Everything you need to know before you visit Seville on your next city break. 17 awesome things to do and all the Seville tips are laid here for you in this guide. Enjoy!
Sevilla is a wonderful city to visit any time outside of the hot summer months of July and August. Lined up with orange trees, filled with tourists and locals alike, alive with vibrant nightlife and boasting spectacular sights – it’s a town you just have to put on your bucket list!
Seville is the capital of the Spanish state of Andalucia.
I love Andalucia. I lived in this region for over four years and could never get enough. The culture, relaxed lifestyle, ever-present flamenco and super tasty tapas and great wine! Weather, sea, mountains and incredible history and heritage!
If however, you only have a few days to discover Spain – go to Seville!
You won’t get a city more Spanish than Seville. I might get some beating here for this statement, but this is my opinion.
There are so many things to do in and around Seville that I could write a book about it! To make it easy for you I prepared this list of the top 17 things to do in Seville for a wonderful city break. Choose and pick activities you like or even try to do it all if you have some more time to spend in this incredible town! Let’s begin!
1. Visit Plaza De España
Even if you are only passing by Seville and haven’t got much time for exploring, you simply cannot miss Plaza De España. It is a truly magical place!
Plaza de España, probably the most famous square in Seville, was built in 1929 for the Ibero-American exhibition. It’s been built in Spanish Renaissance style with influences of Art Déco and Mudéjar designs. Spain’s goal with the exhibition was to make symbolic peace with its former American colonies.
Located in beautiful Parque Maria Luisa, Plaza de España is a lavish, semi-circular fairytale-like space surrounded by a row of buildings, decorated with tiled alcoves and two tall towers on each side of the square. At the centre of the square, you will see a set of canals with 4 bridges symbolizing the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain and decorated with colourful azulejo tiles, 48 mosaic benches and a large fountain right in the middle of the square.
And yes! You can even rent a boat and sail through the canals! This place is like nothing else in the world!
2. Cool down at Parque de Maria Luisa
Step outside of Plaza de Espana, right into most famous green space of Seville – Parque de María Luisa.
This lush, expansive garden with tiled fountains and ponds, flower-covered gazebos, palm and orange trees is a place where you want to be on a hot Spanish day. Within the park, you will also find numerous beautiful buildings, with many of them being home to museums including the Seville Archaeological Museum and Museum of Arts and Traditions.
You can ride a bike, walk around the park or rest on the shaded benches and watch people pass.
3. Explore the The Réal Alcazar (Royal Alcazar)
The Réal Alcazar (Royal Alcazar) is another must-see sight in Seville and is an absolutely spectacular place!
Royal Alcazar was on my personal bucket list for years, so I was super excited to finally visit it when I first arrived in Seville. What a surprise when I found out that admission is free on Mondays, and guess what! I was there on Monday!
Royal Alcazar in Seville is actually the oldest royal palace in Europe and to this day king resides here during his visits to Seville. For me, however, it is its incredible beauty, architecture and gardens that stole my heart (like the Alhambra in Granada).
Built in the 10th century on the site of an Abbadid Muslim Alcazar, the palace represents the splendor of Mudéjar art and style but over the years it has been strongly influenced by other architectural styles. The interior decorations are superb, each room and each courtyard is decorated with elaborately painted tiles with geometric patterns, animals or vegetation. The courtyards are dreamy spaces full of exotic trees, ponds, fountains and even more decorations.
The place is also worth seeing because of its massive gardens. Again, a fairy tale space with fountains, jets of water, exotic plants, peacocks and flower beds. The Royal Alcazar was the place chosen as a centre of power by different kings, cultures and civilizations. And the legacy remains. You can’t miss it!
You can visit free of charge on Mondays from 5 to 6 pm in winter and from 6 pm to 7 pm in summer.
Every other day, I recommend you buy a “Skip the line” ticket if you don’t want to waste your day standing in a line. You can book your ticket here!
4. Admire Seville Cathedral
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Seville Cathedral, is the 3rd largest cathedral in the world and the city’s most visited landmark.
