What are the best things to do in Seville?
Seville is part, with Cordoba and Granada, of the trio of the most famous cities of Andalusia. Visit Seville is to discover a rich architectural and historical heritage but also to put on the Spanish time with the program of tapas at will, sangria and flamenco.
It is the ideal city for a romantic weekend or between friends , very easily accessible from France in 2 hours of plane only and for a price unbeatable competition. And besides, it’s good all year long!
So what to do in Seville? What are the places of interest to visit? Where to eat ? Or sleep ?
Our Seville guidebook allows you to easily organize your stay from 1 to 4 days in the Andalusian city!
1. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Seville
We begin our top tours in Seville with the Cathedral of Seville , what’s more normal since it is the most visited place of interest in the city.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the seat , the third largest in the world, from the beginning was built to impress. We will remember this sentence from one of the members of the clergy: “Let us build a temple so great that those who will see it over will take us for lunatics! “.
Built from 1401 on the foundations of an old Almohad mosque, the last stone of the dome was laid 100 years later.
Today the interior is very rich and lavishly decorated . Do not miss the Capilla Mayor and its Gothic altarpiece consisting of 45 panels representing the life of Christ, the tomb of Christopher Columbus and the collections of goldsmiths and paintings.
Count about 1h30 to 2h of visit.
All information (schedules, prices etc ..) for the visit of the cathedral are on the site of the tourist office .
- To avoid the endless queue of the Cathedral , we give you a very precious tip! Head to Iglesia Colegial San Salvadore located 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral for 11am (opening hours) and buy a combined ticket (which will be used as a skip ticket) with the cathedral . This will give you the opportunity to visit a small church very nice. It’s the same price as the ticket bought at the Cathedral and you will have the pleasure of being able to pass in front of everyone with it must admit a little air of superiority to have demonstrated resourcefulness!
- And if you prefer to book your fast-track ticket in advance, you can also get it directly here . It’s convenient and fast!
- Before 11am (the official opening of the Cathedral), during the hours of mass, you can enter for free by small back doors . on the left side of the cathedral. A good idea to have an overview and find out if you then want to pay to see the rest.
2. The Giralda
The entrance to the cathedral also gives you the right to access the Giralda, the steeple of the Cathedral of Seville . Originally it was a minaret of the old mosque. Christians have only added a third higher to be able to put bells, more than 24 in total.
You can climb to the top of the Giralda and admire the magnificent panoramic view of the whole city of Seville . No steps to access but inclined ground. Legend has it that it is so that the imam (at the time of the mosque) can go up with his donkey during the call to prayer.
Unfortunately it was closed during our stay in Seville, but feel free to share your thoughts on this place in the comments!
3. The Alcazar of Seville
Right next to the cathedral is the second most important monument in Seville: the Alcázar de Sevilla ( Real Alcázar in Spanish). It is the place of residence of the King of Spain when it stays in Seville (and therefore lack of luck if you are there at this time you will not be able to visit it).
This palace of Arab and Moorish style represents by itself the magnificence of the Mudejar art . The decorations inside are sumptuous. Each room and courtyard is decorated on every square centimeter of geometric, vegetal and azulejos motifs.
To see also for its really immense gardens with fountains, jets of water and flowerbeds . Very nice to walk around and enjoy a little shade.
Small downside, during my visit I found that some parts are a bit abandoned and I largely preferred the gardens of Alcazar Cordoba which are more graphic and very well maintained.
The visit of the Alcazar of Seville will take you about 2 hours.
Practical information for your visit to the Alcazar is here (in French)
4. The Indian Archives
Next to the Cathedral and the Alcazar of Seville , you can take a little time to visit the Indian archives . The visit is free and is to do especially to see the remarkable architecture of the building . The interior is very beautiful.
By cons do not expect to see the famous archives, they are kept out of sight. And yes all the cardboard files lined up on the libraries are empty!
