Seville is without doubt the city with the most attractions and interesting things to do in the south of Spain.
It has a typical Mediterranean warmth with its numerous cute squares and little tapas restaurants. But Seville (or Sevilla) also has a grand and some might say somewhat posh character, surely owing to its history as once serving as the nerve center for Spain’s New World conquests and commerce.
I once first visited during a European backpacking trip and was instantly sold on Seville, opting to lengthen my stay twice. More recently, I had the chance to live in Seville for half a year, getting to know the Andalucian capital much more closely.
Here, I will share the top things to do in Seville, including some hidden gems you won’t see mentioned on other blogs.
For more, don’t miss my 10 tips before visiting Seville.
Plan your stay in Seville
1. Explore the Royal Alcazar Palace
No visit to Seville is complete without seeing the world-famous Royal Alcazar Palace.
Built in the 10th century, the palace has been heavily influenced by different architectural and cultural styles and showcases a mixture of Mudéjar, Renaissance, and Moorish architecture.
(You may also recognize it from Game of Thrones!)
You can explore the Royal Alcazar Palace on your own, though be aware there may be very long queues wrapping all around its outer walls, especially in the summer tourist high season.
It’s worth booking this Alcázar Guided Tour with Priority Entrance.
There is also the option of using an audio tour that will guide you through key attractions including the Patio of the Maidens and the Hall of Ambassadors. Visitors can also explore the Alcazar Gardens and admire the rows of orange trees and picturesque walkways.
2. See a Flamenco show
Established in the Andalucia region in Spain, flamenco is a storytelling-dance art form that usually includes singing, guitar playing, and dancing. In Seville, watching a flamenco performance is simply a must!
There are several options for seeing a flamenco show.
Some travel guides advise the free flamenco shows, such as the ones performed at the tavern La Carboneria. However, these are very packed (like a rowdy beer hall) and you may end up seated far away from the stage. Consider these if you’re a backpacker with little budget to spare. Otherwise, there are better performances to catch.
For a truly local performance, ask locals (or taxi drivers) where you might catch one that night. There are small bars in Triana and Los Remedios where it’s danced for the Sevillano regulars. You need a bit of determination to find them though as they’re not so advertised to tourists.
The easiest route by far is to go for a ticketed show as you’ll be assured a good seat and they take place pretty much any night. You’ll experience the flamenco in its full intensity!
3. Admire the Plaza de España
Plaza de España is one of the most beautiful public squares in Europe.
This half-moon shaped plaza covers 50,000 square metres and boasts a mix of Art Deco, Mudéjar, and Renaissance architectural styles.
It was originally built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, which was a kind of World’s Fair for Spanish-speaking countries. Over the years the location was featured in popular blockbusters such as Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars’ Attack of the Clones.
It has a moat with arched bridges, a grand fountain, as well as nearly 50 intricately decorated alcoves with paintings and maps. Stroll around the plaza or hop on a rowboat to see it from a different perspective.
4. Chill out in Parque de Maria Luisa
Located right next to Plaza de España, Parque de Maria Luisa is without a doubt the most attractive area of greenery in Seville. The tiled fountains and ponds, flower-covered arbors, and calm atmosphere make this a great area to take a break after some sightseeing.
Visitors can ride a bicycle, take a stroll through the park, or hop on a horse-drawn carriage.
There are a number of bicycle carts in the park that up to 4 people can peddle at the same time. These are a fun way to go around the park if you’re with a family or group.
Parque de Maria Luisa is also home to several museums and buildings such as the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Seville, the castle-like Queen’s Sewing Box structure, and the Archeological Museum of Seville.
5. Get panoramic views from Torre Giralda
Part of the Cathedral of Seville, the Giralda tower is an iconic landmark visible from afar.
The impressive tower is actually a part of the mosque that was originally on this site, which was converted into a cathedral after the reconquest. You can begin your way up to the tower from inside the cathedral of Seville. Once you reach the top, get ready to be blown away by the fantastic birds-eye view of the city in all of its glory.
It’s an easy climb as inside there is a wide ramp instead of steps — it was actually designed this way so that a horse rider could easily make it to the clock tower!
The €9 entry ticket to the cathedral also included access to Torre Giralda.
Best tours in Seville
For a great experience, consider booking these tours in Seville:
Alcazar, Cathedral and Giralda guided tour – See the 3 top highlights in Seville with skip-the-line tickets.
