Seville is a beautiful city in southern Spain. Located in a strategic spot in Andalucía, Seville is home to Europe’s largest cathedral, and it boasts of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites with Moorish-Christian architecture and is also the resting place of Christopher Columbus. In this post, titled – best things to do in Seville Spain, we will uncover its Bohemian roots and traditional tapas – which are the core of Andalusian culture.
25 Absolutely Best Things to do in Seville Spain – Guide to What to see in Seville
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Seville’s history is shaped by the influence of both Moorish and Christian rulers. Even today you can feel the Islamic way of living in the food, culture, and architecture of Seville, and that’s what makes this city so unique. Modern developments in the city are marked by World Trade Fairs in Seville.
Two major Trade Fairs one in 1929 and in 1992, have given the city the much needed infrastructural boost that it was previously missing. Many of the Trade Fair pavilions are Seville’s popular attractions today.
Explore Seville in a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing tour.
Map – What to see in Seville Spain
All of the sites mentioned in this – What to see in Seville Spain post is pinned to this Google Maps here for you.
Royal Alcazar Palace of Seville
The Royal Alcazar is the most visited site in Seville. It was the seat of the Andalusian royalty and had been serving the two prime dynasties – Moors and the Spanish Christian rulers.
The palace complex began taking shape in the 10th century when the Umayyads built a Moorish fortress. Just a century before the Spanish Reconquista, that is in the 12th century the first royal palace came to fruition under the then-ruling Almohad Dynasty.
In the 13th century, when the Christian rulers took over Seville, many additions and renovations were made. These additions included a mixed architectural style of Moorish, Renaissance, and Mudéjar designs and they continued until the 19th century. So what you see today of the Real Alcazar palace is the result of those renovations over the centuries.
The upper floors of the Alcázar are the Spanish royal family’s Seville residence. The interiors of the palace are stunning and are a reminder of the Moorish past.
The palace complex is grand with beautifully manicured gardens, water fountains, and lawns.
We highly recommend booking skip the line ticket to the Royal Palace of Seville, to avoid waiting in line. TICKETS: Book skip-the-line tickets to Royal Alcazar Palace of Seville.
Seville Cathedral & Giralda tower
Catedral de Seville is the largest cathedral in Europe. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site (together with the Royal Alcazar Palace and the General Archives of the Indies) and is home to the resting place of Christopher Columbus.
The Seville Cathedral in its current form was built in the 13th century with the arrival of the Spanish Reconquista. Prior to the Christian rulers, the site of the cathedral belonged to a mosque. In the 16th century, with additions and renovations, the cathedral became the largest one in Europe.
The Cathedral is very grand and is spread across a vast complex. The interiors of the cathedral are equally stunning and unlike many cathedrals that you will see in Europe. There are beautiful art, metal and goldwork inside the cathedral. Many of the façade and the ornate designs on the columns and ceilings will remind you of the city’s Moorish past, just like the Alcazar.
Of all the Moorish remnants at the cathedral, the Giralda tower is the most striking. Believed to be a minaret at some point, the Giralda tower was converted to a church bell tower when the Christians rulers took over the city.
The Giralda tower graces the skyline of Seville and you can access the top of the tower for some beautiful city views. There are no elevators to reach the top of the bell tower, so you have to climb 34 floors for that. But the effort is worth it.
Access to the Seville Cathedral and the Giralda tower is by the same entrance ticket. TICKETS: Get skip-the-line-tickets for Seville Cathedral and Giralda Tower here
Archivo General de Indias
The Archivo General de Indias or the General Archives of Indies is home to a wealth of archival documents depicting the maritime history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines.
The archives building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the site was an ancient merchants exchange office, called Casa Lonja de Mercaderes.
Wander the narrow lanes of Barrio Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz Jewish Quarters
The area near the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Seville is home to the city’s Jewish quarters called the Barrio Santa Cruz area. This neighborhood is super touristy and is characterized by colorful houses and small lanes.
