Colors, unparalleled history, sunshine, good food, extraordinary architecture and, above all, a true open-air museum. That’s Seville. One of my favorite cities in Europe where I enjoyed this beauty with my parents. Everything is big in Seville. Huge cathedrals, a palace where you can easily spend five hours, and plazas where you can feast your eyes. Although you can easily spend a few weeks here, you can also see a lot in five days. Here the 11 sights we visited (in many photos) to get an idea of this impressive city and inspiration for when you go on a city trip to Seville yourself.
Seville: the cultural capital of southern Spain
When I think back to Seville, a big smile spontaneously comes to my face. What an incredibly beautiful city. With the largest historic center in Spain and one of the largest in Europe, Seville is an open-air museum where you just can’t stop looking around. Seville is the capital of southern Spanish Andalusia, located in a valley on the Guadalquivir River. As one of the hottest cities in Europe, Seville is an ideal destination for winter or spring. In the months of July and August, the mercury can reach well into the 30 degrees Celsius, with a feeling temperature up to 50 degrees. We visited Seville in March and had great weather: clear blue skies, around 10 degrees in the morning, evening and night and around 25 degrees during the day. Delicious!
11 tips for sightseeing in Seville
There is an awful lot to do and see during a city trip Seville. Here 11 sights we saw in 5 days.
1. Walk above the city over Metropol Parasol “Las Setas”
Seville is a beautiful old historic city where you go back in time. Until you come across the largest wooden structure in the world at Plaza de la Encarnación. In what was once a dreary square that served as a parking lot, a large spaceship seems to have landed in the form of six large white mushrooms 26 meters high and 150 meters long. Hence the nickname “Las Setas”: mushrooms now dominate this square.
In the 1990s, during the construction of an underground parking garage, the municipality stumbled upon Roman and Moorish remains (which, by the way, you can now admire under Las Setas). The parking lot was then off the table and a design competition was launched to revitalize the plaza. This was won by Berlin architect Jürgen Mayer. In 2011, the structure was finished and the goal was achieved: Las Setas has given a lot of new life to this square.
Although there are pros and cons, both of which I understand very well by the way, this really is a must-see in Seville. It is also almost impossible to miss these huge mushrooms. Walk down, buy a 3 euro ticket and take the elevator up the mushrooms. There you will find a 250-meter walkway with beautiful views of Seville and it is also ideal for peeking into the gardens of locals. Since our apartment was near Metropol Parasol, this was our first stop, and it was an instant fantastic start of this city trip!
Location: Plaza de la Encarnación | Cost El Mirador: 3 euros
2. Iglesia del Divino Salvador: warming up in front of the cathedral
This Catholic church located on the pleasant Plaza del Salvador was built between 1674 and 1712 on the site where a mosque first stood. Built in Baroque style, the church is ideal for viewing before your visit to Seville’s main cathedral (No. 4). El Salvador is already overwhelming and this way you can get a little bit used to what awaits you in the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. In addition, the square is simply a very nice place to rest, have a drink and enjoy the sun. Plus, you can buy your ticket for the cathedral and Giralda here, so you won’t have to stand in line there.
Location: Plaza del Salvador | Cost: 4 euros | Buy your ticket for the cathedral and Giralda here to avoid waiting time.
3. Casa de Pilatos: the second most beautiful palace in Seville after Real Alcázar
Seville is bursting with beautiful palaces, including Casa de Pilatos. By what is said to be the most beautiful palace after masterpiece Real Alcázar. So we had to see that. We came at totally the wrong time and therefore had to wait more than 2 hours, but if you don’t come on the free afternoon (we had no idea) you can probably walk right through. We could also see only the ground floor during this afternoon, but this was enough to get a good impression of this beautiful palace built in both Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance styles.
Casa de Pilatos was built between 1483 and 1571 and is still Seville’s largest private palace, inhabited by the Medinaceli family.
Location: Plaza de Pilatos | Cost: 10 euros or free for Europeans on Mondays from 3PM (only recommended if you arrive on time, otherwise long waits)
4. The largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the tower Giralda
What an amazing structure this cathedral is. We arrive before opening time and there is a buzz of activity. Hundreds of tourists are waiting to admire the inside of this largest Gothic cathedral in the world. We look for the entrance for people who already have tickets. Because fortunately, we had already bought tickets the previous day at the Divino Salvador Cathedral. That way we don’t have to stand in line. A good move as it turns out.
As soon as the gates of this architectural marvel open, crowds storm in. Searching for the entrance for tourists with a combo ticket, we are pushed forward as if on our own. Fortunately, we can walk through everywhere and spend less than a minute in line to get in. The Gothic cathedral is so large that the crowd immediately disperses. Fortunately, because as a result, no one seems to be bothered by each other.
Even if you are not religious like us, this is still something you really must have seen. It is totally over the top and that is exactly what makes it fascinating to see. It took more than 100 years to build this cathedral. In the year 1402, construction began on the site of a former Moorish mosque and it was not completed until the year 1506. The visit to the cathedral is overwhelming and takes a whopping 3 hours. Never before in my life have I been in a cathedral for so long….
The tower Giralda is one of the few parts of the original mosque that was largely preserved. Built between 1184 and 1195, this minaret is directly adjacent to the cathedral and the orange garden. You can climb the tower for a beautiful scenic view of the city. For this, you don’t have to climb any stairs, but walk over 35 platforms to the top. They built this so that the tower could be climbed by horse.
