Today, I am going to tell you about a city that I was able to visit during my recent road trip in Andalusia and that really marked me: Seville. A real favorite of my trip to Andalusia, I stayed a few days in this magnificent city and was able to live to the rhythm of Andalusia.
In this article, I will give you all my advice for visiting Seville. We will start first with a practical question: how to reach the center of Seville from the airport. Then we will review the essentials to see in Seville. We will end with some practical advice to prepare your stay well and above all, our good addresses to discover in Seville and some ideas for itineraries for visits over several days.
So let’s go for a discovery of Seville, probably my favorite city in Europe!
Visit Seville: What to do and see in Seville?
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter with this section dedicated to the essentials to visit in Seville. Indeed, Seville is dotted with places to visit. It is an architecturally and culturally rich city. Here are the essentials of a visit to Seville.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Seat
Central point of the city, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the See of Seville is truly the must-see number 1 (with the Alcazar) of Seville. Visiting Seville rhymes with visiting its cathedral. This is one of the largest in Europe. It has the particularity of being erected on the very site of the Almohad mosque, of which it has preserved the minaret, now renovated into a bell tower. It is possible to climb to the top of this bell tower using a ramp which, at the time, allowed access to the top of the minaret on horseback.
Inside the building, you will find many paintings, sculptures adorned with gold, jewels, tombs, some of which are very famous such as that of Christopher Columbus, a native of the city, or the one of the largest monstrances in the world.
If you want to know more about the cathedral, I invite you to read our article dedicated to the visit of the cathedral of Seville. You will find all the information on booking a guided tour and its progress, as well as information on the history of the cathedral.
The Alcazar of Seville
The Alcazar of Seville is an old fortified palace built in the 9th century. Modified many times over time and invaders, the Alcazar consists of different palaces, patios and a huge flower garden where it is very pleasant to stroll. If you opt for a guided tour of the Alcazar, you will learn more about this emblematic place of the city. Its history is fascinating as evidenced by its unique architecture resulting from an incredible mix of styles.
The Alcazar is the oldest inhabited palace in Europe. Indeed, one of the parts of the Alcazar remains closed to the public because, two to three times a year, the King of Spain takes up residence there during his stays in Seville.
We have dedicated an article to this emblematic place of a visit to Seville, if you want to know more about the Alcazar of Seville, I invite you to take a look.
The Real Maestranza de Caballería bullring in Seville
The bullring of Seville is also one of the emblematic places to visit in Seville. These arenas have been classified as a historical monument since 1984. They are home to one of the most famous bullfights in Spain. The bullring is located in the El Arenal district, a short 10-minute walk from the center of the city. These arenas can be visited, it will cost you 6.50 €. Seville’s bullring is open every day, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The visit lasts about 45 minutes, it includes the visit of the bullring and also of the museum of the real Maestranza. I advise you to come and reserve your entry early in the day. Indeed, the visits are at fixed times. During our visit, all places were reserved for the next visit, we had to reserve and come back a few hours later.
If you want to see a bullfight, you will have to plan ahead and check the dates of the performances. For the less known, no need to book in advance, tickets can be purchased on site, however if you wish to attend certain famous bullfights, you will have to reserve your place several months in advance.
The Metropol Parasol of Seville was originally a desire of the municipality to rehabilitate Plaza de la Encarnación. In 2004, the city of Seville organizes a public tender to elect one of the projects that will be presented to them. It was therefore the Metropol Parasol project that won the contract. The project included a public square, a covered market and an archaeological museum.
It was therefore in 2011, after several shutdowns and a fairly large overrun of the budget (going from 30 million to more than 100 million euros) that the Metropol Parasol was inaugurated.
The Metropol Parasol has therefore become one of the emblematic monuments of the city. In addition to this unique and original wooden structure, the Metropol Parasol also has an archaeological museum called the Antiquarium, underground, with several bars around the structure. I will present this museum in more detail right after.
The Metropol Parasol consists of 6 large pillars and 5 levels. In one of these pillars you will find a tapas restaurant. Two elevators allow you to go up to the top of the structure and thus to stroll along the short course of a hundred meters long. In addition to a pleasant walk, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the restaurant as well as the many shops located under the Place de la Encarnación, at the level of the covered market.
If you go to the Metropol Parasol side, then you cannot miss, under it, the archaeological remains found during the construction of the latter. As in many places in Seville, ancient ruins were found at the time of construction. A part has therefore been preserved and can be discovered in a place called Antiquarium, located just below the Place de la Encarnación, itself located under the Metropol Parasol.
Plaza de Espana
The Plaza de Espana is, by far, the monument that impressed me the most in Seville. This immense monument in an arc of a circle, located around the square, is quite simply surprising!
The Plaza de España was built on the occasion of the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. The architect of the Plaza de España is Aníbal González. He produced this work in 1929, for the Ibero-American Exhibition. The total area of the park is 50,000 m2 which is distributed as follows:
19,000 m2 are occupied by the palace of the square. This majestic palace is a single building of impressive size. It runs along the semicircle of the square and today it houses the Junta de Andalucia, that is to say the regional government of Andalusia;
31,000 m2 are occupied by the square itself and its canals.
The Plaza de Espana has the shape of a hemicycle 200 meters in diameter. It represents Spain which welcomes its former colonies. It is oriented towards the Guadalquivir. By taking Rodriguez de Casso Avenue from the square, you arrive directly on the banks of this famous Spanish river, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean west of the Strait of Gibraltar. The orientation of the place towards the river, means the way to the Atlantic Ocean and of course the Americas.
