The capital of Andalusia is one of the most beautiful cities in southern Spain. So if you’re heading to Andalusia, you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Seville is just across the border from Spain and Portugal and is almost always on our itinerary when we go to the Algarve. Let’s take a look at what to see in Seville not to miss, where to stay, eat and where to go with the kids.
Where to stay in Seville
One day in Seville is enough, but if you really want to enjoy it in peace, we recommend spending at least one night there. Where to stay:
- The cheap option: Santacruz Hostal Plaza
- The golden mean: Apartamentos Reyes Catolicos
- Hotel Colón Gran Meliá – The Leading Hotels of the WorldOpens
Where to eat in Seville
Like Cordoba, Seville is full of excellent Indian restaurants, but if you’re looking for something healthier and more modern, try Biomio Brunch ecológico or Naturalmente – Real Food. Both places are great for lunch, brunch and great coffee.
The most beautiful places: Things to see in Seville
Seville is truly breathtaking, but be prepared for a large number of tourists in the centre even in low season. We therefore recommend buying tickets online in advance to avoid queuing for tickets and wasting time.
“Let’s build a church so big they’ll think we’re crazy,” said the founder of the project to build one of the world’s largest cathedrals. Construction began in 1402 and was completed in 1507. When it was completed, it surpassed in size the then largest cathedral, Hagia Sophia, which held its title for more than a thousand years. Seville Cathedral is still the largest Gothic cathedral and the fourth largest church in the world.
Even if you know this, the scale of the cathedral will surprise you when you enter. Don’t miss the tomb of Christopher Columbus in the cathedral. It will take you approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to visit the cathedral.
How to avoid ticket queues?
You can either buy a combination ticket at the Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador, which is a 10-minute walk from the cathedral (but beware of the church’s opening hours, it’s usually open after 11am). With a ticket, you can skip the line.
It’s much easier to buy a ticket online, we usually use GetYourGuide where it’s the most straightforward.
Tip: Before 11:00 am (the official opening time of the cathedral) during Mass, you can enter for free through the small door on the left side of the cathedral. Of course, you cannot walk around the cathedral afterwards.
La Giralda – panoramic views from the bell tower
If you like views, be sure to visit the cathedral’s bell tower. This minaret of the former mosque was modified by Christians: they added the top part to add bells (more than 24).
Real Alcázar – the oldest royal palace in Europe
Next to the cathedral is the second most important monument (and in our opinion the most beautiful) in Seville: The Alcázar of Seville (Real Alcázar in Spanish). Again, don’t forget to buy your tickets online, we had a gloating radpst when we skipped a queue that would have been two hours long thanks to them. And we were in Seville in January, which is completely out of season!
Alcázar is still a royal residence: When the King of Spain comes to Seville, he stays here. In fact, it is the oldest royal palace in Europe.
This Arab and Moorish palace itself is a breathtaking example of the Mudéjar style (the decoration used in Iberian Christian kingdoms, especially between the 13th and 16th centuries). There are stunning gardens full of orange trees, fountains and flowers.
It will take you approximately 2 hours to visit Alcázar.
Tips for skipping the ticket queue:
Simply buy your ticket online at GetYourGuide.
Indian Archive in Seville (Archivo General de Indias)
In addition to the cathedral and the Alcázar, there is another less touristy place in Seville that is worth a visit: the Indian Archive of Seville (Archivo General de Indias). The visit is free and the main attraction is the remarkable architecture of the building. The interior is really beautiful.
The archive was founded in 1785 by King Charles III of Spain, who intended to collect in one place all available information about the Spanish colonies. Unfortunately, the famous archives are hidden, so all the cardboard files in the libraries are empty!
The visit is only 15 minutes.
Barrio Santa Cruz
The historic quarter is one of the most touristic in Seville. In addition to the most important sights, there are also many cafés and restaurants. Don’t forget to visit the Plaza Patio de Banderas, which offers a beautiful view of the cathedral.
Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos is a palace built in 1540 by the first Marquis of Tarifa. Inspired by Italian architecture, the palace combines several styles such as the Mudéjar, Gothic and Renaissance styles. Don’t let the not-so-attractive facade put you off, Casa de Pilatos is well worth a visit! At least the first floor, where, in addition to a courtyard with a fountain in the middle, you will find two small gardens where you can relax.
Spain’s most beautiful square – Plaza de España
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most beautiful square in Spain. And maybe even in Europe. It was built in 1928 for an exhibition on the anniversary of the discovery of America by the Spanish conquistadors. The square has a semicircular shape, with 4 bridges symbolizing the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain. There are beautiful arcades, fountains and 48 azalea benches, each representing a province of Spain.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, this is where the scenes for Episode II were filmed. The clones are attacking.
The largest park in Seville: Parque de María Luisa
You’ll find it just outside the Plaza de España, and you’ll especially appreciate it during the hot summer weather. Hide for a while in the shade of the trees and enjoy the local fauna and flora. There’s a bunch of ponds, fountains and you’ll come across Plaza América, nicknamed “Pigeon Square”, you can imagine why.
