Best Things To Do in Seville
Seville is famous for its enormous Catedral and soaring La Giralda tower, but there are tons of places to discover the city's rich history. Stroll along the Guadalquivir River for scenic views or walk through the streets of Barrio Santa Cruz to discover the local flavor of Seville's tapas bars, boutique shops and outdoor plazas. To maximize your time in the sun, amble through the gardens of Parque María Luisa or uncover the royal story of the Real Alcázar palace. See it all before your afternoon siesta, which will help you prepare for nightlife that's been known to entertain visitors and Sevillanos alike through the early morning hours.
Updated June 26, 2020
- #1View all Photos#1 in Seville0.4 miles to city centerCastles/Palaces, Parks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.4 miles to city centerCastles/Palaces, Parks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
The Spanish monarchy doesn't quite boast the worldwide clout of the British monarchy, but royalty is royalty, right? Take the chance to step into sovereignty when you enter the Real Alcázar palace and gardens. The palace was built in the seventh century and it still occasionally hosts the royal family when they visit Seville. While the original structure dates back to the Middle Ages, the entire palace has been heavily influenced by different architectural and cultural styles, ranging from Gothic to Baroque. The intricate architectural design is known as mudéjar – a Muslim and Christian artistic fusion unique to Andalusia. Explore on your own or use an audio tour to guide you through the luxurious rooms of the palace like the Salón de Embajadores (Hall of Ambassadors) and the Patio de las Doncellas (Patio of the Maidens). But to gain access to the Cuarto Real Alto (the Upper Royal Quarters), you'll need to pay for a guided tour.
Make sure to budget enough time to admire the details. Past visitors recommended examining every aspect of this grand residence of kings – even the architecture on the ceiling is striking. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by gardens that are also worth seeing.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Seville0.9 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.9 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you're in search of green space, you won't be disappointed – Seville's got plenty. But the most notable of the city's parks is Parque de María Luisa, located next to the Plaza de España. Like the plaza, this park was largely built for exhibition at the 1929 World's Fair and has remained one of Seville's most popular sites since. You can take a stroll, ride a bicycle or be pulled by horse-drawn carriage through the gardens designed by French landscape architect Nicolas Forestier. You'll also find several notable buildings and museums within the park. The Costurero de la Reina (or the Queen's Sewing Box) is a 19th century castle-like structure and former sewing retreat for the wife of Spain's King Alfonso XII. The Pabellón Mudéjar is home to the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Seville. And the Pabellón del Renacimiento houses the Archeological Museum of Seville.
With so much to see and plenty of orange trees for shade, exploring the park may take up a big chunk of your day. The park is an ideal place for people-watching and soaking up the sun, and previous visitors recommended spending at least an hour exploring its various sights.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Seville0.5 miles to city centerChurches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.5 miles to city centerChurches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The largest Gothic building in Europe, the Catedral de Sevilla sits in the heart of the city on Avenida de la Constitución and invites travelers from around the world to admire its impressive architecture. Built in the late 15th century, the cathedral has more than 40 chapels and sits on the site of a former mosque. The vastness of the cathedral and tower impresses visitors, and upon entering, many said they were stunned by the building's cavernous interiors. It is widely accepted that Christopher Columbus' remains can be found inside the above-ground bronze tomb on display inside the cathedral, though it has never been confirmed. Once you've finished touring the cathedral's interior, make your way to the Patio de Los Naranjos – an outdoor square filled with aromatic orange trees.
La Giralda – the adjacent tower and the tallest landmark in Seville – is one of the few remains of the site's original mosque, which was torn down in 1402. Along with those in Marrakech and Rabat, La Giralda is among the world's longest-surviving minarets from the 12th century Berber-Muslim Almohad Dynasty. Climb the minaret's nearly 40 ramps to the very top and take in sweeping views of the city.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Seville0.3 miles to city centerCafes, Churches/Religious Sites, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Sightseeing, Tours, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.3 miles to city centerCafes, Churches/Religious Sites, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Sightseeing, Tours, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Navigating your way through winding footpaths and narrow streets of a centuries-old neighborhood is captivating for any adventurous traveler. Even among Europe's many picturesque neighborhoods, Barrio Santa Cruz stands out for its 15th-century history and its abundance of charming restaurants and shops, not to mention the orange-tree-covered plazas awaiting walkers around each turn. Barrio Santa Cruz served as the city's Jewish quarter prior to the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century when Jews were expelled from the country. Evidence of the quarter's former inhabitants remains on Calle Judería (Jewry Street) – an aptly named street near the neighborhood's center. Many of the neighborhood's churches that stand today were originally synagogues.
An added bonus of a visit to this neighborhood (located next to the Real Alcázar) is that the streets are designed to create as much shade as possible, making the Barrio Santa Cruz a great escape from the heat of Seville's scorching summer sun. With plenty of cafes doling out tapas, flamenco bars offering live entertainment, and historic landmarks sitting alongside plazas, it's no wonder the Barrio Santa Cruz is extra popular among visitors. But just because it's tourist-friendly doesn't mean it's a cinch to navigate. Visitors recommend finding a detailed map that includes the neighborhood's many small side streets or using the neighborhood's online guide to explore the area's snaking medieval streets. Other visitors say to ditch the map and simply enjoy getting lost in the beautiful streets.
