Spain

visit seville: top 18 things to do and see

visit seville

Seville is part, together with Cordoba and Granada, of the trio of the most famous cities of Andalusia and Spain.

To visit Seville is to discover a rich architectural and historical heritage and get into Spanish time with unlimited tapas, sangria, and flamenco program.

It is the ideal city for a romantic weekend or with friends, very easily accessible from France in just 2 hours by plane and for an unbeatable price. And what’s more, it’s good all year round!

What to do in Seville?

What to do in Seville

Our guide to Seville, with everything to do and see, makes organizing your 1 to 4-day stay in the Andalusian city easy! At the end of the article, you will also find my selection of the best hotels in the city. 

So what to do in Seville? What are the places of interest to visit? Where to eat? Or sleep?

Visit Seville: the essentials.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the See of Seville

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the See of Seville

We start our top places to visit in Seville with the Cathedral of Seville, which could be more normal since it is the city’s most visited tourist site.

Notre Dame du Siege Cathedral, the third largest in the world, was built to impress from the outset. We will remember this sentence from a clergy member: “Let’s build a temple so big that those who see it finished will think we’re crazy!”. “

Built in 1401 on the foundations of an old Almohad mosque, the last stone of the dome was laid 100 years later.

Today the interior is vibrant and lavishly decorated. Do not miss the Capilla Mayor and its Gothic altarpiece made up of 45 panels depicting the life of Christ, the tomb of Christopher Columbus, and the collections of silverware and paintings.

Count about 1h30 to 2h of visit.

Visit Seville: the Giralda

the Giralda

Entrance to the cathedral also gives you the right to access the Giralda, the bell tower of Seville Cathedral. Originally it was a minaret of the old mosque. The Christians only added an upper third to it to be able to put bells there, more than 24 in total.

You can climb to the top of the Giralda and admire the magnificent panoramic view of the entire city of Seville.

Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit to Seville, but feel free to share your impressions of this place in the comments!

The Alcazar of Seville

The Alcazar of Seville

The second must-see monument in Seville is next to the cathedral: the Alcazar of Seville ( Real Alcázar in Spanish).

It is the place of residence of the King of Spain when he is staying in Seville (therefore, bad luck if you are there at this time, you will not be able to visit it).

This Arabic and Moorish-style palace alone represents the magnificence of Mudéjar art. The decorations inside are sumptuous. Each room and courtyard is decorated to the smallest square centimeter with geometric, vegetal, and azulejo motifs.

Also worth seeing for its vast gardens with fountains, water jets, and flowerbeds. Very pleasant to walk around and enjoy a little shade.

Small flat, during my visit I found that some parts are a little abandoned and I much preferred the gardens of the Alcazar of Cordoba which is more graphic and very well maintained.

Visiting the Alcazar of Seville will take you around 2 hours.

The Archives of the Indies

The Archives of the Indies

Next to the Cathedral and the Alcazar of Seville, you can take a little time to visit the Archive of the Indies. The visit is free and is to be done especially to see the remarkable architecture of the building. The interior is stunning.

On the other hand, don’t expect to see the famous archives; they are kept out of sight. And yes, all the cardboard folders lined up on the bookcases are empty!

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Do not hesitate to take a walk there after you visit the Cathedral; it will only take you ¼ hour.

Santa Cruz neighborhood

Santa Cruz neighborhood

All its most famous monuments in Seville are grouped in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, the most representative neighborhood of Seville, the most typical, the historic heart, and, therefore, the most tourist.

You can stroll through the pedestrian streets, have a coffee or lunch in the many bars and restaurants and take the opportunity to do some souvenir shopping in the many shops.

It is a pleasant place for a short stroll with its patios, whitewashed houses, and pretty squares.

Head to the Patio de Banderas plaza to enjoy a lovely view of the cathedral.

Casa de Pilatos

Casa de Pilatos

Casa de Pilatos is an aristocratic palace built in 1540 by the first Marquess of Tarifa, who 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.

Be aware of the classic and uninspiring facade; Casa de Pilatos is worth a look.

You will begin your visit with the majestic patio in the center, which sits a fountain. You will then visit several rooms around the patio and can take a break around one of the two gardens. If I had listened to myself, it would have been the perfect place for a nap!

You can also visit the first floor if you choose this option when purchasing your ticket, but it could be more expensive and more attractive. 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. It’s only some days that you visit Seville!

The bullring of Seville

The bullring of Seville

You can visit the bullring of Seville, but beware, the visit is only guided and only in Spanish and English.

You will visit the museum and enter the arena. Each year, the bullring hosts one of the essential ferias in the world, the Feria de Abril.