Seville Cathedral was built to impress and demonstrate the city’s wealth. According to local tradition, construction began with the following words: “Let’s build a church so beautiful and so grand that those who see it finished will take us for mad”
This cathedral is remarkable both from the inside and outside and is a focal point of the city. Prepare to be mesmerised by the beauty of the interior, its golden ceilings, extensive ornate carvings, intricate tombs (including Cristofer Columbus’s tomb) and 80 chapels!
If you are not sure yet if you want to visit, you can take a sneak peek by entering for free during Mass hours. Come in before 11: 00 AM through the small doors on the left side of the Cathedral.
Are you planning to visit the Cathedral of Seville and the Royal Alcazar?
Then the best option is to get a “Seville Super Combi City Pass” which includes:
- A skip the line ticket for the Seville Cathedral
- A skip the line ticket for the Alcazar.
- The hop-on hop-off tourist bus.
- Downloadable audio guides for both the Cathedral and the Alcazar.
- 10% discount on other attractions in Seville
5. Climb Giralda Tower
La Giralda is the bell tower of Seville Cathedral and was once a minaret – part of the mosque that was originally on this site. A Cathedral pass will allow you to climb the tower and enjoy the panoramic views of Seville. You can start your way to the tower from inside the cathedral of Seville.
If you prefer a guided tour, take a look at this high rated Alcazar, Cathedral, and Giralda Guided Tour Combo!
6. Roam Seville's Jewish Quarter - Barrio Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz district is the historic heart of Seville and the former Jewish quarter of the medieval city.
This maze of narrow, medieval streets and alleyways lined with shops and Tapas bars is the most touristic place in the city but also my favourite part of Seville! Walking around this neighbourhood, Situated not far from the Cathedral and Real Alcazar, is probably the best thing to do in Seville for a relaxing afternoon.
Santa Cruz is an incredibly charming part of Seville, boasting some of the city’s oldest churches, pretty little squares, narrow cobbled streets and patios decorated with blooming flowers and, once again, orange trees! Stroll around and get lost in the labyrinth of laneways, have a coffee or a tapas in one of the many bars and restaurants, shop for souvenirs and take hundreds of photos!
Plaza Patio de Banderas offers a beautiful view of the cathedral and Plaza Alfaro and Plaza Doña Elvira are two other charming squares you can’t miss.
7. Discover Triana district
Every time I visit Seville, I somehow always end up on the other side of the river in the Triana district. This is a wonderful walk and a completely different face of Seville.
Triana used to be a sailors, flamenco artists and gipsies district (maybe that’s why its soul is calling me) and today it is a more local, down-to-earth part of Seville, very much worth visiting.
Triana is well-known for having its own strong identity. In fact, it’s often called “the independent republic of Triana” by the Sevillanos. It is, however, most famous for its azulejos production (ceramic tiles), and vibrant flamenco scene. You will see many bars decorated with traditional tiles and visitors can also visit one of many ceramic workshops. Triana is also the district where flamenco dance is said to have originated from, so of course, you must see the flamenco show, but on this a bit later.
I love crossing the Guadalquivir River and I cannot help but stop there and watch kayaks racing, tourists enjoying views on the cruise boats and of course, a line of colourful buildings perched on the bank of the river. The sunset from this point is also, incredible!
The easiest way to get to the Triana district is by crossing the Isabel II Bridge. You can walk along the river bank (be aware that restaurants and bars here are on the pricier side), stroll along semi-pedestrian Calle San Jacinto where you can pop into one of the local bars or tapas bars. And of course, for the best value and memorable experience, be sure to visit the Triana market.
8. Visit Local Market
Would you like to feel like a local for a moment? Then you should definitely visit a local market in Seville.
If you decide to walk across to Triana you cannot miss the famous Triana market, located just at the end of the bridge on the right side. Here you can taste or buy some Spanish cheeses or cold cuts and sample some delicious tapas! It’s a great place to buy some fresh fruit and veggies and of course sample the real Seville life.
Seville Mercadillo El Jueves is a colourful flea market and one of the oldest existing markets in Europe. Here you can hunt for some antiques and original souvenirs and soak up the fabulous, lively atmosphere of the local market. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, it is still a great way to spend the morning in Seville. As the name suggests this market is open every Thursday and you will find it in Casco Antiguo District right next to Calle Feria.
