Top things to see and do in Seville
As the taxi nears our rented apartment in the heart of Seville, it’s impossible not to be affected by the buzz in the cobbled streets of the old centre.
Bars and restaurants overflow with people enjoying the afternoon sun. I can’t wait to dump my bags and explore. For the following five weeks I will attend Spanish school each morning and discover Seville each afternoon.
You may not have five weeks, but in just a few days you can experience the essence of one of Spain’s most fascinating and historic cities. And Seville will surely capture your heart, just as it did mine.
One word of warning: the city gets hot in summer. Very hot. The locals leave in droves. Try to plan your trip for spring or autumn.
Here’s a city guide to the top things to see and do in Seville.
The sound of horses’ hooves clip-clopping on the cobble stones echoes through the streets of Seville and a relaxing ride in one of the many beautiful horse-drawn carriages will orientate you to the main sights.
Take a break from sightseeing to experience the luxurious Arab bath (hamman) Aire de Sevilla, tucked away in a side street.
Tapas is an integral part of Seville’s social scene. Enjoy a beer (cerveza) or vino tinto (red wine) and tapas at one of the many small bars dotted around the old centre. I loved the quaint Bar Alfalfa and Bar Rinconcillo – which was established in 1670 and claims to be the oldest restaurant in Spain.
An evening drink on the rooftop of the EME Catedrale Hotel provides wonderful views of the Seville Cathedral and the Giralda (bell tower). Get there before 11pm (when the Cathedral lights are turned off).
A highlight of any visit to Seville is climbing the Giralda for views across the city. Before the Spaniards conquered the Moors, a muezzin would ride up the ramp on a donkey five times a day to call the faithful to prayer.
The beautiful Cathedral houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Avoid the long queues by purchasing a combined ticket at the nearby Church of San Salvador (also worth a visit) and the Cathedral (€9). Ticket in hand, you enter the Cathedral via the group entrance, bypassing the queue.
Lining up for the Royal Alcazar Palace (home to the Spanish Royals when in Seville) can also be avoided by booking online (well worth the extra €1 admin fee). After viewing the magnificent halls take a relaxing stroll through the gardens. It’s worth devoting a full morning to the Palace.
The ceramic tilework of the Plaza de España (built for the 1929 Ibero-American expo) is not to be missed. Each of the 48 alcoves houses a ceramic tiled tableau from a Spanish province.
When in Seville, you can’t resist the colour and spirit of a flamenco show. On the advice of some locals, we went to Los Gallos for an energetic and professional one hour and 45 minutes display of dance, music and song. While more expensive than other shows (€35 including a glass of wine) we weren’t disappointed.
Less expensive options include ‘free’ shows at various restaurants, but you’re still expected to pay something towards the performance.
Not a supporter of bullfighting, I nevertheless visited the Plaza de Toros for an insight into a Spanish custom that dates back centuries. There’s a museum to explore without seeing a bullfight.
Fresh food markets are a way of life for locals in Seville. Wander the aisles at Mercado de Triana and perhaps book into a cooking class to learn the secret to a fine paella.
Souvenirs shops abound and a ceramic plate or tile will make a great memento of your trip. The beautiful displays make window shopping a pleasure.
Also enjoy a stroll down Calle Sierpes and Calle Tetuan where clothing and other interesting shops abound.
There are many delicious things to see and do in Seville.
Slightly more upmarket than the usual bars, El Pinton, La Azotea (there are a few locations) and Eslava have interesting and innovative tapas menus. Ask the waiter for suggestions. You won’t be disappointed. As these restaurants are very popular, either arrive early or be prepared to wait.
For fabulous Northern Spanish pinchos, try Sagardi at 17 Calle Argote de Molina.
We also visited La Cantina outside Mercado de Feria more than once for their chiperones (baby squid) and tortillitas de camerones (shrimp fritters), washed down with the requisite cerveza or vino tinto.
Do you have any tips for top things to see and do in Seville? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Joanne Karcz published a blog when she walked the Camino de Santiago some years ago and has been writing about her travels ever since. She is also an aspiring travel photographer and takes her camera wherever she goes. Joanne loves discovering new things to see and do in her own Sydney backyard, and blogs regularly about the city’s suburbs. She has travelled through Europe and South America and taken a group of friends on the trip of a lifetime to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. Her visits to Cuba and India were bucket list items, but she still has a few destinations to tick off!