Seville is one of my favorite places to visit in Spain. It’s a diverse city, and the food is sublime. I love vibrant cities, and Seville does not disappoint. From its visiting its heritage spots and tapas bars to watching the unique street performers and its loquacious locals, there are so many things to do in Seville that you might want to stay forever. Let me take you through some of these Seville attractions while introducing you to the city. Along the way, I will share useful tips for Seville, just so that you get planning for your own trip to Spain.
Seville, also termed as Sevilla, is the 4th largest city of Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia. Located in the south of Spain, Seville doesn’t get as cold as its northern counterparts, but the summer sun can be quite unforgiving.
Seville is famous for tapas, flamenco, and friendly locals. The general rule of thumb amongst Spaniards is that you’ll make a friend for a day in the south, and you’ll make a friend for a lifetime in the north of Spain.
- 1 About Seville
- 2 History of Seville, Spain
- 3 How to get to Seville
- 4 Where to stay in Seville
- 5 Things to do in Seville
- 6 General SevilleTips:
History of Seville, Spain
Originally, in Roman times, Seville was known as Hispalis. With the Islamic rule in Spain, the city was renamed as Taifa of Seville. The Caliphate of Cordoba that ruled Seville was overthrown and then, came in the reign of Ferdinand III in 1290s. This is when a lot of development took place in Seville. The Spanish city grew as a port. The place became even more important after Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in1492 and trade in Spain grew. The traders had to pass through Seville and thus, came in prosperity.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Sevilla saw a lot of progress. Hospitals were built, famous painters like Miguel de Mañara and Velázquez contributed to the art scenario of the city. Unfortunately, in the latter part of the 17th century and a little of the 18th century, the city was hit by a lot of epidemics. The city was occupied by the French troops during the Napoleon era and post the same, even participated in the civil war in the 19th century.
With so much colorful history, it is not surprising that your Seville itinerary will include a lot of UNESCO sites.
How to get to Seville
The closest airport is in Granada, and it’s a 3-hour train ride from Granada to Seville. You can also take the bus and possibly save some money, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The train is much more comfortable, and comfort is always something I’m willing to pay for. In general, you can expect to pay 30 to 40 euros to go from Granada to Seville by train.
If you’re traveling from somewhere further away like Valencia or Barcelona, I recommend taking an AVE train. The AVE is Spain’s highspeed train, and it is a lifesaver when you need to cover large distances in a short amount of time.
If Barcelona is a part of your Spain plan, then you might want to read through this post on the best of Barcelona attractions. The post details all that you need to cover as a part of your itinerary to this city.
You can purchase AVE tickets on the Renfe website, or you can download the Renfe app. Ticket prices can fluctuate, and they go fast, so you’ll need to purchase your AVE tickets as early as possible. You can save money on AVE tickets by selecting early-morning or late-evening departure times. There are AVE tickets that you can only buy in person, and you’ll have to purchase those at the station once you arrive in town.
If you’re ever fortunate enough to experience the charm of this southern gem, make the most of it by including some of these things to do in Seville.
Where to stay in Seville
- Check out this tourist map of Seville. The Seville map showcases the various clusters of interest for you as a traveler. Based on your preference, you should mark an area and look for the best hotels in Seville in that area.
- The Bario Santa Cruz is a highly recommended area for its proximity to the Seville Cathedral and the Alcazar. There are plenty of Tapas bars and multi-cuisine restaurants in this area. You will find plenty of luxury hotels in Seville located here. Consider booking mid-priced hotels in Bario Santa Cruz through this list. The same link will help you locate good BnB stays too.
- The Triana area is great for those who love nightlife. Though the nightlife of Seville is not just restricted to this place, Triana is said to have some of the best tapas bars that also, host Flamenco shows. Click through this link to find a list of hotels in Triana. The area hosts Seville hotels catering to all possible budgets.
Things to do in Seville
Go for a Walk or a Bike Ride
If you visit Spain, you’d better be prepared to walk. Some Spanish provinces are easier to walk than others, and fortunately, Seville is one of them.
