Wouldn’t it be fun to travel to a place where it’s festive, full of life, with hopping tapas bars and live music in the streets?
Seville, Spain, has so much to offer with its gourmet foods, metro vibes, fancy markets, stunning architecture and beautiful people. Even though Seville is the state’s capital and fourth largest city in Spain, it doesn’t really feel that way. Although I was only here for a short period of time and made a few day trips, I honestly thought it was a manageable city by foot. Seville is a colorful city with beautiful ornate tiles affixed on various historical buildings along with a flowery landscape in the parks and a love for music performances on the streets. I would say that this is probably one of my favorite cities in Europe.
There is a tremendous number of things to see and do in Seville and below is just a small selection to get you started. Here you will find information on Seville Cathedral, the world’s largest wooden structure, Metropol Parasol, the magnificent Plaza de Espana and so much more.
Take a step back in time and visit one of Seville’s key architectural attractions, Royal Alcazar Palace. This medieval palace, with many lush gardens, is incredibly beautiful. The construction began in the 10th century, home to the ruling Almohad Dynasty. As Christians conquered the Moors, construction continued until the Renaissance period. Today it is home to the Spanish royal family, making it Europe’s oldest continually used royal palace. Take an audio guide to hear all the details of the magnificent sculptures, paintings, and art pieces inside. If you are a fan of the Game of Thrones, you may notice specific areas inside the palace where they filmed. Lines can be long so stay away from peak times of the day.
Hours: Mon. – Sun. 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (schedule may change)
Fee: $12.00 per person
Tour: Viator Tours
One of Seville’s ultra-modern large structures located in Plaza de la Encarnacion is the Metropol Parasol, nicknamed “las setas” (the mushroom). Built in 2011, it claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. The interlocking canopy made from birch wood shades the plaza from the hot sun in the summer. Typically on the weekend, you will find below in Plaza de la Encarnacion, open-air markets selling various goods. Visitors can go up to an observation point to look down on the structure and the city. During the construction, Roman ruins were discovered and were incorporated into the Museum Antiquarium which is located in the basement of the plaza. At the street level, under the Metropol Parasol, is a food market with over 40 stalls called the Mercado de la Encarnacion. You will find a variety of fruit and vegetables; seafood; game meats; delicatessens, bars, and jewelry.
Hours: Friday – Saturday: 10 am -11 pm; Sunday – Thursday: 10 am -11 pm
Cost: $ 5 per person to get to the observation level
Museum Antiquarium Hours: Tue. – Sat. 10 am – 10 pm, Sun. 10 am – 2 pm Cost: $3 pp
* Access to the viewpoint is in the basement next to the entrance to the Antiquarium
* The ticket office closes 30 minutes before closing time
Bus: Ride bus 27 and 32 Metro: T1, stop at Plaza Nueva
Tours: Viator Tours
Tale-tells say that this tower was once covered in golden tiles, hence how it received the name Torre Del Oro (which means Tower of Gold). As we took a leisurely walk along the Guadalquivir River banks we came across this hexagonal shape tower. This tower was once used as a military watchtower protecting the Almohad dynasty from invaders. Today it is home of the Navy Museum.
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 9:30 am – 7 pm, Sat. – Sun. 10: 30 am – 7 pm
Cost: $5 per person (audio guides are available) Free on Mondays
Tram Station: Puerta de Jerez
Bus Station: Paseo Colon (Teatro Maestranza)
Tours: Viator Tours
Not far from the Torre Del Oro is the Maria Luisa Park. This gorgeous city park is worth the visit as the shady trees hang over the walking paths that lead you to duck ponds, botanical gardens, decorative monuments, fountains, and colorful ceramic-tile benches. Two of the city’s main museums are located here: Archeological Museum and the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. You will most likely walk through this park to visit the Plaza de Espana. Gorgeous detailed ornate tilework is found throughout the Plaza which is crescent-shaped with a relaxing water canal built for the Ibero—American Exposition in 1929. This exhibition was designed to showcase Spain’s art and technology, with complexly filled alcoves, each representing Spain’s different districts. Your camera will want to capture each nook of colorful tiles depicting the region. Plaza de Espana is free.
Hours: 8 am – 10 pm (best time for photos 8 am). Give yourself 2 hours here.
Bus Station nearby to Plaza de Espana: Avenida La Borbolla (Capitanía); Avda. Portugal (Ciudad de Ronda), Avenida Maria Luisa (La Raza).
Plaza de Espana Tours: Lonely Planet
Maria Luisa Park Tour: Lonely Planet
Archeological Museum Hours: Mon. – Sat. 9 am – 3 pm; Cost: $5 per person
Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions Hours: Tue. – Sun. 9 am – 3 pm Cost: $4 per person
This charming neighborhood is located on the left side of the Guadalquiver River, which was once considered a gypsy neighborhood. To visit one must cross the iconic Isabel II’s Bridge , also known as the Triana Bridge, where you will find food carts and other merchants selling various goods. Today, this eccentric neighborhood still holds its charm with beautiful churches, ceramic shops, and outdoor tapas bars lining the streets. Some other interesting sights to see in the area is the Iglesia de Santa Ana, the historic Callejon de la Inquisicion (Inquisition Alley), the Museum of Tolerance located in the San Jorge Castle, and Santa Ana Pottery Factory. One of our favorite spots we discovered is the Mercado Triana (Triana Market) an open market of fresh fruits, meats, vegetables, and cooked foods to go. Take your time, stop for coffee or churros and enjoy the neighborhood.
