If you say Spain, you immediately think of Madrid or Barcelona but there is a destination that, in recent years, has undermined other cities to become one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe: let's discover together what to see in Seville, the capital of Andalusia and the city of Flamenco.
Whether it's a romantic getaway, a family weekend or a holiday with friends and football fans, Seville is the perfect destination for all travelers. "The ancient love of the Moors", the hottest destination of the summer, the city that everyone should visit in 2020: we explain why it is worth organizing a trip to Seville and suggest some interesting things to do.
- When to go to Seville: weather and traditional events
- Semana Santa e Feira de Abril
- What to see in Seville: Must-see attractions
- Real Alcazar, the Moorish location of Game of Thrones
- Plaza de España, a little Venice
- Cathedral of Seville: The Mausoleum of Christopher Columbus and the Giralda Tower
- Other things to see in Seville?
- Seville Card: how useful is it?
- Between sea, football and Flamenco shows: 3 top experiences in Seville
- Wine and tapas: Where to eat in Seville
- From the airport to the centre of Seville: how to get around the city
- What about public transport?
- Seville by bike: Sevici or private rental?
- Outdoor trips: from Granada to Cordoba up to Portugal
When to go to Seville: weather and traditional events
A really "hot" destination especially in the middle of summer, particularly in the months of July and August, when the mercury column touches the 40° and the heat is hardly bearable.
Given the very high temperatures, those who suffer most from the heat would not be able to fully enjoy the beauty of the city.
In this period, the locals themselves tend to move to the coastal area or to go out mainly in the cool evening hours.
Best time to visit Seville? Spring and Autumn are the best seasons to visit Seville, characterized by a warm but bearable climate and almost no rain; April, May and October are the months most chosen by travelers, so this is the period when the city is heavily visited by tourists and the availability of tickets for museums and attractions is always limited.
If you travel during those seasons, we advice to book the tickets to visit Seville's attractions online. If you purchase tickets with the "skip the line" option, you will save time and avoid long queues.
The winter season is ok, in the period from December to February the climate is quite mild and you can find sunny days; it is rarely too cold, especially during the day.
The good old habit of dressing in layers is always recommended: in general, the morning in Seville is definitely hot while in the evening the temperature drops and you can feel the cool especially on the riverbank, where most of cafes and restaurants are situated.
Semana Santa e Feira de Abril
A special time to visit Seville is during the Holy Week or during the April Fair. The Semana Santa is an ancient religious ritual that takes place in the city the week before Easter (the event begins on Palm Sunday), a fascinating spectacle in which the hooded participants of different brotherhoods walk in procession through the city streets until you reach the beautiful Cathedral.
The Feira de Abril, which usually takes place two weeks after the Semana Santa, is instead a folkloristic event about food, music and colors and represents one of the must-see events in Seville. The fair takes place in the southern part of the Los Remedios district, in the recinto ferial ; for the occasion, in this area public and private casetas are installed, spaces where you can eat, drink, dance and party.
What to see in Seville: Must-see attractions
Real Alcazar, the Moorish location of Game of Thrones
The must-see attraction of Seville is undoubtedly the Real Alcazar, the famous Real Alcazar Moorish style royal palace that encompasses centuries of art and history of Andalusia. From the Ambassadors' Hall to the Patio de las Doncellas, from the English Gardens to the Poets' Garden, we assure you that you cannot return from Seville without a visit to the Alcazar.
The queue at the entrance is unspeakable so it is essential to buy your tickets online in advance. The Palace deserves at least a tour of a couple of hours (even a half day) and we recommend to purchase the audio guide in English, useful and comprehensive.
- For fans of the saga "Game of Thrones", this is the location where the scenes of the famous "Water Gardens" of Dorne were filmed.
Plaza de España, a little Venice
Add to your things to do list a visit in the pearl of Andalusia: Plaza de España, a small Venice, a charming place in the city center and a easy walk to from the station. The building with two large towers is wonderful and the majolicas used in both the bridges and the ornaments of the furniture are amazingly beautiful, it is worth spending a few hours there, especially on a sunny morning or at sunset, when the colors make the square even more impressive.
Under the central porch there are often shows of Flamenco or street artists. Stop there or reach the park next to the square, an immense green lung. If you're travelling with children, book a fun rowing boat ride on the canal around the square.
Cathedral of Seville: The Mausoleum of Christopher Columbus and the Giralda Tower
The third mandatory thing to do in Seville is a visit to the sumptuous Cathedral, to be combined with the climb to the Giralda Tower, which offers a beautiful view of the city. The Cathedral is highly decorated both inside and out, with imposing naves and a mix of sensational styles. Don't miss the Garden of the Oranges, the great Organ and the Mausoleum of Christopher Columbus that preserves the remains of the great explorer.
- According to many visitors, the best way to enjoy the magnificence of Seville Cathedral is to rely on an audio guide or book a guided tour (also available in English). In-depth descriptions and the advantage of learning the history of the works of art and the beautiful chapels.
You might find a long queue especially in high season so if you are planning a visit to the Cathedral we recommend to arrive there with a ticket for a no-stress experience. The climb to the Giralda is included in the ticket of the Cathedral; 35 ramps without steps to get to the top but the view of Seville is priceless and will surprise you.
Other things to see in Seville?
Take a tour of the Plaza de Toros, one of the most beautiful places to see in the city.
The rite of the Corrida is fully understood (the visit is also worthwhile for those who are opposed to bullfighting, this traditional Spanish arena is a site steeped in history and charm). There is also a small museum with collections of objects and costumes belonging to the bullfighters who performed in this square and rooms that tell the traditions of bullfighting and the most famous Matadors' deeds.
