Walking around Seville on a cold and gloomy day with spitting rain wasn’t what we had in mind while planning a trip to a city which is known to have a fantastic climate and gorgeous blue sky.
When I close my eyes and imagine Andalusia, swirling red dresses, never-ending sunshine and blossoming orange trees lining street comes to mind.
However, we spent the first two days were cold, very cold. But even on a cold and rainy spring day, Seville keeps it sweet and beautiful to the eye.
Our initial plan for visiting Seville was to soak up some sunshine and to celebrate Ericeiras second Birthday. Although the bad weather followed us in Spain too, we braved the storms and had a chance to visit beautiful Alcazar of Seville and Seville Cathedral.
Your guide to exploring charming Seville for the first time
Seville is the cultural and historical heart of the country and a fantastic place in all of Spain to experience its rich traditions and visit many of its palaces and churches.
There’s a great variety of things to do and ideally, to experience the full essence of it, from staying up all night in one of the rooftop bars to going on the tapas trail, you’d need about 4 to 5 days.
Once you arrive, settle into your accommodation and rush to see it’s world-famous landmarks, that will instantly fill you with long-lasting emotional impact, take time to walk around and absorb its charm, doing so would be a great intro to Seville.
There are many beautiful squares, where the morning sun glitters like diamonds, graceful crescents and plenty of attractive patios you can fix your gaze or camera on.
Top Things to see and do in Seville
Three of the things that are typically associated with Andalusia’s capital are Toros, tapas and flamenco, but there is so much more to see and do! Did you know that Seville is one of the most essential aeronautical centres in Europe? It’s also a city of clean energy and home to 2 football clubs.
#1. Plaza de España
A visit to Seville must definitely include a trip to this architecturally beautiful place, that was initially built for cities Ibero-American exhibition.
You have to visit Plaza de España for yourself to see thousands of hand-painted ceramic tiles with little details which are made locally in Triana and admire 4 bridges symbolising the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain.
Allow yourself to find pleasure in the simplest of things, admire arcades, catch the last rays of evening light, lose yourself in the history of a new place and immerse yourself into the magnificent architecture.
For a small fee, you can hire a boat to splash around the canal, or you can simply find a comfortable spot beside one of many fountains to relax, and people watch.
#2. Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the third-largest church in the World, is the most visited monument in the city. The building is 100 metres wide, 135 long and the ceiling reaches whopping 42 metres.
By visiting the majestic cathedral, that was built with a purpose to display cities prosperity and power, you can see the tomb of the great explorer Christopher Columbus, admire the largest altarpiece in the world that took its creator Pierre Dancart, almost 44 years to complete as well as impressive collections of jewellery and paintings.
Make sure you walk up 34 ramparts to the La Giralda bell tower which was originally built as a minaret and once was the tallest tower in all of Europe when completed in 1198. From here you’ll be fascinated by the views of Seville.
#3. Maria Luisa Park
Seville’s most famous park, overflowing with orange blossoms, plants, fountains and sculptures, is perfect for escaping the summer heat and the crowds.
With millions of tourists visiting Seville each year it’s challenging to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and to find a dose of peace and relaxation.
Maria Luisa Park is located close to the centre and features the island of ducks, frogs fountain and the lion’s fountain, all of which contribute to the solemn retreat from the bustling city life.
At the southern part of the park are Seville Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Popular Arts And Traditions, both well worth a wander around.
#4. The Alcázar of Seville
As much as we wanted to rush to Real Alcazar, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, we waited until the lunchtime and were delighted to find only a small crowd of tourists walking around.
For a first visit, allotting a half-day just to wander around the Real Alcázar de Seville would be enough time to see and appreciate all of it; the details, the fountains, the colours – especially the colours – and the scale of it is what makes this place one of the prettiest men built palaces.
We also recommend taking the tour of the Royal Quarters (Quarto Real Alto) and audio tours because educating yourself about the palace is as crucial as wandering around its grand hallways and peaceful gardens.
Initially built by Moorish kings, The Alcázar of Seville, that was declared a World Heritage site in 1987 along with the Giralda, The Cathedral and the Archives of Indies is still used as a Royal Residence for the King of Spain
Admission / Adult EUR 11.50. On Mondays from 5 to 6 pm in winter and from 6 to 7 pm in summer admission is free.
#5. Flamenco Shows
Appreciate local culture by exploring the passionate world of flamenco. Although most of the shows are tourist-oriented, you can still devote time to watch a live performance – with some of the best stars on the stage – that has more to it than just a dance. Observe and take in the guitar, the vocals, Flamenco dancing and the ‘palmas’ (hand clapping).
Much of the time dancers are dressed in black, the colourful flowery dresses are purely for the show and if the
• A Flamenco Festival / One of the best events where you can enjoy authentic flamenco shows is at a Flamenco Festival where the very best dancing singing and guitar playing is on display. La Bienal Festival is one of the most significant events worldwide, and it takes place in September every two years.
• El Palacio Andaluz / For an enjoyable evening where food and drinks are also included head to El Palacio located at Calle de María Auxiliadora, 18A, 41008 Sevilla.
• El Arenal / Founded by celebrated dancer Curro Vélez, El Arenal is a fantastic place to discover traditional flamenco. Located at Calle Rodo, 7, 41001 Sevilla.
• Tablao Álvarez Quintero / For a captivating Flamenco show set in an intimate setting stop by Tablao Álvarez Quintero situated at Calle Alvarez Quintero 48, Sevilla.
