Home City Breaks 10 things you shouldn’t miss in Seville

10 things you shouldn’t miss in Seville

by Kat

It’s been 21 months since I went to Prague in February 2020, and last week I finally dusted off my backpack to head off to Europe once again in my first post-Covid trip. This time to somewhere a little bit warmer, a country I’ve been to before many times but a completely different region – Seville!

It’s fair to say I picked Seville on a whim and as somewhat a second choice. I had planned to go to Lithuania but, with the uncertainty of the pandemic, I decided on somewhere that was less likely to suddenly ban British travellers and honestly the appeal of 22C temperatures when we’re entering full-on winter mode in the UK was pretty appealing.

Despite my choice largely being based on the weather I ended up loving Seville! It’s an amazing city, and easily my favourite place I’ve visited so far in Spain. I would also say November is an ideal time to visit, as many of the big tourist attractions are easier to get into and the weather is perfect. With a beautiful building on every corner and so much culture to soak in I could have easily spent more than the three days I was there, especially if using it as a base for day trips further afield in the Andalusia region! However if, like me, you’re headed there on a city break there are a handful of things you absolutely shouldn’t miss that I’ve detailed here.

Royal Alcazar Palace

The number one recommended thing to do in Seville for a reason, the Alcazar is breathtaking. A royal palace built for a Christian king on the site of a Muslim residential fortress makes it a fascinating mix of different architectural styles. It was also used as the set of Dorne in Game of Thrones, which has only added to its appeal to tourists. The palace is sprawling so ensure you allow a good few hours to explore everything, including the extensive gardens.

It is best to book your ticket in advance so you can ‘skip the line’ and avoid the queue, which can extend around the block in the high season. I’d personally recommend getting the audio tour as it’s really informative and explains the history of the palace in great detail. The upper levels are still used as a residence for the Royal family but you can also visit them if you buy a special ticket.

Plaza de Espana

Another unmissable attraction in Seville is the Plaza de Espana (Spanish Plaza), built in 1928 it’s a beautiful spot in the middle of the Maria Luisa Park, with the buildings forming a semicircle surrounded by a moat. If you fancy a paddle you can hire rowboats and see the plaza from the water. Otherwise there is plenty to enjoy just wandering around the plaza, admiring the elaborating tiled alcoves – each of which is dedicated to a different province of Spain – or pausing to watch some flamenco dancing, which is usually taking place during the day.

Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world (whether it is third or fourth largest is a matter of debate) and it is considered the largest Gothic cathedral. Whatever the truth, it certainly feels huge and (with an audio guide) took me a good few hours to explore fully. There are many highlights you can’t miss inside, including the tomb of Christopher Columbus and the incredible Renaissance dome of the Chapterhouse.

Giralda Tower

Adjoining the cathedral is the cathedral’s bell tower – the Giralda. The Giralda was built as the minaret for the mosque that previously stood on the same site. Climbing the tower is undoubtedly something you should do in Seville, to get one of the best views over the city. The good news is that despite it’s height, there are no narrow winding staircases to navigate! Instead there are 35 ramps to the top, designed so the muezzin could ride his horse to ascend the tower five times a day.

Metropol Parasol

Otherwise known as “las setas” or “the mushrooms” to the locals, Metropol Parasol was designed by a German architect following a competition for ideas to redevelop the area of a historic market. It is relatively new to the city having been completed in 2011. Made of Finnish wood it claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world! There’s a walkway on the top of the structure which gives you a view over the surrounding city, however, I would say if you’re already going to scale the minaret that is a more impressive view. It also costs 10 euros to go to the top (in the day, 15 at night), and the walkway is very short. I really like the idea and design of the structure but it is better viewed from below and so unless you really want to I wouldn’t say you’re missing much by not going up there.

Oro Tower

Oro Tower sits on the bank of the Guadalquivir River that runs through the city and has been around since the middle ages. A former military watchtower, the top floor is now a small maritime museum and you can also go to the top for a view of the surrounding area and across the river.

Basilique of La Macarena

On the last day of my trip I decided to venture a bit further north of the city centre to see the Macarena Arch. However I found this currently under construction (November 2021), and ended up walking into a church situated opposite, which made the extra effort more than worth it! Despite its small size, the Basilica de la Macarena is one of the most important churches in Seville because it houses an important religious treasure – the Virgin of Macarena. This 17th century wooden carving of the Virgin is incredibly important to the Spanish people and there is a feast to celebrate the image on 18th December. The photos don’t do it justice but the image and the church itself, in particular it’s intricate ceiling, are sights to behold.

Church of Saint Louis of France

Like much of Italy, it seems like in Seville there’s a stunning church on every corner and you could spend your whole time just looking around them all! If you just want to see the best then here’s another to add to your list. Iglesia de San Luis de los Franceses is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in this part of Spain. The church was deconsecrated following the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1835 and served as a hospital, convent, factory and hospice. Following renovations it was only reopened to the public in 2016, so it’s definitely worth having a look inside to fully appreciate the unusual circular design and stunning Cupola.

Take a cycling tour

Usually when I visit a new city the first thing I like to do is take a walking tour. However I was reliably informed beforehand that many of the things to see and do in Seville are rather spread out, so in order to cover more ground in limited time I opted for a 3-hour cycling sightseeing tour. I would definitely recommend it as an introduction to Seville, which is a very bicycle-friendly city. However it is worth being aware that, although there are cycle lanes in most places and you don’t need to worry about cars, you will likely have to contend with pedestrians in a lot of the busier areas.

Day trip to one of the white villages

Seville is not only a great city to explore in itself but also a fantastic base for exploring more of Andalusia and southern Spain, particularly the popular and picturesque Pueblos Blancos (white villages) of the region. There are a whole bunch of organised day trips that run from Seville to these areas, which are great if you’re short on time as some of them take in a few different villages in the same day!

It’s also relatively straightforward to visit some of them using public transport, as Seville is well connected by train and public buses to many of the villages. I chose to catch the bus to Ronda for the day during my trip.

Have you visited Seville? Let me know your favourite thing to do in this wonderful city and if there’s anything I missed that you’d recommend for my next visit in the comments!

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2 comments

Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad 02/02/2022 - 22:54

Beautiful photos!! Not that it’s hard in a place like Seville. I only visited for a day so I haven’t seen all of these places – they all look incredible! Plaza de Espana is one of my favourite places in the whole of Europe. I’m sold on the Royal Alcazar – I didn’t have time to go in when I was there, but I can see that was a mistake, haha.

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Kat 23/03/2022 - 16:18

Oh I know there is so much to see, it was difficult for me to even fit into 3 days. The Alcazar is amazing and definitely worth a visit but it does take a while to see everything so it would have taken up most of your time if you were only there for a day. If you go again I would highly recommend it!

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