If you’ve ever visited a place like Toledo or Segovia, you know that walking feels more like mountain-climbing. Seville’s streets are mostly level, so the walking is pretty low-impact.
There are dedicated bike paths throughout Seville, so you can bike, skateboard, or rollerblade around Seville with little to no obstruction. There are bike rentals all over the place, so don’t worry about reserving ahead of time. You can expect to pay around 25 euros for a full day rental, but hourly rentals are also available. The prices vary based on the vendor. You can book a bike tour online through this link. It includes a guide along with the bike rentals.
Guadalquivir – the main river of Seville is a perfect place to stroll around and discover the various Spanish sights. Walking along the left bank of Guadalquivir river – called the Triana, will allow you to see Plaza de Altozano with its famous statue of a Flamenco dancer. Don’t miss the Azulejos tile shops to buy your special Spanish decorative tile.
As against this, on the right bank of the river, you will be able to see the Plaza de Toros. The Plaza de Toros is one of the oldest bull-fighting areas of Seville – almost 250 years old. Close to this arena is the renowned Torre del Oro – a tower erected during the 13th century. The tower was built during the Almohad Caliphate days and is now a Maritime museum.
The Barrio Santa Cruz is yet another place to visit in Seville via a walking tour. The winding streets of this old Jewish Quarter are full of stories and are so narrow that you can stand in the center and touch it with both your hands. In fact, see if you can locate the narrowest lane – Calle de Los Besos – the street of the kisses.
Clicking through this link will allow you to book a walking tour of Bario Santa Cruz. The tour guide will take you through the narrow lanes and share various stories connected to the place. The one hour tour will leave you with wonderful memories of this Jewish quarter.
Horse and Carriage Tour
Seville is one of the few places where I don’t recommend the bus tour. There are simply too many places the tour buses can’t go, and there are much better options at your disposal.
If you’re looking for a leisurely tour that will allow you to get to know the city intimately, I suggest going on a horse and carriage ride. The tour lasts about 50minutes and takes you by many of the popular tourist stops. I had four people in my group, and we only paid 45 euros in total. You can even book one online through this link.
This magnificent wooden structure is a must-see attraction of Seville. It’s located in Seville’s Plaza Mayor and is a popular viewpoint among locals and tourists alike. The surrounding plaza is filled with cafes and restaurants, and it’s a great place to relax.
Las Setas, also referred to as the Metropol Parasol, are open Sunday to Thursday from 9:30 am to 11 pm, and it stays open for an extra 30 minutes on Friday and Saturday. General entry tickets cost 3 euros. The first level is free to enter, and it gives you a nice view, so you have that as an option if you don’t want to pay for full access.
I recommend eating at El Grupo Gordo in the plaza directly beneath Las Setas. It’s a tapas restaurant with enormous portions and low prices. The full-sized servings are enough to feed three people, so make sure you don’t overorder. The tapas portions are more than enough to feed one person.
El Parque de María Luisa
The horse and carriage tour will take you through the park, but you should go on your own to hang out and walk around. The Plaza de España is the main event in the park. It features a canal in which you can ride in a boat, and it’s quite popular with couples. The Plaza de España is one of the most photographed attractions in Seville.
Maria Luisa Park is also a popular siesta location. There are benches throughout the park, and it’s common to see locals and tourists sprawled out on the grass as they enjoy some downtime.
La Catedral de Seville
The Seville Cathedral is located right across from the Alcazar of Seville. The two sites are arguably ranked 1 and 2 in terms of the popularity of Seville attractions among tourists. The cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and it took over 100 years to build. It’s known for its architectural detail and exquisite craftsmanship.
La Catedral de Seville said to be the largest cathedral in the World – not surprising when you realize that it has around 80 different chapels. This is also, the resting place of the famous explorer – Christopher Columbus.
Right next to the Cathedral is its bell tower. The Giralda bell tower belongs to the Moorish age and used to be a part of the mosque. It is quite unique owing to the absence of stairs. Instead, there are around 34 ramps that lead you to the top. If stories were to be believed, then the mosque Muzzein used to go to the top on a horse.
