Things to do in Seville
You have planned to visit Seville, the capital of Andalucia (also spelled Andalusia in English), during your next stay in Spain? Great choice!
Seville, along with Córdoba and Granada, is one of the three most famous cities in Andalucia. Visiting Seville means discovering a very rich architectural and historical legacy, but also diving in Spanish culture, with tapas, sangria and flamenco.
In order to help you plan your stay, I have created this guide of the best things to do in Seville, with all the activities and points of interests.
I will start with the top 15 must-see attractions in the city, and then give you itineraries to visit Seville in 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.
So what to do in Seville? Where to eat? Where to stay?
Let’s plan your city trip to Seville!
- Things to do in Seville
- 1. Seville Cathedral
- 2. La Giralda
- 3. The Alcázar of Seville
- 4. General Archive of the Indies
- 5. The Santa Cruz district
- 6. Casa de Pilatos
- 7. Plaza de España
- 8. Maria Luisa park
- 9. Plaza de Toros
- 10. Torre del oro
- 11. The Triana district
- 12. Metropol Parasol
- 13.The must-see museums in Seville
- 14. Seville’s churches
- 15. Things to do in Seville with children
- 1 day in Seville
- 2 days in Seville
- 3 days in Seville
- 4 days in Seville
- Where to stay in Seville
- Where to eat in Seville
- Tourist map of Seville
- My impressions of Seville
- You’re traveling in Spain? These articles will help you!
1. Seville Cathedral
I will start this list of the best things to do in Seville with Seville cathedral, the most visited monument in the city.
«Let us build a church so big that those who see it will think us mad». It’s with these words that the construction project of the 3rd biggest Cathedral in the world begun. And for sure, you can tell at first sight that Seville Cathedral was built to impress!
Built from 1401 on the foundations of an ancient Almohad mosque, the last stone of the dome was laid 100 years later.
The first thing that impress when you enter the Cathedral is for sure the sense of scale: It’s huge and the interior is decorated in a sumptuous way. You shouldn’t miss:
- The Capilla Mayor and its Gothic altar made of 45 panels representing the life of Christ
- The tomb of Christopher Columbus
- The collections of jewelry and paintings
The visit takes between 1h30 and 2h approximately.
All the practical information (Schedule, prices etc…) for visiting the cathedral can be found on the website of the tourist information office.
2. La Giralda
The Cathedral entrance ticket also gives you the possibility to visit La Giralda, the bell tower of Seville Cathedral. This minaret of the former mosque was modified by the Christians: they added the top part to be able to add bells (more than 24 in total!).
You can go to the top of the Giralda and admire the magnificent panoramic view over the whole city of Seville. No steps to get there, just a series of inclined ramps.
Legend has it that it was done with ramps instead of stairs so the imam (at the time of the mosque) could go up there with his donkey during the call to prayer.
Unfortunately it was closed during my visit to Seville, but don’t hesitate to share your impressions about this place in the comments!
3. The Alcázar of Seville
Just next to the cathedral is Seville’s second most important monument: The Alcázar of Seville (Real Alcázar in Spanish).
The Alcázar is still a Royal Residence: when he comes to Seville, the King of Spain lives here! It’s actually the oldest royal palace in Europe.
This Arab and Moorish palace alone represents the magnificence of Mudéjar art. The interior decorations are beautiful, each room and courtyard is decorated on every square centimetre with geometric patterns, vegetation and azulejos.
The place is also worth seeing for its really huge gardens with fountains, water jets and flower beds. It feels good to enjoy a bit of shade in the hot Andalusian summer!
A little downside: during my visit, some parts of the garden were a bit neglected. Thus, I really preferred the gardens of the Alcázar of Cordoba: they are smaller, but very well maintained.
Visiting the Alcázar de Sevilla will take you about 2 hours.
Practical information for visiting the Alcázar is available here
4. General Archive of the Indies
Next to the cathedral and the Alcázar of Seville, there is another, less touristy, place that’s worth a visit: the General Archive of the Indies ( Archivo General de Indias in Spanish). The visit is free and the main interest is the remarkable architecture of the building. The inside is very beautiful!
