Things to do in Seville
Enjoy all the top things to do in magical Seville, a must-see on any Andalusia road trip! The city may be small, but it has many amazing sites, like the Royal Alcazar (a stunning Moorish palace). The unique thing about Seville is that each neighborhood has its own unique personality. For example, the narrow, lively streets of Santa Cruz or the more traditional atmosphere of Triana.
1. Real Alcazar (Royal Alacazar of Seville)
The Real Alcazar is the top thing to do in Seville! This incredible architectural gem will take you back in time to the 14th century. As the oldest residential palace in Europe, this building has been lived in by many kings. Plus, it has always kept the unique mix of Christian and Arabic architecture named ‘Mudéjar’. Because of its beauty, style, and age, this building has been made a designated UNESCO world heritage site.
Inside, you’ll find interior courtyards like the Patio de Doncellas, with its beautiful water features and detailed stone wall carvings. Every corner is magic, from the perfectly placed mosaic tiles to the breathtakingly carved wooden doorways.
Real Alcazar Gardens
Outside, you’ll find one of the most beautiful palace gardens in the world! The Real Alcazar garden was created in a Moroccan style with many different plants and flowers, mazes, arches, and garden walls.
You can even walk along the top of the garden wall, giving you a fantastic view of the palace. As you walk among the plants, take in the smell of the oranges and watch the colorful peacocks; it’s a colorful feast for the eyes!
Visiting the Real Alcazar, Seville
The Real Alcazar is one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe, and you’ll need at least 2 hours to take in all the rooms and gardens.
During the spring and summer months (April to mid-September), the Royal Alcazar is open daily from 9.30 AM – 7 PM. From mid-September to the end of March, opening hours are reduced to 9.30 AM – 5 PM.
2. Stroll in the streets of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is the former Jewish quarter of Seville and the most charming neighborhood in the city. Here you’ll find a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets, with cute Spanish houses and colorful doorways. If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse inside, you’ll see the typical Moorish inner courtyards with fountains, orange trees, and mosaic tiles.
When to visit Santa Cruz
The mornings in Santa Cruz are blissfully quiet! It’s the perfect time to wander, as there will be almost no people, and it’s the coolest part of the day. At night, the area comes to life with a buzzing atmosphere; people sit outside bars and eat tapas on restaurant terraces. The most lively street is Calle Mateos Gago (from here, you can easily access the park and many of Seville’s other main sites).
3. Gardens de Murillo
Just a 2 minute’s walk from the Real Alcazar are the Jardines Murillo (the gardens of Murillo). These extensive gardens are beautiful, home to stunning flowers and giant old trees.
Come at sunset when the day’s heat has passed and watch groups of friends enjoying drinks, locals doing sport, and couples walking their dogs. Bring some drinks or snacks with you and sit on one of the charming mosaic benches taking in the atmosphere; it’s a top thing to do in Seville!
4. Plaza de España
The Plaza de España is one of the most incredible ‘squares’ (semi-circle-shaped) we’ve ever seen! It’s also one of the largest in all of Europe. It was built in the 1920s, and every corner tells a story, from the tiled walls to the beautiful archways.
Things to do in Plaza de Espana, Seville
Discover the stunning architectural details of the towers, women dancing flamenco in the shadows, and street musicians playing typical Andalusian guitar music.
As you wander, check out the 52 benches and tiled murals, each representing a province in Spain. You’ll also find an arched waterway in the square that moves alongside the buildings. It has beautiful bridges and small boats; it truly feels like Seville’s answer to Venice!
Entry Fee & Opening Times
Plaza de España is free to visit! It’s open daily from 8 AM – 10 PM (November to March). During the summer months, opening hours are extended until midnight. We recommend visiting early morning (before 9 AM) or in the evening, as the temperatures are cooler and there are fewer tour groups.
5. Plaza del Cabildo
Discover the breathtaking Plaza del Cabildo, a stunning half-moon building and courtyard hidden in the center of Seville. Spend some time marveling at the incredible marble columns and archways in this tranquil spot; it’s hard to believe it’s just around the corner from the busy Cathedral square!
