TOP
City Break Europe Solo Travel

14 of the Best Things to do in Seville

Last updated on February 29th, 2024 at 11:33 am

If you are considering a visit to the Andalusian region of Spain, then read on for my list of 14 of the best things to do in Seville.

I spent 3 days in Seville and discovered so much to see and do. Historic sites, palaces, flamenco, modern architecture and, of course, tapas! This city has it all.

But first, organisational matters!

Getting to Seville

Located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, Seville is readily accessible by plane, train, car or bus.

I flew directly into Seville’s airport, San Pablo (SVQ), from London with the flight taking a little over 2.5 hours. The airport is located about 10 kilometres from the city. Check Kiwi.com and Expedia.co.uk for flight options and prices.

Train and bus routes are available from other Spanish and European cities and of course, arriving by car is always an option. You won’t need a car in central Seville however as the city is walkable and many of the roads in the historic centre are too narrow for cars in any event.

Currency

Seville is part of the European Union and uses the Euro (€).

Getting to/from the airport

My flight was scheduled to arrive just before midnight (it was late!) so I had booked a transfer from the airport using Holiday Extras. Be aware that if you choose to stay in the old town, your taxi will likely have to drop you off away from your hotel given the narrowness of the streets. I would therefore recommend having Google Maps on your phone so you can find your way.

My return trip was on the airport bus which I boarded very close to Torre del Orro (see below) – look for route EA. The bus is operated by Tussam – check their official site for up to date route information. A single trip costs €4 and a return is €6. Tickets can be purchased from the driver. The service ran to time and I would recommend it.

Where to stay in Seville

As with most major European cities, Seville has a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets.

My recommendation would be to stay in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old town in Seville. This is where most of the sites you will want to visit are located and although it is a touristy area, there are enough little, winding streets to get away from your fellow travellers if you want!

I stayed at Hotel Murillo which is located toward the end of the street shown in the photo below. An excellent location! There are plenty of other hotel options in Seville of course – Booking.com and Expedia.com are always good places to start looking.

Coping with the heat

Seville is hot…and even more so in Summer when I visited! Dehydration and too much sun can be disastrous (not to mention life threatening) at any time, let alone when travelling, so do take precautions.

My tips for coping with the heat are:

  • prebook tickets online – the Cathedral and Royal Alcázar are very popular and you want to avoid standing under the sun in a long queue for tickets
  • for attractions with timed entry, select times that will take you inside and out of the sun during the hottest part of the day
  • carry water with you and drink it!
  • wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen (don’t forget to put sunscreen on your ears!)
  • for those who wear makeup, use a foundation with a high SPF – I used a SPF50
  • use your umbrella for additional shade
  • take a break – there is seating throughout the city so use it
  • wear loose fitting, cooling clothing e.g. cotton
  • plan your visit – be honest about your capabilities and what you can realistically do e.g. consider a hop on hop off bus if walking would be a challenge

So, now we have the organisational matters in hand, let’s plan your visit – here is my list of 14 of the best things to do in Seville.

Join a Walking Tour

I’m a big fan of walking tours and therefore it’s no surprise that I joined one in Seville! I used GuruWalk to find a tour and can highly recommend the White Umbrella free tour. This is a tips based tour meaning you pay what you think the tour was worth.

Walking tours are, in my view, a great way to get your bearings in a new city and to get recommendations as to where to eat, shop etc. As I mentioned earlier, Seville is hot, especially in summer, so first make sure that a walking tour is suitable for you and if so, follow my tips for coping with the heat. Our walking tour did include a break part way through….where an ice cold beer was the order of the day!

Photo of a sign of Seville seen during a walking tour of the city - definitely one of the best things to do in Seville.

Visit the Royal Alcázar

No trip to Seville is complete without a visit to the stunning Royal Alcázar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

The Royal Alcázar is a palace built for the Christian King Peter of Castile on the site of a former Muslim residential fortress (an Alcázar). The fortress was destroyed in 1248 when Christians conquered Seville.

The upper floors of the palace are still occupied today by the Spanish Royal Family when they visit Seville.

Architecturally, the Royal Alcázar is recognised as a stunning example of Mudéjar style combining Gothic and Renaissance elements too. Beautiful arches, tiles and lattice work dominate the palace while the gardens are very impressive – look out for the peacocks!

I recommend booking tickets in advance online. As I’ve said before, this will avoid having to join what can be a long, hot queue to buy a ticket.

General admission to the ground floor is €13.50 and €5.50 to visit the Royal Bedroom (concessions are available). The ticket price also include an audio guide which you can download to your phone. I booked my ticket through Get Your Guide.

See the Official Royal Alcázar website for up to date visitor information.

