With opulent palaces, cosy hidden squares and a sun-infused culture, there’s a host of wonderful things to do in Seville. Find Spanish masters and trendy tapas in our guide to the best of the city.
With the scent of jasmine wafting through the streets and orange trees lining tiny courtyards, Seville is a city to be savoured. Drenched in sun for much of the year, warming rays light up Moorish buildings and tiny honey-coloured laneways.
A long history has bestowed Seville with a synthesis of architectural styles, like those bestowed on nearby Málaga; a vibrant colourful culture; and a host of wonderful things to do.
Witness the lavish displays of Christian wealth in palaces unable to resist the allure of Islamic design. Explore works of art by Spanish masters that are as sumptuous and decadent as the rooms they hang in. Roam green spaces, explore cobbled lanes and enjoy sundowners in hidden squares.
All corners of Seville have something in common – the unmissable charm of Spanish culture in a beautiful city.
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MAP | THINGS TO DO IN SEVILLE
We’ve organised this guide of the best things to do in Seville by the different areas of the city so that you can explore more efficiently and get a feel for the character of each region.
How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.
1 – REAL ALCÁZAR & GARDENS
The Real Alcázar is a royal palace built for the Christian King Peter on the site of an Islamic fort.
After the Christian conquest, future kings set about enhancing the complex to exhibit their wealth. Intricately carved facades, lavish gold ceilings, richly decorated tiles, and orange-filled courtyards combine to make the Real Alcázar an exotic, opulent palace and a wonderful thing to do in Seville.
The most impressive building inside the Alcázar is the Palacio del Rey Don Pedro. It contains some of the best examples of Mudéjar architecture in Seville – a form of design with heavy Moorish influences.
Like the Alhambra in Granada, the Real Alcázar is an evocative exploration of Moorish Spain.
DETAILS | REAL ALCÁZAR
hours – 9:30 am to 5 pm daily (October 29 to March 31) / 9:30 am to 7 pm daily (April 1 to October 28) | cost – €13.50
2 – SEVILLE CATHEDRAL
When it was completed in the 16th century, the Seville Cathedral surpassed Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world. Built to demonstrate the city’s wealth, the fifteen doors on the 4 façades depict scenes of the bible in exquisite detail.
Inside, the tomb of Christopher Columbus and his son take up prime position under the vast gothic ceiling. But the highlight of the Seville Cathedral is the Chapter House. This extraordinary domed chapel features paintings by the grandmaster, Murillo.
Roof Tour — One of the best ways to experience the cathedral is on the roof tour. Get a bird’s eye view of Seville and learn more about the building. The roof tour needs to be booked at least one week in advance.
When to visit the Cathedral of Seville — A great time to go to the cathedral is around 4:30 pm when the crowds are diminishing and the light is better than during the middle of the day.
The most obvious Islamic detail that remains from when the cathedral was a mosque is the minaret – now the Giralda Tower.
As the bell tower of the cathedral, it provides the best vantage point to take in the immense scale of the cathedral while getting a bird’s eye view of Seville.
Access to the tower is included in the Cathedral ticket price (€11), however, entry is timed to reduce congestion. There is no lift, and it’s 34 flights of stairs up to the top.
Don’t miss the Mudejar carved wooden door on floor 9.
3 – CASA PALACIO DE LA CONDESA DE LEBRIJA
Casa Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija is a historical palace in Seville containing one of the world’s most important collection of mosaics.
Originally constructed in the 16th century, the palace gained significance when it was acquired by Doña Regla Manjón Mergelina, the Countess of Lebrija. As women were prohibited from attending university during that era, the countess became a self-taught archaeologist.
Today, the palace is a treasure trove of fascinating artifacts gathered from her global travels making it one of the most interesting things to do in Seville.
The original wooden inlay ceilings are extraordinary, providing a sumptuous ambiance to the 6,000-book library, complete with a Murillo painting.
However, the most prized possessions within the palace are the Roman mosaics, which the countess began acquiring from the Amphitheatre of Italica to save them from being destroyed.
Tours of the Palace — You are free to stroll the ground floor which contains the Roman Mosaics at your leisure, however access to the first floor is only available via guided tour which is included in the ticket price.
