Wandering Through Sevilla, Spain: Top 10 Things to Do
Sevilla or Seville, the capital of Spain’s Andalucía region, is a city filled with history, culture, and vibrant energy. Known for its stunning architecture, passionate flamenco music, and delicious tapas, Seville offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. After visiting this beautiful city, I can see why it was at the top of my husband’s bucket list when we moved to Europe. If I am being honest, Sevilla was not very high on my list of cities to visit. But after spending 10 days in Seville, our entire family agreed that it was our favorite vacation to date. Whether you’re exploring Sevillas’s cathedral or savoring local tapas, Seville promises unforgettable moments. Let me guide you through the top 10 things to see and do in this charming city!
1. Visit the Alcázar Real de Sevilla (Royal Palace of Seville)
Begin your journey at the Royal Alcazar, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the stunning palace, lush gardens, and intricate tilework that showcases centuries of Moorish and Spanish influence. The Royal Alcázar of Seville is Europe’s oldest royal palace still in use since the 11th century. This palace played a pivotal role in connecting Seville to the Americas in 1504 when the Casa de la Contratación (House of Commerce/Trade) set up shop here to regulate trade with the New World. Iconic explorers like Columbus, Magellan, and Vespucci passed through here.
Fun Fact: Did you know? The palace can be rented for filming at a whopping $60,000 per hour. Game of Thrones used it for a whole month during the filming of season 5!
2. Marvel at the Seville Cathedral
Admire Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede de Sevilla, one of the world’s largest Gothic cathedrals and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The cathedral sits on the site that was a former mosque, its La Giralda bell tower was originally a minaret and all that remains from the original structure. The Giralda Tower has 35 flights of ramps and was originally built without stairs for horses to reach the top. At the top of the tower, you will see that it holds 24 bells and beautiful panoramic views of Sevilla. As you tour the inside of the cathedral, you will be able to visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
After checking out the tower and exploring the church inside, you will find a nice surprise at the end of the tour as you walk outside to Patio de los Naranjos, a charming courtyard filled with lovely orange trees!
3. Stroll Through Plaza de España
Your trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the iconic Plaza de España, a 540,000-square-foot monumental square adorned with intricate colorful tiles representing Spain’s provinces. Located right in the heart of Maria Luisa Park, this spot is a must-see. We were stunned at the beauty here. The architecture, the bridges, the fountain, and the horse-drawn carriages in the distance.
You can even rent a rowboat for a small fee and paddle along the serene canal. It’s a super cute area. Our family enjoyed the various street performers, and we were thrilled to be able to watch some talented musicians performing with Flamenco dancers.
Here you can also get your fill of souvenirs at the nearby vendors. From Flamenco dresses & fans to sun hats, magnets, and other trinkets.
Afterward, take your time strolling Maria Luisa Park, which is quite large and resembles something more of a botanical garden. It’s another beautiful highlight when visiting Seville.
Fun Fact: The plaza was used to film Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
4. Watch a Flamenco Show
Immerse yourself in the soul-stirring world of flamenco. Attend a live performance in one of Seville’s intimate flamenco bars to witness passionate singing, dancing, and guitar playing. There are many to choose from. After catching a flamenco show in Barcelona, we wanted something with a bit more Spanish guitar (My husband plays and my son is learning). So, we headed to Casa de la Guitarra, it didn’t disappoint! This show strikes a perfect balance between the mesmerizing Spanish guitar and the fiery flamenco dance. If you’re up for an intimate experience, I say give it a go!
If you want to dive even further into the history and culture behind flamenco dancing, be sure to visit the Flamenco Museum in Seville. Here you can learn about its origins, influences, the different styles, and how it’s practiced today.
5. Wander the Historic Jewish Quarter
Explore the enchanting labyrinth of narrow, winding streets in Seville’s historic Jewish Quarter, the Barrio Santa Cruz. Roam through hidden squares, discover charming patios, and witness local artisans at work.
This charming neighborhood holds a special place in our hearts as we stayed in the Santa Cruz area during our visit. The warmth and friendliness of the locals, along with the abundance of restaurants and cafes on our block, made it a memorable experience.
Don’t forget to check out the lovely Jardines de Murillo (Murillo Gardens) nearby. We stayed just steps away from Murillo Gardens and it was a lifesaver for the kids. They’ve got a cool playground to keep them entertained. Plus, the garden is just perfect for a relaxing walk or even a picnic with all those pretty flowers and lush trees. Oh, and keep an eye out for the green parakeets, they love hanging out in the trees here!