This is your ideal neighborhood for photography and a haven for those who love to wander and lose themselves in a new city. You will find something that will meet your eye or touch your soul. The neighborhood was walled during the Christian rule and away from the hum-drum of the royalty. But today is a beautiful place to enjoy a lovely afternoon or evening stroll.
Today Barrio Santa Cruz is a touristy neighborhood, thanks to the cathedral and the many tapas bars in the area. Wander through the lanes of Santa Cruz – get lost, find your way while eating your heart out and photograph hidden gems along the way.
Walking tours in Santa Cruz Quarters
- 1.50-hour walking tour > Book this walking tour of Barrio Santa Cruz
- 1 hour walking tour of Santa Cruz quarters with Metropol Parasol at La Encarnación > Book this tour here
Admire the mushrooms – Metropol Parasol at La Encarnación
The Plaza de la Encarnación is a square located in the old center of Seville. The unique thing about the plaza is the wooden structure that engulfs it. Lovingly called as the mushroom –Las Setas de la Encarnación (I say waffle and mushroom), this is the largest wooden structure in the world. The wooden structure is called the Metropol Parasol and was designed by a German architect.
There is a museum located on the ground floor of the plaza square called the Antiquarian. You can climb the top of the Las Setas de la Encarnación to see great views of the city of Seville.
Explore Parque Santa Maria Luisa
Santa Maria Luisa Park is a huge public park in Seville. In the late 19th century, the park grounds were given to the city to be re-built. Post-1911 and closer to the inaugural time of the 1929 World Expo (with the Plaza de Espana), the park was completely re-done. What we see today at the Maria Luisa Park is the result of those renovations.
Today Maria Luisa park beams with lovely walking path, sprinkled with ornamental creations like a pond, fountains and beautiful sculptures.
Get wowed at the Plaza de Espana in Seville
Plaza de Espana is a beautiful complex located in Maria Lucia Park. The plaza was built in a unique architectural mix of Baroque, Renaissance and Moorish Revival styles to commemorate the rich cultural history of Seville.
Plaza de Espana was built as an inaugural site for the 1929 Ibero- American Exposition. The grand complex is charming with a huge central monument flanked by two tall towers on each side (north and south), a river canal and a stunning bridge. The main structure has 52 alcoves that contain information on the southern provinces of Spain. Each alcove is designed like a bookshelf and it looks absolutely gorgeous with the rich colors and details.
Although not a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plaza de Espana is worth your time. And it is free to explore the plaza.
Today the plaza is home to government administration offices.
Take a river cruise on the Guadalquivir
Guadalquivir gives Seville its character and personality, whether it is the Torre del oro or the bohemian quarters you just cannot miss the river.
Take a yacht or a river cruise on the Guadalquivir, ideally in the evening to admire the city lights from both sides of the river – one the bustling center and the other a little offbeat!
- Guadalquivir River cruise with one-hour audio guide > Book a river cruise here
- Guadalquivir scenic Yacht cruise for one hour 30 minutes > Book Yacht cruise here
Go a Tapas food tour
Food is such an important part of Seville’s heritage. And you should go on a tapas hopping tour in the city. The way the locals do tapas here is completely different from other parts of Spain – Barcelona and Madrid included.
Tapas are small portions of food ranging from 1 to 3 euros per tapa and are a fantastic way to try out the local cuisine. Choose from sherry wine to beer, cheese tapa to pork cheeks and chickpeas and the list here is endless. And everything is quite affordable.
Taking a tapas tour will help you understand the origins of the food traditions and the ingredients and the influence of the Islamic and Christian dynasties. In a guided tour, you will be led by a local tour guide who will take you to 3-4 different restaurants serving authentic tapas and sharing stories about Seville. Here is our detailed post about tapas in Seville Spain.
|TAPAS TOUR||BOOK HERE|
|3.50 HR Tapas and History Tour|
|Tapas and Wine Tasting|
|Tapas, Flamenco & Lights|
|Tapas in Triana|
|Tapas by Bike|
|3.50 HR Cooking Class with dinner|
Torre del Oro or the tower of Gold
Torre del Oro is a beautiful ornate military watchtower, built during the days of the Almohad Caliphate in the 13th century. The watchtower literally means, ‘tower of gold’ and it had suffered damages over the centuries, particularly during the Lisbon earthquake.
