The Number One City to Discover: Your Guide to Seville, Spain
Chances are, you've heard tons about Madrid and Barcelona..but what do you know about Seville?
Not much? Let me remedy that.
Located in the Southern part of the country, Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain, the capital of Andalucia, AND the capital of Flamenco dancing!
This magical city was recently named the "Number One City to Discover in 2018" by Lonely Planet, and just happens to be an area we explore on our Spain trip. With its historical heritage, rich traditions, and commitment to being a sustainable city (they've invested in bikes paths, have closed the city center to cars), it's easy to understand why it earned this title.
A love affair with Seville
After finishing my high school exams, I decided to embark on an adventure in Barcelona.
I spent my summer wandering around Barcelona, discovering its little alleys, monuments...and stumbled into love.
One of my favorite things about travel is meeting people that inspire and motivate me, and that's exactly what happened.
Since he was from Seville, I continued flying between Verona and Seville for 6 months to visit him. I was able to explore the entire city and its treasures with someone local, which sparked my love affair with the city!
There's something incredibly special about wandering the streets of Seville, it’s as though you're walking back in time…
The color of the sky is accentuated with its dark blue, the smell of the air is different, the people are awesome and the landscape is fairytale.
Simply stated, Seville is magical.
Bienvenido a Sevilla!
If three years ago people would have told me that I would be leading trips in Spain I would have told them they're pretty crazy. But, here I am and I couldn't be more excited about it!
Sights, eats, sleeps and transportation - this list includes it all. Here are my top recommendations for exploring in Seville:
Catedral de Sevilla & Giralda Bell Tower
The Giralda Bell Tower is the symbol of Seville and it's no wonder why: it's tall (342 ft), mighty, and DAMN beautiful!
There are 35 ramps to get on the top and from there you can enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas of Seville.
Yes, you read that correctly - there's no elevator to get to the top, only ramps. Historically, the sultan ordered ramps to be built so they could climb the tower with horses.
The Gothic style Cathedral is nowadays one of the biggest in the world (the third to be exact) and houses the tomb of Cristoforo Colombo.
Tip: There's always a long queue, buy online tickets to skip it!
More info on: http://www.catedraldesevilla.es/
Alcázar de Sevilla
The Alcazar of Sevilla was originally a Moorish fort and is my favorite spot in town. It has great architecture (combining Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements), a great garden full of palm trees to chill in, beautiful flowers, and peacocks!
Part of it was built during the Arab time and after the Reconquista, Kings of Spain renamed the building to‘Royal Palace’. It is still used by the Kings of Spain for many ceremonies, like weddings.
Many Spanish cities nowadays call the ancient Muslim palaces "Alcazars" - you can find them in cities like Malaga, Cordoba, etc.
Tip: Buy tickets online to skip the line & don’t miss the night entry during summertime!
More info on: http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/
Plaza de España and Maria Luisa Park
Probably one of the greatest and most beautiful squares in the world. Located just two minutes outside from the city center, Plaza de España will definitely make you fall in love with Seville!
I can spend hours and hours admiring all the little details it has, from the architecture to the little ceramics which decorate the stairs, benches, and terraces.
The square was built for the Ibero - American exposition of 1929. All the benches around the square represent each Spanish province, while the four bridges represent the four old Spanish reigns.
Sometimes during the afternoon you catch people playing guitar music, which contributes to the unforgettable atmosphere of the place.
After the visit, I recommend exploring the park all around the square called Maria Luisa Park.
It a huge park full of flowers, tropical plants and important monuments like the National Museum of Costumes and the Archeological Museum.
A walk at sunset is the best, but you can also rent the little boats in the canal of the square.
Riverfront & Torre del Oro
When I want to feel recharged or I just need to think, I always head to the riverfront and walk or bike from the Triana Bridge (Puente de Isabel II) to the Plaza de España.
It is a 30 min. walk, but worth it! On the other side of the river you can see the colorful houses of the Triana district and the nightlife of Seville. While walking you’ll see the mighty 118 ft. tall figure of the Torre del Oro, and old military tower used to protect the town.
Tip: Free entrance on Mondays, all day.
Barrio de Santa Cruz
Before entering this area I would recommend to put away your map and just wander.
Walk following your instinct, follow that perfume in the air or that music playing.
Just found a little alley? GO EXPLORE IT! That’s how you’ll discover the beauty of this district.
It is made of small alleys, narrow streets and little houses with hidden patios. The neighborhood had a complete reformation for the Ibero American exposition of 1929 which led to the beauty we're all able to appreciate now.
The Best Views of Seville
One of the things I love the most is the view I can get from the city.
The best views in Sevilla are from:
Giralda Bell Tower
Nothing can beat this 342 ft. tall view of the town and the surrounding landscape.