Many visitors choose to stay in Barrio Santa Cruz, as you are close to iconic attractions like the Royal Alcazar and Sevilla’s Cathedral. I would recommend staying in this area, especially if it is your first visit. Another plus is the orange trees lining the streets, here. The oranges were still green when we were there, but we found them beautiful nonetheless. What a stunning sight it must be when the trees are full of bright oranges!
6. Indulge in Tapas
Experience the joy of tapas in Seville. Hop from one tapas bar to another, savoring mouthwatering dishes like jamón ibérico, fried sardines, calamari, patatas bravas, and delicious bread and olives. I’m not going to lie, we sampled our share of tapas (and sangria) during our stay in Sevilla. Each restaurant had a unique set of tapas to offer and many with similar dishes that offered unique spins on each dish.
Aside from tapas, I have to make a special mention to also try the churros. My kids loved how easy it was to find churros with chocolate dipping sauce on most restaurant menus. We enjoyed indulging in ALL the local cuisine.
7. Climb Metropol Parasol (Las Setas)
Experience the Setas de Sevilla, also known as “Mushrooms of Seville,” the world’s largest wooden structure. The structure houses a traditional market, restaurants, a performance square, an archaeological museum, and a rooftop terrace offering amazing views of Seville’s historic city center. You can even take an elevator ride to the top and catch a light show every evening (with a ticket purchase).
The Metropol Parasol, built in 2011, is a modern marvel in contrast to Seville’s historic charm. I read that the locals did not embrace this modern display at first, but it has now become an area both visitors and locals enjoy. I am glad that we made time to add this to our itinerary. My kids thought it was really neat and enjoyed playing at the playground under it. The best part is that it can still be a free attraction to stroll by and view the structure from below, although tickets are available for purchase for further viewing on the upper decks. Before heading out, we were happy to get some obligatory cheesy photos with the “I Love Sevilla” sign. Then we adventured to explore the rest of this charming neighborhood.
8. Tour Sevilla’s Bullring
Take a journey into the heart of Spanish tradition with a tour of the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, Sevilla’s renowned bullring (and yes, that is the full name!). This historic arena, dating back to the 18th century, stands not only as a venue for bullfighting but also as part of Spain’s rich cultural heritage.
We loved touring the bullring and seeing its architectural design. Our tour guide was extremely passionate about sharing the history of bullfighting. She helped us gain a profound understanding of the artistry and customs surrounding this controversial tradition. The bullfighting museum on site was worth a visit, as well. Our tour guide explained the various exhibits there. Whether you’re a bullfighting enthusiast or simply curious about Spanish culture, a visit to this bullring helped us have a better understanding of this Spanish tradition.
9. Cross the Triana Bridge
Cross the Triana Bridge to the vibrant neighborhood of Triana. We walked along the Guadalquivir River and crossed the bridge for a whole new view of Sevilla. During your stroll, you will also notice the Torre del Oro or “Tower of Gold”. A military watchtower constructed in the 13th century that some say was once used to store gold and also used as a small prison. Today you can climb the stairs of the tower to view the city and visit their maritime museum.
As you continue across the bridge, you will see Triana, known for its pottery and ceramics. It’s an excellent place to shop for souvenirs and immerse yourself in local life. It is also known for some of the best flamenco shows in the area. We enjoyed lunch in one of their cafes and our walk along the water was perfect!
10. Enjoy a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Complete your Seville experience with a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic center. One of the popular locations to find a horse-drawn carriage is near the Sevilla Cathedral. But don’t worry as you explore you will find more horse-drawn carriages throughout the city. These carriages add a special touch as you see this historic city.
Sevilla: A True Gem
Seville, with its rich history, captivating culture, and warm hospitality, is not to missed. From the Royal Alcazar to the soulful rhythms of flamenco, Seville will steal your heart just like it did mine. I highly recommend exploring these experiences and uncovering the magic of this extraordinary city!
As always, I am eager to hear your thoughts or comments. If something sparks your interest or if you have any questions, please share them below. And if this piece resonated with you, please consider supporting my site through Buy Me a Coffee. Your support enables me to craft more stories to share with you all. 💕
Disclaimer: Please know that while I pour my heart and soul into providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, the world has its way of changing. The details and insights shared here were accurate at the time of penning them down. However, in time, some specifics might shift. Always double-check before making any plans. Safe travels and warm wishes.