Travelers who enjoy a mix of grandiose historical ambiance and modern trappings of the New World will find loads of things to do in Seville.
Southern Spain is filled with amazing gateways to the past and none more spectacular than Andalucia’s capital of Seville. As one of our favorite cities in Europe Seville offered us countless hours of exciting exploration. The city is a fascinating and eclectic mix of Gothic, Mudéjar, Baroque, and modern architecture; examples of each style can be found around every corner, within every plaza.
Wander Seville’s orange tree adorned streets, busy plazas and quite courtyards during the deserted siesta hours to take everything in. Return at night to see the city come back to life as the scorching summer sun recedes and locals come back out to socialize over tapas and coffee and wine.
If you are like us you can spend hours exploring the city before you return to your favorite cafe for an evening drink and then transition t0 a (the infamously late) dinner.
But enough of us gushing over Seville. We put together a small list of things to do in Seville for you guys to get your bearings. There is way more to see and do than we could possibly include, so consider this a starter guide. Once you are on the ground you’ll undoubtedly find all sorts of activities that we omitted, so make sure to come back here and let us know what we’ve missed!
With that out of the way, let’s quickly explore when to visit Seville, and where to stay before we get into things to do.
When to Visit Seville
We were in Seville twice, once in February and once in August. We enjoyed both visits, but the experience was vastly different. Winter in Seville is akin to Spring in most other European regions, and we experienced mild weather and plenty of sunshine during our time there.
The summer months from June to September can get brutally hot in Andalucia so if you are sensitive to 40° C/90° F temperatures you might want to consider visiting during Winter or Spring. While there in August we found ourselves being forced into taking siestas as the middle of the day was often a bit like being inside an oven.
The weeks surrounding Easter, or Semana Santa, can be very hectic, so if you want to avoid crowds and inflated prices you shouldn’t visit between Palm Friday and Easter Sunday.
We reckon January to March and October to November are perfect times to visit Seville if you want to dodge huge crowds and scorching sun.
Where to Stay in Seville
Oasis Backpackers’ Palace Sevilla
We absolutely love Oasis Backpackers’ Palace in Seville. We’ve stayed there numerous times because it’s one of the best hostels we’ve been to in all of our travels around the world.
What makes Oasis so great? For one the location is extremely central and you can get anywhere you want to go in Seville on foot. It’s also located in a really cool building, is extremely clean, has lots of dorms and private rooms in various sizes, comfy beds, and some of the nicest staff we’ve encountered. Oh, and did we mention the rooftop pool and bar? Don’t believe us? Check out some independent reviews here.
Oasis also has another, smaller and more intimate hostel, and of course there are a lot of great hostels in Seville. For more options, here is our complete list of the best hostels in Seville.
Best Boutique Hotel in Seville – Hotel Casa Del Poeta
If you want to splash out and stay at the best boutique hotels in Seville look no further than Hotel Casa Del Poeta.
This luxurious 4-star hotel is located in the very heart of Seville and only 250 meters from Seville Cathedral. It has incredibly welcoming and accommodative staff, and a lovely terrace and library.
The beautifully appointed rooms are all air conditioned, come with satellite TV, Wifi, a minibar, a private bathroom, slippers, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Some even have a balcony so you can enjoy the warm Spanish sunshine from the comfort of your own room!
Hotel Casa Del Poeta has everything you could desire from a luxurious hotel experience. For independent reviews and more information about Hotel Casa Del Poeta click here.
Things to Do in Seville
Explore Seville on Foot
There is seemingly always something interesting to see around every corner when exploring Seville for the first time.
Pick a direction from the center and set out on foot. Spend a few hours exploring the city and you’ll be surprised by Seville’s stunning and colorful architecture, vast squares, quiet plazas, and lovely outdoor eateries.
Make sure to leave the central touristy neighborhood of Santa Cruz, where most visitors spend a majority of their time, and venture out beyond. Explore the following neighborhoods to get a feel for what real life in Seville is like:
La Macarena: Strike out in a northern fashion from the center and within 15 to 20 minutes you’ll find yourself in the Macarena neighborhood . We love this area of Seville, and spent numerous evenings enjoying outdoors tapas (including various vegan friendly options!) and drinks along the vibrant Alameda de Hercules. You’ll find eclectic and vibrant nightlife here as well, as numerous bars and cafes filled with the sound of music and conversation, all serving food late into the night.
Triana and Los Remedios: Venture across the Guadalquivir river to Triana to get an even better feel for day-to-day life in Seville. In this rather quiet area of the city you’ll observe the slower side of life while stumbling across old tapas bars and shops.
Walk south from Triana and you’ll quickly find yourself in Los Remedios. Here you can have a well earned scenic drink in one of the many cafes along the river on Calle Betis. Come back at night for a cool view of the city.
Visit the Alcazar
This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most magnificent palaces in Spain, and offers a new visitor hours of exploration. You’ll literally stay here for at least 3 hours, so plan accordingly.
The Alcazar packs a lot of stunning and mixed design, architecture, and decor within its walls, which can be attributed to its transformation from fort to royal palace over the centuries. The most notable attraction within the Alcazar is the Mudejar Palace (aka Palacio de Don Pedro) which was built in the 14th century. The ornate palace contains ample stunning tiles and Mudejar style ceilings, and an impressive and peaceful courtyard, among other things.
The Alcazar of Seville was recently featured in the uber popular HBO show Game of Thrones, and we dare say it was a scene stealer. If you are a Thrones fan you’ll find all sorts of show related trinkets to buy in the city. Additionally you will love exploring Andalucia as it contains quite a few other locations used on the show.
Tip: Buy your tickets to the Alcazar in advance and online here. Unless of course you want to stand online for hours at a time. Seriously, the line barely moves and we can’t imagine how painful it must be to wait on it in the dead of summer!
