TOP THINGS TO DO in Seville

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What to do in Seville

To see the highlights of Seville, you are going to need about 2-3 days. The Alcazar de Sevilla rivals the Alhambra in Granada. The Seville Cathedral is the largest in the world and the Plaza de España is probably the most beautiful square in Spain. These are just a few of the top things to do in Seville. The city will keep any traveler busy for a few days. But even if you stay longer, you will leave thinking that you haven’t seen it all.

WHAT TO DO IN SEVILLE IN 1 DAY?

If you only have one day in Seville, we recommend that you concentrate your visit in the area surrounding the cathedral and alcazar, as these are the two most important monuments of the city. You should also wander around the old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, which is right next door.

If you have time, take a walk to the Guadalquivir River. There you can visit the historic Torre del Oro and get some great views to the colorful houses of the Triana neighborhood on the other side of the river.

Regardless of how long you stay in Seville, make sure you go see a live flamenco performance on one of your nights. Also, don’t forget to stop by a few of Seville’s best restaurants and bars with our complete guide.

** Make sure to book your tickets to the Alcazar and tickets to the Cathedral in advance! Otherwise you will lose hours waiting in line.

WHAT TO DO IN SEVILLE IN 2 DAYS?

If you have a second day in Seville, go admire the majestic Plaza de España and the surrounding Maria Luisa Park.

The Casa de Pilatos, an authentic Sevillian palace from the 16th century, is also worth a visit. And, close by are the well-known Setas de Sevilla (Seville Mushrooms), the city's most impressive modern monument. The area of Seville between the cathedral, the Setas and the river is known as El Centro. Make sure to explore this area as it is one of Seville’s most beautiful.

WHAT TO DO IN SEVILLE IN 3 DAYS?

If you have a third day in Seville, we recommend crossing the Guadalquivir River to visit one of the most traditional neighborhoods of the city, Triana.

The rest of your day depends on your tastes and interests. If you liked the Casa de Pilatos and were left wanting more, visit the Palacio de las Dueñas.

If you are interested in art, you can't miss a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, which is the second most important art museum in Spain after the Prado Museum in Madrid. In addition, it is free for EU citizens.

Other places to visit on this third day are the Flamenco Museum and the bullring.

Top 5 things to do in Seville

1

ALCAZAR DE SEVILLA

Royal Alcazar – One of the top things to do in Seville
Alcazar – One of the top things to do in Seville

If you aren’t sure what to see in Seville, just start by visiting the Alcazar de Sevilla (11.5€ entrance fee). The Alcazar is an impressive royal palace that constitutes one of the most beautiful examples of Mudéjar architecture in the world. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage site, the palace also appeared in the 5th season of Game of Thrones.

Wandering through the richly decorated rooms of the Alcazar, you will discover ornate arches and ceilings as well as exquisite plasterwork and intricate ceramic tiles. After being mesmerized by its interior, the visit continues through the marvelous Murillo Gardens. Immerse yourself in the scent of roses and orange trees while relaxing to the background sounds coming from the numerous fountains and singing birds. Here it is easy to forget that you are in the very center of a city with 700,000 inhabitants!

Palm trees in the gardens of Seville's Royal Alcazar, Spain
Gardens of the Royal Alcazar – Seville

The site of the Royal Alcazar has been occupied since the 8th century BC. Although it was built over centuries by a succession of Monarchs, most of what we see today was erected in the 14th century, after the city was reconquered by the Christians. In 1360 King Peter, “the Cruel of Castille”, ordered Moorish workmen to build a Mudejar palace for him. Since then the Alcazar has been the official residence of the King of Spain in Seville.

*Extra tip: we highly recommend you to book your Seville Alcazar ticket in advance or you risk having to wait in line (and it might be a long wait). As another alternative, you can book a guided tour. Also, note that it is a big complex and you should plan at least 2 - 3 hours for your visit.

