Seville might be the most beautiful city in Spain with a beautiful landmark on every corner. What are the best things to do in Seville? Read all about it!
Seville: an introduction
Seville (Sevilla in Spanish) is located in the south of Spain and is the capital of Andalusia. The city center is filled with historic sights, it even has one of the largest historical city centers in all of Europe. The Triana district is seen as the place where Flamenco originated.
Seville has an interesting history dating back to 1000 BC. According to Roman and Greek mythology, the city was even founded by the hero Herakles. In the year 712, Seville was conquered by the Moors and became one of the most important cities in the world. To this day, you can still see the Arab influences from that time in the city.
Some 500 years later, Seville was conquered by Castile, a predecessor of today’s Spain. Seville also played an important role in the Spanish colonization of America in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, because it became the main port between Europe and America. It is therefore not surprising that you can find the tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus in the Cathedral of Seville.
Now Seville is mainly an “open-air museum” because the old center has so many beautiful sights. Do you like good food and culture? Then a city trip to Seville is highly recommended.
The best things to do in Seville
What to do in Seville? These are the most beautiful Seville sights and the best things to do.
Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Visiting the Real Alcázar de Sevilla (the Royal Palace of Seville) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it should definitely be on top of the list with things to do in Seville. It is a huge palace complex, the construction of which started as early as the tenth century. Over the years it has been expanded several times and you can clearly see the Moorish influences from that time in the architectural style. It is a very beautiful palace with an accompanying garden where you can wander around for hours.
Real Alcázar de Sevilla is a popular attraction, so there are often long lines at the ticket shop. You can skip the line by buying a ticket in advance.
Tip: with your ticket for Real Alcázar you can also visit Casa Fabiola for free. This is an art museum in a beautiful building from the sixteenth century.
Patio de Banderas
When you leave Real Alcázar de Sevilla, you will end up on a beautiful square: Patio de Banderas. Here you see trees full of mandarins, there are some benches and a fountain. From here you also have a beautiful view of the Giralda (tip: from the corner at Juderia you can take the most beautiful pictures) and it is a perfect place to relax. It’s never very busy here.
Visit a flamenco show
Seville is the birthplace of Flamenco, so if you ever want to attend a flamenco show, this is the place to do it! There are several places where you can see a flamenco show, including Casa de la Memoria or the Flamenco Dance Museum.
If you’re lucky you can even see a flamenco show for free, for example in Plaza de España.
Catedral de Sevilla
The Cathedral of Seville dominates the city center and is one of the most beautiful Seville sights. This Gothic cathedral from the fifteenth century is one of the largest church buildings in Europe and you can’t get enough of it here either.
During your visit, you can climb the 104-meter high bell tower (Giralda) for a nice view. Giralda dates back to the twelfth century and was the tallest minaret in the world at the time.
In the cathedral itself, you can see many glass paintings, works of art by Goya and Jacob Jordaens, and the impressive tomb of Christopher Columbus.
Skip the line and buy your ticket online.
Tip: with your ticket for the Cathedral of Seville you can also go to Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador for free.
Compared to many other buildings in Seville, the Metropol Parasol is brand new. It is a large wooden structure (probably the largest in the world) in Plaza de la Encarnación and a true work of art.
Here you will find several cafes and restaurants, a farmers market, and an archaeological museum. There is also a walking path over the umbrellas (you need a ticket for this). An impressive landmark to see and explore!
Photo: Tom Podmore | Unsplash
Plaza del Cabildo
Tucked away in a corner next to the cathedral is the beautiful circular Plaza del Cabildo. It’s a magnificent square and great to explore. You really feel like you are discovering something new because there is hardly anyone there. There are several shops in and around the square.
Enjoy Seville by night
When it’s dark, the lights go on in Seville and all the gorgeous buildings are beautifully lit! It is wonderful to go for an evening walk in the city, it’s so cozy.
I was in Seville the week before Christmas and there were even more beautiful lights (and a cool light show on Plaza de San Francisco).
Discover the city from the Guadalquivir river
The river Guadalquivir runs right through the city and it is great fun to view Seville from the water. You can go on various cruises (whether or not including food and drinks).
Perhaps the best activity on the Guadalquivir is paddle boarding at sunset. A workout with a beautiful view!
Torre del Oro
Along the river is the impressive Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold). This tower from the thirteenth century used to be part of the Moorish city walls. Now it is a maritime museum that you can visit, the entrance fee is only 2 euros.
Go shopping in C. Sierpes
Do you feel like going shopping during your city trip to Seville? Then the wide pedestrian street C. Sierpes is the place to be. Here you will find all the famous fashion shops, but also nice boutiques with typical Spanish products.