#6. Space Metropol Parasol
The 26-metre high design, which is very different from much of the architecture seen in Seville, is commonly known as Last Setas or the mushrooms by the locals. Located at La Encarnación square, the most massive wooden structure in the world offers a panoramic view of Seville both day and night.
It was designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer and completed in April 2011; rumour has it that it costs 86 million to build. The entry to the Space Metropol Parasol where you can also see Romain ruins in the basement is 3 euros, including a free postcard which you have to claim from the nearby shop.
#7. Food and drink
It is said that unique cuisine known as tapas – extracted from the Spanish term ‘to cover’ or ‘top’ – originated in Seville where Andalusian sherry/wine drinkers used to cover their glasses with a tin slice of bread and meat. This is just one of the theories of how tapas were born – because we all know when it comes to traditions, there are various hypotheses how it all started.
Nevertheless, you’ll find that tapas is a way of life in Seville and it comes with its own vocabulary: a tapeador is someone who eats tapas, tapeo is the activity itself, and tapear is to go out for tapas.
For those travellers who are eager to learn more about the culinary history of tapas, Tapas Food Tour – accompanied by a knowledgeable guide – is a great way to spend a few hours in Seville. Most of the tours are around 2.5 hours, and they include a visit to several restaurants and bars.
If you plan on visiting Seville and do a DIY food tour, there are a couple of must-try dishes to try:
• Salmorejo / This tasty tomato soup served chilled and made with fresh tomatoes, bread, olive oil, sherry vinegar and garlic is an Andalusia’s traditional dishes.
• Carrillada de Cerdo / One of Seville’s most traditional meats is pork cheek cooked in a simple wine reduction – incredibly tender and full of flavour – when appropriately prepared with garlic and cloves adding to its uniqueness.
• Torrijas / Made with stale bread that is soaked in beaten eggs and deep-fried after. You can find them in most pastry shops where they are topped with ice cream.
• Espinacas con Garbanzos / Vegetarians will appreciate this spinach, and chickpea stew recipe served with homemade crouton.
Getting to and around Seville
Flights / We recommend using Skyscanner to find an affordable flight. Seville is well connected with many European cities as well as Spanish ones, and Seville Airport (Aeropuerto De Sevilla) is located 10 km (6.2 mi) northeast of the city.
Trains / Seville can be easily reached by train from other Spanish cities like Barcelona and Madrid. Sevilles train station is located in the most north part of the city and is called Santa Justa. Travelling by local trains ( Cercanias) is a very convenient way with affordable prices but if you prefer high-speed train ( AVE) is more expensive.
Getting around / Seville, the capital of Andalucia is an easy to navigate destination, the perfect city for a weekend break and the best way to see it is on foot. You can also pick up a ‘paseito’, horse carriage adding to cities charm to take you to various tourist attractions, use metro that opened up in 2008, use one of hop on hop off buses or take advantage of cities extensive bus network that covers all barrios.
Where to stay in Seville
If you are planning a trip to Seville, it’s virtually impossible to recommend just one place to stay as this will depend on your length of stay, budget and needs. Instead, we recommend picking one of its coolest neighbourhoods known as barrios,
• Santa Cruiz / The broadest range of accommodation along with several museums and excellent dining options can be found in Barrio Santa Cruiz, which was once a Jewish quarter. Beautifully narrow streets are easy to navigate and great for aimless wanderings. Don’t miss Calle Agua (‘Water Street’) and the square it leads to. Accommodation consists of excellent budget and boutique hotels, several 4-star and 5-star hotels.
• Centre / The central part of the city, located between Plaza de Encarnacion and Plaza Nueva, is filled with shopping streets, top art museum, numerous bars and restaurants. You can browse through shops selling excellent quality Spanish made leather bags, shoes and boots.
• El Arenal / Situated west of Barrio Santa Cruiz, this neighbourhood was once Seville’s port area, and you can learn all about its history in Naval Museum. Here you’ll find lots of lovely restaurants and bars and great nightlife.
• Triana / Situated on west banks of the Guadalquivir river, Triana is one of Seville’s most fascinating neighbourhoods where ‘unwanted’ once went to live. Also known as the birthplace of flamenco. The oldest church of the city is mixed in with traditional restaurants and charming streets.
Other tips hints and things to do
- Explore an ancient neighbourhood of Santa Cruz and be amazed by jasmine-scented courtyards and tiny streets. Make sure you visit The Convent of Los Venerables and find the narrowest street.
- Seville oranges that grow all around the city and are an integral part of the landscape may appear delicious, but in fact, are very sour. This hasn’t stopped Brittish from making and enjoying marmalade from them.
- Make the most of free and less touristy attractions, yet equally impressive, in Seville by visiting places like the General Archive of the Indies
- Don’t be afraid of visit Seville in winter. Nicknamed the frying pan of Europe, Seville gets scorching hot during the summer, think 40’degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Many places in Seville has been used as filming locations, producing various films and series such as Knight and Day, Kingdom of Heaven, The Dictator, Nobody Knows Anybody, Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
- For bicycle lovers, there are over 120 kilometres of bicycle routes, and you can use SEVici – Seville´s public bike rental service for residents and tourist alike – to explore Seville.
- Book tickets in advance. Avoid disappointment and long queues by purchasing tickets online.
- Seville is home to some of Spain’s best Siestas with Feria de Abril and Semana Santa taking over the city and celebrating with dancing, eating, drinking and socialising.
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Now, over to you!
Have you been to Seville? Let us know in the comments below!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Seville and have travel-related questions!