Seville Travel Guide: A City Break In Southern Spain

We fell in love with Seville instantly.

The colourful streets full of character, the breathtaking squares and monuments, the fantastic food, the passionate flamenco… the intoxicating mix of beauty, culture, and history has left us planning a return trip already.

Seville was recently named as Lonely Planet’s best city to visit in 2018, and after spending a few days there it’s easy to see why.

This Seville travel guide will give you all the information you need to plan your own trip, including where to stay, things to do, and what to eat and drink.

View of the river and Torre del Oro in Seville

Getting to Seville from the airport

Bus

The bus is by far the cheapest way to get to Seville from the airport. The EA city buses cost €4 per person, and you can buy the ticket on board. The bus stop is just outside the arrivals gate at the airport, and takes about 35 minutes to get to the city centre (Plaza de Armas). There is a luggage rack with plenty of space on board.

Taxi

If you prefer to get a taxi, it will cost you around €20 – 30 to get to the city. Uber and other ride sharing apps are currently not available in Seville.

Where To Stay in Seville

The main city centre of Seville is Santa Cruz. The old Jewish quarter, it’s is a maze of cobbled streets lined with colourful buildings. Flower-filled balconies and patios overlook the streets, and the uniform pop of yellow on the buildings brings everything together. Most of the city’s main attractions are located in Santa Cruz or within a short walking distance, making it the perfect place to stay.

We stayed in Hostel Central Sevilla, which offered excellent value for money in an excellent location. It had a modern interior with bright, airy rooms and clean (although shared) bathrooms. You can also hang out on the roof terrace of its sister hotel. We wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.

Things To Do in Seville

Plaza de España

The Plaza de España is an incredible piece of architecture that will take your breath away. Created in 1929 for the Ibero-American exposition, the building is truly spectacular. It has magnificent arches and majestic towers.  A series of ornate bridges reach across the man-made canals, as lovers pass below in row boats reminiscent of Venice. Around the perimeter, vibrant and ornate tiles depict provinces across the country (hence the name ‘Spain Plaza’).

The plaza is very busy throughout the day. Normally we try and avoid touristy areas at their peak times, but there is something enthralling about sitting in the square and watching all the people pass by. The clacking sound of castanets reverberates around the plaza as souvenir merchants compete for the attention of tourists. Hang around long enough and you may even get to see to an impromptu street flamenco performance.

It’s worth visiting the Plaza de España at least twice while you’re in Seville. Head there just after sunrise and it’s  different place entirely. Feel the sense of peacefulness and serenity as you as you listen to the birdsongs and admire the reflections of the buildings in the water. Until about 8:30am that is, when the first tour groups start pouring in.

The plaza was used as a filming location for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and fans may recognise it as Padmé Amidala’s home planet of Naboo.

Plaza de Espana Seville

Royal Alcázar of Seville

The Royal Alcázar of Seville is a UNESCO-listed palace complex, with impressive buildings and luxurious gardens to explore. It was initially built in the 10th century as a fort, but has been revamped and renovated many times since then. It has served as the residence of many Spanish monarchs. The royal family still use part of the Alcázar, but many of the remaining portions of the palace are open to visitors.

Inside the palace you will find decorative tiles, ornate dome roofs, and stunning architecture. The gardens are filled with luscious green trees, colourful flowers, and exquisite water features and monuments.

The palace and gardens open at 9:30, and it’s worth getting there early as the queues can get quite long. A regular ticket is €11.50, and students aged 16-25 cost just €3 with valid student ID.

The Alcázar was used as a filming location for the Water Gardens of Dorne in season 5 of Game of Thrones.

Seville Cathedral

Catedral de Sevilla is the largest gothic cathedral in the world. It’s home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus, although it is unknown whether his remains are actually there.

The Giralda tower is the tallest in Seville, and offers uncontested views of the city below. To reach the top, you have to walk up a series of 34 ramps as opposed to stairs, originally designed so that a mule or donkey could be ridden to the top of the minaret for the call to prayer.

Gothic architecture at Seville Cathedral

Flamenco show

Seville is regarded as the birthplace of flamenco, a passionate style of music and dance that is emotional, noisy, and enchanting. Seville is the perfect place to experience an authentic flamenco show for yourself. However, it can be hard to know which shows are the real deal, and which ones will leave you disappointed.

