Travelers who enjoy a mix of grandiose historical ambiance and modern trappings of the New World will find loads of things to do in Sevilla. We sure did!
Southern Spain is filled with amazing gateways to the past and none more spectacular than Andalucia’s capital of Sevilla. As one of our favorite cities in Europe Sevilla offered us countless hours of exciting exploration.
The city is a fascinating and eclectic mix of Gothic, Mudéjar, Baroque, and modern architecture; examples of each style can be found around every corner, within every plaza.
Things to Do in Sevilla, Spain
If you are anything like us you will find a lot of things to do in Sevilla. This statement might sound trite, but it’s true. Trust us.
Wander Sevilla’s orange tree-adorned streets, busy plazas and quiet courtyards during the deserted siesta hours to take everything in. Return at night to see the city come back to life as the scorching summer sun recedes and locals come back out to socialize over tapas and coffee and wine.
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You can spend hours exploring the city before you return to your favorite cafe for an evening drink and then transition to a (the infamously late) Spanish dinner.
But enough of us gushing over Andalucia’s capital city. We put together a small list of things to do in Sevilla for you guys to get your bearings. There is way more to see and do than we could possibly include, so consider this a starter guide. Once you are on the ground you’ll undoubtedly find all sorts of activities that we omitted, so make sure to come back here and let us know what we’ve missed!
Visit the Alcazar
The Alcazar is probably the most well-known attraction in Sevilla, and is definitely on top of most people’s list of things to do. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most magnificent palaces in Spain, and offers a new visitor hours of exploration. You’ll literally stay here for at least 3 hours, so plan accordingly.
The Alcazar packs a lot of stunning and mixed design, architecture, and decor within its walls, which can be attributed to its transformation from a fort to a royal palace over the centuries. The most notable attraction within the Alcazar is the Mudejar Palace (aka Palacio de Don Pedro) which was built in the 14th century. The ornate palace contains ample stunning tiles and Mudejar style ceilings, and an impressive and peaceful courtyard, among other things.
The Alcazar of Sevilla was recently featured in the uber-popular HBO show Game of Thrones, and we dare say it was a scene stealer. If you are a Thrones fan you’ll find all sorts of show-related trinkets to buy in the city. Additionally, you will love exploring Andalucia as it contains quite a few other locations used on the show.
Tip: Buy your tickets to the Alcazar in advance and online here. Unless of course, you want to stand online for hours at a time. Seriously, the line barely moves and we can’t imagine how painful it must be to wait on it in the dead of summer!
Catedral de Sevilla
Sevilla Cathedral, located just a stone’s throw from the Alcazar, stands on the site of what was once a grand mosque dating back to the 12th century. It’s also one of the top things to do in Sevilla.
The cathedral, which was converted into a Christian church by Ferdinand III in the 13th century, is a mosaic of various architectural styles including Mudéjar, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-classical.
Today the only sections that remain from the original structure include the minaret (aka Giralda), Abluciones courtyard, and the Puerta del Perdón door. Additionally, the interior is worth a visit to gawk and marvel at its beauty and the incredibly imposing altarpiece, stunning organ, and myriad of statues, stained-glass windows, and carvings throughout.
Finally, the cathedral is home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus and his remains.
You can, and should, buy tickets to the Sevilla Cathedral online here. If you don’t buy tickets ahead of time be prepared to wait on line for a looooong time, as this is one of the most popular tourist sites in Sevilla. Waiting in line in Seville can really suck in the summer, when temperatures can pretty much break thermometers. You’ve been warned.
Explore the Magnificent Plaza de Espana
Despite the fact that Plaza de Espana was built in 1929 (for mostly political reasons to host a world’s fair called the Ibero-American Exhibition) it still feels old, and is absolutely worth visiting. We are ashamed to admit that our first visit to Sevilla, which lasted for 2 weeks, did not include a single trip to the Plaza de Espana. What were we thinking??!
The structures and buildings in the expansive plaza use elements like colorful ceramics, beautifully crafted wrought iron, and richly colored exposed brick to create a unique and striking look. The semicircular floor plan fans out around a vast square that includes two towers, a massive water fountain, several footbridges, and even a canal (including row boats you could rent). It’s ostentatious for sure, and all the more impressive for its stylish grandeur.
If you’re lucky you’ll catch a live and highly moving Flamenco performance like we did. These guys are the real deal! If you’re as moved as we were, we hope you’ll consider tipping them to show your support. They certainly deserve it!
