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Seville has ambiance to spare! Between the orange-scented courtyards, stunning Mudéjar architecture, and joyful, impromptu flamenco dancing in cozy plazas after dark, Seville is a dream come true. But that’s just a first impression… There are so many things to do in Seville! Here’s a list of favorite experiences by top travel writers to get you started…
- Things to Do in Seville Spain
- Where to Stay in Seville
- What to Do in Seville (continued)
- 3. Visit the Tomb of Christopher Columbus
- 4. Walk the Plaza de España
- 5. See a Flamenco Show
- 6. Climb Metropol Parasol
- 7. Visit Mercado de Triana
- 8. Taste Tapas At The Oldest Bar In Seville
- 9. Lose Yourself in Barrio Santa Cruz
- 10. Day Trip to Cordoba
- 11. See Italica: Birthplace of Roman Emperors
- 12. Marvel at the Palacio de las Dueñas
- 13. Experience Easter Pageantry
- 14. Visit the Sevilla Museum of Fine Arts
- 15. Indulge Your Inner Child at Isla Magica
- 16. See the Stunning Casa de Pilatos
- Seville FAQ
Things to Do in Seville Spain
1. Visit the Alcázar Palace
The Réal Alcazar (Royal Alcazar) is a “must-see “in Seville. In fact, if you only have time for one sight here, see this remarkable palace! This UNESCO World Heritage Site holds the evolution of the city here in its walls, from the Arabic period and Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Baroque period.
Originally constructed for King Peter of Castille on the site of a Muslim fortress, the royal family still uses the upper rooms as a personal residence today. The Princess Bath (below) is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. You’ll wind your way through a maze of indescribably beautiful tile-covered rooms, chambers, towers, gardens, and at the incredible palace here.
Be sure to see the Salon de Embajadores—the Ambassadors Reception Room—where the king stayed centuries ago. It was the most luxuriously decorated room in the palace back then.
When we visited, the line for tickets wrapped around the palace for an hour or more wait. Reserve entry tickets ahead of time or, even better, join a personalized skip-the-line tour. You can reserve your tour here.
2. See the Famous Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and was over 100 years in the making. At the time, I was aware of none of these facts as I wandered, gob-smacked, out of the spectacular Royal Alcazar across the street.
My first glimpse of this aircraft hangar-sized church—which may be the biggest in the world…the jury is still out—literally stopped me in my tracks. The church elders, back around 1400 when the plans were drawn up, wished to “build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are mad.” I believe they succeeded!
With countless spires and arches, the white stone walls frame sparkling stained glass windows, providing a princely spectacle. The sheer scale and beauty continue inside with a lofty 42-meter high central nave, 80 side chapels, and the impossibly impressive Retablo Mayor.
Situated in the Great Chapel, this hand-carved altarpiece is the lifetime’s work of one single craftsman. The gothic carving of 45 scenes from the life of Christ is a completely compelling site. I stood with my nose poking through the metal bars and became lost in gold covered ornateness.
It’s advised to take your time exploring the church as there really is something to see everywhere, from the patterned floors to the spectacular ceilings and everything in between. Climb the Giralda Tower for far-reaching views and don’t forget to check out Christopher Columbus’ tomb. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the stuffed crocodile which was a gift from the Sultan of Egypt! Get tickets for a guided tour here.
Tim | Tunnocks World Tour
Where to Stay in Seville
Luxury: EME Cathedral Hotel
This is the perfect central location in Old Town! This boutique hotel is super close to the incredible Seville Cathedral. In fact, the hotel’s rooftop bar looks directly onto it! It’s a great choice for solo travelers and couples looking for a luxurious and modern base for the city. Check current availability and prices here.
This is your spot if you love unique hotels! Also located near all the best sights in Old Town, Zaida is a restored Neomudejar-style palace. A great value for the location. Check current availability and prices here.
Budget: Airbnb apartment in central Seville
Looking for your own private terrace on a budget for a group? Stay here! You’ll have this lovely apartment all to yourself. It can sleep six people. Check current availability and prices here. (And if you’re new to Airbnb, you can save up to $30 if you use this link to reserve.)
What to Do in Seville (continued)
3. Visit the Tomb of Christopher Columbus
No matter what history might eventually make of Christopher Columbus, he is certainly the (non-religious) person who most affected the history of the world. Although evidence mounts that other Europeans reached the Americas before Columbus, he was the one who brought back the news to Europe and sparked New World colonization.