Do not hesitate to take a tour after your visit to the Cathedral , it will take you only 15 minutes.
5. The district of Santa Cruz
All of Seville’s most famous monuments are grouped together in the district of Santa Cruz , the most representative district of Seville, the most typical, the historic heart and therefore the most touristy.
You can stroll through the pedestrian streets , have a coffee or lunch in the many bars and restaurants and also enjoy some souvenir shopping in the many shops. Very nice place for a stroll with its patios, whitewashed houses and pretty squares.
Head to the plaza del patio de banderas to enjoy a beautiful view of the cathedral.
6. Casa de Pilatos
The Casa de Pilatos is an aristocratic palace built in 1540 by the first marquis of Tarifa, which was inspired by a trip to Italy to build his palace. As a result, the palace mixes several styles such as Mudejar, Gothic or Renaissance.
Do not be fooled by the very classic façade, which does not make you want to, the Casa de Pilatos is definitely worth a look.
You will begin your visit by the majestic patio in the center of which sits a fountain. You will then visit several rooms around the patio and can take a break around one of the 2 gardens . If I had listened, it would have been the perfect place for a nap!
You can also visit the first floor if you chose this option when taking your ticket but it is a bit more expensive and apparently it is not so interesting. Personally, we only visited the ground floor.
The ticket costs 8 euros, and it must be admitted, it is a bit expensive compared to the time of visit. But hey, it’s not every day that we are in Seville!
7. The Spanish Steps
How not to mention the place of Spain in places of essential interest during your stay in Seville. It’s simply the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen . Even after seeing it hundreds of times in photos, you will be impressed by its size and beauty .
It was designed in 1929 as part of the Ibero-American exhibition to celebrate the discovery of America by the Spanish conquistadors . Its hemicycle shape was designed so that the place is turned towards the river and therefore to the arrival of boats from America.
The place is beautiful and grandiose with its canals that cross (possibility to rent a boat to browse), its 4 bridges symbolizing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain, its arcades, its fountain and the 48 benches in azulejos, each representing a province of Spain.
You can also take the stairs to the right of the square that will lead you to a terrace from where you can have a panoramic view of the square and the park.
And for the fans of Star Wars , it’s the obligatory passage during a circuit in Andalusia since the Spanish place was used as filming place during episode II “Attack of Clones”.
8. Maria Luisa Park
In front of the Spanish Steps is Seville’s most famous park, Maria Luisa Park . After the crowds and the heat, it is the ideal place to walk in the shade and calm. Many pools, ponds and fountains will bring you a little refreshment.
As you walk along it, you will come across Plaza America , which is also beautifully landscaped and nicknamed the “pigeon square” by the Sevillians as you can see and feed many of its birds.
Do not miss it during your walk in the parks: the fountain of frogs, the fountain of lions and the island of ducks.
You can easily spend 2 good hours there.
The southern end of the park is also home to the Seville Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs.
9. The bullring of Seville
You can visit the bullring of Seville but beware the tour is only guided and only in Spanish and English .
You will visit the museum and enter the arena . Each year, the arena hosts one of the most important feria in the world, the Feria de Abril.
Whether for or against, bullfighting tradition is very rooted in Andalusia and bullfights are a very important meeting in Andalusian life.
If you want to visit them, all information can be found on the official site of the Seville Arena
10. The Seville gold tower
Near the bullring, you can then go to the Torre del Oro , or “tour of the gold of Seville” in French. It is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River and was built in the early thirteenth century to strengthen the military defenses of the city. To block traffic on the river, the Moors held a chain connected to another tower just opposite.
The gold tower is now home to the Naval Museum with models and instruments of navigation and has a panoramic terrace at its summit which allows to admire a panorama on the Cathedral, the river and the district of Triana located just in front.
11. The Triana District
To reach the district of Triana , the easiest way is to cross the Isabel II bridge , then you will be directly in the neighborhood. Formerly it was a neighborhood that was home to many sailors, gypsies, singers and flamenco dancers and therefore a very lively neighborhood.