2

PLAZA DE ESPAÑA & MARIA LUISA PARK

Plaza de España (Spain Square) in Seville, Spain
Plaza de España – Seville

The Plaza de España (free entrance) is a massive plaza encompassed by a u-shaped palace. The palace and the plaza are both designed in a very Andalusian style pulling from Renaissance and neo-Moorish influences. Film enthusiasts might recognize the Plaza de España from such movies as Lawrence of Arabia, the second episode of Star Wars (Attack of the Clones) and more recently, The Dictator from comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

Conceived as a landmark space for the Latin American Exhibition of 1929, the Plaza de España occupies a monumental 50,000 m2. The square is presided over by an astonishing brick building that is accessed by one of four bridges – which represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain.

Plaza de España (Spain Square) seen from the building – Seville, Spain
Plaza de España – Seville

The Plaza de España opens into the beautiful Maria Luisa park, the most famous park in the city. Inspired by the gardens of the Royal Alcazar and Granada’s Alhambra, the park features beautiful tiled fountains, pavilions, and ponds that are set in a lush greenery of palms and Mediterranean pines.

3

CATHEDRAL & GIRALDA

Columbus tomb inside of Seville's cathedral – Spain
Columbus tomb inside of Seville's cathedral

Seville Cathedral (9€ entrance fee), officially named Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, is another building of monumental proportions in Seville. With its five impressive naves, it is counted to be the world’s largest cathedral and also the world’s largest gothic building. In addition, the cathedral is the resting place for the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

This UNESCO World Heritage site was originally built in the 12th century by the Moors. It was the main Mosque of the city (Great Aljama Mosque) until the Christians reconquered Seville in 1248 and transformed it into a cathedral.

Views of Seville's cathedral and giralda tower, Spain
Cathedral & Giralda Tower - Sevilla

The cathedral’s bell tower, called the Giralda, was originally the minaret of the Mosque. At the time of construction (1184-1198), it was the tallest building in the world. Although there may be a long line, it is possible to walk to the top of the tower for some arial views of the city (104 m / 341 ft high).

Visiting the cathedral is one of the most popular things to do in Seville. Every year, more than 2 million admission tickets are sold.

*Extra tip: we highly recommend you to book your Seville Cathedral ticket in advance or you risk having to wait in line (and it might be a long wait). As another alternative, you can book a guided tour.

4

CASA DE PILATOS

Ornate arches, intricate tiles and Roman statue in Casa de Pilatos – Seville, Spain
Pilatos House – Seville

Seville is famous for its many palaces scattered throughout the city and Casa de Pilatos (10€ entrance fee) is probably the finest and most exceptional of them all. It is a quintessential Sevillian palace from the 16th century that combines influences from Gothic to Andalusian Mudejar and even Italian Renaissance.

Organized around two beautiful patios, Casa de Pilatos features gorgeous marble columns, intricate stucco reliefs and precious colorful tiles. The tiles are found all over the building, but stand out especially in the spectacular staircase. There are also two manicured gardens that surround the palace and both are a delight to stroll through.

Impressive staircase at Casa Pilatos in Sevilla, Spain
Staircase at Casa de Pilatos – Sevilla

Today, Casa de Pilatos still has a private residence for the 20th Duchess of Medinacelli, who holds the record for being the world’s most titled person. For an extra 2€, you can join a guided tour of the upper floor, which will give you a fascinating insight into the lives of the Spanish nobility, including paintings, furniture, etc.

5

SETAS DE SEVILLA

Metropol Parasol (Setas) – Seville, Spain
Setas de Sevilla (Metropol Parasol)

Metropol Parasol is a one-of-a-kind group of huge mushroom-shaped shades (28 m high) that rise up and over Encarnación Square. Commonly referred to as “Setas de Sevilla” (Seville’s mushrooms), this massive modern structure has created its fair amount of controversy. Some say that it is a monstrosity and doesn’t fit in with the surrounding buildings. While others are mesmerized by its beautiful geometric structure. It’s something you should see and decide for yourself. It took us some time to get used to, but we love it now. In any case, the setas definitely add special character to Seville.

