas and how to order, etc. as soon as possible on our trip. It was an excellent idea. She is Canadian but has lived in Spain for decades and is a food and wine writer. The tour cost 85 euro pp, and lasted 3 hours. She took us to three places with different types of tapas, and we also tasted and learned about the iberian Jamon, sherry and wine. She also gave us many restaurant recommendations for Seville, Cordoba and Madrid. Shawn will do a maximum of 6 people, but since it was off-season it was just the three of us.
Seville is super walkable and filled with cute outdoor cafes that were very busy even in January. Everything was within a 10-15 minute walk. One note i have is that English is widely spoken- which i did not expect! We heard that tourism has really boomed in the last few years. Anyway, menus in English are available at high and low end places. if they are not out, you can ask for them. I only ran into 1 person who didn't speak a word of english. Anyway, this is just to let you know you can easily get by with very little spanish if necessary. The words i did know were very appreciated.
Summary of tours/sights: We toured the Alcazar with a Getyourguide tour - the guide was very good. Such an amazing place! We did the Seville Cathedral on our own. We booked a tour to Italica but it ended up being canceled due to a marathon. We enjoyed visiting the archeological museum in central Seville which is under Las Setas (the mushrooms). Take the elevator to the top of the Mushrooms at sunset! we did this by accident and it was a highlight! We also did a day trip to Cordoba. The Mezquita was incredible, and we had a fantastic gourmet lunch at Regadera afterward. We booked a tour with Cordoba A Pie but left early. (I had originally booked a 4 hour tour). The tour within the Mezquita was very good, but the walking tour of town was just too rambling and had too much standing rather than walking, for our taste.
Otherwise, we walked, shopped, ate, and enjoyed everything. its a wonderful small city with charming narrow, windy streets. We were constantly surprised when we would turn a corner and find a little square with orange trees and cafes, as well as courtyards with beautiful tile. Seville totally exceeded our expectations!
Madrid and travel details in the comments section!