However, don’t expect to see the famous archives, they are kept out of sight. And yes all the cardboard files on the libraries are empty!
Don’t hesitate to visit it after the Cathedral, it will only take you 15 minutes.
5. The Santa Cruz district
All the most popular monuments are located in the Santa Cruz district, the historic heart of Seville. It’s therefore also the most touristic place!
You can stroll in the pedestrian streets, have a coffee or a lunch in one of the many bars and restaurants and shop for souvenirs in one of the numerous shops. It’s a very pleasant place to walk around, with its typical patios, whitewashed houses and pretty little squares.
Don’t miss the Plaza Patio de Banderas for a beautiful view of the cathedral!
6. Casa de Pilatos
The Casa de Pilatos is a palace built in 1540 by the first Marquis of Tarifa. Inspired by Italian architecture, the palace mixes several styles such as Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance.
Don’t be fooled by the classic and not very attractive facade, the Casa de Pilatos is really worth a look!
You will begin your visit in the superb patio with a fountain in its centre. You may then visit several rooms around the patio and take a break in one of the two small gardens. If I had listened to myself, this would have been the perfect place for a short nap!
If you opted for this option when you purchased your ticket, you can also visit the first floor. It’s is a bit more expensive and apparently not super interesting. Personally, I only visited the ground floor.
The ticket costs 8 euros, and it is, I admit, a bit expensive for the duration of the visit. But well, you’re not in Seville every day!
7. Plaza de España
Let’s continue this list of the best things to do in Seville with my favorite place to visit: The world famous Plaza de España (“Spain square” in English). This is simply the most beautiful square I have ever seen. Even after seeing it hundreds of times in pictures, you will be impressed by its dimensions and beauty.
It was built in 1928 for the 1929 Ibero-American exhibition to celebrate the discovery of America by Spanish conquistadors. In order to face the river and the arrival of ships from America, the plaza was designed with a half-circle shape.
On the Plaza de España, you can admire:
- Canals (you can rent a boat to cross them) reflecting the superb architecture of the palaces.
- 4 bridges symbolising the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain
- Arcades, fountains and the famous 48 azulejos benches, each representing a province of Spain.
You can also take the stairs on the right side of the square to go to a terrace with a great panoramic view!
And for Star Wars fans, it’s a must-see during a tour in Andalucia as the Plaza de España was used as a film location for episode II “The attack of the clones”.
8. Maria Luisa park
In front of the Plaza de España, you will find Seville’s most famous park: the Maria Luisa Park (Parque de María Luisa in Spanish). After the crowd and the heat, it’s the perfect destination! You will for sure enjoy the freshness of its shaded alleys, ponds, small lakes and fountains.
As you walk around, you will come across Plaza América, nicknamed the “Pigeon Square” by the Sevillans because of the numerous bird enjoying the food leftovers (and people feeding them!).
Must-see during your walk in the park: the frogs fountain, the lions fountain and the island of ducks.
You can easily spend 2 full hours there.
Seville Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Popular Arts And Traditions are located at the southern end of the park.
9. Plaza de Toros
You can visit the Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla (yes, that’s the full name!) with a guided tour only.
You will be able to visit the museum and enter the arena. Each year, the Plaza de Toros hosts one of the most important ferias in the world: the feria de Abril.
Whether you are for or against it, the bullfighting tradition is very strong in Andalusia and bullfights are a very important event in the Andalusian life.
If you want to visit the Plaza de Toros, all the information can be found on the official website.
10. Torre del oro
Close to the Plaza de toros, you can see the Torre del Oro, or “Tower of Gold” in English. Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, it was built in the early 13th century to strengthen the city’s military defenses. To block traffic on the river, the Moors used a huge chain connected to another tower situated on the other side of the river.
Today, the Torre de Oro houses the naval museum, with miniature models and former navigation tools. At the top, there is also a panoramic terrace which offers a nice view of the Cathedral, the river and the Triana district located on the other side of the Guadalquivir.
11. The Triana district
To get to the Triana district, the easiest way is to cross the Isabel II bridge to reach the other side of the Guadalquivir river. In the past, this district was home to many sailors, gypsies, singers and flamenco dancers and therefore was a very lively neighborhood.