Tip: Don’t forget to look up! On the arcade’s ceiling, you’ll find incredible frescoes painted by the famous Seville artist Jose Palomar.
6. Setas de Sevilla: Top Thing to do in Seville
Setas de Sevilla (mushrooms of Seville) is an absolute must-see and a top thing to do in Seville! It’s extraordinary to see this incredible piece of modern architecture next to ancient buildings in the heart of the city.
The Setas de Sevilla structure used to be a car park before it was turned into a colossal art sculpture, resembling the tops of mushrooms. Because of its height (there are 85-foot high platforms), it is one of the best places in Seville for views, especially at sunset. During this time, the structure changes colors in the evening light, making it look even more abstract and beautiful.
Entry Fee & Opening Times
You can buy tickets online for 10 EUR (10.20 USD) during the day and 15 EUR (15.30 USD) at night. Setas de Sevilla is open daily from 9.30 AM – 12 AM (November to March). During the summer months, opening hours are extended until 12.30 AM.
The Cathedral of Seville is an icon of the city and can be seen from all around. It’s most famous for its incredible bell tower, La Giralda, which was the mosque’s minaret during Moorish times.
When the Christians reconquered this cathedral, it was reformed into a roman catholic place of worship. However, the Moorish architecture remains, creating this unique mix of gothic and Arabic styles.
People are drawn to the Catedral de Sevilla from all over the world. This is mainly because the world-famous explorer, Christopher Colombus, is buried here.
Climbing La Giralda
Climb to the top of the bell tower for the most incredible panoramic views of Seville. Unlike other bell towers you may have climbed before, this one doesn’t have stairs. Instead, you’ll climb up 35 ramps leading to the top. When you look down, you’ll see all the beautiful neighborhoods of Seville spread out below. Plus, you’ll see the cathedral square full of horse carriages and the sounds of street musicians. It’s truly magic!
Tickets for Catedral de Seville
To visit La Giralda and the Catedral de Seville, tickets cost 11 EUR (11.20 USD) online. Alternatively, you can purchase them for 12 EUR (12.20 USD) when you reach the cathedral. We recommend booking online as it does get very busy. For this reason, try to visit as early as possible to have the viewing platform to yourself for photos.
To skip the queue entirely for both the Seville Cathedral and Real Alcazar (and learn more from a knowledgeable guide), book a combined tour.
8. Triana Neighborhood, Seville
The beautiful neighborhood of Triana lies just across the river from the main central zones of Seville. It’s got a rich history, as it used to be home to the poorer people of the city and was home to local artists, sailors, and gypsies.
The atmosphere of this time has remained, and it definitely feels like you’re stepping back in time. In line with this, it’s still one of the cheaper parts of Seville, meaning it’s the perfect place to get delicious local food at super low prices! There is also a small Mercado where you can get the best Andalusian dishes.
Triana is also thought to be the birthplace of flamenco, one of the top things to do in Seville, so watch out for dancers in the streets or book to see an authentic show.
Tip: Triana is the best neighborhood for ceramics, and there are plenty of cute shops selling traditional tiles, flower pots, and homeware. We shopped at this charming little store here.
9. El Rocio Pilgrimage
In early June every year, one of the most significant events happens in Seville: El Rocio Pilgrimage. During this festival, people from the western part of Andalusia make the pilgrimage from their village to El Rocio. The same goes for the people of Seville who leave the town with their horses, carriages, bulls, and decorated wagons. They also wear special outfits, with traditional waistcoats, flowers, and colorful dresses.
It’s a lovely time to watch the community come together, as everyone greets each other, laughing and chatting before beginning their traditional parade. Though, we had our questions about how the animals are treated as we saw farmers whipping their cows the entire time. Learn more about wildlife tourism (and its alternatives) here.
Other Festivals in Seville
You might not be in Seville for the El Rocio Pilgrimage, but there are plenty of festivals in Seville throughout the year. For example, Feria de Abril, which happens a few weeks after Easter, or the Bienal de Flamenco hosted in September.
