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Seville is Spain’s fourth biggest city located in the southern region of Andalusia. You’ll find a mix of modern and traditional in this compact city with beautiful Moorish architecture, UNESCO heritage sites, delicious tapas, cute streets – there are so many things to do here, which makes it the perfect weekend break.
Here are our top things to do in Seville!
Things to do in Seville
1. Plaza de España
The best three words we can think of to describe walking up to the Plaza de Espana for the first time are simply “Wow, wow, wow!”. Equal parts Disney, Vegas and boating lake, this was a magical surprise – when you first visit, it is really hard to figure out how old it is, due to all the varying architecture types (it was actually built in 1928 for an expo).
Free to visit (although there is a €6 charge to take out boats on the Venice style canal), this is a wonderous place to explore – make sure you check out the ornate mosaic benches that represent all of Spain’s provinces and walk up the sweeping staircases for views looking over the boating lake and fountains.
There were also numerous street performers when we visited, including flamenco performances and guitarists – also be aware of the old Spanish Gypsy ladies who try and ‘give’ you sprigs of heather, then expect a wad of Euros back (and will chase you until you pay up).
2. Seville Cathedral
The historic and captivating Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See is one of the most visited attractions in Spain (and the third largest church in the world!). Indeed, one of the first sights that awaits is the snaking queue of tourists, waiting to purchase their tickets – luckily, our hotel receptionist told us to book tickets in advance (they have separate queues for pre-booked tickets and walk-ups – as you’d expect, the latter queue is much longer).
Gothic in style and consecrated in 1507, it became a listed UNESCO monument in the late 1980s and there are lots to see and do inside, from the 80 side chapels (!) to the quirky stuffed crocodile (a present to King Alfonso X from the Sultan of Egypt). Booking in advance is highly recommended.
Click here to book a Seville Cathedral and Giralda skip-the-line ticket
3. La Giralda (Seville Bell Tower)
The bell tower of Seville Cathedral, Giralda is the city’s most iconic structure, featuring on practically every souvenir you can think of (fridge magnets galore!). It is actually a minaret from a previous mosque (looking very similar to Marrakech’s Koutoubia Mosque and converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista). Admission is €9 (which includes a visit to the Church of El Salvador).
Random fact – Seville is twinned with Kansas City in the USA and they have their own 138m high replica of the Giralda (making it higher than the original!).
4. Real Alcázar of Seville
Located in the heart of Seville, the Real Alcázar is a royal palace which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and is an essential part of any Andalusia itinerary. It is one of the oldest palaces in the world and is a complex of architectural styles from Mudéjar to Gothic to Renaissance (similar to the Alhambra in Granada), and has some gorgeous landscaped gardens. Fans of the Game of Thrones TV series will recognise it as a filming location in the fifth season.
General admission is €9.50, but just like Seville Cathedral the queues are very long, so book your ticket online in advance.
Ticket packages you can book online in advance:
5. Metropol Parasol
Or as it is affectionately known, the Seville ‘mushroom’. This is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Seville and a unique, iconic (and dare we say pretty ‘out there’) structure, this is a must-visit and one we recommend you visit at sunset, for glorious red hued views of the city.
Opened in 2011 after six years of construction, this is said to be the largest wooden construction in the world and consists of six parasols in the form of giant mushrooms (‘las setas’ in Spanish). There are walkways winding across the structure which offered great viewpoints and many amazing photo opportunities. It is cleverly designed so that you can’t see these from the square below (we did feel a little for the occupants of the apartments directly overlooking the structure, as they can’t be happy with everyone looking directly onto their balconies and bedrooms).
Entrance is €5 (note that this used to include a free drink at the café at the top, but this is no longer the case) – the café though is reasonably priced, starting from €2 for a small beer. Grab an outside table when you see one become available though as they are immensely popular for sunset.
If you are staying in or around the Old Town, take a walk across the Guadalquivir river to explore the Triana district (a world away from the tourist hubbub you’ll find around Seville Cathedral). Head across the Isabel II bridge and explore all the side-streets and glorious ‘olde worlde’ tapas bars (you’ll also find smaller, more authentic flamenco shows).