Atop the tower you will find a four-meter-high bronze statue representing Faith, also called Giraldillo. Along with the Giraldillo, the tower is 97 meters high and at the time of its construction was the tallest minaret in the world. We too hike up for that famous view of Seville and that was so worth it! Not only at the top is the view beautiful, but also along the way you can enjoy the details of the cathedral that you are suddenly very close to. Highly recommended!
Location: Avenida de la Constitución | Cost: 9 euros regular or 4 euros for pensioners and students | Buy your ticket in advance at this website or without congestion at Colegial del Divino Salvador (no.2). If you don’t have a ticket in advance expect a few hours of waiting time. Tip: don’t visit the cathedral and the Real Alcázar palace (No. 7) on the same day, too many impressions together.
5. Plaza de España: the most impressive square in the world
Plaza de España in Seville is so impressive it brings tears to your eyes. A true fairy tale where you can spend hours. Look at the beautiful details, enjoy the bright colors and marvel at the size of this square and building. An absolute must-see if you are in Seville. Click here for more information, facts and pictures of Plaza de España!
6. Park María Luisa: tranquility and greenery in Seville
Walking through Seville, you will come across many green squares and parks. Of these, City Park María Luisa is the largest. Adjacent to Plaza de España, the two are thus perfectly compatible. There is much to see and do in the park, including the Archaeological Museum and the Ethnological Museum. We ran out of time to admire all of this, but did spend an hour relaxing in the park after the impressive Plaza de España and reading a book on a bench. Next time I definitely want to see more of this!
Location: adjacent to Plaza de España
7. Real Alcázar: a fairy tale in Spain
It took us a whopping five hours to visit the largest palace still in use in Europe. In fact, the palace is still inhabited by the royal family when they are in town. And what ís Real Alcázar special. Not only the palace itself, but especially the gardens are a delight to walk through. You imagine yourself in a wealth and opulence of patios, mudejar, magnificent domes, woodwork, azulejos, beautiful flowers, orange trees and underground baths.
The history of Real Alcázar goes back no less than 11 centuries. Since 1987, this impressive palace, along with Seville Cathedral and the Spanish Archives in Seville, has been on the World Heritage List. The palace gardens have been expanded and added to over the years and are truly a gem.
Real Alcázar is without a doubt the most beautiful palace I ever saw.
Location: Plaza de Triunfo | Cost: 12.50 euros |. Buy your ticket online to avoid long waits.
8. El Arenal & Triana: walking across the bridge and relaxing on the beautiful promenade
We saw only a small part of the Triana district, once the neighborhood of fishermen, sailors and gypsies. From the bullfighting arena cross the bridge for a great view of the river, eat ice cream in Triana and then return to El Arenal to stroll along the promenade. We sat by the water for a while watching the many boats and enjoying the sunshine. Then to continue walking along the boardwalk, find a bench and enjoy reading a book overlooking the water and Triana. The perfect place to rest among locals and to watch people.
Location: Paseo Alcalde Marqués del Contadero (across from Plaza de Toros), Puente de Isabel II bridge and San Jacinto street.
9. Plaza de Toros: the bullfighting arena
Actually, I did not want to go to the bullfighting arena, but since it is a big part of the culture, we bought that ticket anyway. It was certainly not the most enjoyable sight in Seville, but interesting to see how hugely important this event still is in Spain. The arena itself is also really stunningly beautiful. This one dates back to the 18th century and fits 14,000 people. Hopefully one day bullfighting will end and the arena can be used for other, animal-friendly, pursuits.
Location: El Arenal neighborhood | Cost: 8 euros, guided tour every half hour.
10. Squares and historic streets in Seville
Although Seville is packed with museums and historic buildings, this city is also just great for just strolling through. The old center consists mainly of colorful houses, balconies full of colorful flowers, narrow streets where you have to push yourself against the wall when a car passes by and cozy and snug little squares to sit back and relax. The Santa Cruz district, although very touristy, is mostly very picturesque and a delight to the eye. The entire historic center is perfectly walkable and every time you see something new. Also fun: taking the bus through the old town. The small bus C5 is there especially to go through the narrow streets and a very nice experience. You just buy a ticket on the bus from the driver.
11. Eating tapas at Seville’s oldest tapas bar: El Rinconcillo
This oldest bar in Seville dates back to the year 1670 and is really nice for tapas. The tapas bar sits in a former grocery store and has been owned by the De Rueda family for more than three centuries. It is touristy, but really worth it. It is authentic and there is a nice atmosphere. You eat the tapas standing at the bar, where you get a menu and can choose from many classic (plenty of vegetarian options). The bill is written on the bar with a crayon. We liked and enjoyed it so much that we have been here twice. How lucky we were to have this tapas bar near our apartment around the corner!
Location: Calle Gerona 40
Besides these sights, of course, there is much more to see in Seville. The city is bulging with palaces and there is also, for example, the flamenco museum and Museo de Bellas Artes. No shortage of day trips either. We made a day trip to Itálica. I definitely want to go back to see more of this beautiful city. There is an enormous amount to do and see during a vacation in Spain. High on my list is a tour of Tenerife and across the other islands.
There is an affiliate link in this article. Click here for more information.