DETAILS | CASA PALACIO DE LA CONDESA DE LEBRIJA
hours – 10 am to 2:15 pm & 3:15 pm to 6 pm (daily) | cost – €12/€6 | tours – hourly in English, included in the ticket price | free entry – entry is free Fridays at 10 am for the ground floor only.
4 – HOSPITAL DE LOS VENERABLES SACERDOTES
Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes is a former hospice that has been converted into an art gallery containing some of the city’s most treasured paintings.
Alongside the permanent collection of masters, there’s a contemporary exhibition that showcases the diversity of Seville’s flair for art.
Baroque Church // The highlight of Hospital de los Venerables is the ornate Baroque church. It’s a breathtaking display of craftsmanship ornate frescoes on the vaulted ceiling and huge domes. Both Murillo and Valdez worked on the church.
Room 7 // Room 7 of the gallery contains an extraordinary collection of art in a darkened, temperature-controlled room. The works includes 12 masterpieces by Zurburán, Montanes, Murillo, El Greco, and Velázquez.
DETAILS | HOSPITAL DE LOS VENERABLES
hours – 10 am to 7 pm (Monday – Saturday) / 10 am to 3 pm (Sunday) | cost – €12 / €10 including audioguide
BOOK A GUIDED TOUR
5 – JEWISH QUARTER
The medieval Jewish quarter of Seville is a tangle of twisty laneways and tiny squares.
The best thing to do in the area is to simply wander around, find a local tapas bar (or a touristy one), and enjoy a late afternoon G&T in a courtyard framed by orange trees.
Plaza Alfaro and Plaza Doña Elvira are two beautiful squares to check out.
If you’re looking for something else to do, Casa de Murillo is the former home of the famous Spanish painter. There is a small exhibition about his life and it’s free to enter.
6 – PALACIO DUEÑAS
Palacio Dueñas is a historical palace dating back to the 15th century. It was the residence of the Duke of Alba and contains beautiful, landscaped gardens, intricate tile work and ornate courtyards reflecting a blend of Gothic Renaissance and Moorish influences.
In Spring, the patios come alive with Bougainvillea vines creeping up marble pillars with intricate carvings, and arched doorways in distinctive Moorish style.
The palace is considered one of the great gardens of the world thanks to the rich Andalusian soil which supports a variety of plants. The centrepiece is the main courtyard, embraced by arched terraces, creating a mesmerizing focal point for photography.
DETAILS | PALACIO DUEÑAS
hours – 10 am to 8 pm | cost – €12 / €10 | audioguide – the audioguide is included in the ticket price, or you can download an app.
7 – METROPOL PARASOL (LAS SETAS)
Metropol Parasol (locally known as Las Setas or Setas de Seville), is thought to be the largest wooden structure in the world. It takes the form of several giant mushrooms curving over La Encarnación square in El Centro. Taking in the views from the panoramic walkway is a cool thing to do in Seville.
In a basement under the structure, Roman and Moorish remains are on display in a small museum. There is a market at street level, whereas levels 2 and 3 are outdoor terraces.
Unfortunately, the price to go up to the walkway has tripled in recent years, and, in our opinion, it’s getting a little hard to justify. However, the views over this very photogenic city are excellent.
DETAILS | METROPOL PARASOL
hours – 9:30 am to 12:30 am daily | cost – €15 including access to the viewpoint, 2 immersive shows and Wifi.
8 – CASA DE PILATOS
Casa de Pilatos is a beautiful palace in the centre of Seville. With strong Mudéjar influences, the lower courtyard contains an Italian Renaissance fountain and sculptures, flanked by a gothic chapel.
Upstairs, where the owners lived until a few years ago, the Mudéjar windows light up rooms decorated like a grand European house. The huge collection of azulejo (Spanish tiles) is one of the largest in the world.
It’s a beautiful place to stroll around and one of the many Seville attractions that blend interesting architectural styles.
Upstairs Tour — Upstairs is only accessible via a 30-minute guided tour (in English), which is well worth doing.
9 – FLAMENCO SHOW
Once considered too vulgar for Spanish sensibilities, Flamenco is now a defining marker of the national identity. It was recently recognised by UNESCO’s World Intangible Culture Heritage. Whatever that means, the art form that comprises poetry, song, guitar and dance is a cool thing to do in Seville.
The Museo del Baile Flamenco is both a museum to the Flamenco art form and a live performance venue. Discover paintings, dresses and interactive displays before settling in for a night of stomping, clapping and swirling. The tiny space comes alive in a rousing and thoroughly captivating performance.