You can start your visit of Triana with the market, located just at the end of the bridge, on your right side. Take the opportunity to taste or buy some Spanish cheeses or cold cuts!
Walking around the neighbourhood is also very pleasant. Don’t forget to visit a ceramics workshop, the typical art of the district.
For a nice stroll along the river, take the Calle Betis and enjoy the beautiful view of the Torre del Oro and Seville city center. It’s also a great place to have a drink, as the street is lined with cafes and restaurants.
If you like to visit religious buildings, don’t miss the Iglesia Santa Ana, the most beautiful of Triana district.
12. Metropol Parasol
It’s the peculiar monument of Seville. Very recent – it was built in 2011 – the Metropol parasol or Las Setas (“mushrooms” in English) was strongly criticised during its construction.
And indeed, the architecture can be surprising. This large wooden structure has the shape of giant mushrooms: quite far from the traditional Andalusian style!
But that’s where you’ll find one of the city’s best views. You can actually climb to the top of the building and admire a 360 degree view of Seville.
Another great thing is the entrance fee: it’s only 3 euros and as a bonus, your entrance ticket gives you a 1 euro rebate at the café located at the very top. The perfect opportunity to enjoy a drink and sunset over the city in an unusual place!
13.The must-see museums in Seville
If you have time during your stay in Seville, here is a list of the museums to visit:
- Museo de Bellas Artes with a collection of paintings by the great Andalusian and Spanish painters
- Museo del Baile Flamenco, where you can attend a performance (I tell you more about it after!)
- Museo de Artes y Costumbres populares, displaying traditional Andalusian clothes
- Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija with its mosaics, paintings and tapestries
- Centro Andaluz de arte contemporáneo showcasing a collection of paintings and ceramics
- Museo arqueológico de Sevilla: you should visit it for its beautiful Roman period pieces
- Museo de la inquisición, about this particular period in Andalusian history
- Museo de la cerámica: you will know everything about this art!
14. Seville’s churches
In addition to the Cathedral, don’t hesitate to have a look at these churches:
- Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador I mentioned above
- Iglesia de Santa Ana, the most beautiful in Triana district
- Parroquia de San Lorenzo
- Basilica de la Macarena
- Real parroquia de Santa María de Magdalena
- Parroquia de Santa Catalina
15. Things to do in Seville with children
You will have noticed that this top things to do in Seville are more suited for a trip with friends or a romantic weekend, so if you decide to go to Seville with your family, I suggest you 2 great activities to do with your children.
The aquarium of Seville
Very recent (opened in 2014), Seville aquarium (Acuario de Sevilla in Spanish) can be a good place to go with your children. Things to see: exotic fish, sharks, turtles, octopuses and pools to touch starfishes and sea cucumbers.
The visit takes about 1h. Your children will love it and it will allow you to cool down!
It’s however quite expensive: 15€ per adult and 10€ for children.
La Isla Mágica
La Isla Mágica is an amusement park divided into 2 parts:
- A theme park with rides
- A water park with slides (Agua Mágica)
Several themes serve as background: pirates, gold, the Amazonia and of course Spain!
Please note that it’s better to book your tickets in advance to avoid the line at the ticket counter. The park is suitable for all ages but, as in all parks, there is height restrictions for some of the attractions: the choice will be a bit limited if your kid is less than 1m10.
1 day in Seville
For those of you who only have one day in Seville, I advise you to focus on 2 must-see attractions of my list:
- Visit Seville Cathedral Seville or the Alcazar to start the day (for a single day, I advise you to choose one or the other, if you don’t want to spend your day waiting in line)
- Have a look at the General Archive of the Indies located right next to them
- Walk in the barrio de Santa Cruz
- Lunch break
- Go to the amazing Plaza de España
- take a stroll in the Maria Luisa Park for a bit of fresh air.
If you want to make the most out of your day in Seville, you can also take the Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing bus. It includes guided visits of the Plaza de España, Triana district and Sant Cruz district. Click here to book your tour now.
2 days in Seville
In 2 days in Seville, in addition to the first day described above, I suggest you the following itinerary:
- Start with the Cathedral or the Alcazar of Seville, the one you didn’t visit on the first day!