Spending an hour or two wandering and people watching in this impressive Plaza should absolutely be on any visitor’s list of things to see and do in Sevilla, so don’t be like us and miss out!
Relax in Maria Luisa Park
If you’re visiting Sevilla’s Plaza de Espana be sure to devote some time to Parque de Maria Luisa, which is located very close to the plaza.
The park’s gardens were designed by a French landscape architect so you’ll find plenty of carefully constructed beauty to admire as you stroll by on foot or cycle by on bike.
Additionally, there are a number of interesting buildings and museums to be seen. This includes the 19th-century Costurero de la Reina (or the Queen’s Sewing Box) which resembles a castle, and the Pabellón Mudéjar museum devoted to the arts and traditions of the city.
Pay a Visit to the Parasol
The oddly shaped Parasol is certainly one of Sevilla’s quirkiest marvels of architecture. The huge mushroom-like building is a great place to catch views of the city from up above, and an even better place to watch a sunset in Seville, so make sure to go to the top at least once.
If you’re a fan of farmers’ markets, be sure to stop by El Mercado de la Encarnacion. The 2,200 square meter market is housed below the mushroom-like structure on level one and contains 40 different stalls.
There’s also a small bar located under the Parasol where you can grab a drink and enjoy a bit of people watching. Definitely one of the top attractions to visit in Sevilla, and catch cool views of the city.
Get Lost in Barrio de Santa Cruz
The labyrinth-like warren of narrow cobblestone streets, hidden plazas, and open terraces known as Barrio de Santa Cruz is a relatively small but wondrous section of the old town. It’s a quaint area smack in the middle of the city center, filled with historic ambiance and a sense of old world charm.
You can spend a good hour just walking around taking in all there is to see, but you won’t be alone. Hundreds of tourists all have the same idea, and as a result, the neighborhood can start feeling a little cramped in places. Oh well, a small price to pay for the experience, really.
Explore the Jewish quarter by day and come back at night for slightly over-priced drinks and tapas.
Explore Sevilla on Foot
There is seemingly always something interesting to see around every corner when exploring Sevilla for the first time. That’s why checking out this city on foot (and maybe even getting lost) is the first thing we recommend you put on your list of things to do in Sevilla.
Pick a direction from the center and set out on foot. Spend a few hours exploring the city and you’ll be surprised by Sevilla’s stunning and colorful architecture, vast squares, quiet plazas, and lovely outdoor eateries.
Make sure to leave the central touristy neighborhood of Santa Cruz, where most visitors spend the majority of their time and venture out beyond. Explore the following neighborhoods to get a feel for what real life in Seville is like.
Strike out in a northern fashion from the center and within 15 to 20 minutes you’ll find yourself in the Macarena neighborhood. We love this area of Sevilla. We spent numerous evenings enjoying outdoor tapas and drinks along the vibrant Alameda de Hercules. You’ll find eclectic and vibrant nightlife here as well, as numerous bars and cafes filled with the sound of music and conversation, all serving food late into the night.
Triana and Los Remedios
Venture across the Guadalquivir River to Triana to get an even better feel for day-to-day life in Seville. In this rather quiet area of the city, you’ll observe the slower side of life while stumbling across old tapas bars and shops.
Walk south from Triana and you’ll quickly find yourself in Los Remedios. Here you can have a well-earned scenic drink in one of the many cafes along the river on Calle Betis. Come back at night for a cool view of the city.
DIY Tapas & Sangria Tours
Sevilla is a borderline mecca for tapas, wine, and sangria. Everywhere you turn you’ll find a cafe offering all sorts of food and beverages (not during siesta time however!), ranging from common fare to the most lip-smacking tapas you can imagine. Prices are pretty affordable, especially when compared to cities like Barcelona.
We recommend doing a bit of research to find the type of cuisine that best fits your palate and arranging a day to wander from one place to another, sampling the tapas menu.
You can literally fill an entire week doing nothing more than pigging out and taking it easy, and we wouldn’t blame you in the slightest! One of the great pleasures in Sevilla is finding a cozy outdoor eatery and sipping on sangria in the evening while eating tapas as the heat of the day slowly fades into night.
Great Day Trips from Sevilla
When visiting Sevilla you are in a perfect position to explore other nearby regions of Andalucia. Make sure to add at least ONE day trip to your list of things to do in Seville. Trust us, it’s well worth it!