Views from the top of Metropol Parasol Sevilla, Spain
Views from the top of the Setas de Sevilla

At the top of the Setas there is a nice look out area that can be accessed via the elevator in the underground floor (5€ entrance fee). This walkway over the Setas offers some of the best 360 degree city views, while the shapes of the structure itself enhance the view.

More things to see in Seville

FLAMENCO

Passionate flamenco dancer in Seville's Flamenco Museum, Spain
Flamenco dancer in Seville's Flamenco Museum

Seville is the heart of Andalusia and as you would expect, flamenco plays an important role in local culture. This passionate ancestral art is part of festivities, traditions and every day life. It’s in their blood!

Flamenco even has its own museum in Seville. Housed in a beautiful 18th century building, the Flamenco Museum (10€ entrance fee) has been brought to life by renowned flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos (born in the neighborhood). This multi-faceted interactive museum features informative videos, costumes, paintings and other memorabilia. There are several daily 1-hour flamenco shows (22€ show only // 26€ show + museum) as well as workshops, dance and guitar lessons, etc.

For other options to enjoy a flamenco show in Sevilla, check out our page Where to see flamenco in Seville.

SANTA CRUZ NEIGHBORHOOD

Patio in the medieval Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz – Seville, Spain
Patio in the quarter of Santa Cruz – Seville

Located right next to the Cathedral and the Alcazar, the Santa Cruz neighborhood is Seville’s medieval Jewish quarter. Made up by a maze of narrow pedestrian cobblestoned streets with whitewashed houses, it’s a pleasure to get lost in this peaceful and lovely area of Seville. You will discover quaint little squares surrounded by orange trees and their fragrant blossom scent – such as Plaza de Santa Cruz or Plaza de Doña Elvira. The neighborhood also has a variety of bars, restaurants and shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts and ceramics.

Nowadays the Santa Cruz neighborhood is full of tourists but it’s still one of the most picturesque and charming parts of the city.

TORRE DEL ORO

Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) & Guadalquivir river in Seville, Spain
Torre del Oro & Guadalquivir river

The Torre del Oro (3€ entrance fee) which means Tower of Gold, is a remnant of the Moorish fortified walls which originally enclosed the city of Sevilla. With its 36m (120 ft) height, it protected the city from invasions through the Guadalquivir river.

It is believed that the Torre del Oro was built in three phases, starting with the Moors around 1220 and ending in 1760. Legend has it that it is called the Gold Tower because of the many treasures – such as the gold from the Mayan and Incan Empires – that the ships returning from America left in it during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Today, Torre del Oro houses the Naval Museum which contains maps, models of ships, maritime memorabilia and interesting historic prints of Seville. The rooftop offers spectacular views of the river and the city.

TRIANA NEIGHBORHOOD

Colorful houses along the river in the Triana neighborhood, Spain
Houses along the river in Triana

The neighborhood of Triana is a colorful and lively part of Seville located on the west bank of the Guadalquivir river. Historically, Triana was a poor working class district separated from the main city. Still today, locals identify strongly with the neighborhood and proudly call themselves “trianeros.” Triana is also home to a vibrant flamenco culture and has been the birthplace of famous flamenco artists and bullfighters for centuries.

To get to Triana, we recommend you to cross the iconic 19th century arched bridge called Puente de Isabel II, commonly known as Triana bridge. At the end of the bridge, you will discover the newly renovated Triana Market, which occupies what used to be the San Jorge Castle. Triana is also known for its pottery and ceramics industry, which can be discovered at Triana’s Ceramics Center (2.1€ entrance fee).

*Interesting fact: Many of the sailors that joined Columbus, Magellan and Elcano in their maritime expeditions, came out of Triana’s Navigation School (Escuela de Mareantes).

