Seville, the jewel of Andalusia, is one of the most stunning Spanish cities I’ve seen so far. If you are after a city trip to a destination brimming with culture, you will absolutely love it. Seville has a stunning architecture and atmosphere that blends the influences of the Moors with the Catholic Church. It is an opulent city and it’s been the perfect shooting location for many iconic movies, including Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia.
I visited this city for 4 days but I can definitely say that you can still hit all the major spots in 3 days and leave yourself some room to relax. With that said, welcome to my things to do in Seville guide. Let’s get started!
Where to stay in Seville
During my time in Seville, I stayed at the Hotel Sevilla Center which is a modern 4-star hotel with fantastic views over Seville. While it’s outside of the old city, it’s only a 15-minute walk away from the Alcazar Gardens. There’s also a tram nearby and a grocery store opposite, so it’s got great connections. The rooms start at 50 EUR.
I can also recommend the cafe downstairs. The hotel also has a panoramic restaurant that requires a prior reservation. If you choose to stay at Hotel Sevilla Center, I’d recommend skipping breakfast in the hotel as it was vastly overpriced at 30 EUR per person.
Walking through the center, I noticed many beautiful hotels peppered all over. I think that if you want to wake up and be just a step away from all the major hotspots, you might like these hotels:
- For a luxury experience check out the Hotel Casa Del Poeta: fantastic location right next to the Giralda tower, attentive staff, and great design. Prices start from 193 EUR.
- Casona de San Andrés is a cozy 3-star hotel just a step away from Las Setas. Their rooms start at 49 EUR.
- If you are budget-conscious, check out the highly-rated The Nomad Hostel which offers shared bedrooms from 18 EUR and private rooms from 50 EUR.
When to visit Seville
When it comes to weather, Seville gets unbearably hot during the summer months from June all the way to September with average temperatures at around 35 degrees Celsius. I visited in the last week of September and the temperatures made it hard to explore a lot since we were dead by mid-afternoon.
I would recommend going in October and November when the temperatures are milder at 26 and 20 degrees Celsius. If you’re going in the warmer months, don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, glasses, a good water bottle, good comfortable shoes and clothing that breathes. Taking out cash will also make things much easier. All these essentials will make your trip so much more pleasant.
Getting around Seville
How to get to Seville from the Airport
There is a City Bus EA going from the airport to Plaza De Armas through the city center. A one-way journey costs 4 euros per person and it lasts around 35 minutes or so. Keep in mind that there aren’t many seats on the bus so it fills up quite quickly, but the bus goes every 30 minutes.
The bus from the airport to Seville goes from 5.20 AM to 01.15 PM and the bus from Seville to the airport goes from 04.30 AM to 00.30 PM. This is the only bus going to the city.
You can also rent a car, but there’s not much use for it in the narrow Seville city center, so I would recommend booking a transfer instead. Prices start at 29 EUR for a group of 4 people and you can book it through GetYourGuide.
Here you will find a map with all the spots mapped out over three days:
Things to do in Seville on day one
I hope you’re ready to start strong! Your first-day itinerary will give you a solid overview of the city’s main attractions, starting with the most popular Real Alcazar. The day will be intense but in my experience, it was optimal to start exploring early in the morning before the heat gets to you.
I expect that you will be done with your main attractions by mid-afternoon, leaving you to recharge and explore the city in a laid-back manner.
If you’re budgeting, keep in mind that Monday is a free visit day for most museums but those slots fill up and need to be booked in advance, also it will be very crowded. With that in mind, let’s get started!
Explore the Royal Gardens of Real Alcázar
The beautiful Alcazar gardens of the royal palace in Seville are a must-see attraction. In fact, you probably have already seen them without knowing. The Alcazar gardens were used as a filming location for the Dorne storyline in Game of Thrones. It is every bit as beautiful as in the movies, and even more so. So it’s little wonder that this is the one attraction you will have to plan for: the crowds are no joke. You absolutely have to buy your ticket in advance.
Real Alcazar is the functioning royal palace of Seville and a UNESCO Heritage site. It was built in the 16th century in the Mudéjar style which is a fusion of Moorish ornament styles with the Christian standards that came with the time period. During your visit you can either see the gardens or buy a ticket to see the upstairs rooms as well.