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Originally built for Seville's Ibero-American Expo at the 1929 World's Fair, the Plaza de España offers one of the most picturesque panoramas in the city. The 540,000-square-foot Plaza de España includes a giant, neo-Moorish building (spanning more than half of the site's perimeter) and an expansive mosaic patio with a canal, a fountain and four foot bridges. Architect Aníbal González, built the site to highlight Spain's technological and artistic achievements for the world. The detailed artwork built into the Plaza de España's design helps it standout as an architectural tour de force.
Today, the building houses several government offices, so indoor access is off-limits to tourists. But the site's beauty is best observed from outside the building. On the Plaza de España grounds, you'll find brightly colored ceramic tiles covering nearly the entire plaza, towering marble columns and intricate murals, which are worth witnessing up close. Plenty of filmmakers agree: Plaza de España has been the backdrop for scenes in movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace." Pay close attention to the plaza's 48 painted benches: Each bench depicts important symbols and themes from one of Spain's provinces. Or admire the marble fountain and mosaic floor while enjoying Seville's lively outdoor crowds. For a more unique perspective, rent a rowboat for a trip on the small canal that runs in and around the plaza – a 35-minute rental costs 6 euros (about $7).
- #6View all Photos#6 in SevilleChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
A Catholic temple situated in the Macarena neighborhood, this religious site wows visitors the moment they enter. From the outside the white and gold church may seem small, but its intricate interiors are something to admire. Frescoes adorn the walls and ceiling, while gold accents provide a shimmering aesthetic. Some recent visitors said they enjoyed this basilica more than the city's massive cathedral.
Many say their favorite aspect of the church is the glowing golden altar, which holds the Virgin of Hope or La Macarena – a famous statue of a weeping Virgin Mary that holds great importance in the city's Semana Santa celebrations. There is also small museum behind the altar that showcases the two parade floats Mary and Jesus ride to the Semana Santa's Good Friday celebration each year.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Seville0.8 miles to city centerSightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.8 miles to city centerSightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Seville's popularity can be largely attributed to its history – much of which revolves around the immense river that runs through the heart of the city. According to many recent visitors, a great way to get a feel for Seville and its past is to hop aboard a Guadalquivir River cruise. The Guadalquivir River (or casually, the "rio") was once the artery for all trade traffic in and out of the Andalusian capital. The river's access to the Atlantic was also crucial for New World exploration. Today, the Guadalquivir is not only a charming part of the city's aesthetic, but many portions of the river bank also act as venues for nightlife, dining and sunbathing.
Boat tours offered by the Cruceros Torre Del Oro company will give you the chance to see Seville's popular attractions – like the Torre del Oro and the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza – from different vantage points. On the cruise, you'll sail under the Triana and San Telmo bridges and pass the site of Seville's 1929 Ibero-American Expo, all with audio commentary available in several languages, including Spanish and English.
- #8View all PhotosfreeFlamenco#8 in Seville0.1 miles to city centerEntertainment and Nightlife, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.1 miles to city centerEntertainment and Nightlife, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Watching a flamenco show in Seville is a must, but the quality of the shows varies by location, and you may get caught overpaying at a tourist trap.
For a top-notch performance in a classic theater setting, visitEl Palacio Andaluz. The venue hosts a large cast of dancers who perform traditional flamenco twice per night; each performance lasts for an hour and a half. While this venue is located outside the city center, previous visitors say the attentive service, engaging show and high quality music make El Palacio Andaluz worth the trip. Tickets are available for purchase online.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Seville0.5 miles to city centerCafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Monuments and Memorials, Shopping, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.5 miles to city centerCafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Monuments and Memorials, Shopping, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
If you're anywhere near Plaza de la Encarnación (in the northwest corner of El Centro), the Metropol Parasol is impossible to miss. Its towering presence was constructed in 2011, making it the newest major attraction in the city and purportedly the largest wooden structure in the world. The architectural wonder serves as a gathering place and features a farmers market, restaurants, an archeological museum, winding rooftop walkways and an open-air public square. Locals fondly refer to the lattice structure as "las setas" or "the mushrooms" given its quirky shape.
For 5 euros (about $5.50), visitors can ride the elevator to the top of the wooden structure, walk along the elevated paths and enjoy one complimentary drink at the bar, Sevilla Gastropol. Most visitors recommended paying for access to the top, and said that the views are beautiful both during the day and at night. The walkways open daily beginning at 9:30 a.m., and close at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit the Metropol Parasol's website.
- #10View all Photos#10 in Seville0.9 miles to city centerMuseums, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.9 miles to city centerMuseums, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Seville has a rich history that is well-represented in its sites and monuments, yet one of the best ways to uncover the city's past is through its extensive collection of artwork. Founded in 1835, Seville's Museo de Bellas Artes – which occupies a former 17th-century convent built around three tiled patios – houses pieces dating from the Middle Ages through the 20th century. The galleries include works by some of Spain's most notable artists, such as Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Francisco de Zurbarán. Many visitors do note, however, that despite the beauty of the paintings, the works lack much variety. Much of the collection consists of religious art which some reviewers found monotonous.