We particularly enjoyed walking around Triana Market, a modern food hall (built in 2005 in the Moorish Revival style) that housed all manner of fresh Andalusian food stalls, plus small bars and restaurants (think fresh fish, cheese, jamon to your heart’s content).
Tirana tours you can book online:
7. Barrio de Santa Cruz
Narrow, cobbled streets define Santa Cruz, the very tourist heart of Seville, packed full of history, squares and dining establishments. We didn’t have a plan as such for exploring this area – we found it much more fun to explore without a map and see where we ended up. One of the highlights of our whole trip to Seville was wandering around these secluded streets early on the Sunday morning, with very few tourists about and locals going about their daily activities.
Click here to book a 1-Hour walking tour of Barrio de Santa Cruz
8. Torre del Oro
All along the watchtower! Constructed in the 13th century, this was our very first glimpse of Seville’s historic old quarter as the airport bus dropped us off right next to it. Previously a prison in the Middle Ages, its ‘golden’ name supposedly derives from the bright reflections it creates on the river below, on sunny days. Housing a miniature maritime museum, you can also climb to the top of the tower for a small entrance fee of €3 (free on Mondays). Gold!
9. Mercado Lonja del Barranco
We are not saying we loved this place, but we ate here both days of our weekend trip to Seville (we found it crazy busy on early Saturday afternoon but a lot quieter when we visited around noon on Sunday). A former fish market that now feels halfway between a food court and giant conservatory, Mercado Lonja del Barranco overlooks the river and has lots of tapas style restaurants, which you can pick and choose from. Watching the locals, the best way to do this is to grab a table either on the outside decks or in the middle of the market, then each go your separate ways to pick up various drinks and tapas.
Although the fish stall looked incredible, we were on a budget so the €20 price for a plate / ratione of mixed fried fish was a little steep for us. We grabbed plates of croquettes (around €4.50 for 4 – we recommend the squid and Iberian jamon ones), some fairly average Spanish omelette (€4 for one portion) plus several visits to the rice stall (the seafood rice was delicious). Beers start from around €1.50 for a small beer plus there is a dedicated Aperol Spritz stall. If you’ve been exploring all day, we can think of no better place to relax and indulge in tapas.
10. Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza
We don’t condone bullfighting (barbaric innit) so we are just mentioning the presence of this historic bullring, opened in 1765. Admission to the outer area is free but there is a €8 admission fee to see the spectacular arena inside along with a limited museum and gift shop. The actual bullfighting season usually runs from March / April to September, but the bullring is open to visit throughout the year.
Click here to book a bullring skip-the-line ticket and 1-hour tour.
11. Flamenco show
Flamenco originated in Andalusia and you will be spoilt for choice with the number of flamenco shows in Seville. Highly rated shows (usually in small, intimate venues) include Casa del Flamenco, T de Triana and Casa de la Memoria.
Flamenco show packages you can book online:
- Pura Esencia Flamenco Show in Triana
- Triana Tablao Flamenco Show with Drink
- El Patio Sevillano: Traditional Flamenco Show with Drink
Here are some highly rated accommodation options for all budgets in Seville:
Oasis Backpackers’ Palace Sevilla
Party hostel with rooftop pool parties, tapas tasting and live music in the heart of Seville. Check out prices and availability for Oasis Backpackers’ Palace Sevilla
Hostel One Catedral
Modern and social hostel located just a minute away from the Cathedral with free dinner, free night tours and free walking tours. Check out prices and availability for Hostel One Catedral
Petit Palace Puerta de Triana
Cosy accommodation with a modern Andalusian décor with buffet breakfast. Check out prices and availability for Petit Palace Puerta de Triana
Adriano Boutique Sevilla
Set in an 18th-century building in central Seville featuring typical Andalusian design and a roof terrace. Check out prices and availability for Adriano Boutique Sevilla
Hotel Casa Del Poeta
Stunning hotel set in a historic 17th century mansion located 250 yards from Seville Cathedral. Check out prices and availability for Hotel Casa Del Poeta
Hotel Fernando III
Located in Seville’s historic Santa Cruz district with restaurant, roof terrace with city views and a seasonal swimming pool. Check out prices and availability for Hotel Fernando III
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