Visit Seville Cathedral

It goes without saying that a visit to the Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Seville. Located on the opposite side of the Plaza del Triunfo from the Royal Alcázar, the Cathedral is enormous! In fact, its one of the largest churches in the world and the largest Gothic church.

Photo of the Cathedral - one of the best things to do in Seville

A mosque once stood on the site of the Cathedral, however following the Christian conquest of Seville in 1248 it was adapted and used for Christian services. In 1401, a decision was taken to build a new Cathedral and, following some reconstructive works, it was finally completed in 1519.

The Cathedral does retain some elements from the ancient mosque, including:

  • the courtyard where the faithful undertook their ablutions before entering the mosque (now known as the Patio de los Naranjos); and
  • the minaret which was converted into a bell tower known as the Giralda (see below).

There is so much to see in the Cathedral you should set aside a couple of hours for a visit. I recommend booking a ticket online in advance and including the audioguide. Entry fees begin at €11 for general admission which includes the Giralda (concessions available) and €5 for the audio guide. I booked my ticket through Get Your Guide. Guided tours are also available.

Note also that it is possible to visit the Cathedral for free between 2 and 3pm Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) but these tickets go quickly so book well in advance! See the official website for up to date visitor information.

There are a great many chapels to see as well as stunning stained glass windows, beautiful artwork and of course, the tombs of Christopher Columbus and Seville’s conquerer, Ferdinand III of Castile.

The Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Climb La Giralda

As I’ve said above, your ticket into the Cathedral includes access to Cathedral’s bell tower, the Giralda. Once the minaret of the ancient mosque, the bell tower stands just over 104 metres tall and yes, you can climb to the top!

There are 35 floors to walk up, but thankfully there are no stairs. Instead, the Giralda contains ramps, constructed apparently to allow the muezzin, the man calling the faithful to prayer, to climb the minaret on horseback.

The views from the top are impressive, not just of the surrounding city, but also of the Gothic structure of the Cathedral.

The Giralda is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visit La Casa de Pilatos

The Casa de Pilatos is a real gem and making a visit here is one of the best things to do in Seville!

A civil (as opposed to Royal) Andalusian palace dating from the last quarter of the 15th century, it remains the permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli.

It’s a mix of Italian Renaissance, Gothic and Mudéjar architecture and contains thousands of colourful tiles. The centre courtyard and fountain are beautiful. However, for me, the gardens were equally as enjoyable. In fact, I could have sat in the gardens all day but I had a plane to catch!

As one of the largest private homes in Seville, I would allow a couple of hours for your visit.

General entry fee is €10 which includes a very informative audioguide. Note that there is reference online to tours of the upper floors, however this was not offered to me. I was able to climb the staircase to the upper floors but the rooms themselves were not accessible.

Wander around Plaza de España

One of the most recognisable sites in Seville, the Plaza de España is located along the edge of the beautiful Maria Luisa Park.

The Plaza was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition, is semi circular in shape and contains a mix of architectural styles. Its thousands of beautifully decorated tiles and series of alcoves, each dedicated to a different province of Spain, together with the four, Venetian style bridges spanning the moat make for a lovely backdrop….but it does get busy! That, combined with a lack of shade, means you should try and get there early.

A visit to the Plaza is also one of the free things to do in Seville!

Visit the Archive of the Indies

Speaking of free things to do in Seville, located close to the Cathedral and the Royal Alcázar, you will find the Archive of the Indies. Housed in an ancient merchants exchange, the Casa Lonja de Mercaderes, the Archive contains some of the most important documents relating to the Spanish Empire in the Americas and Asia.

Construction of the building, known as the Lonja, began in 1584 but was not finished until 1646. Following abandonment by the merchants by 1660, the Longa was used for other purposes until 1785 when the first documents arrived and the archive was established.

The archive contains some 80 million pages of documents and 9 kilometres of shelving. Today, much of the archive is accessible online.

The building and its contents are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There is a lovely garden in front of the Lonja and inside, by the windows, you can enjoy a lovely blast of cool air-conditioned breeze!

Climb the Torre del Oro

The Torre del Oro (the Tower of Gold) is a watchtower built in the first third of the 13th century by the Almohad Caliphate to control access to the city from the Guadalquivir River. 

There are various theories as to why it’s called the Tower of Gold, including suggestions it was covered in gold tiles or housed treasure but restoration work concluded that the walls were covered in a lime mortar and pressed straw mix which gave them a golden hue. 

The Torre del Oro is 36m high and today it houses a small maritime museum. Climb up the spiral staircase to the top for lovely views over Seville. 

Entry fee is €3, concessions are available.

Photo of Torre del Oro. Climbing to the top is one of the best things to do in Seville.