From September through July, the Museum of Fine Arts is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. For the month of August, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The Museo de Bellas Artes, which sits roughly on the border of El Arenal and El Centro neighborhoods, is closed on Mondays year-round. Tickets cost 1.50 euros (about $2) per person. For more information, visit the museum's website.
- #11View all Photos#11 in SevilleChurches/Religious SitesTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious SitesTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
Many visitors stumble upon the Iglesia Colegial del Salvador out of luck or because admission to the church is included in their ticket package to the more famous Catedral de Sevilla. But however they end up there, they're always glad they did.
The red Roman Catholic Church overlooks the Plaza del Salvador and sits less than a half-mile from the city center. A former mosque, the church was rebuilt into its current design in the 15th century, but still preserves some of its Moorish architecture with domes and arches. It was designed to be full of light and boasts intricate stained-glass windows and bright colors.
- #12View all Photos#12 in Seville0.7 miles to city centerMuseums, Sports, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.7 miles to city centerMuseums, Sports, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you're an animal lover or faint of heart, this experience is not for you. But if you're looking to immerse yourself in a Spanish tradition that spans centuries, spend an evening at the Plaza de Toros, Seville's bullfighting ring. Bullfighting has faced a lot of criticism for its animal bloodshed, but many Sevillanos think of the sport as an art form integral to their culture. During bullfights, three matadors each lure two bulls through a series of choreographed movements designed to weaken the animal. In the final of the fight's three stages (tercio de muerte), each matador's goal is to end the bull's life.
Bullfights occur in the late afternoon from April to October and usually last for about two hours. Ticket prices vary from 20 euros (about $27) to more than 100 euros (about $137) depending on the bullfighters and seats you choose; the most expensive seats are those in the shade (called sombra seats). You can purchase tickets online in advance or head to the ticket office at the ring. Visit the bullring's website for more information about events, tickets and tours.
- #13View all Photos#13 in Seville0.8 miles to city centerMuseums, Sports, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.8 miles to city centerMuseums, Sports, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Home to Seville's popular soccer club, Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium offers an exciting European fútbol experience. Since its opening in 1958, the stadium has hosted a handful of World Cup and European Cup tournaments. Soccer games at the stadium – which has the capacity to seat 45,500 people – are full of energy thanks to the enthusiasm of Seville's fans.
Ticket prices for games vary based on the opponent, the day of the week and the location of your seat. (Games against cross-city rivals Real Betis, and powerhouse fútbol clubs like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona attract a lot of fans, so tickets will cost more). You can purchase tickets online or at the stadium box office. But getting a good price won't be too stressful, as travelers note that the ticket sellers are very helpful when it comes to finding the best affordable seats. Plus, all the seats in the stadium get a clear view of the action, according to recent visitors.
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The Guadalquivir River once served as the main waterway to southern Spain and Seville was one of the region's primary ports. Naturally, a port with that much influence needed protection from ships trying to enter the claimed territory of the Almohad Dynasty (a 13th-century Muslim Caliphate that once ruled northern Africa and southern Spain). The 12-sided Torre del Oro tower – situated on the edge of the Guadalquivir – was once linked by a large chain to its sister structure across the river to stop ships from sailing into the port.
The once gold-tiled tower – which has also served as a military watchtower and a prison – is now home to a small naval museum, the Museo Náutico. The museum highlights the Torre del Oro's maritime past and the role it played in New World imports and discovery. Some travelers were turned off by the nearly 100-step climb to reach the observation deck, but many recent visitors said it's worth the trek.
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OK, so you didn't come all the way to Europe to visit an amusement park. But when there's one nearby, it might just be the perfect way to avoid history and culture overload – especially if you have little ones in tow. Let loose at Isla Mágica, Seville's sizeable theme park that's suitable for all ages. The park is divided into six 16th-century Spanish colonial-themed areas, which feature rides like the Iguazu log flume and the Jaguar roller coaster. You'll also find plenty of shops, shows and restaurants at the park. A small water park dubbed Agua Mágica is the perfect place to escape the heat of the summer.
Previous visitors recommended arriving early and exploring the popular rides before the park gets too crowded. Some also say the park is great for young kids but lacks attractions for older visitors.
- #16View all Photos#16 in SevilleCastles/Palaces, Historic Homes/MansionsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDCastles/Palaces, Historic Homes/MansionsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Palacio de las Dueñas was built in the 15th century as a home for Seville's nobility. It's home to large gardens, lemon trees, ceramic tiles and intricate archways. Filled with flowers and bright colors, it's an ideal place to spend a sunny Seville afternoon, according to past visitors.
The charm of the Palacio de las Dueñas comes from its blend of Mudéjar and Gothic architecture as well as its serene atmosphere. While it boasts ornate decor similar to that found in the Real Alcázar, the Palacio de las Dueñas doesn't attract the same busy crowds, which makes it a peaceful place to explore. Located in the Encarnación-Regina neighborhood of the city, the palace is easy to get to from the city center and a short walk from Metropol Parasol.
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