All you need to know: 15 things to do in Seville, Spain
Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Seville, the heart of Andalucia, is the city that incorporates the best of many worlds. From its intricate Moorish architecture with rich history, its bustling street life, and affordable Spanish tapas, there's definitely something for everyone.
After travelling to Spain on several occasions over the last decade, I discovered Spain's most picturesque and rustic-looking town, Seville, and when I visited, I think I may have found a new favourite!
Getting into Seville, Spain
(Flights vs Trains vs Buses vs Cars)
If you are in Barcelona, the train takes about 6 hours so you may want to consider taking domestic flights that will get you to Seville in less than half the time. Several airlines like Ryanair, Vueling, Iberia, and TapPortugal make the flight there and you can tickets from 20 euros (basic fare, without check-in luggage, seat selections, etc).
Otherwise, you may want to add an additional pit stop if you really really want to travel by train! We actually did Barcelona > Valencia > Seville all by train during our Spanish trip so it may be something you would like to consider too!
You may also be interested in: How to get from Barcelona to Valencia, Spain?
From Madrid, you'll get to Seville much faster as they are connected by the high-speed AVE trains. You'll reach Seville from Madrid in about 3 hours! The train can go as fast as up to 310km/h. So yes, you don't just get the Shinkansen experience in Japan, you can get it in Spain too!
Renfe is the train company in Spain and I've documented a step-by-step guide on how you can book your train tickets in this blogpost - Train Travels in Spain: How to book Spain's Renfe Trains?
For those who are planning for a Spanish trip and will be taking a lot of the trains may also want to consider purchasing a rail pass.
There are also buses that connect the various Spanish cities that go for really cheap prices but do note that the ride can be quite bumpy and travel times may be much longer than the high-speed rails.
Finally, one last alternative is to get around by your driving yourselves! Although we have not tried it ourselves yet, driving is a great way to get around smaller Spanish cities that are not too far apart. For instance, if you wish to explore the Andalucia region or Southern Spain. However, since the rest of Spain is quite well-connected, there is really no need for that unless you are a car enthusiast!
How many days do you need in Seville?
Although 1 full day is technically enough to see all the main attractions in Seville, there's actually more to the attractions such as going tapas-hunting and just enjoying the rustic charm of Seville.
You may also want to plan for more days in Seville as it is a great location as a base to visit neighbouring cities. There area also several guided tours that head to Ronda, Cordoba, Jerez and Cadiz, Granada, or Malaga as a day trip. We spent 3 days 2 nights in Seville and even made a day trip to Cordoba with Seville as a base. If you're interested, we included our itinerary at the end of the post!
What about Wifi?
In the past, I have always used to only find 4G data SIM cards when I arrive at the airport. However, in some cities, these 4G data SIM cards are so hard to find! Some cities do not have such counters at the airport and I would have to hunt for them at the convenience stores and try to gesture my way out to ask for help in configuring these SIM cards.
But now, I have started to become more savvy with it and will often settle my important Wifi before I even leave the country. For Asian travellers, you can get your 4G Wifi eggs or SIM cards from Klook for pickup at your respective airports.
Getting around in Seville, Spain
In Seville, you can easily take a walk in the old town or take from a variety of metros, trams, and buses that connects you to almost all the important attractions. Should you be taking just a few trips on Seville's public transport, a single ticket costs 1.40 euros. For those who think that they will be hopping on and off more frequently can consider getting a 10-trip ticket that costs 6 euros or even purchasing a 24-hour unlimited travel card for 5 euros.
I would definitely recommend getting the 24-hour unlimited travel card as this means that you can easily tap in and out on the various transportation in Seville without fumbling for small change or coins. Also, it is especially useful when you are doing transfers from metros to bus or trams as you wouldn't have to worry about utilising that two trips.
For those with young children or just do not want to worry about which stops to get on and off may want to purchase the Hop On Hop Off SightSeeing Bus Tour. Purchasing the Bus Tour gives you not just the transport to get around Seville's main attractions, it also grants you additional discounts and perks such as free guided walking tours and free entry to Salvador Church, Hospital de la Caridad, Santa Ana Church, Pavilion of Navigation, and Tower of Perdigones. We didn't use the bus tour this time round but definitely found it useful when visiting a new city for the first time as we did so in Barcelona.
Where to stay in Seville, Spain?
There are a bunch of accommodation options in Seville ranging from the budget, mid-range, to luxury. There aren't that many large hotel chains in Seville if you are looking to stay within the old town. For this trip, we somehow forgot about our accommodation and only started looking really late and many of the mid-range hotels were fully booked. We then decided on Hotel Zaida, a budget to mid-range guesthouse with private rooms. We paid about 70 euros per night for a private double room with a bathroom.