Also on the Calle Feria, you will find dating back to the 18th century, Mercado de Feria. This is one of the oldest markets in the city and is open every day of the week. It is a very popular market amongst locals and tourists alike wanting to sample local cuisine and vibe. You can buy some fresh fruit, veg, meat, and flowers and once there make sure to pop into the excellent tapas bar, La Cantina.
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9. See Flamenco Show
Seeing a flamenco show is an incredible experience. For the first time, I have seen a traditional performance in Granada. I had tears in my eyes. It is an emotional, touching and deep experience.
Flamenco was born in southern Spain, between Seville, Cadíz and Granada and it is a unique art of storytelling through dance and music that often includes singing and guitar playing.
For a very long time, flamenco was considered a vulgar and lowbrow activity among the Spanish elite. It was gipsies’ art. But flamenco came to define Spain and is a backbone of its culture. And Sevilla is one of the most important pillars of this soul-wrenching art.
You can spot a free flamenco performance on the streets and plazas of Seville nearly every day. But seeing it, in an intimate ambience of a small theatre or a traditional bar is another level. I highly recommend you do that!
Numerous small bars in Triana and Los Remedios barrios of Seville host authentic performances which are not advertised to the public. You will have to ask around, in your hotel or maybe even a taxi driver to find out what is on that evening.
But you can also book a show ticket upfront, which I also recommend if you are short on time and cannot afford to wander around.
Some of the best flamenco shows in Seville are held in El Arenal bar on Calle Rodo, and the famous Tablao Flamenco Los Gallos which opened in 1966 and has since become known as one of the top flamenco shows in Seville.
Another great way to see a flamenco show is by visiting Museo Del Baile Flamenco. Located on Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos, this unconventional museum will allow you to see authentic flamenco performances and also learn all about this art form.
10. Palace de los duenos or Casa de Pilatos
Both sights are worth visiting, yet if you are on a short Seville city break, try to choose at least one of them.
The Palacio de las Dueñas is one of the city’s most beautiful sights and not that well known among the tourists, so if you are looking for slightly off-the-beaten-path sightseeing – this should be your choice.
It is a beautiful palace with lavishly decorated interiors and art collections of precious artefacts from the Alba family, surrounded by stunning gardens and courtyards. You can visit for free on Mondays after 2 pm.
If you are not around on Monday you can book a ticket with audioguide here.
Casa de Pilatos also offers free entry on Mondays between 3 and 6 pm.
It’s a stunning palace that used to be the residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli and Alcalá.
Constructed in Gothic, Mudéjar and Italian Renaissance styles, Casa de Pilatos is a grandiose place boasting stunning fountains and sculptures, rooms decorated like a grand European house, and a huge collection of azulejo (Spanish tiles).
11. Take a Guadalquivir river cruise in Seville
Would you like to discover Seville from a unique perspective? Then you should hop on a riverboat cruise on the Guadalquivir river.
This river has played a leading role in many of the city’s historic moments and to cruise the Guadalquivir river is to follow the tract of ancient sailors. But believe it or not, many visitors don’t even make it to this part of the city. But you should.
You can take a riverboat cruise or just stroll down the Guadalquivir river banks. You will be rewarded with fantastic views and if you are there in the late afternoon, make sure you stay for the sunset!
12. Sevilla Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes),
Are you an art lover? Then the Seville Museum of Fine Art in Seville (Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla) is a must see!
This is the most important Museum of Fine Arts in Seville and Andalusia and after the Prado Museum in Madrid, probably the most important museum of art in Spain. Established in a former monastery building, the most beautiful parts of the museum are housed in the chapel, where you can see works of Spanish and foreign artists can be seen amidst beautifully painted ceilings.
You can see works by Spanish artists such as Francisco da Herrera, Murillo, El Greco, Velásquez and Francisco Zurbarán, but also foreign painters such as Jan Brueghel l’Ancien, Pieter Aertsen and Cornelis de Vos. Entry is €1.5 and free for EU citizens!
13. See Seville from the top of Metropole Parasol.
Metropole Parasol (so called Las Setas) is a strange one for me. The first time I saw it I was a bit disappointed. I walked in the heat across the town, on my last day just to see this curious thing.
