Seville is one of Spain’s most alluring destinations – with architecture that charts the country’s history, a vibrant culture and a stellar culinary scene, it’s little wonder it’s such a popular destination. Looking for the best things to do in Seville? I’ve got you covered.
How about a city in which Mudejar architecture and flamenco dancing sit side by side? One where sun-drenched days are tempered by a few glasses of the local tinto de verano – not to mention the opportunity to some of the most impressive sights in Spain.
Things to do in Seville
Alcazar of Seville
You can’t go to Seville without taking a trip to the Alcazar of Seville.
The oldest palace in use in Europe, the Alcazar originated in the 11th century as a fortress built by the Moors who then ruled that part of Spain.
The Caliph of Cordoba, Abdurrahman III an-Násir decided to create a new seat for the Umayyad government in Seville – and so what has turned into the Alcazar was born.
Today it’s a gorgeous maze of different palaces and gardens dating from different centuries. Blending Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic art styles, it’s a unique blend of Islamic and Christian architecture.
Unsurprisingly, the Alcazar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site but, even more interestingly, it’s still a royal palace to this day.
Fan of Game of Thrones? The Alcazar was used as a filming location for Dorne and the Water Gardens.
It took more than 100 years to build the largest Gothic cathedral in the world – the result? The gorgeous Seville Cathedral – a spot that should go at the top of your list of things to see in Seville.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site (and just across the road from the Royal Alcazar) Seville’s Cathedral was designed to be magnificent, and magnificent it is.
The church is one of the largest in the world, an ochre tapestry woven with brick, complete with arches, spires and flying buttresses – you should go and visit for the exterior alone.
Inside is just as spectacular. White stone walls surround spectacular stained glass windows.
The ceiling is 42 meters high, with 80 smaller side chapels. Inside the Great Chapel, you will find a hand-carved altar piece that contains 45 scenes from the life of Christ. And in pride of place? The tomb of Christopher Columbus.
Make sure that you climb up the Giralda Tower to see the spectacular views.
Plaza de Espana
Adjacent to the Parque de Maria Luisa, you’ll find one of the most grandiose of Seville’s attractions – the famous Plaza de Espana.
Although it might look centuries and centuries old (that’s deliberate), the Plaza was actually built in 1929 for an Ibero-American Exhibition.
The spacious design incorporates fountains, canals, and bridges to represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain.
Hop just around the corner to take a peek at the Plaza de America, which was built at the same time. While you’re there, take a peek at the beautiful fountains and cool little archaeological museum that sit on the plaza too.
How to Visit: The Plaza de Espana is located across from the Parque Maria Luisa
Technically called the Metropol Parasol, this architectural marvel is better-known by its nickname Las Setas, which means “The Mushrooms”.
You can see why, can’t you? The wooden structure rises up to the sky in what very much looks like a cluster of sprawling funghi. It is one of the largest wooden structures in the world, at 150 meters long and 25 meters high, and made of six connected parasols.
Built in 2011, Las Setas has become one of the most popular places to visit in Seville thanks to the wide-reaching views you get from the path that leads around the top of the structure.
It doesn’t hurt that with admission costing just €3, it’s a nice cheap thing to do in Seville that still delivers on a great experience.
How to Visit: Book onto a guided tour or a buy a ticket when you visit.
Visit Pilate’s House (Casa de Pilatos)
I know it’s wrong to play favourites, but the Casa de Pilatos – or Pilate’s House – was one of my favourite spots in Seville.
A great example of 16th century Sevillian architecture, it was one of the largest private residences in Seville and sits at the heart of the old town.
Though mainly designed in the Gothic Mudejar style, the buildings offer small glimpses into Spanish architecture of subsequent periods too.
Standard tickets cover visits to the ground floor – if you want to visit the upper floors, you’ll need to book onto a tour, which lasts for about half an hour.
It’s not actually Pontius Pilate’s house by the way – the house was built by Pedro Enriquex de Quinones and his wife Catalina de Rivera and completed by their son. Still, it’s brimming with ancient Roman statues and colourful tiles and well worth a visit.