Located in the city-centre and within a 2-minute walk of the shopping streets, Zaida is set on a restored Andalusian Neomudejar-style palace. Don't expect modern facades here as there is just something charming about the rustic accommodation. The rooms were clean but basic. If you would like a taste of living in a venue that used to be a palace, this is the place for you!
What to do in Seville, Spain?
1. The Real Alcazar of Sevilla
I think this may be the reason for many people's NEED to visit Seville. Being an avid #GameofThrones fan, I couldn't wait to head to the Real Alcazar of Sevilla to marvel at the filming sites of the show.
The entire complex is huge so do set aside about 2 hours just to walk around both indoors and outdoors of the Alcazar. As one of the oldest royal palaces in the world that is still currently in use, the Alcazar's history is amazing as it stood through different eras, hosting a variety of cultures that once lived in Seville.
You may also be interested in: Guide to visiting the Royal Alcazar of Seville, Spain.
Since The Royal Alcazar is also on almost everyone's list, do expect the lines to be long... Or, if you just don't want to waste your time in the snaking queues, book tickets online ahead of time. Plus, you'll get a guide to narrate the history and let you know more about what goes behind what you are actually seeing when you walk around the entire complex!
Real Alcazar of Seville, Spain
Pl. del Patio de Banderas, 6, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
2. Cathedral of Seville
Just outside the complex, you'll find the Cathedral of Seville. It is not hard to miss because you'll definitely be able to see the tall Giraldi Tower. This glorious monument is the largest Gothic-style church and the third-largest behind Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.
The Cathedral of Seville is seen as a symbol of the Christian reconquest over the Moors and was constructed in the 14th century on the site of the Great Mosque. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is definitely an attraction that reflects its historical and cultural roots.
The Cathedral looks magnificent outside and the interior, though dimly lit, exudes an air of majesty. Go explore the different rooms / chapels within the cathedral as they boast some interesting architecture!
One of the more important monument within the Cathedral is the Tomb of Columbus. This monument is one of the latest additions to the cathedral, installed in 1899. Here, the tomb of world explorer, Christopher Columbus is held aloft by four allegorical figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain - Aragon, Castille, Leon, and Navara.
The structure is huge and was designed by sculptor Arturo Melida and was originally installed in Havana before moving to Seville after Spain lost control of Cuba. Whether or not the tomb of columbus is actually the final resting place of the explorer's remains is supposedly still a mystery as Santo Domingo has also claim to possess Columbus remains. Interesting, isn't it?
Entrance to the Cathedral of Seville is considered pricey at 8 euros and like the Alcazar, there is usually a line to purchase the tickets. The entrance fee also includes entry into the Giralda Tower. Should you not want to wait in line and would like a guided tour, purchase your tickets here.
Cathedral of Seville
Avenida de la Constitución, s/n. 41001 Sevilla (Sevilla), Spain
3. La Giralda Tower
Located within the Cathedral is the Giralda Tower. I've placed it as a separate attraction as I think it does deserve a place of its own! Be warned though that there are no lifts to the top of the tower and it is a LONG climb! So put on a good pair of shoes and ready yourselves for the climb.
An extra tip is to time your climb. You may just want to start your climb when the sun's still up and reach the top to catch the golden hour and view the beautiful sunset. Well, that was what we did to reward ourselves after the long climb!
Giralda Tower (in the Cathedral of Seville)
Avenida de la Constitución, s/n. 41001 Sevilla (Sevilla), Spain
4. Plaza de Espana
The next big thing in Seville is definitely the Plaza de Espana. Initially built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, the Plaza de Espana is a massive semi-circular building. You either love it here, or absolutely hate it. There's nothing much to do but to take in the magnificent view of the 50,000 square metres complex (think 5 football fields) and to take tons of #instaworthy shots. This iconic large edifice is set within Parque Maria Luisa and you'll find tons of travellers either just roaming about posing for their cameras. Some may also pay to go on a boat ride in the moat or head up a horse carriage.
What's interesting is the walls that surround the canal, where you get to see 48 alcoves with benches, featuring each province of Spain. The four bridges in Plaza de Espana then represents the four ancient kingdoms of Spain - Aragon, Castille, Navarre, and Leon.
Besides being a great place for home photographs and videos, the large venue is also featured in popular movies like Star Wars. Now, Plaza de Espana still functions as an office for the various government ministries.
To get to the park, you would either cycle in, or take a walk from the Prado de San Sebastián where you'll find the metro, trams, and buses.