Flamenco show with optional Andalusian dinner – For just €20 per person you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic Flamenco show
Ronda and White Villages day trip – Get a taste of the stunning Andalucian countryside with this organized trip from Seville
6. Take a secret tour of the Cathedral roof
Remember, I promised to share some special things to do in Seville!
This is a tour that few people know about, giving a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the Seville Cathedral. It will give you access to the hidden maintenance balconies and rooftop areas that are normally closed to the public.
The tour costs €16 and must be booked on the official site.
My guide spoke very engagingly about the cathedral’s history and construction. By the end of the tour, I no longer saw this building as one fully formed design, but as the result of numerous expansions, aborted plans, and improvisations during its more than 100 years of construction.
7. Try local cuisine at Mercado de Triana
Foodies visiting Seville will want to spend some time at the bustling Mercado de Triana.
Situated right along the river, the market is a great place to sample local food delicacies and shop for a wide range of products including authentic cured meats, cheeses, seafood, freshly caught fish, veggies, and fruit.
There are also several restaurants at Mercado de Triana where you can sit down to get tapas.
Make sure to check out the Loli Brewery and try their local beer. You can stop by Obrador la Osa for vegetarian and vegan options — still a bit of a rarity in Spain! The market is open daily, but keep in mind that most shops and stalls close their doors after 2 pm.
If you wish to go on a guided tour of the market and attend a cooking class, consider booking the Seville: 3.5-Hour Spanish Cooking Class & Triana Market Tour.
8. Explore Triana neighbourhood
This charming traditional neighborhood was once the home of sailors, bullfighters, Roma people, and many famed Flamenco dancers. Triana has a lot of soul and I think it’s one of the nicest areas to explore.
The neighborhood is often overlooked simply because it’s just across the Guadalquivir river, but it’s just a 10-minute walk from the city center.
Pop into one of the many ceramic shops, visit the Gothic-Mudejar church of Santa Ana, enjoy lovely views from the riverside street of Calle Betis, or explore the Museum of Carriages which is situated inside a 16th century Sevillian convent.
Some of the buildings in Triana were once a corrale, or a communal home occupied mostly by Romani people, who all shared the same facilities and central patio. These days the buildings function as restaurants or bars, often still featuring the original beautifully tiled walls.
9. Take a Guadalquivir river cruise
To discover Seville from a unique perspective, hop on a riverboat cruise on the waters of the Guadalquivir. The river was the main trade traffic centre in Andalusia thanks to its access to the Atlantic. A journey along the river provides a unique insight into the surprising and ancient history of the city.
Many tour operators in Seville offer a range of river cruises. Join one to see the city’s landmarks like the Giralda, San Telmo Bridges, and Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza. This Guadalquivir Yacht Tour w/ Drink & Food Options is available from 25 euros per person.
10. Feast on tapas
Eating out and drinking is an important social event in Seville. Many Sevillanos will gather around the small tables after work to drink small beers (vasos) and pick at small savoury dishes.
These small snacks, also known as tapas, play a major part in Spanish culture and are taken very seriously! You will have a chance to sample local dishes like braised beef cheeks, pork with whiskey, chickpeas, and much more.
For some delicious examples of tapas, try Bar Alfalfa (it’s small and can get quite busy though), or head to any of these great tapas bars in Seville.
Travellers who wish to enjoy unique tapas with an Asian twist should look no further than the Duo Tapas Bar and its beautiful courtyard where fairy lights are hanging from a centuries-old church.
Or, for a memorable night out in Seville, join a Tapas Crawl!
11. Grab cocktails at a rooftop bar
One of my favourite things to do in Seville is to enjoy its wonderful roofscape — a sea of balconies, patios, and roofs, dotted by Seville’s cathedral and church towers.
Since I had a rooftop apartment in Seville I often woke up with this view, while flocks of chirping parakeets gently swirled around the city canopy. Ahhh… good memories.
But another great way to enjoy the view — especially around sunset — is to hit up one of the many rooftop cocktail bars. My favorite is Terrace Pura Vida, though another blog offers several more suggestions for best rooftop bars in Seville.
12. Take day trips from Seville
There is no shortage of fabulous day trips from Seville, so it’s great to use the city as a base.
For starters, take a day trip to Cordoba, a city well-known for its magnificent La Mezquita mosque-cathedral and the fascinating Jewish Quarter. It will take you about 2 hours to reach Cordoba by car, or less by high-speed rail. There is also Ronda, the birthplace of bullfighting in Spain, and an iconic town for its stone bridge that crosses a deep canyon.