Enjoy the food in Seville
Spanish food is delicious and luckily Seville is home to many great restaurants. You can get tapas or paella in every street. Yum yum!
These were my favorite restaurants:
- Picalagartos – local tapas bar with cheap tapas and good wine, right in the city center.
- El Librero Tapas y Quesos – great restaurant in a cozy street. Specialized in tapas and cheese, but the paella is also very tasty here.
- Cervecería Giralda Bar – nicely decorated tapas restaurant next to the cathedral.
See art at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla
Art lover? Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla (Museum of Fine Arts) is housed in a beautiful palace from the seventeenth century and you can see works here from the period from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. There are works by famous Spanish artists such as Velásquez, Goya, and El Greco.
Plaza de España
What to do in Seville? Plaza de España should be on top of your list! This square was created in honor of the 1929 World’s Fair and is arguably the most beautiful square in the world. It is a semicircle surrounded by buildings. Among those buildings are 52 mosaics and frescoes of azulejos (Andalusian tiles) representing all provinces in Spain.
In the middle of the square is a canal and you can rent a little boat to explore the canal. The square is a spectacular sight and you can spend hours looking at all the details.
Day Trips from Seville
Seville is a good base to discover more beautiful places in Andalusia. These are some great destinations for a day trip from Seville.
Cádiz is an impressive city south of Seville and is also known as “Little Havana”. This is partly due to the malecón (a large boulevard along the sea) that is very similar to the famous malecón in Havana, Cuba. Furthermore, the city is full of beautiful historic buildings, there is a Roman theater and there are many beautiful squares.
Tip: Visit Cádiz with an organized tour. On this tour, you can also taste sherry in Jerez and see how the Andalusian horses dance in an equestrian ballet.
Long ago, Córdoba was, together with Seville, one of the most important cities in the world and this city is also a kind of open-air museum. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Córdoba has several gorgeous landmarks, such as the Mezquita and the Alcázar de los Reyes Católicos. Visiting this city is an absolute must.
Tip: book a day tour from Seville which is including tickets to the mosque, synagogue and the Alcázar de los Reyes Católicos.
Tour to Pueblos Blancos and Ronda
There are so many beautiful places to discover in Andalusia! South of Seville you can discover several Pueblos Blancos. These are beautiful villages full of white houses. The village of Ronda is also a must-see. It is located in a mountainous area with a deep gorge and is best known for the Puente Nuevo. This is a bridge over the river and no less than 98 meters high.
The easiest way to discover the most beautiful places in Ronda and the Pueblos Blancos is with this tour.
How many days do you need to visit Seville?
How much time do you need in Seville? And how many nights in Seville? If you want to see the most beautiful Seville sights you need at least two or three full days, so at least three nights. If you also want to make day trips and really want to experience the city, I would recommend a minimum of five days (six nights).
Where to stay in Seville
What are the best hotels in Seville? And which hostels are recommended for budget travelers? These are a few nice places to stay in Seville.
- € For You Hostel – nice hostel near the bus station and the center.
- €€ Boutique Puerta Real – nicely furnished guest house in a cozy neighborhood, within walking distance of the sights.
- €€€ Hotel Amadeus Sevilla – luxury 4* hotel with roof terrace and swimming pool in the best neighborhood of Seville.
Want to find more great places to stay? The best hotels and apartments can be found via Booking.com. For a more affordable stay, check Hostelworld for a bed in a hostel.
Best time to visit Seville
Most websites say February to June is the best time of year to visit Seville. However, I visited Seville in December, which I thought was amazing. The weather was great (about 20 to 25 degrees) and there were Christmas lights everywhere, which gives the city an even more magical vibe. I would highly recommend visiting this part of Spain in winter.
However, make sure to skip Seville (and most other places in Spain) in the summer months, July and August. It can get really hot and it’s also really crowded.
Book your trip to Seville
Is a city trip to Seville on your bucket list? Go! These websites are useful to book your trip:
- You can find the cheapest flights via Skyscanner. Seville has an international airport. From there you can take a bus to the city center.
- Seville also has a train station with good connections. Book your train tickets via Rail Europe.
- Fancy a road trip in Andalusia? Find the best deals on rental cars through Discover Cars or Rental Cars.
- Discover Seville by bike with a tour from Baja Bikes.
- You can find great tours and guided tours via Get Your Guide.
- Don’t forget your travel insurance! Check Insubuy for all the options and prices.
Read more about Seville & Andalusia
These were my tips for a city trip to Seville. Do you want to read more about Seville and Andalusia? There are some great travel guides:
DK Eyewitness Seville and Andalucia
You can also find more information about a vacation in Spain on this website. You can also check out these articles:
- 23 Best things to do in Málaga
- The best things to do in Girona
- 18 beautiful places to visit in Basque Country Spain
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