Seville is without a doubt one of my favourite cities in the world. Beautiful architecture, art and history galore, independent boutiques and restaurants, fantastic food. Go in winter for blue skies, in March for the smell of the orange blossom, or in April for the famous Feria. Just go, wander, and enjoy.
What to see and do in Seville
The Real Alcázar is one of the absolute highlights of Andalucía. First built as a fort in the 10th century and added to and renovated over centuries it is a mixture of Christian and Mudéjar architecture along the lines of the Alhambra in Cordoba. Don’t leave without seeing the gardens including the views from the raised ‘Galería de Grutesco’. You’ll need at least a couple of hours here. Buy tickets online here to avoid queuing, there are also some free entrance slots on Mondays.
The Cathedral and its tower, known as the Giralda – book tickets online here rather than queuing. Climb the Giralda for views of Seville and then wander around the cathedral. There’s so much to see at both the cathedral and the Alcázar I wouldn’t try to do both on the same day.
Plaza de España in the Parque de Maria Luisa is a must-see, built for the 1929 Expo. Climb to the viewing galleries or hire a rowing boat on the canals, and you’re almost guaranteed to see and hear some flamenco.
Wander the small streets of the old town and Santa Cruz district, and particularly the old Jewish quarter next to the Alcázar. There are lots of lovely boutiques, cafés and restaurants to while away a few hours.
The Museo de Bellas Artes houses a huge collection of art and is amazing value for EUR 1.50. On Sundays there is also an art market held in the square outside the museum.
Walk along the river to see the Torre del Oro and stop for a drink at one of the riverside bars.
Las Setas (‘the mushrooms’) is the nickname for the wooden structure built to renovate Plaza de la Encarnación. In the evenings a light show plays on the underside of the structure and there are a number of bars to drink at. In the day you can pay EUR 5 to just go up to the mirador (just ask if it is not shown as an option at the ticket desk) or there are combined tickets to also see the archaeological museum. You can also book tickets online.
Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes is an old hospice for priests. The building itself is worth seeing, particularly the incredibly ornate chapel, but it also houses the Centro Velázquez with a small but excellent collection of Diego Velázquez paintings.
If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Aire Ancient Baths. These Arabic baths are a real oasis hidden away in the old town. Make sure the package you book includes the rooftop bath – views of the cathedral, particularly at sunset, are magical.
Where to eat and drink
When in Seville, a drink at a rooftop bar with views of the Giralda is a must, particularly towards sunset:
You won’t find it difficult to find somewhere to eat. There are hundreds of excellent tapas restaurants in Seville. Here are just a few suggestions:
Bodeguita Romero on Calle Harinas
Bar Manolo and La Escaloná in Plaza Alfalfa
Álvaro Perejil and Taberna Belmonte on Calle Mateos Gago – there are seats outside on both sides of these restaurants, so walk through the bars to see if tables are free on the other street
Taberna del Arenal on Calle Almirante Lobo
El Pasaje on Pasaje de Vila
Contenedor restaurant is relatively pricey compared to the Seville tapas scene, but so worth it, with excellent local and seasonal food, big portions, a large wine list and friendly multilingual staff.
If you’re wondering what to order, check out my tips on What to Eat and Drink in Andalusia
What you should know
The official tourist website for Seville has lots of useful info about the city – click here
Travel time from UK: flight from London ~2 hours 45, taxi to city centre ~20mins. There are taxis outside the airport which will cost around EUR 25 to the centre, but the airport shuttle bus leaves often and will take you directly to Santa Justa rail station or Plaza de Armas bus station in the centre of the city for EUR 4.
Plug adaptors: Continental Europe (2 round pins)
Time difference: UK + 1 hour
Language: Castilian Spanish. Most locals will speak at least some (and in many cases excellent) English and other languages as well.