We almost decided not to include Ronda on this list of day trips from Sevilla. It’s not because we think Ronda doesn’t deserve visitors. On the contrary, we LOVE Ronda and want to keep it all to ourselves.
So stay away.
DON’T take the bus from Sevilla to Ronda, DON’T enjoy the amazing clifftop views you will find in this grandly situated town, DON’T sample some of the unique tapas you’ll find here, DON’T drool over the Puente Nuevo Bridge…
Stay away and just forget all about Ronda.
We won’t even give you directions on how to get there by bus or train. Google them yourselves.
Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and certain parts of this ancient port still contain profound vestiges of the past. Walk into the main plaza, for instance, and imagine it as a Roman settlement over a thousand years ago.
Industry has certainly changed the face of Cadiz and we found the amalgamation of old and new to be interesting. However, a couple of days here was enough for us. Your mileage may differ, of course.
A bus from Seville to Cadiz will take about two hours one way, making this a fairly easy city to visit on a day trip. Conversely, you can easily spend a couple of days in Cadiz, if you want to take your time. And after you are done in Cadiz…
This small town along Spain’s coast is about an hour away from Cadiz by bus, making it an easy subsequent destination.
Tarifa is best known for its kite surfing, but there is more there than just sun, waves, and gorgeous beaches. A relaxed atmosphere and a charming old town add a unique flavor to this distinctly North African feeling town.
Stay for at least a couple of days to enjoy the surf, the history, and the ambiance.
Cordoba is one of Spain’s most beautiful cities and the perfect place for a culture-filled city break. It also makes for a very easy day trip from Seville or from Malaga. If you have enough time we would recommend spending at least one night in Cordoba. If you don’t then a day trip will have to be enough.
Check out our article on things to do in Cordoba, and start planning your visit!
Where to Stay in Sevilla
Oasis Backpackers’ Palace Sevilla
We absolutely love Oasis Backpackers’ Palace in Seville. We’ve stayed there numerous times because it’s one of the best hostels we’ve been to in all of our travels around the world.
What makes Oasis so great? For one the location is extremely central and you can get anywhere you want to go in Sevilla on foot. It’s also located in a really cool building, is extremely clean, has lots of dorms and private rooms in various sizes, comfy beds, and some of the nicest staff we’ve encountered. Oh, and did we mention the rooftop pool and bar?
Oasis also has another, smaller and more intimate hostel, and of course there are a lot of great hostels in Seville. For more options, here is our complete list of the best hostels in Seville.
Best Boutique Hotel in Sevilla – Hotel Casa Del Poeta
If you want to splash out and stay at the best boutique hotels in Seville look no further than Hotel Casa Del Poeta.
This luxurious 4-star hotel is located in the very heart of Sevilla and only 250 meters from Seville Cathedral. It has incredibly welcoming and accommodative staff, and a lovely terrace and library.
The beautifully appointed rooms are all air conditioned, come with satellite TV, Wifi, a minibar, a private bathroom, slippers, a hairdryer, and free toiletries. Some even have a balcony so you can enjoy the warm Spanish sunshine from the comfort of your own room!
Hotel Casa Del Poeta has everything you could desire from a luxurious hotel experience.
When to Visit Sevilla
We were in Sevilla twice, once in February and once in August. We enjoyed both visits, but the experience was vastly different. Winter in Sevilla is akin to Spring in most other European regions, and we experienced mild weather and plenty of sunshine during our time there.
The summer months from June to September can get brutally hot in Andalucia so if you are sensitive to 40° C/90° F temperatures you might want to consider visiting during Winter or Spring. While there in August we found ourselves being forced into taking siestas as the middle of the day was often a bit like being inside an oven.
The weeks surrounding Easter, or Semana Santa, can be very hectic, so if you want to avoid crowds and inflated prices you shouldn’t visit between Palm Friday and Easter Sunday.
We reckon January to March and October to November are perfect times to visit Seville if you want to dodge huge crowds and scorching sun.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Sevilla
What else do we need to say? We’ve been twice and want to go back again ASAP, so…
Visit Sevilla. It’s a fantastic city, one of the very best we have ever been in. We hope we gave you guys some inspiration and ideas. So stop reading this and book your ticket to Spain already!
As always, travel well and safely friends, and we’ll see you on the road!
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