An extra bonus? This is another spot the day-trippers usually miss, so you can normally visit without heaving crowds.
How to Visit: The house is open everyday, check ahead for opening times. Book onto a guided tour or buy a ticket on the day you visit.
Mercado de Triana
The Mercado de Triana started off as a fish market on the banks of the Guadalquiver back in the 1830s.
Go today and you’ll find a bustling building, packed with vendors inside selling fresh food, wine and local delicacies.
If you are looking for authentic food, you can snap up freshly caught fish, cured meats and cheeses, and fruits and vegetables in the market.
Want to explore more of Triana? There are some excellent restaurants nearby for lunch (see the entry for Blanca Paloma below). Love your food? Book yourself a spot at one of the local cooking classes.
How to Visit: The market is open Monday – Saturday. Check ahead for opening times.
Castillo de San Jorge
While you’re in the vicinity, take a little extra time to wander around Triana itself.
Make a beeline for the fortress, Castillo de San Jorge, which is located directly underneath Triana Market.
There’s not much to it but it does have a small museum that’s one of the lesser-known free things to do in Seville.
How to Visit: Check ahead for museum opening times
Palacio de las Duenas
Another one of my favourite places to visit in Seville, the Palacio de las Duenas is a historical palace in Seville’s old town.
This is hands down one of the most beautiful sights in the city – and – because it’s not quiet as well known as some of the other landmarks in the city, it’s not normally overrun either.
Although the palace now belongs to a prominent aristocratic Spanish family (technically it’s called the Palace of the Dukes of Alba), it was built in the 16th century and it became a national monument in 1931.
It’s been open to the public since 2016: your ticket gains you access to the maze of gardens courtyards and some of the public rooms.
How to Visit: Book your entry tickets using Get Your Guide.
Stroll Around Parque de Maria Luisa
The Parque de Maria Luisa is the most famous park in Seville, and for good reason.
Originally part of the gardens of the San Telmo palace, it was donated to the city in 1893 to create a large public park.
Go for a relaxing stroll to discover beautiful fountains, colourful flowers, and shady trees. Large enough that you can spend a couple of hours discovering the different sections – it’s one of the best free things to do in Seville.
How to Visit: Just pop in and see the park
Paseo Alcade Marques del Contadero
The long stretch of riverside that runs alongside the Guadalquiver, head to the Paseo Alcade Marques del Contadero to take a relaxing walk along the river.
Alternatively make as the locals do and chill as you watch the sun set over Triana.
Though there’s not much to see here per se, you should take a look at the Torre del Oro – an old military tower that sits along the banks of the river, keeping a watchful eye.
Buy Yemas from the Convento San Leandro
If you are looking for quirky things to do in Seville, you need to go to the backstreets of Seville where you will find a little convent, the Convento San Leandro.
It dates all the way back to 1369 although the order of Augustinian nuns who live there is even older – it was founded in 1295.
You can only go inside the patio of the convent, but that’s far enough for what you came here for – the nuns’ famous Yemas sweets.
An intensely sweet confection of egg yolks and sugar, they’re an interesting taste – that said, half the fun is in actually buying the Yemas.
Because the nuns don’t have contact with the public, you buy the sweets without actually seeing anyone. Simply walk up to the wooden turnstile tucked inside the wall, ring the bell and place money on the turntable (the prices are usually listed on the wall).
The nun will collect the payment and return the treats via the turntable. Voila!
How to Visit: The Convento is open from 9am to 1pm and 5pm to 7pm and closed on Sundays.
Pop Into the Seville Museum of Fine Arts
With so many impressive landmarks, it can feel a bit like Seville is a bit light on the museum front – but that’s where The Seville Museum of Fine Arts comes in.
Located in the old Merced Calzada Convert, which was built back in the beginning of the 17th century, its impressive collection spans all the Spanish greats from the Gothic period to the end of the 20th century.
Go to see works by El Greco, Oacheco, Velazquez, Cano and more. I
Hospital los Venerables
You’ll find this jaw-dropping display of Velazquez’s works (and gallery of other Spanish greats) tucked away in the rather unlikely setting of an old hospital for priests, the elderly and infirm in Barrio Santa Cruz.