In the center of the Plaza de Espana there is a fountain which was designed by Vicente Traver, a Spanish architect who died in 1966 and is known to have made other notable achievements in Seville between 1915 and 1933. Between the center of the square and the palace, there are canals, also in a semicircle. Four ceramic-decorated bridges span the canals.
The Plaza de Espana is freely accessible to visitors, it welcomes many tourists throughout the year. But in summer, because of the high temperatures, it is rather advisable to come and visit it in the morning or at the end of the afternoon rather than during the day.
In front of the Plaza you will find one of the largest parks in Seville, Maria Luisa Park.
Visit the Seville Aquarium
Built in 2014, the Seville aquarium is one of the most important in Spain. It is home to over 7,000 animals of 400 different species. The aquarium has 40 pools, one of which is more than 9 meters deep which houses sharks or sea turtles. The visit to the aquarium revolves around the trip of Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who went to sea to do the world Tour.
If you are traveling with children, I recommend this tour, which I myself found very interesting. In addition, visiting the Seville Aquarium allows you to escape the sometimes stifling heat of Seville in the middle of summer.
Maria Luisa Park
On foot, by horse-drawn carriage or by bicycle, discover the largest and most prestigious park in the city. Stroll along its wide paths and lose yourself in its 40 hectares. Not only a place of peace and tranquility in the middle of the city, but it is also a bit of Seville history that invites you to stroll.
You should know that originally, the park was part of the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo, place of residence of the Dukes of Montpensier. During the 19th century, the latter played a considerable role in the urbanization of Seville; in particular by giving birth to the María Luisa park, in homage to the Duchess of Montpensier who decided to offer it to the city.
Large century-old trees rub shoulders with botanical gardens, squares, fountains and very charming little roundabouts to form a harmonious and poetic green space.
The variety of plant species there is surprising, like the different types of palm trees, some of which came from the Americas on the occasion of the Ibero-American exhibition of 1929. built the various “pabellones” (pavilions), such as that of Portugal, Chile or Mexico on the outskirts of the park; without forgetting the grandiose Spanish Square open to the park, which we presented a little above.
Another curiosity: the typical benches of azuleros, ideal place to stop and admire the decor that surrounds you or the fauna that animates the place. Because indeed, you will surely see the famous green parrots or a few doves passing from one tree to another. Ducks and swans also put on a show under the amused gaze of walkers who feed them seeds sold by itinerant vendors installed in the park.
Plaza de America
On the other side of Maria Luisa Park, opposite the Plaza de España, stands the Plaza de America: Plaza de America, also built, as you can imagine, for the Ibero-American exhibition of 1929.
On the Place d’Amérique, the central square of the park, children have fun feeding the pigeons that flock; this place is affectionately called by Sevillians “the place of the pigeons”.
The park also houses several monuments: monument to Adolfo Béquer, to Miguel de Cervantes and other literary figures. Note also the presence of two museums: the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs; and the Archaeological Museum.
To end the walk, nothing like a refreshment or some tapas in a bar or café located within the park.
Museum of popular arts and traditions
This museum, located in the Place d’Amérique, is housed in one of the old buildings built for the Ibero-American exhibition of 1929, just like the archaeological museum which we will talk about below.
This museum houses a lot of objects of Andalusian daily life, from the last centuries to the present day. These collections make it possible to learn more about the life of the inhabitants of the region. The museum is free and open every day except Monday.
Located opposite the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Seville, the Archaeological Museum has also moved into one of the pavilions created for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929.
You will find in this museum, different rooms exhibiting objects from several periods: antiquity, Roman period or even the Middle Ages. Many pieces in this museum come from the impressive archaeological site located a few kilometers from Seville: Italicà.
Entrance to this museum is free for EU citizens. The museum is open every day except Monday.
The Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro is an old observation tower in Seville, placed next to the Guadalquivir, the river that crosses the city. This tower was once used to store the gold brought back by the conquistadors in the 15th century.
The origin of the name of this tower is not very clear. It could be taken from its function (to store gold) but also from its golden appearance that it had at the time.
The tower now houses the Maritime Museum. It will cost you 3€ for the visit of the museum including the ascent to the top of the tower.
From the top of the tower, you can enjoy a nice view of Seville and the Guadalquivir.
Regarding the maritime museum, it traces the history, among other things, of the construction of the tower and presents various objects used on ships at the time such as cannons.
Going from the very center of Seville to Plaza de España, you cannot miss an impressive Renaissance-style building. This building, now used as a university, was once a tobacco factory. This tobacco factory was one of the first of its kind in Europe. That of Seville is particularly famous since it is in this same factory that Carmen, the main character of the opera of the same name, worked.
You can enter the university grounds for free and even get an audio guide at the entrance to the building.
Market and Castillo de San Jorge
Visiting Seville also means crossing the Guadalquivir to discover one of its flagship districts: the Triana district. You will find many unmissable places in Seville including the Castillo de San Jorge and its market. It is also the district where Flamenco, a typical dance of the region, was born.
The Castillo de San Jorge is an old castle, a former Muslim fortress from the 10th century. It was, between 1481 and 1785, used as a seat during the Inquisition. It also served as a prison before being transformed, more recently, into a thematic center of tolerance. The castle is now largely destroyed. It has given way to the food market in the Triana district, which I highly recommend. Indeed, a short trip to the Triana market, to taste the specialties of the region, is something to do in Seville.
Under it, you will find a small museum in which you can contemplate the remains of the castle.
Let’s stay a while longer in the Triana district to discover the ceramics museum. A few steps from the covered market is a part of the history of Seville: the ceramics museum. Indeed, the Triana district was once home to ceramic factories, these azulejos that can be found in many regions of Spain and Portugal. The ceramics museum will teach you more about the making and use of these small tiles.