Take the dramatic path in Ronda which takes you right down to the bottom of El Tajo gorge and see the world-famous Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). One of the best things to do in Ronda is to enjoy magnificent views from “Balcons Coños”, several balconies that hang over the edge of the Tajo gorge. You can read more in my travel guide to Ronda.
One of my favorite things to do in all of Andalucia is to visit any of the typical white villages that are strewn throughout the region. While living in Seville I had the chance to go on multiple road trips to the region southeast of the city, around the protected area of Grazalema. Having stayed in many of the villages there, I put together this guide to the white villages of Andalucia.
Finally, don’t miss the chance to take an easy day trip to Cádiz, a charming port town just 45 minutes by train from Seville.
To visit Ronda or the white villages, it’s best to have your own car, though it’s also possible to take an organized day tour to Ronda and the Pueblos Blancos from Seville.
13. Get atop the quirky mushroom square
A rather unusual attraction, Metropol Parasol is locally known as the Mushrooms (Las Setas).
This giant piece of art (25 meters high) is actually one of the largest wooden structures in the world. It was unveiled back in 2011 — not without some controversy among the locals — and is made from six connected parasols.
Although it’s quite a modern design, I happen to be a big fan of this striking piece of architecture, which helped to breathe new life into the Plaza Mayor square.
Be sure to head out to the roof from which you can enjoy stunning sunset views. The entrance to the roof will cost a mere 3 euro and includes a complimentary drink.
Don’t miss the small museum in the basement which houses ruins and artifacts from the Roman and Moorish periods.
14. Explore the historical Santa Cruz neighborhood
Originally the old Jewish Quarter, Barrio Santa Cruz is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods in Seville.
With a maze of narrow medieval streets lined with whitewashed buildings, charming bars, shops, and restaurants, this neighbourhood is popular among both locals and tourists alike.
Whether you wish to discover some of the oldest churches in Seville, see flowers blooming on patios lined with orange trees, or visit flamenco bars offering live entertainment, exploring this neighborhood is a real delight.
15. Visit Seville’s traditional bull ring
Visit Seville’s Real Maestranza bullring and follow in the footsteps of matadors. This magnificent bullring is considered to be one of the finest in Spain. The arena itself with its 18th-century Baroque façade and the beautiful 16th-century iron gates is quite impressive.
You can go on a tour of the arena and visit different “patios”, as well as the Capilla de Los Toreros chapel. However, the best thing to do here is look up at the stands from the ring. The views of the arena that accommodates 12,000 people are impressive. The tour also included a visit to the museum where you will find a collection of memorabilia including posters, costumes, and much more.
16. Explore Palacio de las Dueñas
If you are looking for hidden gems in Seville, add a visit to Palacio de las Dueñas to your travel itinerary and you won’t be disappointed. The palace dates back to the 16th century but was opened to the public in 2016.
With its charming and carefully decorated interiors, this national monument that is still the property of a prominent aristocratic Spanish family is a sight to behold.
17. Ride with a horsedrawn carriage
A typical sight in Seville are the horsedrawn carriages painted in black and yellow. The use of these carriages started a long time ago when notable residents of the city and wealthy families used the horse-drawn carriage to reach the April’s Fair (one of the most international and popular of Seville’s fiestas).
Nowadays, the horse-drawn carriage is mostly used by tourists in Seville. They can fit up to six people and some of the carriages even have a retractable roof in case it rains. Carriage stations are scattered around the city centre; good places to hop on include the Cathedral and outside Plaza de España.
18. Catch the annual Feria
During one week every spring, one of the most remarkable events happens in Seville: the Feria de Abril.
The whole city turns into a traditional celebration where you might see parades with men on horseback, people dancing the Sevillano (a dance influenced by the Flamenco), and huge funfairs with tents where the locals drink and socialize.
Since everyone is dressed in traditional costumes, it is quite a unique experience to witness the Feria. If you are planning a trip to Seville around this time, it’s worth getting at least a glimpse of it.
I should mention that the events can also appear a bit insular and snobbish, as much of the partying happens inside private casetas — tents that invite just people of certain families or professions. However, there are also some public casetas where you can absorb the atmosphere.
While not necessarily as open to outsiders as you might hope, the events are nevertheless very interesting to watch and are widely anticipated for months by the local residents.