You can begin your discovery of Triana by the covered market , which is just at the end of the bridge, on your right when you arrive. Take the opportunity to taste or buy some cheeses or Spanish meats.
Then, walk around the neighborhood at your leisure, and do not miss a visit to a ceramics workshop , the typical art of the neighborhood.
Then take Betis calle along the river, the opportunity for a romantic walk and enjoy a drink overlooking the Torre del Oro and the center of Seville. For that you will be spoiled for choice, the street is lined with cafes and restaurants.
If you like to visit religious buildings, do not miss the Church of St. Anne (Iglesia Santa Ana in Spanish), the most beautiful of the district of Triana.
12. The Metropol Parasol
It is the unusual monument of Seville . Very recent (it dates from 2011) Metropol parasol or las setas(mushrooms in French) was the object of sharp criticism during its construction.
And indeed, the building can surprise. This gigantic wooden structure has the shape of giant mushrooms and detonates a bit of the Andalusian style.
But this is where you will find one of the best views of the city . You can indeed climb to the top of the building and admire a 360 degree view of Seville .
The best is that the entrance costs just 3 euros and a small bonus, a glass (wine, water or soda) will be offered on the terrace of the café located at the top. The perfect opportunity to enjoy a drink and the sunset over the city in an unusual way.
13. Museums to see in Seville
If you have time in Seville, here is a list of museums to visit:
- Seville Fine Arts Museum with a collection of paintings by great Andalusian and Spanish painters
- Flamenco Museum with the added bonus of attending a show
- Museum of Arts and Popular Customs with Traditional Andalusian Clothes
- Palace museum Lebrija with its mosaics, paintings and tapestries
- Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art presenting a collection of paintings and ceramics
- Archaeological museum to see for its beautiful pieces of Roman times
- Museum of the Inquisition presenting this particular period of Andalusian history
- Ceramic Museum that will teach you everything about this art
14. The churches of Seville
In addition to the Cathedral, do not hesitate to push the door of these churches:
- Iglesia Colegial from San Salvador I told you a little bit higher
- St. Anne’s Church , in the district of Triana, of which I have already spoken to you
- Parroquia of San Lorenzo
- Basilica of the macarena
- Real parroquia of Santa Maria Magdalena
- Parroquia de Santa Catalina
15. Activities to do in Seville with children
You will have noticed, this top things to do in Seville is more for a trip with friends or a romantic weekend, so if you decide to go to Seville with your family, I recommend 2 essential activities to do with your children.
The aquarium of Seville
A brand new addition (opened in 2014), the Seville aquarium can be a good outing to do with your children. On the program: exotic fish, sharks, turtles, octopuses and ponds to touch stars and sea cucumbers.
A little visit of about 1 hour that will please them and allow you to be cool.
The Isla Magica
The Isla Magica is an amusement park divided into 2 parts: one with rides and a water park (Agua Magica) with slides and slides . Several themes serve as background: pirates, gold, the Amazon and of course Spain.
Know that it is better to book your tickets in advance to avoid the queue at the box office . The park is suitable for all ages but, as in all parks you will be limited if your children are not more than 1m10.
Visit Seville in 1 day
For those who only have one day in Seville , I advise you to focus on 2 of the must-haves on our list:
- Visit the Cathedral of Seville or the Alcazar to start the day (for a single day a choice between one or the other is necessary if you do not want to spend your day in queues)
- A tour of the Indian archives located just next to one or the other
- Strolling in the Barrio de Santa Cruz
- Lunch break
- Discover the Spanish Steps
- Walk in the fresh Maria Luisa Park
And if you prefer to make the most of your day, you can also take the multi-stop bus to visit all the places of interest in Seville. You will also have the right to guided tours of the Spanish Steps, the Triana district and the Santa Cruz district .