The tomb of Christopher Columbus is in the Cathedral of Seville. Or what is said to be his tomb after his remains were brought back from the New World.
Columbus died in the Spanish city of Valladolid. It was his wish to be buried in the New World, so his daughter-in-law took Columbus’ bones to the Dominican Republic, where he rested in the cathedral of Santo Domingo until 1795. When the Spanish retreated from the Caribbean, the bones of Columbus came with them, and he’s now buried in the Cathedral of Seville, the city from which he left for the New World.
The Cathedral catafalque itself is a lovely piece of art. The coffin of Columbus is carried by figures representing the kings of the four regions of Spain: Castilla, Leon, Navarra, and Aragon, each wearing a tunic depicting the various coats of arms of Spain’s component kingdoms.
Tom | Travel Past 50
4. Walk the Plaza de España
Listed in every guidebook as a must-see attraction in the Andalusian capital, the Plaza De España has very little historical significance. But what it lacks in history it makes up for as a cultural and visual feast. Built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exhibition, Seville’s famous plaza is easily one of the city’s most beautiful and iconic landmarks.
Located inside the Parque de María Luisa, the 50,000 square meter plaza is both lovely and impressive with its gorgeous fountains, canals, Venetian-style bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain and colorful mosaic-tiled alcoves representing the 48 different regions of Spain. It is a fantastic place to take an afternoon stroll, a romantic boat ride down the canal, or a horse-drawn carriage ride through the square.
Today, the plaza houses many government offices, but over the years it has been used as a location for several popular films and television shows such as Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and most recent episodes of HBO’s hit fantasy Game of Thrones. The Plaza de España is an amazing cultural, artistic, and relaxing experience that no one should miss when visiting Seville.
Jacki | DC Day Tripping
5. See a Flamenco Show
If you’re looking for romantic things to do in Seville—or things to do in Seville at night—put a flamenco performance on your itinerary! The art of flamenco dance originated in Andalusia, southern Spain; it’s part of gypsy “gitanos” heritage here, with roots in Indian, Arabic, and Spanish culture. There are essentially three parts to the flamenco performance: the song, the guitar, and the dance.
Frequently, a flamenco performer will begin standing, expressionless, at first and then begin a steady beat of clapping and stamping with her foot. Eventually, as emotion builds in the song, she will break into a graceful dance of intricate steps (which depend on the tradition of the particular dance). She may use both her feet and her hands (with castanets) for percussion. Sometimes folding fans are included.
In Seville, you can choose from many places to enjoy a flamenco performance. It all depends on what you’re looking for. There is flamenco entertainment packaged for tourists (some include food and a bar and it’s adults only); others are serious, with an emphasis on history, tradition, and form.
On our visit, we chose the latter at the Flamenco Dance Museum. It’s a tiny venue and intimate experience, where you are just a few feet away from the dancer and guitarist. You can reserve your ticket for a performance here.
But if you pay for a performance, don’t skip the opportunity to join locals in an evening “paseo”—or walk. It’s then that all of Seville strolls the boulevards. And if you’re lucky, you may stumble upon a memorable impromptu performance as we did.
6. Climb Metropol Parasol
When the Metropol Parasol was unveiled in 2011, it got a mixed reaction from the residents of Seville. But in recent years, the enormous wooden structure has found a place in the city’s heart…and it’s certainly a hit with tourists.
The Metropol Parasol is one of the world’s largest wooden structures and is essentially a giant art piece. It’s about 150 meters long and about 25 meters high and is made from six connected parasols. The wood is crossed together to form a shape and texture that looks a lot like a collection of mushrooms, earning it the nickname “Las Setas” (The Mushrooms).
The space in and around the Metropol Parasol is designed for public use. There’s a small museum in the basement with some ruins and artifacts from the Roman and Moorish period. On the ground level, there are spaces to sit in the shade created by the structure. Remember to leave some time to taste-test food and drinks at the local market here, too. And then there’s the top of the mushrooms, where you can walk around.
It costs €3 to get to the top of the Metropol Parasol (but the price includes a free drink). Here, you’ll find a path leading around the structure, following the contours, and offering interesting views of the city and the artwork’s design. It’s worth heading up to properly experience this unique site.
Michael |Time Travel Turtle
7. Visit Mercado de Triana
One of the best things to do in Seville is to cross the Guadalquivir River for a visit to Mercado de Triana. While locals in Triana might argue that this area is a distinct city from Seville, the Mercado de Triana is situated right along the river making it a perfect stop for visitors to the Andalusian capital.