Take a Tour of Plaza de Toros Seville – the Bullring

I will say from the outset – I have no intention of ever going to a bullfight. That said, bullfighting, although banned elsewhere in Spain, is very important to the people of Seville. In fact, the bullring (full name – La Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla) is one of the most important in Spain and the 3rd most visited monument in Seville.

The most important bullfights take place daily during the festival week Feria de Abril (held annually 2 weeks after the Semana Santa festival in the week before Easter). The regular season will run from March/April (depending on when the Semana Santa festival falls) until late September.

Construction of the bullring began in the 1700s and today it has a capacity of 12,000 spectators. Within the building is a small museum telling the history of bullfighting and displaying various artworks, sculptures, clothing and equipment. You can also see the chapel bullfighters visit before their fights and you can walk out into the ring.

A general admission ticket costs €10 (concessions available). Note – this is the price of the ticket to visit the bullring and not the price of a ticket to a bullfight.

Stop by Setas de Sevilla (Mushrooms of Seville)

This very large, mainly wooden structure encompasses a market, archeology museum and a rooftop walkway. It looks rather incongruous in the old quarter of Seville, yet it’s clearly an incredible architectural achievement.

It was designed by a German architect and completed in 2011 following a city sponsored competition. In addition to the views over the city, the structure also offers much needed shade.

The admission fee is €15 (concessions are available). Check the official site for up to date visitor information.

I decided not to buy a ticket as I had already climbed La Giralda and Torre del Oro. In addition, my hotel had a rooftop terrace, all of which provided lovely views over the city. However, I did very much want to see the structure itself….and it didn’t disappoint!

Explore the Barrio de Santa Cruz – Seville Old Town

One of the best things to do in Seville is to just wander through the old town neighbourhood of Santa Cruz.

Dating back to 1248, Santa Cruz was once the Jewish Quarter of the medieval city. Today, it’s a touristy area, but don’t let that put you off – it’s also home to the Cathedral and Royal Alcázar. The maze of narrow, winding passageways not only take you back in time, but will provide you with some much needed shade in the summer months. Small bars, cafes, shops and shady plazas will all tempt you!

It’s also fun to just wander and be surprised by what’s behind the next corner!

Eat Tapas!

Seville is the city where tapas are reputed to have originated so they are a speciality and therefore are not only one of the best things to do in Seville, but an absolute must!

So, what are tapas? Basically, they are small plates of food – think appetiser or snack size. They can be combined to make a full meal and can be hot or cold. You would typically have them with a glass of wine or beer.

I would recommend enjoying tapas in a small bar in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood…something I did on several occasions (research you understand!).

Here’s a selection of dishes I had:

I also enjoyed Gazpacho, goats cheese and sirloin with blue cheese. This was washed down with a glass (or 2) of orange wine.

Relax on a Panoramic Cruise along the Guadalquivir River

When it’s hot, head for the water! An hour long cruise along the Guadalquivir River to be precise.

I joined a sightseeing cruise that left from near the Torre del Oro and for an hour I was able to sit on the shaded upper deck and enjoy a cool breeze as we first went one way and then the other along the river. Views of historic Seville, the Triana district, structures from the 1929 Exhibition and an array of interesting bridges glide past accompanied by an audio guide.

The cruise I joined had an on board bar service and offered 2 free walking tours as part of the ticket price. Unfortunately, I was not able to join those as I had a plane to catch!

My ticket would normally cost €20 however I only paid €15….some kind of special deal just for me, ha ha. Check Get Your Guide for available tour options.

Image of a river cruise boat in Seville

Visit Barrio de Triana – the Triana District of Seville

The Triana district is located across the river from the historic centre of Seville and is easily accessed by crossing the Isabel II Bridge (Puente de Isabel II). However, if, like me, you fancy a longer walk in the searing heat, cross the Puente San Telmo closer to the Torre del Oro (yes I did do that in July!).

The Triana district is famous for being the home of flamenco in Seville as well as for ceramics, and in particular, the azulejo tiles. When in this area, you must visit the daily fresh market, the Mercado de Triana. Fresh vegetables, meat and fish abound and you’ll have a hard choice deciding what to eat. I went for the empanadas in the end and they were great!

The market is built on the ruins of the Castle of San Jorge, once headquarters and prison for the Spanish Inquisition.

Final Thoughts

I loved my time in Seville! Interesting history, lovely architecture, beautiful gardens and delicious food combine to make this a great place for a city break. Oh, and the locals were very friendly also!

I had 3 days in Seville and would recommend that as a perfect amount of time to get a taste of what the city has to offer.

Enjoy your visit!

Looking for some other options? Then click here for my suggestions of other wonderful city break destinations.

Casa de Pilatos

Disclaimer – Visitor information was correct at the time of writing but check before travelling.

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

«

»

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.