Tickets // Casa de la Memoria Flamenco Show
10 – CALLE SIERPES
After soaking up the intriguing architecture and history through Seville’s attractions, head to Calle Sierpes to embrace the commercial side of the city. Here you’ll find everything from tacky tourist souvenirs to authentic Spanish embroidery and elaborate flamenco gowns.
Confitería La Campana is an institution that has been churning out pastries for generations. Papelería Ferrer is the oldest stationary shop in Spain, while Sombreros Maquedano can cater to all your millinery needs.
The shopping hub around Calle Sierpes is pedestrianized and covered with canopies in summer to shelter from the relentless Seville sunshine.
Start at Sierpes, then head down Calle Rioja, Calle O’Donnell, and Calle Velázquez.
11 – PLAZA DE ESPAÑA
Built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, the semi-circular Plaza de España is a lavish mix of Art Déco and Mudéjar designs.
Adorned with tiled alcoves depicting each of the provinces of Spain, the plaza is both a work of art and a nod to the country’s innovation successes.
Rowboats cruise under romantic bridges and along the 515-metre canal that has been cut into the plaza, while tourists lean against columns snapping selfies. It’s a beautiful space spread over 50,000 square metres and the building itself is a design masterpiece.
12 – PARQUE DE MARÍA LUISA
Work began in 1914 to redesign the María Luisa Park in preparation for the Ibero-American Exposition at the Plaza de España. It’s a lush botanical garden with palm and orange trees, along with hundreds of exotic plants from all over the world.
The expansive gardens feature wide boulevards, small pavilions, ponds, and fountains tiled in Moorish designs. The most impressive are the Fountain of the Lions and the Monument to Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer.
Stroll or take a bike ride through this lovely green space. The shady benches are an ideal spot to take a break from the Seville heat.
13 – BELLAS ARTES SEVILLE
The Museo de Bellas Artes is one of Spain’s premier art collections. The beautifully restored convent houses a few grandmasters from the 15th to 20th century, including El Greco, Velásquez, and Zurbarán.
The highlights are the towering paintings by Murillo dramatically hanging in the former church.
There are brooding works from the Middle Ages, all the way up to 20th-century modern art, including an excellent Baroque section.
Don’t miss — The Murillo of Saint Anthony is sublime.
DETAILS | BELLAS ARTES
hours – 9 am to 9 pm (Tuesday to Saturday) / 9 am to 3 pm (Sunday) / closed Mondays | cost – €1.50 free for EU residents
BOOK A GUIDED TOUR
14 – MERCADO DE TRIANA
The Mercado de Triana (Triana Market) was built on the site of the Castle of San Jorge, the seat of the inquisition since 1481.
Today, strolling through the network of stalls is a sensory experience. Packed with local produce, the scent of spices competes with the aroma of fresh fish. The lively chatter of important negotiations hums over the clatter of cutlery devouring tapas dishes.
There are traditional Spanish stalls alongside artisanal suppliers; each with their details hand-printed on ceramic panels. Try a coffee and a pastry, a local beer, or a Spanish take on pizza at Obrador la Osa.
DETAILS | TRIANA MARKET
hours – 8 am to 12 am (Monday to Saturday) / 9 am to 5 pm (Sunday) | website – each trader has slightly different hours so check them all on mercadodetrianasevilla
15 – HOSPITAL DE LA CARIDAD
Originally a hospice for the poor and the elderly, the Hospital de la Caridad is now home to superb works of art by Golden Age Painters including Murillo, Zurbarán, and Valdes Leal.
The star attraction is the opulent, gilded 17th-century chapel; one of the finest baroque masterpieces in the city. Dripping with gold and richly decorated with sculpture, artworks and altarpieces, visiting the chapel is a captivating thing to do in Seville.
Napoleon’s troops stole four of Murillo’s paintings from the Hospital de la Caridad which later resurfaced in the National Galleries of London, Washington DC and St Petersburg. See if you can spot their replicas hanging in the church.
DETAILS | HOSPITAL DE LA CARIDAD
hours – 10:30 am to 7 pm (Monday to Friday) / 2 pm to 7 pm (Saturday & Sunday) | cost – €8 includes audioguide / entry is free from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm Sunday.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN SEVILLE
We like to carefully select the activities in our city guides, providing what we think are the very best things to do. However, if you have some more time in Seville, here are a few more attractions to consider.