If the Alcazar has positively impressed you, another gem to discover in the city is the Casa de Pilatos and its gardens, a great historical residence that will immerse you in the atmosphere of the antique Spanish nobility.
If you love greenery and fountains, head to the Parque de Maria Luisa, a lush park surrounded by nature where you can spend a few hours relaxing, listening to the birdsong and admiring the passage of horse-drawn carriages that take you back in the past.
- In the heart of the park, precisely in the Mudejar Pavilion, you will find the Museum of Folk Arts and Costumes of Seville, which exhibits pretty craft collections and is free of charge. If you have some time left, include it in your travel programme.
Seville Card: how useful is it?
For some time now the sale of the Sevilla Card has been blocked and the tourist pass has been replaced by the Andalusia Card which also includes offers and discounts for Granada, Malaga and Cordoba. Just like all tourist passes, even in the case of the Andalusia Card, its usefulness depends on the number of attractions you have in mind to visit and how you plan to move around the city, whether on foot, by bike or by public transport.
Between sea, football and Flamenco shows: 3 top experiences in Seville
If you fly to Seville in the middle of summer, you could combine your city tour with a day at the beach considering the high temperatures.
Matalascaña, one of the most popular destinations among the Sevillians, is the nearest beach and you can reach it in less than an hour and a half.
The alternative is a trip to Cadiz (about 120 km). We advice to head to Playa de la Victoria or Playa de la Caleta, two nice seaside resorts that can be easily reached by public transport - bus or train - if you are not travelling independently.
If you want to live a characteristic experience in Seville stop by to attend a flamenco show. There are several intimate and well-kept places with seats behind the stage, where local artists perform in exciting and engaging shows of real Flamenco. In some "penas" there is the possibility of enjoying them at no cost and pay only for the drink, while in others it is recommended to buy the ticket in advance (it would be better to go there in the morning at the opening of the restaurant or you will run the risk of not to find any tickets for the Flamenco show in the evening).
- If you are looking for some tips, here are some recommended addresses: Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus, Museo del Baile Flamenco, Pena Torres Macarena or the Casa de la Guitara. .
Fond of football? There are two stadiums in the city, the "Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán", which hosts the internal matches of Seville, and the "Estadio Benito Villamarin", where the Real Betis plays. In both stadiums it is possible to organise the classic guided tour which also includes a tour of the press room, a walk down the playing field and a visit to the changing rooms and trophy room.
Wine and tapas: Where to eat in Seville
In Seville you'll find a lot of cafés and tapas bars where you can eat excellent tapas and other typical Sevillian dishes.
- For a quick lunch break stop by "100 Montaditos", a chain specialized in really cheap mini sandwiches.
- After a visit to the Cathedral or the Alcazar, stop at the "Bodega Santa Cruz", the top in the city.
- In the Triana area there are also plenty of places to eat well and spend less.
- One last tip: stop for lunch or dinner at the "El Rinconcillo", one of the oldest places in Seville, a corner of Tapas history! For an aperitif: enjoy the fried fish accompanied by a glass of good wine. Always full, don't be discouraged by the lines!
From the airport to the centre of Seville: how to get around the city
Once landing in Seville, the easiest way to get from the airport to the city centre is to take the EA (Especial Aeropuerto) bus; the ticket costs about 4€ and you can do it on board. The journey to the city centre takes approximately 35 minutes.
If you love walking and have no particular obstacles (for example if you are travelling in a wheelchair or with small children in a stroller), consider that Seville can be easily visited on foot and the bus will only be used to get to and from the airport.
What about public transport?
Public transport will not help you to get around the historic centre of the city, which is a pedestrian zone, so you can visit the city on foot faster than by bus. Even if you are not staying in the city centre, maybe near the Santa Justa station, in a half-an-hour walk you will be close to the main attractions of Seville.
If you prefer to travel by public transport, buses and subway work reasonably and at affordable prices; the ticket for the bus costs 1 € each way, unless you buy a subscription of 10 trips for 3.90 €. The ticket for the subway is around 1.50 €, instead.
Seville by bike: Sevici or private rental?
A nice alternative would be to visit Seville by bike; the sun and the mostly flat surface of the city allow tours of the city by bike. Hiring a bike in Seville is not difficult and there are two types of rental: the Sevici service, valid only upon purchase of a weekly or bi-weekly pass (the cost is approximately 12 €). The alternative, recommended if you stop in Seville only for a few days, is to go to one of the several private shops in the city that offer the service of daily bike rental.
Outdoor trips: from Granada to Cordoba up to Portugal
Staying for a week in Seville, you could spend a day visiting the other Andalusian beauties such as Granada or Cordoba.
If you have the opportunity, you could plan 2 days in Granada: one day to see the Alhambra (essential to buy your ticket in advance online, presales start months before opening) and the other to visit the Albayzin district, magical at sunset.
Granada can be reached from Seville by ALSA bus (buses leave from Santa Justa station) and tickets can be purchased directly on the spot.
Cordoba is a real gem, go there if you can! The must-see attractions are the Mezquita, the great Mosque-Cathedral and the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir. Getting to Cordoba from Seville is possible through the ALSA bus or the RENFE train.
Andalusia - Portugal could be an exceptional match, a tour that touches fascinating places and gives total relaxation. After visiting Granada, Malaga and Cordoba, you could reach Faro da Siviglia by bus (about 4 hours and max expense of 20 €) and from there you can rent a car to discover the Portuguese region.
If you plan to organize this type of trip, we absolutely recommend renting a car. Travelling by train is more uncomfortable (the various cities are poorly connected) and certainly more expensive.
Finally, in less than 6 hours you could reach Barcelona by train (tickets cost from 40€ to 60€) for a trip on the Ramblas or an itinerary to discover Gaudi.