San Jorge Castle: Address: Plaza del Altozano,
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 6:30 pm, Sat. – Sun. 10 am – 3 pm, Cost: Free
Santa Pottery Factory: Hours: Tue.-Sat. 11 am- 5:30 pm; Sun. 10 am-2:30 pm, Cost: $4 per person, Location: Callao, 16.
Mercado Triana: Hours: Mon. – Sat.: 10 am – 12 am. Sun. 12 pm – 5 pm, Location: Calle San Jorge, 6
Triana Guide: Viator Tours
One of my favorite palaces in Spain was built in the 15th century and was owned by Duquesa de Alba, a famous aristocrat and loved by many in the community. The home is beautifully decorated with extensive gardens and stunning Mudejar patios (a type of architecture). Many famous artists and political figures have visited this palace to enjoy the landscape and garden designs within the walls. My favorite is the flowery shrubs that have been arranged to climb the colorful stucco walls to which adds a splash of color.
Guided Tours and Audio are available onsite.
Hours: Summer (April – Sept.) 10 am – 8 pm, Winter (Oct. – March) 10 am – 6 pm
Cost: $10 per person
Located in Plaza Virgen de Los Reyes, is the home of many bishops and archbishops of the Episcopal. The 18th century Spanish Baroque architectural style building has a red façade with white pilasters, small iron awnings, and large balconies. We were unable to go inside, but the doors are open to visitors two Saturdays a month with four shifts per day. You must make reservations. Tours are available at the offices of Diocesan Curia.
This beautifully creative design building will catch your eye as you stroll Avenue of the Constitution. The cylindrical body with the many interact details along with the gingerbread design is a focal point which ties together Islamic and other religion characteristics all in one. Although we were not able to enter the building, it was something to go check out.
This fountain represents the city and all the symbols surrounding it represent the growth and expansion of the trade and industrial world. In the 1970s the fountain was removed to work on the development of the Metro. This fountain area is the gathering point for most tourists as it’s close to the city center. On one side is Seville’s most famous Hotel Alfonso XII and the University of Seville as well as a view down Constitution Avenue to the cathedral. You can enjoy a horse and buggy ride, listen to a group of musicians perform or admire the flamenco dancers performing on the streets.
This extraordinary. massive, and ornate cathedral was once the site of the grand Alijama mosque built by the Almohads in the 12th century. The remaining parts of the mosque still in existence today are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon and the Giralda (once a minaret and now a bell tower). The cathedral construction started in 1401, lasting over a century before completion. Although many have debated whether it is the largest church in the world, it is definitely at the top of the list. The center of the church is focused around the choir and organ. Along the sides are generations of past wealthy rulers who have left gifts and their styles of religious decoration.
The Great Chapel (Capilla Mayor) has 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ and other patron saints. It is one of the largest and wealthiest altarpieces in the world. Through the ante-chambers is the Chapter House (Capitular), with a domed ceiling and decorative marble floor. Here you will find many paintings by Murillo. What fascinated me was the tomb of Christopher Columbus, who eventually died in poverty.
Hours: Mon. 11:00 am – 5:30 pm; Tue. – Sat. 11 am – 7:00 pm; Sun. 2:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
Cost: $12 per person
Tour: Viator Tours
Giralda (Bell Tower)
A visit to the Giralda is included in your purchase into the Cathedral. This climb may seem daunting but well worth the journey. You will have to walk at the pace of the person in front of you, as well as deal with those coming down the tower. As you circle around the tower up many flights of stairs, pay attention to the windows and look out as it will give you a chance to see the entire city. Once you get to the top, you will need to be patient to have your turn to look out over the city. This being said, it was worth the climb! For over 80 years the Giralda was the tallest building in the city. This minaret was built in 1195 for the Alijama mosque. Take your time and enjoy the view!
Access is typically included in ticket to the Cathedral of Seville
Tour: Viator Tours
PATIO DE LOS NARANJOS
After you finish with Giralada, your journey will lead you out onto a patio of orange trees. This large courtyard dates back to the Moorish times when worshippers washed their hands and feet in the fountain before their daily prayer. Throughout the patio area there are orange trees which provide shade and a nice fragrance. As you exit Patio de los Naranjos, you will pass through the Gate of Forgiveness. What a nice way to leave such a masterpiece!
Hours: Mon. 11 am – 6:00 pm, Tue. – Sat. 11 am – 5 pm, Sun. 2:30 pm -6 pm
Cost: $12 per person
Tour: Viator Tours
El Palacio Andaluz: Flamenco Show
Flamenco dancing is one of the most popular and iconic activities to do in Seville. Flamenco is a professionalized art-form based on the various folkloric music traditions of Southern Spain. These Flamenco shows are held at El Palacio Andaluz which is located in a renovated warehouse with a large stage. Plenty of tables are available with a full bar and restaurant service for guest. We made reservations to see Tablao Flamenco with Viator Tours at 9:30 pm which included an evening city tour, flamenco show, and with dinner and drinks. The dancers wore bright, colorful costumes and danced Spanish flamenco style moves for two hours. We truly enjoyed the show!
Hours: 7:30 pm or 9:30 pm performance
Cost: $60 per person
Directions: Calle de Maria Auxiliadora, 18A, 41008 Sevilla
Tour: Viator Tours
With tapas bars, festivities taking place in the plaza, and the tremendous Spanish cuisine, Seville should be on your bucket list to visit in Europe. The people are social and friendly with tourists from all over the world. The weather is perfect, although I heard it can be a bit hot in the summer. Take part in a Flamenco Show, attend a bullfight, go to a soccer match, or paddle board the Guadalquivir River. I am sure you will find something that fits your fancy! Witness the incandescent beauty of Seville.