Las Setas, the world’s largest wood structure, has provided, and continues to provide a lot of controversy and discord and was strongly criticised during its construction. It was a winning project held by Seville’s City Council in 2003 to rejuvenate the Plaza de la Encarnación.
As the name suggests, the structure looks like a huge mushroom. It is a very interesting construction consisting of 4 floors, a path at the top which allows visitors a great view of Seville, and a small museum in the basement.
You should go and make up your own mind as to what you think about this structure. For me as interesting as it is, it felt a bit neglected and didn’t excite me enough. The ticket is only €3 and it gives you a 1€ rebate at the café located at the very top, so really you haven’t got much to lose.
14. Eat Tapas
What can I say? The food in Spain is incredible! The tapas tradition really speaks to me, as I can never make up my mind when it comes to ordering in the restaurant. This concept solves the problem.
Tapa is a small dish that is traditionally served for lunch or dinner in Spanish restaurants and tapas bars. It’s a small bite often served in a ramekin or on a small plate with the most typical being Ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad), Croquetas (potato croquets), Gambas al pil pil (spicy prawns in oil) or Tortilla de patatas ( Spanish potato omelet). There’s so much more, but I will let you discover them for yourself.
Going to Spain and not eating tapas is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eifel Tower.
Always order your drink first to see if you get a free tapa. Many wine bars but also tapas restaurants will bring some olives, bread and often cheese or chorizo with your drink. Then you can choose 2 or 3 more from the menu. Tapas are great for sharing.
When is Sevilla make sure you try some tapas at least once. Try to avoid tourist restaurants with waiters handing you plastic menus on the street. Instead, walk inside the bar or restaurant with a selection of tapas lined on the counter. Sit by the bar, order wine or cana (small beer) and choose a few tapas from there, or from the menu. These will not only be cheaper but also more tasty, as they are made for Spaniards as well as tourists.
Food is a very important part of Spanish culture and Spanish people love meeting up for tapas and a drink. If you are looking to truly immerse yourself in the Spanish and Andalusian culture, a trip to a tapas bar is a must! And of course, eating tapas is one of the best things to do in Seville on your city break.
Don’t worry, I have a few recommendations for you:
- El Rinconcillo is the oldest tapas bar in Spain dating back to 1670. The food there is amazing and it was recommended to me by the locals so it’s a no-brainer.
- Another tapas bar recommended by locals is Al Aljibe in the Alameda de Hercules area of Seville. This is a great part of Seville to dine and retire from the tourists.
- A friend of mine recommended going to the Lonja del Barrancoo Market, a fish market on Calle Arjona. On this market, you will find several stalls serving a variety of tapas at a very reasonable price.
- Another two recommended tapas bars in Seville are La Brunilda and Bodeguita Romero. Traditional and popular tapas bars among locals as well as tourists. Oh and the inspiringly transitional El Perro Viejo and Blanca Paloma in Triana. Enjoy! Oh, one last thing! If you can’t decide, why don’t you join the tapas crawl?
Oh, one last thing! If you can’t make up your mind, why not join the tapas crawl! Sounds delicious? You can click here to take a look.
15. Rent a bicycle
In the past, Seville wasn’t a cyclist’s city. But this has massively changed in the last few years and renting a bike and exploring a city on two wheels has become not only much easier but also so much fun!
The city of Seville planned and built a network of over 50 miles of bike lanes and cycling has grown more than 10 times in just four years.
Now Seville is a very bicycle-friendly city so I encourage you to rent a city bike, which can be done in many parts of the town. The easiest way is to take advantage of a citywide bike rental scheme called Sevici. You can do it on your own or simply join one of many city bike tours and combine sightseeing with staying active and possibly meeting new people!
16. Take a hop on hop off bus.
Yes, I know! This is just so touristy! But in many cities around Europe opting for a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus is not only a way to visit all the most important sights in one day.
The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus ticket will allow you to get off and get back on the bus at any time and any stop, multiple times. What I like to do is take a whole ride around the city and make a note of sights I’d like to see and get off there. Then you can either walk and jump back on the bus (still with the same ticket) and move to another site, museum or park and spend as much time as you want over there. You see my point?
It’s a great way to get your bearing and decide where you really want to go. You can hop off at any stop and hop back on during the entire day.