There are several excellent venues dedicated to flamenco, such as Casa del Flamenco, Casa de la Guitarre, or Casa de la Memoria. They are small and intimate venues, perfect for your first experience of the flamenco art form. In the peak season, there are multiple shows per night, each costing around €20. Wherever you choose, get there early to ensure front row seats.

Something to watch out for: If a flamenco venue serves food during the show, that usually indicates that the show will be of a lower quality. Traditional flamenco is so mesmerising and captivating that the audience should not be able to focus on food at the same time. These packages generally target tourists who do not know any better.

The other option is to enjoy flamenco dancing at one of the many flamenco bars in Seville. Sometimes it will be a professional artists putting on a show, and other times it will be passionate locals showing off their moves. It’s a great way to experience flamenco in a more casual environment for the cost of a drink or two, although you aren’t always guaranteed a good show. Check out T de Triana and Casa Anselma, both located in the trendy Triana neighbourhood of Seville.

Passionate flamenco dancers at Casa del Flamenco in Seville

Metropol Parasol

The Metropol Parasol is affectionately known as las setas de sevilla (the mushrooms of Seville), and upon arrival it is easy to see why. It is a giant, mushroom-shaped wooden structure that has divided opinions since its opening in 2011.

You can take an elevator to the top of the structure, where there are winding walkways and impressive panoramic views of the city, as well as a bar. It can be somewhat confusing to find; you actually have to go down a set of stairs to reach the elevator that takes you up. It costs €3, which also gets you a free postcard and a small discount on your first drink at the bar.

Metropol parasol, the wooden mushroom-shaped structure in Seville

Parque du Maria Luisa

This gorgeous botanical garden is a serene paradise. Follow the tree-lined paths past fountains, monuments, benches, and an assortment of colourful plants for a breath of fresh air away from the city.

Tree lined pathway in Parque du Maria Luisa, Seville

What to eat and drink in Seville

Tapas bars

The tapas scene in Seville is excellent. As you wander through the narrow streets, you will pass countless tapas bars, inviting you in with the aromas of their delicious food. The best way to experience tapas is little and often; stop somewhere for a taste of one or two dishes before moving on to the next place. Small plates are usually about €3, and you may get a freebie when you order a drink in some places.

It can be a little overwhelming with so many options. We’ve put together a guide to the best tapas in Seville to get you started, detailing the best tapas bars to visit and what to order at each one.

El Rinconcillo, the oldest bar in Seville

l’Oca Giuliva

The one time we didn’t eat tapas for lunch or dinner was when we went to l’Oca Giuliva. It’s a cozy Italian restaurant nestled in the alleyways of Santa Cruz, and the pizza was excellent. We relished splitting a bottle of wine and eating pizza together in the candlelight. It opens for dinner at 8pm, and we arrived soon after that to ensure we got a table. It got busy quickly, so I recommend going early or reserving a table.

Bar Comercio

Visit Bar Commercio for a plate piled high with the best churros in Seville, served with a mouth-watering cup of rich hot chocolate to dip them in.

Bolas Helados Arte-sanos

If you like ice cream (and who doesn’t?), you’ll love Bolas Helados Arte-sanos. They have a fantastic selection of flavours; our favourites were the strawberry cheesecake and the cream caramel.

Dona Maria Hotel

The Dona Maria Hotel has a superb roof terrace and bar that is open to the public. Head up there in the evening to enjoy their great selection of cocktails as you gaze upon the Giralda, the cathedral’s magnificent bell tower, lit up in all its glory. It’s a little pricier than some other places in Seville, but worth it for the experience.

Other things to remember

  • In Seville, similar to the rest of Spain, the siesta and the long lunch break are taken very seriously. Many places will close at some point in the afternoon, so check opening times before you go somewhere.
  • A customary tip in Spain is much lower than it might be in the UK or US. You are not normally expected to tip for drinks, and after a meal it is acceptable to leave small change or round up to the nearest euro.

Ready to plan your trip to Seville?

We always use Booking.com to find the best deals on places to stay. Start searching below to begin your adventure!

  1. Donetta Dalman on 22nd June 2018 at 3:04 pm

    These pictures are amazing! I wish we could have experienced this city with you guys too. Maybe someday!! Sounds like a pretty cool place!

    • Kayla on 24th June 2018 at 12:15 pm

      We wish you could have too! Hopefully one day you’ll get to visit 🙂

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