There is a lot to explore in this market, including a wide range of fruit and vegetable stalls, authentic cured meats and cheeses, freshly caught fish and plenty more! Picking up a few items from the market is a great way to save money on your trip to Spain and support local businesses.
There are also a number of restaurants where you can get tapas or a sit-down lunch, a flamenco theatre and even a cooking school where you can learn how to make some delicious Spanish cuisine to impress your friends back home!
It is also worth taking some time to explore the Castillo de San Jorge, a fortress underneath the Mercado de Triana. There is a small museum and entry is free.
The Mercado de Triana is open daily with reduced hours on Sunday. Most shops and stall will close by around 2-3pm, though the restaurants will stay open later.
Michael | The World Was Here First
8. Taste Tapas At The Oldest Bar In Seville
Seville is world renowned for its architecture and flamenco dancing, but activities in Seville Spain must include tapas! With hundreds of tapas bars found throughout the city, tapas culture is an integral part of life in Seville. For one in particular, the title of “oldest tapas bar in Seville” is one worn with great pride as they continue to serve up some of the best traditional tapas in town.
First opened in 1670 as a tavern, El Rinconcillo slowly expanded, until, by 1858. it reached its current day shape and size. Owned by the same family since 1858, El Rinconcillo initially acted as a tavern and corner shop selling foodstuffs. With a dedication to preserving the past, the De Rueda family has maintained many aspects of the original building dating back over 300 years.
From its mahogany bar, marble table tops, and Arabic brick walls, El Rinconcillo is part tapas bar—part-time capsule. Traditions don’t end with the decor either. At El Rinconcillo, staff members carry on the tradition of tracking the orders of customers in chalk using the mahogany as their tablet.
And then there’s the food. El Rinconcillo offers tapas on the ground floor and full-sized dishes upstairs. With a focus on local Andalusian recipes and ingredients, the food at El Rinconcillo is the true star. Classic Seville tapas such as Iberian jamon, spinach with chickpeas, and various croquettes highlight the menu.
Local wines, cold beers, and sherries are available to wash it all down. Online bookings are available for the upstairs sit-down restaurant and are highly recommended. The tapas bar is first come, first served.
Seville is also a great place for a tapas tasting food tour in the picturesque neighborhood of Triana. Check prices here.
Amber | With Husband in Tow
9. Lose Yourself in Barrio Santa Cruz
Seville Spain points of interest definitely include Barrio Santa Cruz! This was the old Jewish Quarter in Seville, way back in 1248. King Ferdinand confined Jews here when he took the city in 1248. Today, it lives on as one Seville’s most famous and vibrant neighborhoods!
You’ll likely find yourself getting lost in Barrio Santa Cruz after visiting the famous cathedral or nearby Alcazar Palace. This is where to wander when you find yourself with time on your hands. Streets here are impossibly narrow to conserve precious shade during warm summers. Building facades are tall and whitewashed.
Look for Calle Agua, the narrow shady alleyway alongside the walls of the Alcázar. It’s so named because of an aqueduct that used to top the palace walls. If you peek through the iron gates of homes here, you can catch a glimpse of flower-covered patios.
Keep walking and eventually, you’ll come to the heartbeat of the barrio: Plaza de la Santa Cruz. There used to be a synagogue in this square, but it was replaced by a church. You’ll find this a common a theme visiting monuments and historical places in Andalusia in the eternal struggle between religions.
In fact, at the Mezquita in Cordoba (day trip recommended below), the current mosque was built on top of a church which was built on top of a mosque!
10. Day Trip to Cordoba
You can get to Cordoba by train in just 45 minutes from Seville! The main attraction here is the fabulous Mezquita! It’s an incredible Catholic cathedral built on top of a mosque which was built on another Christina church. You can even peek at the remains of that church through a transparent cutout in the floor. And it’s been revered by Islams here for three centuries.
The Mezquita is recognized as one of the most accomplished examples of architecture by the Moors…and it’s easy to see why. This “mosque-cathedral” is a unique combination of soaring ceilings, double arches, and columns in a central prayer hall combined with dozens of ornate Christian chapels…all enclosed by heavy ornate doors. Don’t miss it!
After your visit to the Mezquita, wander through the narrow streets in the Jewish quarter and duck into a cool cafe courtyard for a refreshing sangria. It’s all about the patios in Cordoba. Bright pots filled with flowers are everywhere here. For a unique and memorable experience, take a patio tour! You can book a Cordoba patio tour here.