Today the Torre del Oro stands tall on one side of the river Guadalquivir and is home to a maritime museum.
Visit the Las Dueñas Palace
What to see in Seville other than the Royal Alcazar Palace? Well, there is another palace that is worth a visit – the Las Dueñas Palace. Often not very visited, the Las Dueñas Palace is a beautiful palace built in Moorish and Renaissance styles of architecture.
You can take a guided tour or visit the palace on your own (with an audio tour) to learn about its history. Don’t forget to admire the stunning staterooms, the courtyards, gardens, and the fountains.
The intricate details of the palace’s architecture are full of charm and character, creating a luxuriously royal atmosphere. This palace had served as a residence for Queen Victoria, Jackie Kennedy, Raniero III of Monaco and his wife Grace Kelly, and many more.
The palace also has a diverse collection of artworks to be admired including paintings and sculptures. There are over 1450 pieces of artwork on display to explore. TICKETS: Get entry tickets for Las Dueñas Palace.
Visit the Museo de Bellas Artes
Museo de Bellas Artes is an art museum and houses a beautiful collection of religious art by local and other Spanish artists. The museum is set on a lovely Baroque-style building and it has courtyards and gardens.
Admire the San Salvador church
The second important religious site in Seville is the San Salvador church or the La Iglesia colegial del Divino Salvador. It is a Roman Catholic Church of El Salvador and quite a popular site with tourists and locals alike. Being located in the central Seville area with markets and tapas bars around, the San Salvador church is always bustling with people.
San Salvador church was built on the ruins of a 9th-century mosque – Ibn Adabba – the Great Mosque of Muslim Seville. Get your entry tickets to the San Salvador Church.
Take a horse carriage ride tour across town
Imagine living like royalty in a city that is so gorgeous. Yes, enjoy the city of Seville and its iconic landmarks by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride across town. It is a tour, where you are picked up from the hotel and will be dropped off after the completion of the tour.
It is a perfect way to celebrate an occasion or a romantic getaway or evening in Seville.
Cross the Isabelle Ponte II or Triana Bridge
Seville’s unique personality and character comes from the river Guadalquivir and the many bridges built over it. Of them all, the Isabelle Ponte II is a fine example of the rich cultural heritage that Seville brings in.
Called as the Triana bridge, as it connects the center of Seville to the independent neighborhood of Triana, the bridge offers amazing views to the city from one end of the bank. Take a stroll here, admire the river views and soak in your moments in Seville.
Tour the offbeat quarters of Triana neighborhood
Triana is a fiercely independent neighborhood of Seville. Connected by the Triana Bridge, Triana was home to the bohemian quarters of the city with colorful lanes, artsy corners, flamenco and the meeting areas of sailors, artists and dancers.
Triana is still away from the limelight of the tourists, which is a good thing if you like to experience the offbeat things in a new city. The neighborhood is perfect for a stroll, romantic evenings or loud flamenco vibes. It’s all here in Triana!
- Triana Market Tour with tastings – Check out the tour here
- Take a walking tour of Triana – Book Triana tour here
Explore the oldest market in Seville food market and discover old castle remains
Triana was a strategic stronghold for the Moors. Sao Jorge Castle guarded Triana on the west bank of the river Guadalquivir. When the Christian rulers came to power, this castle was demolished and made way for traders paradise – in the form of a food market.
Underneath the food market, the remains of the Sao Jorge castle can be seen. Take a walk down the city’s memory lane here at the Triana food market.
Sao Jorge Castle was a medieval fortress built as a military headquarter and a prison. It was later demolished in the 19th century. There is a food market that sits on the ruins of the castle. Today there is an underground museum – Museo Del Castillo De San Jorge – to explore the ruins that focus on the castle and life in Triana in the middle ages.