Plaza de Espana
Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
5. Torre del Orro
Situated on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River, the Torre del Orro tower is made up of three sections and the construction started from the 13th century. The first dodecagonal (10-sides!) segment was built by the Almohads, the second dodecagonal by Pedro I, and the third cylindrical segment topped with a dome dates from the 18th century.
In the past, the tower was used to defend the city of Seville from enemy ships, cutting off access as thick chains extended to the far bank of the river. The tower was also linked to another long wall that stretches all the way to the Royal Alcazar. Now, even though it no longer plays the role of defence, it houses a small naval museum with a panoramic terrace. Travellers who wish to view the city of Seville and the buildings along either banks of the river can make their way up.
In 1931, the Torre del Orro was designated a historic-artistic monument and it is considered one of the most representative symbols of Seville, alongside the Giralda Tower.
Tickets for the museum and the panoramic terrace costs 3 euros for adults and 1.50 euros for children. But if you are visiting on a Monday, entrance is free! :)
Torre del Orro
Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, s/n, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
Nearest metro: Plaza de Cuba
6. Cruise down Guadalquivir River
So it has been said that the first trip around the world actually set sail from Seville's inland port... In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan sailed from the Guadalquivir River to the open seas to explore the rest of the world. If you get on the San Telmo bridge, you'll see the armillary sphere that commemorates mile zero! Fascinating isn't it?
The Guadalquivir River is also the fifth longest in the Iberian and crosses all of Andalusia, with a total length of 657 kilometres. Even if you do not cruise on it, strolling down either side of the river bank is an enjoyable activity, especially after a belly full of tapas!
7. Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza
Before we embarked on our trip to Spain, I knew that I wanted to visit a Spanish bullring. Even though I know how bullring fights are cruel, I really wanted to see the ring up close and try to perhaps understand how could people watch bulls get pierced, stabbed, and killed for entertainment.
Valencia had one but unfortunately, it was closed during our visit there. The Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza is a short walk from the Torre del Orro. I do recommend heading to purchase tickets for the tour first before making your way to the tower while waiting. That was what we did!
As the only way to have a look inside the bull ring aside from actually attending one during the bullfight season, is to join a guided tour. The tour is popular so you sometimes have to wait in line only to receive a time slot that could be an hour or two away! If that's the case, go on and still get your tickets and head over to one of the local markets nearby to enjoy some food before coming back for your tour.
Otherwise, book your tickets online here.
Besides just the bullring, you'll also get to learn about the different Maestranzas and look at some of the paintings and art pieces in the little museum. Although it is said to be a guided tour, the guide only speaks Spanish and you'll then learn all about the bullfighting through the audio guide (available in other languages as well!).
Finally, after looking at all these exhibits where the real star is the bull ring itself, we managed to enter the bullring through the gates where the Maestranza enters the ring...
Seville's bullfight seasons begins on Easter Sunday, which usually falls in April, and you can see one almost every day till Feria de Abril.
Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza
Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 12, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
Book to bring along: The Dangerous Summer
You may also be interested in reading more about Spanish bullfights in this non-fiction "novel" that Ernest Hemingway wrote. Also known to be his last work, Hemingway wrote voluminously about two rival Matadors and his experience learning about the behind-the-scenes of a bullfight.
Purchase your copy of The Dangerous Summer on Book Depository.
8. Mercado Lonja del Barranco
Just about a 5-minute walk away from the bullring and towards the Punte de Triana bridge is the Mercado Lonja del Barranco. Most travel blogs recommend the Mercado de Triana, a traditional market that we would also recommend next but before you cross over to the Train District, hop into the modern Mercado Lonja del Barranco first!
This market, unlike the other traditional market is a gourmet food court that sells all kinds of local delights in a 19th-century galvanized-iron building that was created as a fish market previously. Here, you can get your fill of salmorejo, a tomato-based cold soup that Andalusians love...
Of course we had to try a small portion, alongside some Spanish omelettes and delicious-looking pastries! Prices were affordable plus you get to rest your feet after all the walking.
Mercado Lonja del Barranco
Calle Arjona, s/n, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
9. Mercado de Triana
After you got your stomachs filled, you can head over to the Triana District starting with the Mercado de Triana or Triana Market at the end of the Triana Bridge. The market sells an assortment of local produce and even traditional Paella ingredients such as rabbits. Eeks.
If you're interested to find out a little about the history of the Triana Market, the market actually used to hold the remains of Castle of San Jorge at the lower part of the market until 1992 where it was demolished in an attempt to modernise the market and was moved to a temporary location. Only in 2001, it was then moved back to its traditional location at the Plaza de Abastos.
Mercado de Triana
Plaza del Altozano, 14, 41010 Sevilla, Spain