Other notable sites include the Roman Bridge and Renaissance arch at the entrance to the bridge. There’s also an excellent archaeological museum for history lovers. Palace lovers will appreciate the gorgeous Palacio de Viana.
11. See Italica: Birthplace of Roman Emperors
One of the best things to do in Seville, Spain is to see Italica. There are some sites that you hear of often. Grand, great buildings that stand the test of time and some that seem to just sneak under the radar for years and years.
For us, this was Italica. Situated just out of Seville, Spain, it is a place that so many have no idea exists… unless they are die-hard Game of Thrones fans, of course. (In Season 7, Daenerys meets Cersei in the dragon pit of King’s Landing here. Season 8 filmed here as well.)
Italica is the birthplace of two Roman emperors and the best preserved Roman ruins in Spain. The giant Colosseum could hold nearly 25,000 people during its heyday but now lies in ruins.
The ruins of the town are magnificent. The gardens just inside the entrance gate are beautiful and a picture into what the town must have looked like. The foundations of some of the houses are still there as well as the mosaic tiled floors that the Romans are famous for.
When we arrived at the site, there were two people leaving as we entered. And at one stage, we were the only people wandering the site. I am sure that is a rare thing in any historic site like this one.
A cab ride to Italica takes about 15 minutes and costs around 15 Euro. How long you spend there is up to you. We took about 1.5 hours to see it all. There is also a little museum that has some information about how the site was found and how it is now being preserved for future generations.
Italica is a great place for a guided tour to get the most out of the experience. Check prices here.
Bec | Wyld Family Travel
12. Marvel at the Palacio de las Dueñas
With so many beautiful attractions in Seville, you might think it’s okay to skip Las Dueñas, a palace located near the city’s old town, but don’t do it! The Palacio de las Dueñas is actually one of the city’s most beautiful sights, and as it’s a bit lesser known, there’s a chance you won’t have to share it with a million other tourists. For this reason, it’s also where we took many of our favorite photos of Seville.
The palace’s correct name is actually Palace of the Dukes of Alba, as it’s actually still the property of a prominent aristocratic Spanish family. The origins of the palace date back to the 16th century, and it has been considered a national monument since 1931. It opened to the public in 2016, and has since been enchanting travelers from all around the globe.
We visited Las Dueñas on a Spring morning, which made the experience even more stunning, as the palace itself was completely covered in flowers colored in all shades of pink.
We rapidly fell in love with the gardens and courtyards that you find along the way as you explore Palacio de las Dueñas, but you can also visit several rooms around the main courtyard. Here, you’ll find carefully decorated interiors and collections with countless precious objects from the Alba family.
Mari and Rui |Two Find a Way
13. Experience Easter Pageantry
Every year, Seville has a few every special days or weeks where they remember or celebrate events. One of these is Semana Santa, the Holy Week before Easter. Seville is famous for its elaborate processions through the streets. Semana Santa in Seville is one of the biggest and most famous in Spain, which means it attracts many Spanish tourists as well as visitors from around the world. And yet, the experience is still not too crowded while being surprisingly affordable.
The processions take place all week long. Each procession meanders through the cathedral at one point during their route. (You can find the routes and times in the guide you can pick up at the tourist office, but also by downloading the free app Paso a Paso.)
This means that if you arrive ten minutes in advance, it’s easy to get a nice view of these impressive processions—most carry two “pasos” (statues) —and then join in with the locals to follow the procession as it passes.
It’s true that the main tourist attractions are busy in Seville this week (hotels are also more expensive during this high season), but once you leave the route of the procession, it’s still easy to enjoy a simple stroll and find a spot for delicious Spanish food.
Manouk |Groetjes uit Verweggistan (“With Love from Far Away”)
14. Visit the Sevilla Museum of Fine Arts
You will find the Sevilla Musem of Fine Arts to be just a quick walk from the center of Seville. Open every day but Monday, the museum is a gorgeous but manageable collection of mainly Spanish art from Medieval times through the 20th century.
Famous artists from Seville are prominently featured, particularly the painter Murillo, whose dreamy and ethereal paintings of the Madonna and Child are rapturous in their use of light and color. Built in a former convent, the most beautiful parts of the museum are housed in the chapel, where you can view art amidst the remnants of a domed and beautifully painted ceiling.
As is common in Spanish art, many, if not most, of the subjects are religious. The museum is small enough that you can walk through almost every room in 60 to 90 minutes, with enough time to admire favorite paintings at length. The Museo de Bella Artes is not far from the main area of Seville; it’s easy walking distance from Las Setas and Sevilla Cathedral.