One of the best ways to cool off from the summer heat of Seville is to enjoy the beautiful Guadalquivir River. There are a few waterside bars where you can sit and enjoy the scenery. Alternatively, many people bring their own beers and sit on the edge of the high riverside wall looking out at sunset.
During the day, people enjoy canoeing and paddle boarding on the river. There are a few places where you can hire equipment or book a lesson/tour.
11. Torre del Oro
If you’re down by the riverside, leave a little time to visit the Torre del Oro (a lovely thing to do in Seville). This ancient tower has now been converted into a naval museum, where you can learn more about the history of Seville.
You can also climb to the top of the tower for fantastic views out over the city and river for the small price of 3 EUR (3.06 USD).
12. Seville Museum of Fine Arts
The Museo de Bellas Artes is a stunning art museum with works from the middle ages all the way through to the 20th century. It’s a perfect place to discover the work of Spanish artists, and you can even join an informative tour.
What’s more, the incredible paintings are exhibited without a glass cover, so you can really admire the colors and stunning framework.
Don’t forget to check out the typically Andalusian courtyards and small gardens surrounding the museum.
13. Maria Luisa Park
Maria Luisa is a 100-acre park in front of Plaza de España and is the main green area in Seville. One of the top things to do in Seville is to visit the park and soak up the atmosphere of city life and warm summer nights. We recommend heading to a typical Spanish food market in the morning, buying freshly baked bread, jamon, queso, and fresh fruit, and having a Spanish picnic in the park.
Hire a car and use Seville as a jumping-off point to explore some of the surrounding mountain towns. These villages are home to cute white houses, brightly colored flowers, cobblestone streets, and fascinating historical sights.
One of the most interesting is Setenil de las Bodegas. The local people have built houses within giant boulders, and you can eat at incredible cave restaurants along the water’s edge.
Best Cafes and Restaurants in Seville
Nowhere does tapas quite like Andalusia, and Seville is one of the best cities for Spanish delicacies. Eat delicious sandwiches (bocadillos) or enjoy some of Spain’s most famous tapas dishes. The city also has some terrific veggie options and some fantastic coffee spots.
Some of our favorite restaurants in Seville were:
- Biomio (Brunch + delicious coffee)
- El Rinconcillo (Tapas)
- La Mala Brunch
- El Librero Tapas y Quesos (Tapas)
- Filo Colón (Brunch)
- El Rincón de Beirut (Lebanese)
- Milk Away (healthy food for an affordable price)
- ll Ristorantino Dell’ Avvocato (Italian)
- El Viajero Sedentario – Vegan friendly brekky
Where to Stay in Seville
Every neighborhood in Seville has a different atmosphere. For example, the historic center is good for being close to the main sights, whereas Triana is cheap and authentic. Santa Cruz is the best place for boutique hotels, with its narrow streets and stunning inner courtyards.
Tip: Choose a room with aircon if visiting in the spring/summer. You could also look for a hotel with a rooftop pool. This is the perfect idea to cool down in the afternoons when the rest of the city is having a siesta.
How to Visit Seville
Seville is a small city, so you can pretty much walk everywhere. However, if you fancy something a little different, you can rent a bike using the Lime app or the city app Sevici. You can get a 7-day pass for 13 EUR (13.25 USD) and register at the digital screens you’ll find dotted all around the city.
How Much Does Seville Cost?
Seville is a popular backpacker spot and student hub with very reasonable prices. However, as a popular tourist destination in Spain, it’s not as cheap as more off-the-beaten-track locations in the country.
You can find many reasonable hostels and fancy hotels for a fair price. Best of all, the food is very cheap because of the tapas culture.
Best Time to Visit Seville
In summer, Seville is one of the hottest places in Spain. Temperatures can reach upwards of 40 °C (104°F), and walking around and seeing the sights can be difficult.
In August, most locals leave the city for the coast. Because of this, the city can lose a bit of its atmosphere (lots of restaurants close). For this reason, we recommend visiting in May/June or September/October when it’s still warm and sunny but a bit easier to sightsee. During the winter it’s also lovely!