TORRE DEL ORO
Set on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, the Torre del Oro is the last remnant of the Moorish walls that once enclosed the city. There is a small naval museum inside, which is frankly not worth the €3 entry fee. However, the viewing platform on the roof terrace is good.
PLAZA DE TOROS DE LA REAL MAESTRANZA
Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería is the oldest bullring in Spain. With a capacity of 14,000 bullfighting fans, it’s also one of the biggest. Tours operate in both English and Spanish and while a little disorganized, they take you into the depths of the arena.
ANTIGUA FÁBRICA DE TABACOS
The Antigua Fábrica de Tabacos was a former tobacco factory that is now the home of the University of Seville. It’s a whopping Renaissance building with detailed cut-stone facades, inner courtyards, and palatial halls. It’s free to wander in and have a look around.
ARCHIVO GENERAL DE INDIAS
While Archivo General de Indias contain important documents relating to Spain’s history, the grand Renaissance architecture is the only reason to visit. The upper floors with ornate vaulted ceilings, wood paneling, and marble floors are impressive.
BEST TAPAS IN SEVILLE
Tapas is taken very seriously in Seville and rightly so. Traditional old haunts co-exist with trendy new upstarts serving innovative alterations to classic Sevillian staples. Here are some of our favorites.
Bar Alfalfa // It’s a tight squeeze at Bar Alfalfa, but it is worth it for the traditional tapas (try the solomillo and the croquetas) and bustling Spanish atmosphere.
Bar el Commercio // Widely regarded as serving up some of the best churros in town, Bar el Commercio is brimming with Seville atmosphere from breakfast to sundown.
Duo Tapas // Step away (slightly) from tradition and try innovative tapas with an Asian twist at Duo Tapas Bar. Go early to get a table outside in front of the old church.
Casa Morales // An old-school favourite, enjoy traditional tapas at high tables outside or in the atmospheric interior with wood paneling.
El Rinconcillo // Serving Spanish staples since 1760, El Rinconcillo is the oldest tapas bar in Seville. It’s more a tourist spot now, but worth trying at least once.
La Cacharreria // Breakfast at La Cacharreria in El Centro is all about toasties, sandwiches, bagels and waffles. It’s good wholesome, unchallenging breakfast.
EME Catedral Hotel // The cocktails at EME Catedral Mercer Hotel are twice as expensive as everywhere else, but it’s worth one for the stunning views of the Giralda.
Ovejas Negras // It’s modern, a bit noisy and the service is sharp, but it’s some of the best food in Seville, even after 3 or 4 visits.
Alameda de Hércules // The coolest part of Seville for nightlife is the area around Plaza Alameda de Hércules, just north of the centre. There are plenty of quirky places to grab a drink, weird bookshops, and excellent tapas joints and a garden for a late-night rest of your way home.
WHERE TO STAY IN SEVILLE
Seville is a very walkable city, so we recommend staying as central as possible to take full advantage.
Fortunately is this a very cost-effective city. You can easily find a bargain in the compact center of the old town or splash out on luxury in a modern resort-style hotel.
UNIQUE & HOMELY
HOTEL AMADEUS & LA MUSICA
This family-run hotel has a unique design, beautifully appointed rooms, and an interest in classical music. Breakfast is on the roof terrace which has views of the Cathedral.
BOOKING.COM | HOTELS.COM
HOTEL ALFONSO XIII
Hotel Alfonso is not cheap. But it’s rare that such a beautiful old hotel has managed to modernize so elegantly. Rooms are individually decorated and supremely stylish.
BOOKING.COM | HOTELS.COM
DAY TRIPS FROM SEVILLE
Perfectly placed to take advantage of the Andalusian region, there’s a host of great day trips from Seville. Whether you’re looking to sample a local jerez (sherry) or explore the famous pueblos blancos (white villages), here is our pick of the best outings.
Italica // Just 7 kilometres out of the centre, Itálica is an easy day trip from Seville. The incredibly well-preserved ruins were once part of the most important and advanced Roman city in the world. Guided tours can be arranged with or without transportation from your hotel.