The cathedral is open daily from 8 am to 2 pm. It reopens from 4 pm to 7 pm. Entry is free on Mondays, and you can choose from 6 different tour packages. Tickets range in price from 9 euros to 15 euros. You can find detailed ticket and tour information on the cathedral website.
Do yourself a favor and purchase tickets ahead of time. The line for the cathedral isn’t as long as the line for the Alcazar, but you’ll have a tough time gaining entry if you try to purchase tickets onsite.
The Alcazar of Seville
The Real Alcazar is arguably the most popular tourist attraction of Seville. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is still used by the Spanish royal family. Most of the palace complex reflects a Mudejar architecture (a fusion of Christian and Islamic architecture) and has very stunning ceilings, courtyards, and gardens.
Alcazar has the longest ever queues to get in and it can be a whole day affair. I’ve never made inside of the Alcazar, because I haven’t had enough time to wait to get in, but I desperately want to go. Don’t even think about purchasing tickets at the Alcazar on the day you arrive, because you’ll likely have to wait until after they let everyone else who pre-purchased tickets go ahead of you.
There’s a line for tickets purchased online, a line for people who paid a bit extra to skip the line, and a line for the poor souls who want to be impulsive purchase tickets at the window. Both lines extend into eternity. The bottom line is that you’d better pack your patience if you plan on going to the Alcazar of Seville. General admission tickets cost €9.50, and it’s free for children (16 years and under).
This GetYourGuide Tour gets you a priority access to the Alcazar. You can book the same online for your Seville itinerary. The tour is highly rated and takes you to the lesser-known marvels of the Alcazar. The tour guide also, showcases the locations used in the Game of Thrones Season Five episodes. Booking through this link will not cost you anything additional but will allow me to earn a commission to keep this website going.
Go to A Flamenco Show
It would be a travesty if you went to Andalusia and didn’t at least try a flamenco show. Flamenco shows aren’t for everybody, but you won’t know until you see for yourself. The locals are passionate about it, and some of them put on free shows in the street.
If you’re the type who prefers a more intimate setting, you can purchase tickets to a flamenco show. There are generally four types of tickets. You can buy show-only tickets, or you can buy tickets that include extras. Show-only tickets are the cheapest option.
I went to a flamenco show at La Cantaora, and I paid 20 euros for show-only tickets. Tickets cost 23 euros, 55 euros, and 65 euros respectively for admission with a drink, tapas, and dinner. You can book this Flamenco show online. It includes a drink and the settings are very Spanish and authentic
There are plenty of other things that you can add to your Seville sightseeing list. You might also, want to consider a few day trips from Seville. Consider one to Granada to see some interesting Andulasian sights. The Alhambra and the other Granada attractions will keep you busy for an entire day. A visit to Cordoba with its heritage attractions is another day trip from Seville that you can consider. In fact, you can get to Morocco too, by ferry from Seville.
If the Morocco day trip from Seville caught your attention, then consider booking it right here through this website. The trip Ferry tickets and a tour of the Caves of Hercules along with other interesting sights of Tangier, Morocco.
The Cordoba Full Day tour from Seville introduces you to the beautiful sights of the city. It showcases the ruins of the old fortress and the Jewish architecture in its synagogue. Check it out here and book through the same link.
This link gets you a VIP access to the famous Alhambra in Granada. The day trip from Seville includes your transport as well as a guided tour of this historic site.
With all these options to add to your list of best things to do in Seville, I am sure that you are already calculating the number of days you need in this Spanish city. How many would that be as per you – message me and let me know. In the meanwhile, just pin this up as a ready reckoner for Seville.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. You’ll do a lot of walking, and your feet will be begging for relief if you’re not prepared.
Hydrate often. Walking in Seville can feel like dancing in an oven. It gets hot! If you’re going to Seville in the summer, keep bottled water with you at all times.
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This guest post has been contributed by Derek Phifer. Originally a certified teacher in the United States, Derek Phifer now travels the world and shares his experiences and travel advice on his blog, Jaded ‘80s Baby. He encourages reflection through travel and focuses on showing his readers the many benefits venturing abroad. You can connect with Derek on Facebook @jaded80sbaby.