The setting is lovely – with ornate baroque architecture that’s framed by orange trees. Venture inside to check out paintings by Murillo, Valdes Leal, Martinez Montanes and Roldan.
Still, I said this was largely about Velazquez and I wasn’t lying. Enter the hospital to find the Centro Velazquez on your left. It tries to recreate the world of this famous painter through a display of his own works and other works from the same period.
Things to do in Seville: Food & Drink
Founded in the 1970s by Manuel Bejarano, who is the father of the current owner Blanca Paloma is one of the best places to eat in Seville – the queues outside attest to that.
If you want to try the best tapas in Seville, this is the place to go.
Tuck into dishes such as the boquerones fritos (fried anchovies), atun macerado (marinated tuna) or solomillo de jamon (pork loin) – every dish somehow manages to be a hit. It’s reasonably priced too – with raciones (which are larger than tapas) averaging around the €8 mark each.
How to Visit: Hop into the queue for a table
El Rinconcillo was founded in 1670 which makes it the oldest bar in Seville.
It might be old, but it’s still charming AF. Think cement tiles and stone slabs decorated with ceramic tiles from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
It’s well-known as a reliable spot for decent tapas and wine – both of which you can grab at the downstairs mahogany bar or in the upstairs restaurant.
How to Visit: Hop into the queue for a table
Another restaurant that has some of the best food in town, La Azotea is a hit with Seville’s fashionable set, who go for the bold flavours and contemporary Spanish cuisine on the menu.
The frequently-changing menu is big on fresh fish and seafood along with meats and other seasonal produce. An excellent wine list, delicious food, and top-notch service – what more could you want?
How to Visit: Book ahead to reserve a table
Sunset Drinks at the Terrace Bar at EME Catedral Mercer Hotel
If you are looking for romantic things to do in Seville (or just fancy a great cocktail with stupendous views), go to the Terrace Bar at the EME Catedral for a sundowner or three.
I’m not normally a massive fan of hotel bars, but this is a good exception. Boasting up-close-and personal views of the Giralda and the Cathedral just across the road, you can also grab an eyeful of Seville’s skyline.
How to Visit: Open daily
Things to do in Seville: Day Trips
Visit the Roman Amphitheatre at Italica
If you are looking for the best day trip while you are in Seville, be sure to visit the Roman Amphitheatre at Italica.
I have to admit, I completely missed this on my first trip to Seville, but I’m so glad I saw it this time. The Roman ruins are only 9km from Seville in Santiponce.
But why is there a Roman city just outside of Seville? Good question.
Italica was a famous Roman city that was founded by Scipio Africanus in 206 BC. The birthplace of many emperors, it was an important destination in its heyday – something you could probably guess from the size of the striking Roman amphitheatre you can still see today.
Much of the site is in ruins, but you can imagine how large it was and what it was like for spectators and gladiators back in the Roman times. It was made to be impressive, and it could seat up to 25,000 spectators. This is a testament to Italicas wealth and power at the time.
Now, if you’re thinking that the ruins look the tiniest bit familiar – it might just be because it’s another Game of Thrones filming location! The amphitheatre makes an appearance in the 7th season as the Well of Dragons where Cersei is shown the white walker.
Be sure to take some time and explore the other Roman ruins in the vicinity – there are aqueducts, a temple dedicated to Trajan, the foundations of Roman villas, and some impressively well-preserved Roman mosaics.
How to Visit: If you are an EU citizen, admission is free. Otherwise it costs €1.50.
Practical Tips to Help You Discover the Best Things to do in Seville, Spain
If you’re planning to visit Seville the first thing you need to know is how long you’re going to stay.
For shorter visits, try clumping attractions that are in the same area together.
You might also consider walking tours that cover different Seville attractions in the same area.
If you have time for a day trip, you should visit the Roman Amphitheatre at Italica. It has some of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world, and it is well-worth a trip to spend a few hours there.
Things to do in Seville: Map
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