Get Inspired by Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral, located just a stones throw from the Alcazar, stands on the site of what was once a grand mosque dating back to the 12th century.
The cathedral, which was converted into a christian church by Ferdinand III in the 13th century, is a mosaic of various architectural styles including Mudéjar, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-classical.
Today the only sections that remain from the original structure include the minaret (aka Giralda), Abluciones courtyard, and the Puerta del Perdón door. Additionally, the interior is worth a visit to gawk and marvel at its beauty and the incredibly imposing altarpiece, stunning organ, and myriad of statues, stained-glass windows, and carvings throughout.
Finally, the cathedral is home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus and his remains.
You can, and should, buy tickets to the Seville Cathedral online here.
Things to do in Seville – Explore the Magnificent Plaza de Espana
Despite the fact that Plaza de Espana was built in 1929 (for mostly political reasons to host a world’s fair called the Ibero-American Exhibition) it still feels old, and is absolutely worth visiting. We are ashamed to admit that our first visit to Seville, which lasted for 2 weeks, did not include a single trip to the Plaza de Espana. What were we thinking??!
The structures and buildings in the expansive plaza use elements like colorful ceramics, beautifully crafted wrought iron, and richly colored exposed brick to create a unique and striking look. The semicircular floor plan fans out around a vast square that includes two towers, a massive water fountain, several footbridges, and a even a canal (including row boats you could rent). It’s ostentatious for sure, and all the more impressive for its stylish grandeur.
If you’re lucky you’ll catch a live and highly moving Flamenco performance like we did. These guys are the real deal! If you’re as moved as we were, we hope you’ll consider tipping them to show your support. They certainly deserve it!
DIY Tapas & Sangria Tours
Seville is a borderline mecca for tapas, wine, and sangria. Everywhere you turn you’ll find cafe offering all sorts of food and beverages (not during siesta time however!), ranging from common fare to the most lip smacking tapas you can imagine. Prices are pretty affordable, especially when compared to cities like Barcelona.
We recommend doing a bit of research to find the type of cousine that best fits your palate and arranging a day to wander from one place to another, sampling the tapas menu.
You can literally fill an entire week doing nothing more than pigging out and taking it easy, and we wouldn’t blame you in the slightest! One of the great pleasure in Seville is finding cozy out door eatery and sipping on sangria in the evening while eating tapas as the heat of the day slowly fades into night.
Pay a Visit to the Parasol
The oddly shaped Parasol is certainly one of Seville’s quirkiest marvels of architecture. The huge mushroom-like building is a great place to catch views of the city from up above, and an even better place to watch a sunset in Seville, so make sure to go to the top at least once.
If you’re a fan of farmers markets, be sure to stop by El Mercado de la Encarnacion. The 2,200 square meter market is housed below the mushroom-like structure on level one and contains 40 different stalls.
There’s also a small bar located under the Parasol where you can grab a drink and enjoy a bit of people watching.
Get Lost in Barrio de Santa Cruz
The labyrinth-like warren of narrow cobblestone streets, hidden plazas, and open terraces known as Barrio de Santa Cruz is a relatively small but wondrous section of the old town. It’s a quaint area smack in the middle of the city center, filled with historic ambiance and a sense of old world charm.
You can spend a good hour just walking around taking in all there is to see, but you won’t be alone. Hundreds of tourists all have the same idea, and as a result the neighborhood can start feeling a little cramped in places. Oh well, small price to pay for the experience, really.
Explore the Jewish quarter by day and come back at night for slightly over-priced drinks and tapas.
Relax in Maria Luisa Park
If you’re visiting Seville’s Plaza de Espana be sure to devote some time to Parque de Maria Luisa, which is located next to the plaza.
The park’s gardens were designed by a French landscape architect so you’ll find plenty of carefully constructed beauty to admire as you stroll by on foot or cycle by on bike.
Additionally there are a number of interesting buildings and museums to be see, including the 19th century The Costurero de la Reina (or the Queen’s Sewing Box) that resembles a castle, and the Pabellón Mudéjar museum devoted to arts and traditions of the city.
Day Trips from Seville
We almost decided not to include Ronda on this list. It’s not because we think Ronda doesn’t deserves visitors. On the contrary, we LOVE Ronda and want to keep it all to ourselves.
So stay away.
DON’T take the bus from Seville to Ronda, DON’T enjoy the amazing clifftop views you will find in this grandly situated town, DON’T sample some of the unique tapas you’ll find here, DON’T drool over the Puente Nuevo Bridge…
Stay away and just forget all about Ronda.
We won’t even give you directions how to get there by bus or train. Google them yourselves.
Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and certain parts of this ancient port still contain profound vestiges of the past. Walk into the main plaza, for instance, and imagine it as a Roman settlement over a thousand years ago.
Industry has certainly changed the face of Cadiz and we found the amalgamation of old and new to be interesting. However, a couple of days here was enough for us. Your mileage may differ, of course.
A bus from Seville to Cadiz will take about two hours one way, making this a fairly easy city to visit on a day trip. Conversely you can easily spend a couple of days in Cadiz, if you want to take your time. And after you are done in Cadiz…
This small town along Spain’s coast is about a hour away from Cadiz by bus, making it an easy subsequent destination.
Tarifa is best known for its kitesurfing, but there is more there than just sun , waves, and gorgeous beaches. A relaxed atmosphere and a charming old town add a unique flavor to this distinctly North African feeling town.
Stay for at least a couple of days to enjoy the surf, the history, and the ambiance.
Final Thoughts on Seville
What else do we need to say? We’ve been twice and want to go back again ASAP, so…
As always, travel well and safely friends, and we’ll see you on the road!
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