ARCHIVO DE INDIAS

Shelves full of archives inside the Archivo de Indias in Seville
Shelves full of archives in the Archivo de Indias

The Archivo de Indias houses over 300 years worth of history relating to exploration and trade in the New World. The archive, together with the Alcazar and cathedral, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

While it’s not possible to see much of the 80 million pages of documentation housed in the archive, it is possible to wander through its hallways and admire a great example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. Some historical artifacts are on display and there is always some kind of exhibition going on. With free admission, it’s worth a visit.

PALACIO DE LAS DUEÑAS

Beautiful green patio at Palacio de las Dueñas in Seville, Spain
Patio at Palacio de las Dueñas

Palacio de las Dueñas (10€ entrance fee) is a magnificent 15th century palace surrounded by stunning patios and gardens. It’s a great example of nobility architecture in Seville, mixing Gothic and Mudéjar styles.

The property has belonged to the Alba Family since 1612. Although probably unknown to most outside of Spain, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart was the 18th Duchess of Alba and Spain’s most famous aristocrat – as well as the most titled noble in the world! She owned so much property that it was said that she could cross all of Spain without ever leaving her land. Even though Cayetana owned property all over the country, she had a very special love for Sevilla and her primary residence was a the Palacio de las Dueñas.

Since Cayetana’s death in 2014, Palacio de Dueñas is owned by his eldest son, who opened it to the public in 2016. Apart from the beauty of the architecture, patios and gardens, you will also discover an extensive art collection (paintings, sculptures, bullfighting memorabilia, furniture and other antique items) as well as photographs of the Duchess, personal gifts, etc.

FERIA DE ABRIL (APRIL FAIR)

Two women dancing flamenco in the April Fair – Seville, Spain
Flamenco dancing at Seville's April Fair

Seville’s Feria de Abril (April Fair) is a week long party that celebrates all things Andalusian – from flamenco to bullfighting and with lots of sherry wine in between.

The whole city of Sevilla is in party mode during the fair but the fiesta’s official location is the fairground of Real de la Feria in Los Remedios, just a couple of kilometers south from the city center. It’s at the fairground where local women parade proudly with their latest flamenco dresses, while Seville’s high society make their appearances in colorful horse carriages or on horseback. Drinking, eating and partying starts at lunch time and doesn’t end til the next morning.

Seville’s largest fiesta takes place two weeks after Easter (April 18 – 24 in 2021) Cancelled due to COVID.

FINE ARTS MUSEUM – MUSEO DE BELLAS ARTES

Exhibition room at Seville's Fine Arts Museum, Spain
Exhibition in Seville's Fine Arts Museum

Sevilla’s Fine Arts Museum (free for EU citizens, 1.5€ for others) is the second most important art museum of Spain after Madrid’s Prado. It occupies an ornate 17th century palace which was originally a convent, Convento de la Merced.

The Fine Arts Museum’s main highlight is the collection of Andalusian paintings from the 19th century and Seville’s Baroque art. More specifically, it is the perfect place to admire the work of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of Seville’s most famous painters. There are also works from Velázquez, Zurbarán, Goya, El Greco, etc.

If you are into art then visiting Seville’s Museo de Bellas Artes is definitely one of the best things to in Seville.

BULLRING & BULLFIGHTING MUSEUM

Colorful bullfighter suit in Sevilla's bullring, Spain
Bullfighter suit in Sevilla's bullring

Although it might sound strange to some, bullfighting is still “a thing” in Seville. More than “a thing”, it is actually still a very important part of local culture. Seville’s magnificent bullring (8€ entrance fee) is one of the oldest and most important in the world. Featuring an impressive Baroque facade, it has space for 14,000 spectators.

Apart from the bullring itself, the visit also includes the bullfighting museum and chapel – where matadors pray before the fight. While learning about the origins and history of bullfighting, you will discover old posters, photos and paintings, as well as much more bullfighting memorabilia. On display, there are also several impressive bullfighting costumes, called “traje de luces” or “suit of lights” in English. These marvelous suits weight about 5 kg and can cost up to 30,000€!

If you are interested in seeing a bullfight, Sevilla is one of your easiest options in Andalucía. For more information click here.

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