The gardens are luscious and luxurious, with enough water features to refresh you and enough tall trees to seek refuge from the heat. I recommend heading there at the beginning of your day, especially if you are visiting during the warm months, as the heat can get exhausting and you will need your energy to explore.
My boyfriend and I wanted to keep it spontaneous so we didn’t make a reservation in advance. When we showed up at 9:30 at the door, there was a huge queue to the ticket office snaking beside the wall, and another queue almost as long for the people with pre-bought tickets.
Then I did the prudent thing and went directly to the website to book us a slot for the same day at 15:00 when the queues dissipated. There still was a regular queue but the pre-bought queue was very short by that time, and we got in with no trouble. I would definitely get more enjoyment out of exploring the gardens when the sun would be lower, not to mention being exhausted from exploring the city in the first half of the day.
If you want to get enter Real Alcazar in the morning, definitely buy tickets in advance as they will sell out quickly and you won’t be able to get those hours last-minute. While we bought tickets just for the gardens and an audio guide, I didn’t like the audio guide at all.
It felt very drawn out, there were classical music and bird sound overlays that lasted for 30 seconds before the narrator started. There were a lot of stops to listen to the audio guide, however, promising a lot of content.
A great alternative is to get a skip-the-line ticket with a guided tour while being flexible with the time of your visiting and planning the day around that activity.
Visit the Catedral de Sevilla
The Seville Cathedral is one of the most stunning I’ve seen so far. Located just two steps away from the Real Alcazar, this massive gothic structure draws the eye with beautiful spires. But you can’t really process its dimensions until you step inside. The Cathedral is the perfect illustration of the grandeur of Catholic churches, from the dozen angels adorning a golden shrine to the 4 different organs on each side.
There are many spots hidden from sight to explore: the corridors lead to small chapels and staircases, and the portraits adorning the walls make you feel like the Cathedral was a major inspiration for the Hogwarts design. The tomb of Christopher Columbus in all its glory is impossible to miss.
If you are looking for more detail, there are guided tours of the Cathedral rooftops and the stained glass windows. Depending on the day, there may be queues to see the Cathedral and Giralda, but you may very well avoid them.
I recommend getting a combo skip-the-line ticket either directly or through GetYourGuide. Keep in mind that if you book directly through the official website, the tickets will cost 9 EUR. In either case, you also get free entry to the Iglesia del Divino Salvador which is situated nearby.
In my opinion, the best way to get your money’s worth is by choosing a tour of the Cathedral and combining it with an entry ticket, or just booking directly. Here are some tours of the Catherdal you might enjoy:
Climbing La Giralda Tower
There is no visiting the Seville Cathedral without admiring its beautiful bell tower. Another UNESCO Heritage site, the tower was built as a minaret and was later updated to a bell tower after the Catholics took over.
If you make the climb to the 35th floor you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Seville. What makes the climb easier is that the steps are replaced by a sloping walkway. Originally the incline was created so that the Imam could get up on a donkey, which is a nice little reminder of the building’s history.
I didn’t climb the tower myself, resigning to enjoy the views from Metropol Parasol, which is on the itinerary for the very next day. The entrance to La Giralda is included with the Cathedral ticket.
Iglesia del Divino Salvador
Once you got the free ticket from the Catedral de Sevilla, it’s time to stop by the beautiful Iglesia del Divino Salvador. This church has a beautiful pink facade opening up onto a lively square, but the inside is just as magnificent.
The church feels more like a place of worship, opposite the opulence of the cathedral. Even so, there are many baroque elements in the decor that are worth seeing, from gold plating to the cherubs.
You can also buy combo tickets to the Cathedral of Seville here and skip the queues if you prefer. I used my ticket to the church on a different day than the Cathedral and it was no problem.
Eat churros in the old center
When you’re done, step out onto the Plaza del Salvador and take the opportunity to have delicious churros at Kukuchurro. The churros there are served with a cup of hot chocolate to dip the dough into, and they are easily the most delicious I’ve tried.
Whatever people are calling churros in The Netherlands is nothing but a big fat lie, let me tell you. There are several other cafes in the area that are known for great churros, but often they can be quite crowded because they’re so popular with the locals.
If you’re looking for such an experience, check out the nearby Bar El Comercio. When we passed it, the narrow space by the counter was filled with people sipping coffee and eating churros. The perfect local experience!