The Seville Hop-On Hop-Off Bus stops in 14 places. And your ticket will include free entrance to many museums and monuments, an audio guide, and two self-guided walking tours. I recommend you give it try, whether you are in Seville, Madrid or Rome!
17. See Seville in an unconventional way
There are few other ways to explore Seville in a more unconventional way. In addition to taking a river cruise, you can also rent a kayak! It is a very popular weekend activity in Seville and a great way to discover the city.
You can also take a Segway city tour – this is definitely one of the most fun ways to move around Seville and explore its sights.
There is one more thing you can do. You could just forget this guide, all the things to do in Seville and recommended sights and just let your feet guide you and simply get lost around the city. This wouldn’t be such a bad idea. You’ll be amazed, no matter what!
But whatever way of seeing Seville you choose, please! Don’t ride in a horse-drawn carriage. It is never a good idea to contribute to animal cruelty.
When is the best time to visit Seville
Seville is incredible at any time of the year. I visited in the summer and the winter and enjoyed it the same. The summer months, however, are very hot, so if you can’t bear the heat, avoid the months between July and September. Temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees (over 100 Fahrenheit).
Seville is stunning in the spring and fall. It is a great winter or shoulder season destination for a city break.
In the winter months the temperature hardly ever drops below 10 degrees (50 Fahrenheit) and on a sunny day you can even get away with a light cardigan. I know some that would brave Andalucian winter wearing shorts!
For mild, pleasant temperatures, it is best to visit Seville between March and May. Plus, during springtime, you can enjoy the most recognized annual festivals like Semana Santa and Feria de Abril.
Where to stay in Seville
You really don’t need to stay in the center of Seville for the best experience. Seville is a very walkable city and you can find slightly cheaper rates the further out of the centre you will get.
With that in mind, I must admit that Seville is a very affordable city to explore and to find accommodation.
The best areas of Seville to stay in for close proximity to sights and attractions are Centro, Barrio Santa Cruz and El Arenal.
For more affordable accommodation you can stay in Macarena.
Alameda is ideal for nightlife and restaurants and for a more of a local vibe you can stay in Triana.
There is a wide range of accommodation that can be found in Seville. There are few excellent and quite famous hostels too! Among the most popular are Hostel One Catedral, Oasis Backpackers’ Palace and Arc House Sevilla.
Hostel One Catedral located in the heart of the Santa Cruz neighborhood, is more on the pricier side but it is a great social hostel that offers impressive activities and the best atmosphere. Excellent place to meet other travelers. Roof terrace, shared kitchen, great beds with curtains, free coffee and unbeatable location – a really great hostel to stay in!
Arc House Sevilla is a more affordable hostel located 200 meters from the Alameda de Hercules.
La Banda Rooftop Hostel is super cool! It offers the best location in the city with an incredible roof terrace with stunning views of the cathedral. They also have big family dinner parties every night on the roof! Great dorms as well!
If you stayed in Seville and have some personal recommendations, please share those in the comments.
I hope you will enjoy Seville as much as I did. I think that once you visited you will want to come back, especially if you visit Seville on a city break. A couple of days is just not enough to enjoy this incredible city! Nevertheless, it is so worth it!
I hope you found this guide to Seville helpful. As always please leave any comments you might have below and please share your experience with us all!
Have wonderful travels and stay free my friend!
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Are you looking for a perfect hidden gem of Andalucia? Here is why you need to visit the magical town of Ronda!
Also, check out this guide to the coolest beach town in Spain – Tarifa!
And if you are planning your first solo trip, visit this post where I provide all the tips and hacks for solo travellers and backpackers.
My favourite Travel Resources
- For most of my accommodation management, I use Bookings.com and Hostel World. With both booking platforms, you will often get free cancellation and access to tones of reviews. Read them! You will also get the most extensive selection of all types of accommodation. I hardly ever look elsewhere. If you are travelling in Asia – Agoda is definitely worth checking out!
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- I booked most my tours via either Get Your Guide or Viator. I also use TripAdvisor when I spot a good deal. You can also book locally, but I advise you to ask around and follow the local recommendations. For cooking classes and workshops, consider checking out Eatwith.
For more travel tips and recourses, visit Pati’s Travel Tips page!