Andalusia’s capital, Seville is a city rich with heritage. You’ll soon discover this is visible in everything from the colorful painted tiles that adorn many buildings, to the arches of the palaces and of course the iconic Giralda Tower. Seville is beaming with spirited energy and there is an endless list of unmissable things to do in Seville. With the impressive architecture, the passionate dance of Flamenco, and a food scene that rivals some of the top cities this sunny city is alluring for any traveler. This guide to 10 unmissable things to do in Seville is just what you need to kickstart your visit.
Walk through Parque de María Luisa
This public park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with vibrant green palm trees, various other large tropical-like greeneries, and botanical gardens. This dazzling oasis is the largest green space in Seville. Parque de Maria Luisa is home to several water fountains and famous statues like the one of Miguel Cervantes. The lush scenery, the street performers, and all the cultural hidden gems allow you to get to know the heart of Seville while enjoying a leisurely walk like a local.
Explore Plaza España
Found on the outskirts of the park, Plaza España is a site full of life. The beautiful architecture is bold with pops of color emerging from every angle. The Plaza is surrounded by a moat of emerald green waters that make it looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale. To get to Plaza España, you can cross the bridges by foot to witness the architecture and fountain up close or take a horse-drawn carriage over the bridge. If you have extra time and looking for more things to do in Seville, you could go on a kayaking adventure on the green waters of this Spanish city and get up close to the bridges
Be in awe of Seville Cathedral
This enormous structure is like a little world on its own. You could lose hours staring in awe at the beautiful architectural flourishes, relics, and historical curios. With 80 different chapels, it’s the largest cathedral in the world by volume and is a must-visit World Heritage site if you’re looking for something cultural to do in Seville. If you have time, look for the hints of the mosque that once stood on this spot, especially in the court of the orange trees on the north side, where Muslims once performed ablutions. For that picture-perfect moment, step inside and discover the tomb of Christopher Columbus. There is something spectacular at almost every turn here so be sure to give yourself enough time to explore it all.
Enjoy the views from La Giralda
Conveniently located right next to the Seville cathedral is the Moorish bell tower called the Giralda Tower. This structure was built sometime in the 1190s during the Arab rule and was originally created to be an Almohad minaret of a mosque. Today the Seville cathedral stands in the mosque’s place. The Giralda tower is one of the many cultural focal points in Seville and offers a beautiful view of the city once you reach the top. Opening times vary depending on the day so when you’re planning your day full of unmissable things to do in Seville it’s best to check their website before you go.
Discover hidden gems in Triana
On the left bank of the Guadalquivir, opposite the old city is the Triana neighborhood. This is an earth part of the city, credited for many of the things people associate with Sevillian cultures, like painted ceramics and flamenco. You can get to Triana via the Isabel Bridge, close to the bullfighting arena. You’ll arrive at the Plaza de Altozano, which has a popular statue of a flamenco dancer, the Arte de Flamenco monument. Check out the area’s Moorish revival and baroque architecture while you’re here and pop into one of the many tile and ceramics shops for authentic azulejos tiles.
Tuck into some Tapas
Seville is the home of tapas, and the alleys and twisting streets around the Cathedral, Ayuntamiento building, and the riverside have tons of tapas bars waiting to be explored. Many of the tapas bars have one or two specialties. One of the best ways to enjoy it all is to spend an evening hopping from bar to bar, with something delicious to try at each stop. Expect mouthwatering dishes like patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), chipirones (deep-fried baby squid), prawns with garlic, and ham croquettes to name a few.
Go back in time at Italica
Hop on a bus at the station at Plaza de Armas and within a short, half-hour you’ll be at the birthplace of the Roman Emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Italica is a massive archaeological site, the highlight of which is the amphitheater. In its heyday, the amphitheater once seated 25,000 spectators. You can explore the tunnels beneath the terraces of seating, and see the subterranean structure at the center of the arena. On what would have been the streets of the ancient city are the foundations of mansions and temples, where hidden gems of complete mosaics can still be seen.
Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Museo_bel
Discover masterpieces at Museum of Fine Arts
You’ll soon discover as you walk around the older parts of the city, the buildings that don’t look Moorish have a highly ornate baroque style. This is because the 17th and 18th centuries were a time of great wealth for Seville, which gave rise to a whole cultural movement. At the Museo de Bellas Artes, you can see the paintings and sculptures from the Sevillian School. Much of the work here is religious and comes from monasteries and convents around the city that were closed down in the 19th-century and brought here.
Stroll through Barrio Santa Cruz
The barrio Santa Cruz is the old medieval Jewish quarter in Seville, and it’s one of the best neighborhoods to visit. It offers charming bright streets that zig-zag their way through tasty food vendors and artisanal shops, you could easily get lost for hours in this neighborhood’s charm. You can roam around the barrio Santa Cruz on your own, or explore it all with a friendly local to learn more about the cultural history of this neighborhood.
Admire Metropol Parasol
Another impressive sight to explore when visiting Seville is the Metropol Parasol. It’s often called the “Plaza de la Encarnación” in Spanish, or “Mushroom of Incarnation” in English. This multilevel building offers a variety of entertainment both for locals and tourists, with the highest level offering a panoramic viewpoint of the city. If you love watching sunsets, then this is the ideal spot to end your evening. Opening hours to the Metropol Parasol are from Sunday-Thursday from 10:00 – 22:30 pm. On Friday and Saturday, they close a half-hour later at 23:00 pm. Tickets are €3 per person.
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