Check out Seville’s shopping streets
There are many fantastic shops waiting in the streets of Seville. The main shopping streets you absolutely can’t miss are Calle Sierpes, Calle Tetuán, and Plaza Nueva. You will find many fantastic shops and delicatessen, one of my favorites was the Sabor a Espana. It’s impossible to miss as it’s located right next to the Cathedral, and it sells everything from nougat to tourron and dehydrated fruit.
Explore the Casa de Pilatos residence
One of my favorite discoveries in Seville was the existence of palace residences like Casa de Pilatos, with their arched walkways and square courtyards opened to the heavens. If you are looking to experience the lifestyle of the upper crust of the 16th-century, this is a prime place to start.
This is a particularly fun spot for movie lovers as Casa de Pilatos featured prominently in Laurence of Arabia and Knight and Day. I loved the house for the beautiful panels of azulejos tiles and a sense of rich history.
Tickets to the Casa de Pilatos cost 10 EUR for the ground floor or both for 12 EUR which will include a guided tour which will take you up to the 2nd floor which was used during winter. The first floor was reserved for summertime use. The palace name originates from Pontius Pilates, who allegedly lived in an identical house. I recommend buying tickets on the spot since there are no large queues to speak of.
Things to do in Seville on day two
Plaza de España
Start your second day in Seville by heading to the stunning Plaza de España. It’s hard to imagine that this square was designed by Aníbal González only in 1929. It’s so romantic and full of life! Lean on the ceramic blue railings of the bridge and stop to admire the view of the square as the horse-drawn carriages circle the fountain.
Here you can take the rowboat on the canal surrounding the Plaza or walk the length of the gallery instead, where endless rows of merchants sell Seville fans and castanets. Look around and don’t rush—there’s plenty to see here!
At the central portico, you will find live performers dancing flamenco to the sound of the guitar, and if you climb the staircase to the second floor, you will be rewarded with wide views of the square from the viewing platforms that flank the building.
The square itself is quite remarkable too: you will notice the tiled alcoves lining the walls. Each represents one of the 48 Spanish provinces.
Some practical guidance: consider visiting early in the morning, and enjoy a less crowded experience. The rowboats might not be as much fun in the blazing sun but it sounds like a great idea during the off-season. When you’re done taking pictures, head into the Maria Luisa Park.
Alternatively, if you’d like to learn more about Seville’s rich history, consider taking a tour through the main landmarks. Here are some interesting options to check out:
- Seville: Historical Walking Tour & Optional Flamenco Show
- Seville: Santa Cruz Jewish Quarter Walking Tour
- Seville Highlights Bike Tour
Walk around the Maria Luisa Park
The park is the perfect place to refresh especially during the hot summers. There are many magnificent water features and fountains that make this the ideal walking route on the way to the city. Don’t miss the beautiful Fountain of Lions and the Monte Gurugú which is a small mountain with a waterfall.
The long walkway stretching through the Plaza de America has two museums worth checking out on both sides: Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions and the Archeological Museum of Seville. If you walk through the park, it will bring you closer to the river promenade, and to our next stop, the Seville Aquarium.
Marvel at the Seville Aquarium
The Seville Aquarium surprised me with its awesomeness! Traveling with my boyfriend—a big fishkeeping enthusiast currently maintaining four tanks—I knew this stop would be unavoidable. I didn’t know that I would enjoy it as much as I did.
Tickets to the Seville Aquarium cost 15 EUR but you can get them even cheaper if you book in advance on GetYourGuide. and opening hours and address.
For a city so far away from the sea, the variety of marine life and the size of their habitats came as a big surprise.
Not only was there a tunnel with a glass ceiling but also a giant tank with two bull sharks, all manner of fish imaginable and a sea turtle, all of whom could be viewed from at least 5 different spots. It was absolutely fascinating and I heartily recommend it!
Walk the Guadalquivir promenade to Torre del Oro
Follow the shaded promenade path from the Aquarium to the city center. From here you can enjoy views of the Guadalquivir river as you make your way towards the Torre de Oro, which translates to Tower of Gold. This 13th-century watchtower was used as a prison in its day. Now it’s a museum that houses a small naval collection. There is also access to the terrace. The entrance fee is 3 EUR.
Nearby you will also find the bullfighting ring which also runs tours. While it is a big piece of history, I opted out of seeing it.