19. See the beautiful Casa de Pilatos
Located in the centre of the city, Casa de Pilatos is an utterly seductive 15th–16th-century mansion. See the huge collection of Spanish tiles, Renaissance-style marble door, a typical Andalusian patio and much more. The small art gallery that houses pieces, such as Greek and Roman statues, tapestries, furniture and paintings is not to be missed.
Outside the mansion, there is a beautiful courtyard with a spectacular Italian Renaissance fountain and sculptures. The guided tour of the mansion lasts for about 30 minutes.
Fun fact: the house was featured in popular films like 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and 2010’s Knight and Day.
20. Stroll around the Jueves Flea Market
Mercadillo El Jueves is one of the oldest existing markets in Europe. This colourful flea market in Seville is an ideal place for travellers who wish to score antiques and souvenirs and soak up a wonderful atmosphere. I also just like strolling around the market area and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
Get yourself a flamenco dress, buy those old-school computer consoles, or shop for books, paintings, toys, sculptures, and ornaments at this eclectic and must-see market.
It takes place every Thursday and combines well with a visit to the nearby Mercado de Feria.
21. Visit one of the oldest markets in Seville
Dating back to the 18th century, Mercado de Feria is one of the oldest markets in the city. It is open every day of the week during the afternoon and is always busy with both tourists and locals who wish to sample local Sevillian cuisine.
I like visiting this market as it’s just a bit outside the touristy center and has a fun local vibe.
The market is situated next to a charming 13th-century church and offers a selection of meats, veggies, fruits, and cheeses. Visit La Cantina, an awesome tapas bar that serves the best and freshest fish tapas.
22. Visit the Sevilla Museum of Fine Arts
One of the best ways to discover the history of a city is through its extensive collection of artwork. Welcome to the Sevilla Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes), a small museum where visitors will find a collection of mainly Spanish art from medieval times through the 20th century. Expect to see works by the famous painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and pieces by Francisco de Zurbarán.
Much of the collection at the museum consists of religious art. Many visitors like that Museo de Bella Artes is situated inside a beautiful 17th-century convent. You will find the museum just a short walk from Las Setas and Sevilla Cathedral.
23. Indulge at the AIRE Ancient Baths
AIRE Ancient Baths in Seville is a spa located in the traditional neighborhood of Santa Cruz and inside an incredible Mudéjar-style palace full of intricately tiled walls.
While I lived in Seville I treated myself and my partner to a massage and thermal bath package and it was fantastic. We left the place feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated.
If you really want to splurge, there is also a special package giving access to the rooftop pool with a spectacular view of the cathedral and roofscape, along with a champagne service. This was out of our budget at the time, but it’s clearly an amazing thing to do in Seville if you’re looking for some luxury pampering.
24. Enjoy the nightlife at Alameda de Hércules
One of Seville’s trendiest barrios, Alameda de Hércules was originally built in 1574 and is recognizable by its two Roman columns with statues of Hercules and Julius Caesar.
Today it’s home to some of Seville’s most fun bars and restaurants, and it’s the historic hub of the city’s gay scene.
Alameda de Hércules boasts funky art gallery cafés, chic bars, restaurants, and vintage boutiques. At night, it’s a popular gathering place in Seville and a great place to go out and hit up the local bars.
25. Poke inside the Plaza del Cabildo
Easily missed but nice to see, the Plaza del Cabildo is a beautiful semi-circular square with a fountain in the centre. Some of its features include the 50-metre Almohad wall and a plaque that honours Juan del Arce, the great goldsmith.
Among the marble columns you can find various souvenirs, philately and antique shops. On Sundays, the square is occupied by a flea market a.k.a. the Collectors’ Market where collectors meet to exchange coins and stickers.
It’s one of those hidden little places that make Seville rewarding to explore.
26. Sip a brew in a local cafe
The cafes in Seville are mostly tapas bars or bakeries, but if you’re looking for a quality coffee with a nice vibe, there are several places I can recommend.
My favorite is Un Gato en Bicicleta (a cat on a bicycle), which is part cafe and part art shop. While based in Seville I would pop in here almost every morning for a nice coffee and tosta de tomate.
27. Get around by bicycle
This tip is for those staying in Seville a bit longer, the city provides several thousand public bicycles that you can use to get around at very little cost.
For 13 Euro you can get a 7-day pass, which lets you use the SEVici bikes unlimited times for up to 30 minutes at a time.
Seville has actually been awarded as one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe. You can drop the bikes off at any docking station, allowing for one-way trips. If your accommodation is a little outside the historical center, you can easily reach it with these very cheap bikes.
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