Watch a flamenco show
Flamenco is a dance and an art form that originated in Seville in their bohemian quarters. There are many flamenco museums and theatres across the city, which organizes evening shows of an hour. The flamenco shows with music, color, and dance will completely steal your heart and they are worth the time.
- Flamenco show, with tapas and a night lights tour in Seville – Check it out here
- Go for a flamenco show in Triana neighborhood – Book a flamenco show here
Go on a Game of Thrones Tour in Seville
The fifth season of the popular TV show “Game of Thrones” was shot at the Royal Alcázar Palace in Seville. It was used as the Water Gardens in the fictional city of Sunspear – the seat of the House Martell and capital of Dorne.
If you are a GoT fan, go on a Game of Thrones tour in Seville. Check out tours below
- 2 hour Game of Thrones tour in Seville – Check out the GoT tour here
- Other then the Royal Palace in Seville, GoT was also shot at the Roman ruins of Italica. You can combine both sites and explore Italica on a day trip from Seville. Learn more about this day tour from Seville here
Cross the Alamillo Bridge
Of the many bridges in Seville, the Alamillo bridge deserves special attention. The bridge was built for the 1992 World Expo and was created as a symbolic entity for the city’s rich past.
The Alamillo Bridge connects the canal de Alfonso XIII and goes over the Guadalquivir river.
The bridge is visible from the Giralda bell tower and sits at 250 meters high.
Admire the church of Lady Mary of La Macarena
La Macarena is the oldest neighborhood of Seville, and it is located on the north end of the city center. This neighborhood is home to the Virgin of Hope of Lady Macarena. Remember the Spanish song, Le Macarena? Macarena is a common Spanish name for girls/women.
La Macarena is characterized by colorful houses, some dilapidated and some now restored which is slowly welcoming tourists. Le Macarena has been tucked away from the touristic areas of the UNESCO Heritage sites or Santa Cruz, and has been hidden and ignored for a long time. But renovations are on-going to give a face-lift to the neighborhood.
Explore Le Macarena while you are on a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing tour.
Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla – Bullring Arena
The Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla is a bullring arena in the central part of Seville. The arena has around 12,000-capacity and has been the site of one of the most well-known bullfighting festivals in the world.
Guided tours are available for the bullring arena.
Visit Seville Tower – the Tallest building of Seville
Seville Tower or the Torre Seville is the tallest building in the city at 592 feet. The tower has 40 floors, apparently all empty, but you can access the top floor for some amazing views of Seville.
The tower is located in La Cartuja, where the Universal Exposition of 1992 took place in Seville.
Visit the Seville Aquarium
Wondering what to see in Seville that involves sailors and sea voyages? Head to the Seville Aquarium and follow the footsteps of the Portuguese explorer Magellan. In the Aquarium, you can experience the same environments and ecosystems through which Magellan and his expedition traveled.
The Aquarium is also home to the most intimate jellyfish exhibition where you can immerse yourself in the depths of the ocean. There are night time guided tours available as well as special dining tours.
Here are some Seville Aquarium Tours to consider
- Here is a guided tour exploring the Aquarium, minibus tour and a cruise – Check out the tour here
- Here is an admission ticket to the Seville Aquarium – Book it today
Stroll by the river promenade
The river Guadalquivir is the fifth largest river in the Iberian peninsula and it is what gives the city its charming character. On one hand, there is the bullring plaza and the central area of Seville with the three UNESCO Heritage sites and on the other is the offbeat neighborhood of Triana and the newly developed areas of the World Fair Exposition.
There is a long pedestrian promenade near the Guadalquivir river, with the Torre del Oro at its end guarding the area and making it very historic and beautiful.
Take a stroll along the promenade and enjoy the breeze and this is where you can see the river beautifully. This is also the spot from where you can take a river cruise – go on and enjoy your time in this lovely city of Seville!
We hope you enjoyed our what to see in Seville guide. If you are planning a trip to Spain, read our travel guide below
- Get travel tips, hotels recommendation and day trips inspiration for 2-3 days in Seville
- Read all about the best places to visit in Spain
- Incorporate Seville into 7 days in Spain trip
- Get a planning guide for your first trip to Europe
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.