- Lunch break
- Then go to the Casa de Pilatos
- Climb to the top of the Metropol Parasol in the late afternoon
- Attend a flamenco show. You will get the best bang for your buck with this one! (click here to book it)
3 days in Seville
if you have planned to visit Seville in 3 days, you can finish discovering the city’s best places to visit and even add an extra activity or 2:
- Start the day with the Triana district and its covered market
- Climb to the top of the Torre del Oro
- Visit Seville Plaza de toros
- Lunch break
- Visit a museum or 2 and/or opt for a cruise on the Guadalquivir
- You will certainly want to go back to Plaza de España!
- Enjoy a good restaurant for your last evening in Seville.
4 days in Seville
Visiting Seville in 4 or 5 days is a good idea if you like to take your time or if you are going with children. This will allow you to slow down and enjoy the city at your own pace.
Another great option for your 4th day in Seville is to go on a day trip to Cordoba. It is very convenient from Seville, as it takes only 40 minutes to go there by train! It’s what I did during my trip to Andalucia.
For this 4th day, I recommend you read my article: Best things to do + How to visit Cordoba in a day.
Where to stay in Seville
- Black Swan Hostel: Youth hostel located within 10 minutes walking distance from the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Very stylish and contemporary dormitory bed from 17€ per night, breakfast included! Strong points: the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly staff, the free dinners cooked by volunteers. This is the best choice if you are looking for a youth hostel.
- Hotel Don Paco: Located in the centre of Seville, at 10 minutes on foot from the Cathedral. Spacious room and comfortable bedding from 60€ per night, breakfast at 10€. Strong points: excellent breakfast, the peaceful atmosphere and the swimming pool on the roof. My favorite in Seville for its great value for money!
- Hotel Fernando III: Located in the historic district of Santa Cruz and therefore close to the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Modern and spacious room from 106€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the excellent location, the pool on the roof, the very helpful staff.
- EME Catedral Hotel: Located right next to the Cathedral and the Giralda. Very modern double room from 180€ per night, breakfast at 20€. Strong points: The best location in town, the hotel design, the swimming pool with the view on the Cathedral, the amazing breakfast, the very helpful staff. Don’t hesitate, it’s the best luxury hotel in town!
Where to eat in Seville
- Restaurant Casa Cuesta : Located in the Triana district, next to the covered market. We tried the sangria and each of us took 3 plates of tapas. Everything was delicious and the price was very fair.
- Eslava: Located next to the San Lorenzo church. Gourmet tapas bar with subtle and refined tapas and even 2 award-winning tapas. Prices starting from 3€! Come early, it’s not easy to get a seat and you can’t book in advance.
- La Brunilda : Located a hundred meters from the Isabel II Bridge, very good tapas bar. Varied choices and delicious tapas for a fair price. Few seats, we recommend you to be there a little before the opening time to be sure to find a seat.
Tourist map of Seville
Here is a tourist map of Seville, to give you an idea of where the points of interest are located. Remember to upload it to your smartphone, it could be useful!
My impressions of Seville
Here are my 3 favorite tourist attractions I visited during my stay in Seville:
- The famous Plaza España: Huge, beautiful, and so photogenic! It’s clearly my number one in town.
- Seville Cathedral, which is gigantic and very nice to visit, especially during the Mass, when there is practically no one.
- My 3rd favorite place to visit was the Casa de Pilatos with its beautiful patio and small gardens. It was a nice surprise!
I have mixed feeling about the Alcazar of Seville: It’s not that it didn’t impress me, but the neglected state of most of the garden is something you don’t expect for such a well known tourist attraction. It’s really a shame, as the rest of the visit is very enjoyable, but it left me an impression of “could be better”.
A last tip if you are going to visit Seville: If you can, try to avoid going there in the middle of summer. It’s extremely hot and you will not really enjoy walking around the city.
When I visited, in early June, it was already more than 35 degrees in the shade every day. Needless to say I was quite happy every time I found an air-conditioned place!
Andalucia travel Guides
- Buy the DK Eyewitness Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Lonely Planet Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Rick Steves Snapshot Andalusia guide on Amazon.com
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