I visited with my mom, and even though she isn’t a huge fan of Spanish art, the modest size of the museum, the fascinating architecture—and the air conditioning to escape July heat!—were very welcome. Best of all? There’s a gorgeous square outside where a market is held some days, and entrance is a mere 1.50 euros, but free to holders of an EU Passport!
Cate| Sacred Wanderings
15. Indulge Your Inner Child at Isla Magica
During a trip to Seville, one of the activities you’ll enjoy the most is going to the Isla Magica. The Isla Magica is a theme park based on the Spanish discoveries during the 16th and 17th centuries. The park recreates important Spanish settlements like the Puerto de Indias, Cartagena, Amazonia, and the lost city of El Dourado.
It’s an enthralling opportunity to learn about Spanish history, especially for children. Besides, Isla Magica is also a water park, making it the ideal spot to escape from the hot sun of the Andalusia province of Spain. The South of Spain is very hot, especially the interior of Andalusia, so spending a day or an afternoon in the water park offers an excellent respite.
The park offers a wide array of rides and games, water activities, 4D cinema, and live shows. Plus, it has plenty of restaurants to grab a quick bite. The Isla Magica is very close to the historic city center of Seville so you can easily walk there. It’s also easily accessible by public transports and offers plenty of parking.
Jorge and Cláudia | Travel Drafts
16. See the Stunning Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos is one of Seville’s best-kept secrets and a must-stop attraction during any first-time visit to the city. Built during the 16th century, this is one of Seville’s most beautifully preserved civil palaces and it still serves as a permanent residence of the Duke of Medinaceli to this day.
Located in the historical center of Seville, Casa de Pilatos is characterized by its fusion of Italian Renaissance, Gothic and Mudejar architecture. Walking through the grounds really is like stepping back in time. Marble gates, ornate arches and colorful tiles are just a few of the striking features to look out for, not to mention the beautifully kept gardens that add to its charm.
Every wall of the palace is different, with intricate mosaics, carvings, and memorials to Spanish kings and Roman Emperors. But the real showstopper attraction is the traditional Andalusian courtyard, at the center of the palace, with its grand columns, statues, and beautiful fountain.
Tickets can be purchased on-site for access to the ground floor only (€10) or to both the ground and upper floors (€12), which includes a guided tour of the palace’s fascinating past. Or if you’re an EU passport holder, entry to the palace is completely free on Wednesdays between 3-6pm!
Jules | Part-Time Passport
1. What is Seville famous for?
As the capital of Andalusia (southern Spain), Seville is where the gypsy art of Flamenco was born. Seville’s cathedral is the third largest in the world and visitors worldwide are drawn to the Royal Alcazar Palace. Try “Cazón en dobo”—a tender white fish that is fried; It’s a popular Andalusian specialty served in Seville bars and restaurants. (Consider a food tour here!)
2. How many days do you need in Seville?
Three days would be a perfect amount of time to catch the highlights in Seville. See the Royal Alcazar, cathedral, La Giralda bell tower, and Barrio Santa Cruz at a minimum. If you have less time though, don’t let the lack of three days keep you from missing this fabulous city!
3. What can you do for free in Seville?
You can visit Mercado de Triana and also enjoy the view from the beautiful Giralda tower (the bell tower of Seville Cathedral) if you’re there on a Sunday. Get lost in the narrow labyrinth of cobblestone streets in Barrio Santa Cruz.
Explore the gorgeous María Luisa Park and photogenic Plaza de Espana. If you live in Seville, entrance to the Real Alcazar is free! One more idea: Check out the Archive de Indias, a historical library about the Spanish library and UNESCO World Heritage site.
4. What is good to buy in Seville?
Handcrafted Cartuja ceramics, exceptional olive oil, cookies and pastries made by convent nuns (try Convento San Leandro), hand-painted foldable fans, orange blossom perfume, a hand-embroidered mantilla (Spanish shawl), sherry, and anisette (a well-loved, clear liqueur that tastes like licorice).
5. What is there to do in Seville at night?
Seville after dark is magical. The stunning architecture is all lite up. Spaniards eat and drink late! So join the party with tapas at 9 or 10 pm or take in the view at Las Setas, (the” mushrooms” or a rooftop bar. See a flamenco show—either a performance or a spontaneous dance in a plaza if you’re lucky—and then join the locals during their evening “paseo” (stroll).
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