Initially established as a Roman city and offers three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Seville is blasting with antiquated allure and a place rich in history making it one of the ideal travel destinations to see in Spain. The Royal Palace in Alcazar is a fascinating cohesion between the Middle East and Western style. It once served as the official residence of the Kings and caliphs, and the interior is Arabesque with majestic palm trees, numerous fountains, mazes, and the inevitable orange groves located throughout Seville.
When To Go:
Spain is known the world over for its excellent climate and Seville is no special case. The district experiences hot summers with normal temperatures in the 90’s and gentle winters with the temperature seldom dipping beneath the chilly weather. The midyear months (June-August) have a tendency to be dry with practically zero precipitation, with the stormy season starting in October and enduring through December.
The month of March and spring is a grand time to visit the city. Be up to date with the Schedule of the Semana Santa (Holy Week) which usually occurs from the last week of March up to the first week of April. Around this time most establishments and attractions are closed, same with the shopping malls to give way to the solemn Christian celebration. Pilgrims mostly crowd the sacred areas and religious structures. The climate amid the spring is dynamite; a light coat will suffice with capris or long jeans. The midyear is unimaginably hot; actually, the entire city close down for several hours amid the evening when it is essentially horrendous to be outside.
These are the top
things to do
when in the city of Seville:
Plaza de Espana
The most amazing building erected in Seville during the Exhibition of 1929, which is also located within the Parque de Maria Luisa is definitely
Plaza de España
. It is an immense semicircle square that is traveled by a water channel and connected with 4 bridges that are entirely covered with glazed tiles. You will see some beautiful colored tiles representing the Spanish provinces adorn the building in a riot of brick, marble, and ceramic. The park is a little off-center from the center of the city but can be easily reached on foot in 20 minutes from the Cathedral. Absolutely not to be missed on a visit to Seville! Operating hours: from 8:00 am to 22:00 pm. You have to sit for a while on one of the benches and admire the square in all its beauty that is definitely unique. If you go to Seville it is one of the first places where a visit is mandatory.
Amidst the lush Parque de María Luisa, the exuberant Plaza de España was built along with other surrounding structures, on the occasion of the Ibero – American Trade Fair in Seville in 1929. It is an architectural ensemble of great value and style from Neo- Mudéjar, Arabic, and Spanish. The Plaza is large and measures over 50 thousand square meters. At the center of the square there is a fountain as it goes around a canal crossed by several bridges (reminiscent of Venice), which you can navigate with boats hired locally.
The bridges, staircases, benches, walls, all decorated with the typical colors from Andalusia tiles making the environment very lively. The large building that closes the semi-circular square from whose balcony on the first floor offers a beautiful view over the plaza, has a long series of ceramic benches at his feet as well as exuberant high towers on either side. These benches are beautifully decorated with majolica tiles and each one is dedicated to a Spanish province. It is advisable to walk across the square and stop to admire them, because they are done well and deserve to be seen. These are just all the provinces of Spain and each has a center console that looks like a major historical event, while the foot map of the province are all decorated in tiles. Madrid presents an episode of the revolutionary movements of May 1808; Malaga, the conquest of the city by the Catholic sovereigns; Salamanca, with ceramic white and blue shows Christopher Columbus describing his travels to the Reyes Catolicos. Still, Valencia presents the triumphant entry of the Rey Jaime el Conquistador while Ciudad Real is a scene that surely everyone will recognize as it shows the famous characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza on a background of windmills. Finally Barcelona, which shows the presence of Colombo in the time of kings. The area around the Plaza and Parque is full of attractions, including the Tobacco Factory (now University). Past the bridge de los Remedios on the river Guadalquivir, you will arrive in the neighborhood of Triana, where you can find the Feria de Abril, the biggest “fiesta” of Spain!
is a fascinating and unusual gathering of architectural styles that have transformed the old fort which was built in 720 AD under the Arab domination in a triumph of style Mudejar ( a typical Andalusia where Islamic art meets western taste). At times it seems like you are visiting a Medersa (Koranic school) or a Moroccan palace so the styles are similar. Expanded over the centuries, and especially during the Spanish Reconquista of the thirteenth century, the site served as the official residence of the kings of Spain for over a thousand years (today there are some apartments regularly used by the royal family on a visit to the city). From the Lion’s Gate, the main entrance of the building the tour leads to the patio de la Montería, a Gothic-style courtyard that now retains few traces of the original dell’Alcazares. Inside, the building complex is built around two main courtyards; that of Las Doncellas, where official life took place, and that of Las Muñecas, the center of privacy.