Whether for or against, the bullfighting tradition is deeply rooted in Andalusia, and bullfights are a significant event in Andalusian life.

I recommend booking your Seville Bullring Tour ticket in advance to avoid queuing. This ticket is a skip the line and entitles you to a 1-hour guided tour of the arena.

The Metropol Parasol / Las Setas of Seville

Las Setas of Seville

It is an unusual monument of Seville. Very recently (it dates from 2011), the Metropol parasol or las setas (mushrooms in French) was the subject of solid criticism during its construction.

And indeed, the building can surprise. This gigantic wooden structure has the shape of a giant mushroom and deviates a bit from the Andalusian style.

But that’s where you’ll find one of the best vantage points in town. You can climb to the top of the building and admire a 360-degree view of Seville.

The best thing is that the entrance costs barely 3 euros and a little bonus, your entrance ticket entitles you to a reduction of 1 euro at the terrace of the café at the very top. The perfect opportunity to enjoy an aperitif and the sunset over the city in an unusual way.

Or, instead, you can also use your entrance ticket to the restaurant “La Sureña” located at the bottom of the Metropol Parasol. You will get a free beer.

Museums to visit in Seville 

Museums to visit in Seville 

If you have decided to go to Seville for several days, here is a list of museums to visit in Seville:

  • Seville Fine Arts Museum with a collection of paintings by great Andalusian and Spanish painters
  • Flamenco Museum with the bonus of attending a show
  • Museum of popular arts and customs, which presents traditional Andalusian clothes
  • Lebrija Palace Museum, with its mosaics, paintings, and tapestries
  • Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art presents a collection of paintings and ceramics
  • Archaeological museum to see for its beautiful pieces from the Roman period
  • Museum of the Inquisition, which presents this particular period of Andalusian history
  • Museum of ceramics, which will teach you all about this art.

Now you know what to do in Seville when it rains!

What to do around Seville?

What to do around Seville?

After discovering the main places of interest in Seville, you should spend some time discovering the surroundings.

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There are several very famous places and towns to see around Seville.

Granada 

Granada 

Granada is not necessarily the closest city to Seville because it is still 2h40 by car, but I have to mention it because it is still an essential step on a route in Andalusia.

You can visit the world-famous Alhambra, for which you must book your tickets weeks or even months in advance to ensure a time slot.

This palatial complex of more than 140,000m² built in the 13th century is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

In Granada, you can also visit:

  • The Albaicin district very typical and picturesque
  • Lookouts to admire the view
  • The Sacromonte district and its troglodyte dwellings.

Cadiz

Cadiz

When planning your visit to Seville and your trip to Andalusia, you think of something other than Cadiz. The city is indeed often a little forgotten in favor of Seville’s more famous neighbors, such as Cordoba and Granada.

Yet the city deserves a short day trip, especially since it is only about 1h30 by car from Seville.

In Cadiz, I advise you not to miss the following:

  • Cadiz Cathedral
  • Plaza de San Juan de Dios
  • The Roman theater
  • The Tavira Tower
  • The castle of San Sebastian and that of Santa Catalina.

Málaga

Málaga

And I end my selection of places to see near Seville by Malaga.

Things to see and do in Malaga:

  • The Alcazaba, an 11th-century palace
  • Gibralfaro Castle and its view of the city
  • The Roman Theater of Malaga, the oldest monument in the city
  • The Cathedral of the Incarnation
  • All museums: Picasso’s BirthplacePablo Picasso Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum …

How many days does it take to visit Seville?

visit-Seville

Plan at least 3 days to visit Seville. 

If you also want to discover the surroundings of Seville with a visit to Ronda or Cordoba, for example, you can easily spend 4 or 5 days or even a week there.

I have prepared a detailed program for you to know what to do in Seville in 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days, just below:

Visit Seville in 1 day.

For those who only have one day in Seville, I advise you to focus on 2 of the essentials on our list:

  1. Visit the Cathedral of Seville or the Alcazar to start the day (for a single day, a choice between one or the other is essential if you do not want to spend your day in queues)
  2. A short tour of the archives of the Indies located right next to one or the other.
  3. Stroll through the barrio of Santa Cruz
  4. Lunch break
  5. Discovery of the Spanish Steps
  6. Fabulous walk-in Maria Luisa Park.

And if you prefer to make the most of your day, you can also take the hop-on hop-off buses to visit all the places of interest in Seville.

You will also be entitled to guided tours of the Spanish Steps, Triana, and Santa Cruz.

Visit Seville in 2 days.

