If you’re thinking of visiting Spain but don’t know which city to start your journey in, Seville is an excellent choice! Why? It’s a very typical Spanish city, with an explosion of flamenco music, marvellous food, beautiful monuments and what’s more, it’s cheaper than bigger cities like Madrid or Barcelona. Every corner of this city is very photogenic, and it’s always full of people on the streets strolling or enjoying one of its many outdoor terraces. The people of this southern region are very lively and welcoming, and it’s easy to get carried away by this vibrant energy and have a few beers and coffees (and then take a quality siesta!). Food here is serious business, you sit down to eat with the locals and one hour becomes two, or three! What’s more, the weather here is always sunny! In summer it easily reaches 40 degrees… and in winter, well, you can’t even call it cold. The sun is usually out and it’s very common to find yourself in just a T-shirt in the middle of winter!
But without further ado, here are some tips on what to do if you’re thinking of visiting this beautiful city.
1- Seville’s Alcazar Royal Palace
This palace has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s not hard to see why: it’s simply one of the most important monumental complexes in the world, with palaces, gardens and fortresses from different civilisations and cultures that have passed through the city and left their mark on this place. Visiting this place is like travelling back in time to understand more of Seville’s history: you can see the influence of the Arabs in some of its architecture when they dominated southern Spain, in contrast to the influences and constructions of the Christian kings. Entry costs 11.50 euros and is worth every cent.
PS: The palace has been the setting for several film and series productions, most recently for the Game of Thrones series, representing the Kingdom of Dorne! A little surprise for fans of the series.
2- Seville Cathedral and Giralda Tower
Cathedral and Giralda Tower: A must-see. 📷@edison_alcaide
If you could only choose one cathedral in the world to visit, Seville’s would be an excellent choice! This place, which used to be a mosque and is now simply the largest Gothic temple in the world, has in its structure a super contrast between Arab and Christian styles. At the end of the 12th century, when Seville was colonised by the Arabs, the mosque was built along with the tower that today is called the Giralda and remains perfectly intact today. In 1248, after the Christian conquest of Seville, the mosque was transformed into the city’s church and cathedral. Unesco also declared it, along with the Alcazar Palace, a World Heritage Site. The architecture is marvellous, as you’d expect from all these mixtures and historical legacies. And the view from the Giralda Tower is unmissable. Entry costs around 9 euros.
3- Plaza España
It could be us relaxing and doing yoga in Plaza España, but you don’t co-operate 😀 📷@edison_alcaide
It’s impossible to come to Seville and not visit this marvellous place. Famous for being one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, it was built in 1929 as the main building for the Ibero-American exhibition, with the difficult task of creating a space that was a faithful representation of Spain. And indeed it succeeds: In every majestic corner there are benches decorated with tiles representing a Spanish province, showing art made with ceramics from the place and its customs, as well as its location on a map, totalling 48 provinces.
And the best bit? It’s free to visit because the square is completely public, making a visit to this place practically obligatory. The architecture is so beautiful that the view is incredible from any angle!
PS: If you’re a Star Wars fan (like me), you’ll recognise the place because it was one of the main settings on the planet Naboo (no wonder it’s one of the most beautiful planets in the franchise).
4- María Luisa Park
Sunbathing in María Luisa Park with the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs in the background 📷@edison_alcaide
This is simply Seville’s main park! Opened in 1914, it used to be the private gardens of a palace and is now open to the public every year. It’s worth wandering around the park’s gardens, admiring its beauty and even sitting down for a coffee on the outdoor terraces. The park is next to Plaza España, so you can easily visit both together. It’s my favourite place to relax and take a post-siesta stroll in Seville. What’s more, there are two museums inside the park: the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs of Seville. Both are good places to visit if you want to delve deeper into the history of the city and Andalusia in general (the southern region of which Seville is a part) and the entrance fee is just 1.50 euros for each museum.
5- Triana Market and CasaLa Theatre
The entire Triana neighbourhood is well worth exploring, but this market stands out: it’s the perfect place to soak up the energy of the neighbourhood and the city, watch the locals frantically buying their vegetables, meat and fish and also to do some shopping yourself, why not? In addition, since 2009 it has been possible to visit the archaeological remains of the San Jorge castle, dating back to the Spanish Inquisition, located inside the market and completely open to the public. As if all this wasn’t enough, there’s also a small theatre inside, called CasaLa Teatro, with daily live flamenco performances! With just 28 seats, it’s probably the smallest theatre in the world, which makes it even more special. You can check the programme and buy tickets on the website: https://casalateatro.com/
6- Santa Cruz neighbourhood
A walk through the Santa Cruz neighbourhood 📷@edison_alcaide
The Santa Cruz neighbourhood is simply one of the oldest parts of the city and still preserves much of its medieval style. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Spain, this is where you’ll find many of the city’s sights, including the cathedral and the Alcazar palace. However, the whole fun of this neighbourhood is simply strolling through its little streets, admiring its houses and squares full of orange trees, which are very characteristic of this region of Spain.