Watch a Flamenco performance in a tablao
One thing you must do in Seville is to see a Flamenco performance. The best place to do this is in a local tablao venue. I doubted whether to do this until the very last evening, which meant that I was looking for performances last-minute once more. There are very many spots in Seville to watch Flamenco but I recommend you purchase tickets at least a day in advance.
The prices can vary, the cheapest options I saw started at 20 EUR. The bigger performances such as the Palacio Andaluz cost 40 EUR or 50 EUR. You can choose between a regular entry ticket, a ticket with a welcome drink and a ticket + dinner package which might be a great combo.
I saw the performance in Tablao Cantaora which had a small troupe of 4 artists: two female dancers, a guitarist, and another singer. It was a fantastic experience, although it made me hungry for more. Next time I would probably choose a bigger show.
When researching the best flamenco shows in Seville, I referred to this article. If you’d like to book without a hustle, here are some good options to consider:
- Flamenco Dance Museum: Show with Optional Museum Ticket
- Seville: Triana Tablao Flamenco Show with Drink
- El Patio Sevillano: Traditional Flamenco Show with Drink
- If you are on a budget, head over to La Carboneria which is a tavern that is free to enter, and it hosts flamenco performances. You will most likely need to order food or drinks. This is an authentic local experience.
Things to do in Seville on day three
Enjoy the fantastic views from Las Setas
When I first saw the modern wooden railings of the Las Setas (also known as Metropol Parasol), I imagined them to be in a modern part of Seville. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Las Setas were in the heart of the city, somehow offering fabulous 360-degree views from their elaborate walkways.
The entry costs 3 EUR and in my opinion, it is well worth the fantastic rooftop perspective that you get from this viewpoint.
Hospital Los Venerables
If you have the time to spare, Hospital de los Venerables is worth checking out. It was originally founded in the 17th-century to care for priests and has gone through many changes before being turned into an exhibition center. I couldn’t make it to the Hospital during my visit, but I wanted to highlight it anyway.
Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija
This palace is another private residence offering a glimpse into the houses built for the privileged Sevillans. What makes this palace different is that it also offers a glance into the past life of its owner, la Condesa de Lebrija. The countess in question was the first woman to study at University.
The first floor offers a collection of mosaics and Roman artifacts, while the second floor is very interesting but available only with the group tour. Every room has its own purpose— from an Arabic-inspired smoking room, to the familial collection of coats of arms and tapestries.
My favorite room had to be the library (no surprise there), stacked full with 6000 books, a giant portrait of the Countess’ deceased husband and moody lighting.
Where to eat in Seville: Foodie Recommendations
While I am no expert on Spanish food by any means, the food in Seville is absolutely fantastic and I would recommend eating as much as possible as well as considering taking a food tour if you don’t know where to go!
When choosing what to order, this blog post came in very handy. My boyfriend and I managed to try some signature Spanish and Andalusian dishes, and I can recommend the following places:
- Baco Borbolla (Av. de la Borbolla, 12): One of the dishes you must try before you leave is an Arroz Negro which is similar to a seafood paella made with squid ink which grants it its natural black color. By no means cheap, this dish was 15 EUR per person with a minimum of two people, but it was absolutely delicious. I’m still dreaming of it.
- El Gato en Bicicleta (Calle Pérez Galdós, 22): this is a great cafe stop with a simple breakfast menu, lots of different coffee options and various types of tea. I was drawn to it because there are lots of books on display, giving you a very relaxed vibe.
- El Buen Punto Casa Ricardo (Calle Jose Luis Luque 3 | Plaza de la Encarnacion): This was a perfect tapas spot, located right next to Las Setas. We tried a bunch of stuff, but my favorite was the eggplant with honey and goat cheese. A very simple but fantastic dish!
- Bar Santa Marta (Calle Angostillo 2): This is a local spot with superb food and very affordable prices. The portions are large as well, so there will be enough to fill you. Keep in mind that the kitchen opens after 12:00 or so.
- El Pimenton (Calle García de Vinuesa, 29): this small cafe has daily lunch deals which can be hit or miss, depending on their specials. However the menu is solid so if you order classic Spanish dishes, you will walk away satisfied.
- Triana Market (Calle San Jorge, 6): If you’re looking to venture beyond the center, it’s time to cross the river and explore the Triana market. You will find several cafes that serve breakfast and a couple of patisseries for sweet tooths too.