Visit Seville in 2 days
In 2 days in Seville, in addition to the first day presented above, I suggest you the following itinerary:
- Start with the Cathedral or Alcazar of Seville, the one you did not visit on the 1st day!
- Lunch break
- Then go to the casa de Pilatos
- Climb to the top of Metropol Parasol in the late afternoon
- Attend a flamenco show.
Visit Seville in 3 days
In 3 days in Seville , you will be able to finish discovering the inescapable of the city and even to add an activity or 2 in extra:
- Start the day with the Triana District and its indoor market
- Climb to the top of the gold tower
- Visit the bullring of Seville
- Lunch break
- Visit a museum or 2 and / or opt for a cruise on the Guadalquivir
- You will also want to return to the Spanish Steps!
- Finish your stay in style with a good restaurant
Visit Seville in 4 days
Visiting Seville in 4 days , I think it’s a good idea if you like to take your time or do it with children . This will allow you to slow down and enjoy the city quietly!
Otherwise, I would rather recommend a day trip to Cordoba , it is very good from Seville, the travel time between the two cities being only 40 minutes by train!
Where to sleep in Seville
- Black Swan Hostel : Hostel located 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Bed in dormitory very design and contemporary from 17 € per night, breakfast included! Most: quiet, very friendly staff, free dinners cooked by volunteers. We highly recommend this property if you are looking for a hostel.
- Hotel Don Paco : Located in the center of Seville 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral. Spacious room and comfortable bedding from 60 € per night, breakfast 10 €. Goodies: excellent breakfast, quiet and rooftop pool. Our favorite for his report benefits / price.
- Hotel Fernando III : Located in the historic district of Santa Cruz and therefore close to the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Modern and spacious room from 106 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the excellent location, the pool on the roof, the staff very helpful.
- EME Catedral Hotel: Located right next to Seville Cathedral and the Giralda. Double room very modern and design from 180 € per night, breakfast 20 €. Most: the fabulous location, the design of the hotel, the pool overlooking the cathedral, the varied breakfast and quality. Do not hesitate, this is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Seville!
Where to eat in Seville
- Restaurant Casa Cuesta : Located in the Triana district, next to the covered market. We tested the sangria and each took 3 plates of tapas. Everything was delicious and plentiful, at decent prices. And we did not even have room for a dessert. (Well, I still ate ice cream!)
- Eslava : Located next to the parroquia of San Lorenzo. Gourmet tapas bar with tapas with subtle and refined taste and even 2 “medal” tapas, all for prices starting from 3 €! But be careful places are expensive and no possibility of booking.
- La Brunilda : Located a hundred meters from the Isabel II Bridge, very good tapas bar. Varied selection and delicious tapas for a decent price. Few seats, we advise you to go a little before the opening to be sure to have a place.
Tourist map of Seville
Here is a tourist map of Seville, which will help you get an idea of the location of different places of interest in the city. Remember to put it on your smartphone, it can be useful!
My impressions of Seville
I had three favorites in Seville : the famous place of Spain that I found huge and beautiful, and amateur photo that I am, really very photogenic! This is clearly my number 1 in the city.
The Cathedral of Seville , which is gigantic, and very pleasant to visit, especially during the mass, when there is practically nobody.
My 3rd favorite is the casa of Pilatos with its patio and its gardens which, although small, are very beautiful. This discovery was a nice surprise.
And no offense to some but the Alcazar of Seville did not leave me an unforgettable memory, probably because of the gardens not very well maintained which I was a little disappointed. It’s a shame, the rest of the visit is very pleasant, but the impression of “can do better” disappoints.
A last tip if you are going to visit Seville: do not go there in the middle of summer you could dry up on the spot and not be able to enjoy the visit of the city.
We went in early June and with more than 35 degrees in the shade every day , I can tell you that the heat was already intense and that we were happy when we found an air-conditioned place!
So, what did you plan to visit during your stay in Seville?