7- San Bartolomé neighbourhood
This is another of the city’s old neighbourhoods, but much less touristy than Santa Cruz! There are also lots of marvellous narrow streets here, especially Calle Verde, which is very charming, with a natural ceiling of plants falling down the walls. What’s more, strolling along this street you’ll come across one of the oldest houses in Seville: the Palacio de los Padilla, which is well worth a look. You can also visit the Santa María La Blanca Church, the best known in the neighbourhood, dating back to 1391. And this area is just a few minutes’ walk from Seville Cathedral! I recommend visiting at lunchtime, as this neighbourhood is full of good restaurants, such as Peko Peko Tapas (Peruvian and Spanish fusion food) or La Taraceina, which serves tapas and paella.
8- Las Setas Building
Exploring Las Setas 📷@edison_alcaide
This building stands out for its striking and unique architecture, which is somewhat reminiscent of a large champignon (hence the name Las Setas in Spanish). It was built to enhance an area of Seville that had been rather neglected, and now attracts many people and has even become a meeting place for Sevillians. You can go up to the viewpoint and admire a beautiful view of the city, and there is also an archaeological museum on the ground floor. Even if you’re short on time, this place is worth a visit. Entry to the viewpoint costs just 3 euros, how can you resist?
9- Tapas and marvellous food
As I mentioned earlier, the food in Seville (and southern Spain in general) is marvellous. It’s in this part of the country that you can find the best potato tortillas, fried croquetas, fried green peppers, salmorejos and gazpachos of the highest quality, as well as very fresh fish and seafood due to its proximity to the sea, the famous jamón (a type of smoked Spanish ham) and stews such as potage (chickpeas, chicken and vegetables) or lentejas (made with lentils and vegetables). The local beer (and very popular throughout southern Spain) is CruzCampo, which is always served ice cold. Breakfast here is a big event, with many people going out to have their coffee and toast (molletes or pan de campo) with butter, olive oil, tomatoes, jamón, etc. served in almost any bar, restaurant or café.
A great place to start exploring the local food is the Uno de Delicias restaurant, located on Paseo de las Delicias, with sophisticated tapas. Be sure to order the potato tortilla here!
The small and charming Bar Triana on Calle Castilla is also a nice surprise. It’s the perfect place to order a beer and try two hundred thousand different tapas.
La Cantina in Calle Feria Market is perfect if you’re more in the mood for fish, shellfish and seafood at super reasonable prices.
Just a few recommendations from a city where there’s no shortage of good restaurants!
10 – Torre del Oro
This tower, right in front of the Gualdaquivir river, is worth a visit if only for its history. First used as a lookout point to prevent possible attacks from the river, and then used as a prison, it is now a small naval museum. It’s one of the city’s most iconic monuments, along with the beautiful view from the site (plus the riverside walk!) and it’s for all this that this place is included in this list!
11 – Amazing hostels!
La Banda Rooftop Hostel
Seville being the complete city that it is, there is no shortage of hostels for all tastes and backpackers!
La BandaRooftop Hostel, as its name suggests, stands out for its marvellous roof top with incredible views of the city, including the cathedral. It’s a hostel full of art, music, parties and good vibes!
Oasis Backpacker’s Palace is a little quieter, but still social, with a swimming pool and free tours of the city!
And then there’s Toc Hostel, which is more sophisticated and modern, perfect if you’re looking for something quieter, but just as central as the other options!
There are hostels for all types of travellers! Go to the HostelWorld website and have a look around to choose the best place to stay during your trip 😊
But that’s it folks, Seville is a city with a lot of love to give and a great place to have an authentically Spanish experience! I wish you lots of quality beers, tapas, coffee and siestas. Have you visited and do you have any recommendations? Don’t forget to comment below and let us know! See you next time!
📚 About the Author 📚
Edison Alcaide is half Spanish and half Brazilian, but currently lives in London and enjoys all the twists and turns of the universe that brought him to British soil. He works as an actor and model and writes and photographs in his spare time, which he considers to be therapeutic hobbies. He is a traveller and passionate about Planet Earth, food, cafés, books, cinema, dogs and human beings with open minds and hearts. He is always ready for new adventures. His instagram name is @edison_alcaide, which he considers unoriginal but quite functional.