Córdoba // Córdoba is a fascinating Andalusian city and our favourite day trip from Seville. Visit the Mezquita-Catedral, one of the most remarkable buildings in the world, and stroll through beautiful patios. If you only do one day trip from Seville, make it this one. All the details are in our guide to Córdoba.
Jerez // Jerez de la Frontera is part of the sherry triangle in southern Spain. With 10 trains per day and just over an hour travel time, it’s an easy day trip from Seville. Join a sherry tour, take tastings in a square and sit down to some of the best food in the Andalucía region.
Cádiz // Cádiz is an ancient town by the sea with wide boulevards flanked by imposing terrace houses. There’s a relaxed charm, a sense of worn grandeur, Roman history and excellent local tapas bars. It’s around 1 hour 30 minutes by train from Seville to Cádiz. See our guide to Cádiz for more information.
Caminito del Rey // The Caminito del Rey is a 7-kilometre hike through a stunning gorge, suspended on an aerial path, 100 metres above the ground. The mostly flat trail can be completed by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. All the details are on our guide to the Caminito del Rey walk.
Pueblos Blancos // The white villages of Andalucía are tiny villages where all the buildings are whitewashed. Set amongst rolling green hills and rocky outcrops, they’re a joy to drive around. Arcos de la Frontera is one of the best and is only a one-hour drive from Seville. Read more in our guide to the White Villages of Spain.
HOW TO GET TO SEVILLE
Seville is a very accessible destination with good flight connections from other European cities and a great local train network.
Sevilla International Airport (or San Pablo Airport) is a 20-minute taxi ride to the centre of town. The cost of a taxi will be around €22 (+ €1 per bag) and the taxi rank is just outside the main terminal.
A bus (€4) runs from the airport to town roughly every 20 minutes from around 5 am to 1 am. It makes a number of stops including Sevilla Santa-Justa train station and Plaza de Armas. The journey time is around 35 minutes.
The Spanish rail network is excellent with high-speed trains connecting most of the main centres. If you’re already in the country, train is the best way to get to Seville.
Trains regularly connect Sevilla-Santa Justa Train Station with other major Spanish cities including Córdoba (45 minutes), Madrid (around 2, hours 30 minutes), and Málaga (2 hours). There is also one daily service from Barcelona which takes 5 hours and 30 minutes.
HOW MANY DAYS IN SEVILLE IS ENOUGH?
We recommend three days in Seville; however, you could easily stay longer.
If you only have a weekend – and Seville is a great European weekender – two days would allow you to see most of the main attractions. However, it’s probably not enough time to fully absorb the Spanish culture that makes Seville such a great place to visit.
In 3 days you could catch most of the main sights, plus allow for some time to amble the streets, try a selection of tapas bars and enjoy more of the incredible art scene in Seville. We have a full itinerary for 3 days in Seville which includes how to see everything as efficiently as possible.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SEVILLE?
The best time to visit Seville is from March to May when fresh growth makes the trees and gardens a lush green, the temperatures are not too high, and the rains of winter are beginning to ease. In particular, a weekend to Seville in March and April can be a cheap way for northern Europeans to get some winter sun while enjoying a historically interesting place.
Seville is the hottest city in Europe where summer temperatures reach into the forties. Therefore, it’s best to avoid June to September. We have more information about what to do in each season in our 3-day itinerary for Seville.
WHAT IS SEVILLE FAMOUS FOR?
Seville is famous for flamenco dancing and is home to some of the best flamenco shows in the world. It’s also regarded as one of the birthplaces of Spanish bullfighting.
IS SEVILLE A GOOD CITY BREAK?
Seville is one of the best city breaks in Europe. With good connections from most major European city, a thriving culture and plenty of year-round sunshine, Seville is a great destination for a weekend break.
WHAT TO BOOK BEFORE YOU GO TO SEVILLE
Seville is a popular place for a good reason. Many attractions will have long queues and some need to be booked in advance.
In particular, queues at the Real Alcázar can be staggering. This is one we definitely recommend booking before you go. When you arrive, make sure you stand in the queue for pre-purchased tickets. Despite the oppressive length, it moves a lot faster than it looks like it’s going to.
The cathedral and Giralda tower are less busy, but the roof tour fills up fast. Book at least a week in advance.
Flamenco performances can also be very popular. Book online before you travel, otherwise head directly to the venue the first day you arrive in Seville.
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