At the southern end of the park you will find the Seville Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions.
Seville Arena (Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla)
I have always disliked Korida, so I avoided the arena again during this year’s visit. The arena is only accessible with a guide and every year the Plaza de Toros hosts one of the most important festivals in the world: the Feria de Abril.
The corrida tradition is still very strong in Andalusia and is part of their culture. If you’ve never been to the corrida and you have the stomach for it, you can buy tickets.
To avoid waiting in line for tickets, you should book your Arena Seville tickets in advance. These skip-the-line tickets include a 1-hour guided tour of Plaza de Toros.
Torre del Oro
A short walk from the Plaza de Toros you will find the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower in English). It stands on the banks of the Guadalquivir River and was built in the early 13th century. century to strengthen the military defenses of the city. Today the tower serves as a maritime museum with miniature ships and historical instruments. At the top of the tower you have a beautiful view of the cathedral, the river and the Triana district on the other side of Guadalquivir.
In the past, this neighbourhood was home to many sailors, gypsies, singers and flamenco dancers. If you have the opportunity to go flamenco in Spain, I definitely recommend it. We did this from Malaga a few years ago and it was absolutely great.
You can start your visit to Triana at the market, which is located just at the end of the bridge on the right hand side. You can sample local specialities at the market. In Triana, you will also find the ceramic workshops that are typical of the neighbourhood.
Calle Betis has a beautiful view of Torre del Oro and the centre of Seville. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants. But count on the fact that it’s 2-3 times more expensive here than elsewhere.
The Metropol Parasol, also known as Las Setas (“the mushrooms”), is a special monument of Seville. It was only built in 2011 and was extremely criticized at the time. As the name suggests, the buildings resemble mushrooms. At the top of one of them, you have supposedly the best view of the whole city and you can still have a coffee in the rooftop cafe. So it’s a bit like the Žižkov Tower in Prague. 😂
Tips for museums in Seville
- Museo de Bellas Artes with a collection of paintings by great Andalusian and Spanish painters.
- Museo del Baile Flamenco, where you can enjoy performances by flamenco dancers.
- Museo de Artes y Costumbres populares with an exhibition of traditional Andalusian clothing.
- Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija with mosaics, paintings and tapestries.
- Centro Andaluz de arte contemporáneo with a collection of paintings and ceramics.
- Museo arqueológico de Sevilla: visit it for the beautiful Roman exhibits.
- Museo de la inquisición, it’s dedicated to the Inquisition.
- Museo de la cerámica, which is dedicated to ceramics.
- Centre for Contemporary Art in Seville, built in a former convent
Churches in Seville
In addition to the cathedral, be sure to check out these churches:
- Iglesia de Santa Ana in Triana
- Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador
- Parroquia de San Lorenzo
- Basilica de la Macarena
- Real parroquia de Santa María de Magdalena
- Parroquia de Santa Catalina
- San Salvador Seville
- El Divino Salvador
Things to do in Seville with children
If you’re heading to Seville with young children, the attractions below are sure to interest you:
Aquarium of Seville
The very recently opened Seville Aquarium (Acuario de Sevilla) in 2014 is a great place to visit with children. What you will see: exotic fish, sharks, turtles, octopuses and starfish. It’s also the perfect place to escape the heat for an hour if you’re heading to Seville in the summer.
With children, we always recommend buying tickets in advance to avoid standing in queues.
If your kids are like me when I was a kid, they will love you for visiting the Aquapolis Water Park. You can find it about 20 minutes from Seville.
La Isla Mágica
La Isla Mágica is another amusement park that is divided into two parts, a theme park with attractions and a water park with slides (so something like Liberec’s Babylon). Again, we recommend that you to book tickets in advance so you don’t have to queue with your children.
Where to go on a trip from Seville?
Seville is a great base for visiting other places in Andalusia or for a trip to Portugal. Which cities in Andalusia you can still visit:
- Córdoba (about 1 hour by train) – If you liked Seville, you’ll love Cordoba. We had to extend our stay there, there is no stranger building than the local Mosque-Cathedral.
- Granada (about 3 hours by train) – Granada is a concept in Andalusia and you won’t want to miss it. If you should only visit one monument, head to the famous Alhambra.
- Ronda (about 2 hours by bus or train) – Ronda is famous for its bridge, which you must have seen in many pictures from Andalusia. Overall, it’s a really picturesque town.
- Jerez de la Frontera (about 1 hour by train) – If you like sherry and Andalusian culture, Jerez de la Frontera is the perfect destination for you. You can visit one of the many wineries and taste some of Spain’s best sherry.
- Costa de la Luz (about 1.5 hours by train) – If you’re looking for sun and beaches, the Costa de la Luz offers beautiful white sands and turquoise sea. Beaches around towns such as. Cadiz or Tarifa are very popular with surfers and kiteboarders.
Map with points of interest on your phone
Save a map of the best places in Seville directly to your phone. After purchase, you will receive a link to a non-public Google Map, which you can save by clicking ”Follow/Follow”. This will copy it to your Google account and display it on all devices where you use Google Maps.