Undoubtedly you have heard of Andalusia, the colorful and lively region of southern Spain. If you are wondering whether or not a trip to Andalusia is worth it, discover in my guide everything about its capital, Seville.
Most people do the itinerary Seville-Cordoba-Granada-Malaga but if you read my blog, you will know that I love slow traveling: I prefer to enjoy each place, rather than jumping from one site to another with my camera in hand.
SEVILLE AT A GLANCE
Seville is the capital of Andalusia, it has a very rich history, incredible architecture (if you loved the architecture of Barcelona here you will be left speechless), and unique culture.
- How big is Seville? Seville is the largest city in Andalusia and the 4th largest city in Spain: you will need more than half a day to discover the city.
- The city has the largest historic center in Europe. A single visit to Alcazar and the Cathedral with Christopher Columbus’s tomb is enough to make you travel back in time.
- DO NOT go to Seville in the period June-September. During my visit (the first days of November) the temperature reached 30 ºC. You can’t walk around the city during a heatwave, and this part of Spain is incredibly warm.
- The best time to visit Seville is late autumn and early spring.
- It is the birthplace of flamenco: do not leave without experiencing at least 1 live flamenco show!
- The city’s architecture, food, and culture are a mix of Islamic and European elements.
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN SEVILLE, SPAIN
#1. Visit the Alcazar Palace, the Seville’s no. 1 attraction
You may have heard of the Alcazar Stadium in Spain, but here I would like to talk about the Real Alcázar Palace, probably the best thing to see in Seville. The Palace is still in use and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is essentially the oldest royal palace in Europe still in use.
It was built for the king Peter of Castille and it has a lot of Islamic influences. Its name comes from the Arabic word al-Qasr al-Muriq, which means fortress or palace.
If you love photography, you must visit this place. It is Seville’s top attraction and of course, it’s full of tourists. Plan your visit ahead and book your tickets online.
Ticket prices for the Real Alcazar:
- 14,50 €: adult ticket
- 20,00 €: adult ticket with access to Royal Rooms
To avoid the endless waiting lines, buy in advance your tickets online with Paypal or a prepaid card from here. Do not waste your precious time in Andalusia by waiting 30 minutes or more in the queue, just to buy your entrance ticket.
The palace is big with different sections (Patio) and you will have to spend at least 2 hours exploring it. It took me 4 hours but I really enjoyed my visit: I had a couple of coffee breaks in the gardens and a lot of breaks for photos. Remember to grab a map, otherwise, you might get lost.
If you like to understand exactly what you see and learn more about the former palace of the Moorish kings opt for a skip-the-line Alcazar guided tour. Guided tours last around 75 minutes, they offer free cancellation and I find it an excellent choice if you don’t have enough time in Seville. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that it is the Alcazar is the top attraction of Seville and one of the most famous in Andalusia, so be prepared for the crowds!
Finally, if this palace looks familiar to you it is because you might have seen it in Game of Thrones! Scenes from the 5th season were filmed here. Other popular filming locations of Game of Thrones include Gozo island in Malta.
2. Go to Plaza de España square
Another top attraction in Seville is located inside the Maria Louisa Park. I am referring to the Plaza de España, the square built in 1928 for the Expo of 1929. It is like being in a fairy tale, the baroque style is being mixed with some renaissance elements while the canals and the boats make you dream with your eyes wide open. The ceramic tiles are another unique element of this iconic landmark!
If you are one of the lucky ones and you find yourself in front of a flamenco show, enjoy it.
Again, if you find this square familiar, it is because you might have seen it in Star Wars!
4. Admire Seville’s Cathedral and the Giralda Tower
Seville’s Cathedral is another top attraction that you don’t want to miss. DO NOT visit the Cathedral on the same day with Alcazar, it is quite exhausting to do both together. This is what most travel guides recommend and I totally agree. You can buy tickets online from here.
💎 My Pretty Travels Tip: Inside the cathedral, you will find the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
The huge cathedral has its origins back in the 15th century and yes, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It is the 4th largest church in the world – the first is in the Vatican, the second is in Brazil and the third is in Milan. If you’ve not been impressed yet, another reason to visit this place is the incredible view of the city that you can have if you go up to the Giralda Tower.
You can book a guided tour of the cathedral AND the Alcazar: it’s a great idea if you stay in Seville for only 1 day. Official guides can show you the two attractions and not waste time and wander in the vast Alcazar. From here you can book the 3h guided tour, it has free cancellation if you change your mind, a skip-the-line option, and mobile ticketing, so no need to print anything.
5. Get lost in the Metropol Parasol
The Metropol Parasol is also called Setas de Sevilla (means “mushrooms of Seville”) because this huge and strange architectural construction resembles to mushrooms! This landmark is also the tallest wooden structure in the world.
Metropol Parasol is a very controversial attraction, you will either love it or hate it! It is located in Piazza La Encarnación, where the historic center of Seville begins and for 10 euros you can go upstairs and take beautiful photos. The view is great and if you want to see the sunset from Seville this is the best spot.
💎 My Pretty Travels Tip: If you want to avoid a sunburn or a heat stroke do not visit the Metropol Parasol during the peak of the day. The ideal times are either before 11 am or after 4 pm.
Also, if you don’t want to go up you can take great pictures from the ground as well. In front of the attraction are a lot of cafes, where you can grab a coffee and a snack.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN SEVILLE: TAPAS, FLAMENCO & BULLFIGHTING
Bullfighting is still taking place in the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza during the summer months. I had mixed feelings about bullfighting as a tradition but during my visit to this place, I learned a lot. You can opt to visit just the museum and the arena and learn about this part of the Spanish culture without actually seeing a live bullfight.
Other things you can and should do in Seville, are eat tapas and see flamenco! Be sure to book a Flamenco show like this one and do not leave without going to a bar to eat tapas!
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