Be careful of the bells!!
Tickets: buy at Cathedral Entrance.
Referred as ‘Las Setas’ (which means mushrooms in English), this strange architecture is built over an old Roman Square, linking the past and the future.
Tickets: 3€ with free drink on the rooftop terrace (credit cards not accepted).
Opening hours: Everyday from 10:00AM to 11:00PM. Sat and Sun until 11:30PM
Terraza Hotel EME
One of most glamorous roof top bars of Seville with a stunning terrace overlooking the Cathedral. Enjoy cocktails, music and a great atmosphere.
More info on: www.emecatedralhotel.com/en/rooftop
Pintor Amalio Museum
House of the painter Amalio in the Santa Cruz Barrio. Admire the many paintings, expositions and a stunning view of Santa Cruz and Giralda.
More info on: www.fundacionamalio.com
Food: The Tapas life!
I always look forward to arriving in Seville, mainly to sit in one of the many restaurants and eat lots of tapas!
Some of my personal favorite places are:
La Blanca Paloma
(Triana district), just after Triana Bridge.
Calle Pagés del Corro, 86, 41010 Sevilla
Bodega Santa Cruz
(City centre), one minute walking from the Cathedral.
Calle Rodrigo Caro, 1A, 41004 Sevilla
Abaceria del Postigo
(City centre), one minute walking from the Cathedral.
Calle Almirantazgo, 4, 41001 Sevilla
Where to Stay in Seville
In terms of accommodations, Seville has everything from beautiful hostels, Airbnbs and apartments, to luxury boutique hotels.
Some of my favorite hostels are:
Cozy little hostel two minutes walking from the river and Triana bridge. The staff is super friendly and it has everything you need: shared kitchen, self service laundry, and two awesome terraces with a stunning view to hangout with fellow adventurers.
More info: www.laflamenkahostel.com
La Banda Rooftop
Super central little hostel with a great atmosphere just a one-minute walk from the Cathedral. It is run by two brothers and two friends and it provides a nice rooftop terrace, shared kitchen, and lots of activities. Great vibes here!
More info on: www.labandahostel.com/
You can find out many other hostels in town, check it out Hostelworld and choose the one you love the most!
Moving Around Seville
I love biking and I always love to discover the best towns to explore by bike and Seville does not disappoint!
Seville's goal is to become the most bike-friendly city in Europe - they've put lots of effort into this cause and the results are showing.
The city provides bicycle lanes marked in green or labeled with a silver circle every 1m.
You can visit the whole city with a bike, and also reach points you couldn't reach by foot like the old ‘Expo ‘92 area’ or the Santa Maria de las Cuevas Monastery.
You can rent a bike or join a bike Tour: www.seebybike.com
If you stay in the center, I find the Tramvia useful to get to the San Bernardo Railway Station. The Tramvia starts in Plaza Nueva (Town Hall) and stops at Archivo de Indias (Cathedral avenue) and Puerta de Jerez (In front of Hotel Alfonso XIII) reaching San Bernardo Railway Station.
Tickets cost € 1,40 (one way) and can be purchased at the machine at the Tramvia Stations.
Sevilla Airport Bus
Official city bus that picks you up at the airport. It costs 4€ (or € 6 for return, but it must be used the same day) and stops in different main places of Seville.
Day Trips from Seville
Want to continue your adventure in Southern Spain? Seville is the capital of Andalucia and central to the region, so you can travel very easily to other places. Some of my favorite day trips are:
The legend says it’s the oldest city in Europe, founded by Hercules.
Built on a small peninsula stretching in the Atlantic Ocean, you can walk through the historic colony or chill at La Caleta Beach.
Take the Renfe train, departing from Seville Santa Justa or Sevilla San Bernardo. Journey lasts approximately 1 hr. 45 min. and return ticket costs around € 26. Or, opt for the Alsa Bus, departing from Seville Prado Bus Station. This journey lasts approximately 2 hr. and ticket fares vary. The sooner you buy your ticket, the cheaper it is.
Welcome to the old Arab capital, where you can explore the Jewish district and the Cordoba’s Royal Palace!
Take the Renfe train, departing from Sevilla Santa Justa. The journey lasts approximately 1 hr. 30 min. and return ticket costs € 23 for a "Media Distancia"
train (MD), and a bit more for "High Speed" train (AV/ AVE). Or, opt for the Alsa Bus, departing from Sevilla Plaza de Armas Bus Station. This journey lasts approximately 2 hr. and ticket fares vary.
As you can see, Seville is the number one city to discover this year for good reason. Come explore it with us!
If you'd like an extended trip, check out our trip from France to Spain.
Want more information about where and what to visit in Seville or in Spain? Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org