In 2 days in Seville, in addition to the first day presented above, I suggest the following itinerary:

  1. Start with the Cathedral or the Alcazar of Seville, the one you didn’t visit on the 1st day!
  2. Lunch break
  3. Then go to the casa de Pilatos
  4. Climb to the top of Metropol Parasol in the late afternoon
  5. Do some shopping

What to do in Seville in 3 days?

In 3 days in Seville, you can finish discovering the city’s must-sees and even add an extra activity or 2:

  1. Start the day with the Triana district and its covered market
  2. Climb to the top of the Tower of Gold
  3. Visit the bullring of Seville
  4. Lunch break
  5. Visit a museum or 2 and/or opt for a cruise on the Guadalquivir
  6. You will also definitely want to return to the Spanish Steps!
  7. End your stay in style with a good restaurant.

How to visit Seville in 4 days?

Visiting Seville in 4 days is 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, you should take a day trip to Cordoba. Instead, it can be done very well from Seville, the travel time between the 2 cities being only 40 minutes by train!

This is also the solution we chose during our road trip to Andalusia.

Feel free to check train timetables and fares here: Omio – Train ticket booking.

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If Cordoba doesn’t tempt you, you have plenty of other possibilities: Ronda, Granada, Cadiz, Malaga, and all the other organized excursions I told you about above.

Where to sleep in Seville

sleep in Seville

The accommodation offered is vast in the city. To help you see it a little more clearly and know where to sleep in Seville, I have prepared a list of the best hotels for you according to your budget.

Depending on the season, especially during Holy Week in Seville (in April), prices can vary from simple to double.

  • Black Swan Hostel: Youth hostel located 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Bed in the same design and modern dormitory from 17 € per night, breakfast included! Most: calm, amicable staff, free dinners cooked by volunteers. An excellent choice where to sleep cheap in Seville!
  • Hotel Don Paco: Located in the center of Seville, 10 minutes from the Cathedral. Spacious room, comfortable bedding from €60 per night, and breakfast at €10. Most: excellent breakfast, calm, and the swimming pool on the roof. Our favorite for its price/performance ratio.
  • Hotel Fernando III is located in the historic district of Santa Cruz and close to the Cathedral and the Alcazar. Modern and spacious room from €106 per night, breakfast included. Most: the excellent location, the swimming pool on the roof, and the accommodating staff.
  • EME Catedral Hotel: Located right next to Seville Cathedral and Giralda. Very modern and designer double room from €180 per night, breakfast at €20. Most: the fabulous location, the design of the hotel, the swimming pool with a view of the Cathedral, and the varied and quality breakfast. Do not hesitate any longer; we recommend an upscale stay in Seville! 
  • Hotel Alfonso XIII – A Luxury Collection Hotel: located next to the Alcazar, this prestigious 5* establishment offers elegant rooms, tastefully decorated from €400 per night, breakfast at €30. Most: the fabulous setting, the swimming pool, the garden, and the caring staff. The most beautiful luxury hotel to sleep in Seville!

Where to eat in Seville

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 reasonable prices. And we didn’t even have room for dessert. (Well, I still ate ice cream!)
  • Eslava : Located next to the parroquia of San Lorenzo. Gourmet tapas bar with a subtle and refined taste and even 2 “medal-winning” tapas, all for prices from €3! But beware, the places are expensive and without the possibility of reservation.
  • La Brunilda  : A perfect tapas bar is located a hundred meters from the Isabel II Bridge. Varied choices and delicious tapas for a fair price. Few seats we advise you to go a little before the opening to have a place.

In Seville, you can also do a “Tapas Crawl.” Accompanied by a guide, you will tour the best tapas bars in the city for an evening. And I’m talking here about local bars and typical small bodegas, far from the tourist traps.

You will have the opportunity to taste about ten portions of tapas in 5 different places, all accompanied by a good glass of wine each time.

What to do in Seville at night?

flamenco

I would like to know where to go out at night in Seville.

See a flamenco show for a typical Spanish activity on your Andalusia itinerary.

Among the most famous, I recommend the one held at the Casa de la Memoria, a small theater with an intimate atmosphere dating from the 15th century and not far from the Metropol Parasol. All the artists, the guitarist, the singer and of course the dancers, are very talented.

The service lasts 1 hour and costs only around twenty euros per person.

The place being relatively small, there are few places available each evening. The reservation for this flamenco show in Seville is therefore mandatory by clicking on the green button below:

If this show is already sold out, you also have that of the Flamenqueria Sevilla, which takes place in an equally intimate place but in the Triana district.

I recommend the Palacio Andaluz one if you prefer a slightly grander show with more dancers and musicians (and a much larger room). When making your reservation, you can choose between several options: with drinks included, with tapas, or with dinner.

 

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