The richness of the decor is really amazing and you will discover; marble, intricate plasterwork, polychrome tiles, elegant arcades, and tranquil fountains of fresh water. The peace and beauty of these patios really takes your breath away. The tour winds through the different rooms overlooking these courtyards but the most spectacular is definitely the Ambassadors’ Hall that is richly decorated with stucco and tile and with a fabulous ceiling in carved and gilded wood. It is also a must to visit the interior spaces (among which are cited the rooms and chapel of Charles V, decorated with tapestries and colored tiles of the sixteenth century) that leads to the lush and manicured gardens formed by terraces, fountains, statues, and pavilions. Here you can find a mix of the architectural styles like; Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque. The peace and coolness of this park are truly irresistible and offer refuge from the chaos and heat of the city. (opening hours during summer is from 9:30 am to 19:00 pm). The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. It is truly worth the three hours of walking to get to know all of Alcazar in Seville City.
Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla)
The interior of the
Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla)
is already beautiful and worth the visit. But climbing the Giralda tower is the most amazing ride because it gives a stunning view of the city. This cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in the world; it is also important in history because it is where the tomb of Christopher Columbus is located. Each chapel exudes gold and silver that will leave you breathless. Do not miss a visit to the Gironde and the Treasury. The view of the archive system with an audio guide gives you an idea of the history of the cathedral.
The majestic structure of the Seville Cathedral is built of incomparable beauty in Gothic style. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the third after St. Peter and St. Paul. The adjacent Giralda is the bell tower that was built around 1400, it has elements in Renaissance style and preserves some aspects belonging to the ancient mosque like the; minaret, the patio the orange trees and the majestic door of forgiveness that allowed entrance into the former mosque.
is the beautiful symbol of Seville that must be visited after a tour of the Seville Cathedral. Climb the Giralda, the famous bell tower of the Cathedral and its superb 97 meters high minaret which once served as the minaret of the Almohad Mosque. The brick walls are decorated with geometric patterns in Islamic style from the final result of the restyling done in 1568. It reaches the top through wide ramps that once, allowed the muezzin to climb and call the faithful to prayer directly while astride a horse.
Needless to say, from up here, the view over the rooftops of the city, the cathedral and the patio of the orange is really superb. Entrance ticket to the Giralda and the nearby Cathedral of Seville is €8. It has become the famous landmark of the city, the Giralda and the bronze 4 meter statue of El Giraldillo that is placed on top of the tower. The climb is a bit tiring (35 storey walk) but it’s worth it because once you get to the top the idyllic view of Seville amply repays!
Barrio Santa Cruz
Barrio Santa Cruz
is a tangle of narrow streets that are colorful and full of life. It is located around the cathedral along the shaded old Jewish ghetto. The streets are a bit constricted and lined with whitewashed houses, narrow balconies and full of vases with colorful flowers. Often the windows have beautiful railings. There are many souvenir shops and bar-restaurants, where you can appreciate the delicious and typical tapas, accompanied by excellent sangria or a fresh and light beer. It is a quaint and picturesque neighborhood of Seville where you can get “lost” walking in a maze of narrow alleys and typical Andalusia atmosphere but it’s worth it.
One of the amusing things to do in Seville, a town that is full of character and charm is to attend fiestas especially during the famous Feria de Abril. Seville is a characteristic Spanish town, consisting of five boroughs: Alameda, Arenal, Macarena, Santa Cruz and Triana; all very characteristic. Santa Cruz, among all is undoubtedly the most characteristic and welcoming.
You can enjoy a pleasant stroll in its narrow streets while admiring beautiful historic buildings, it feels magically like being into another enchanting era; the many local characteristic to be found along the promenade are ideal for a stop and for some authentic tapas. During the festival “Feria de Abril”, you can breath, share the joy and excitement of the locals, the beautiful “casetas” that are well maintained and very colorful, the nice and festive parlors where various families receive friends and acquaintances. It is also common to see people who are dressed in national costumes and in typical Andalusia style rides a horse that is also decked out for the occasion. Visit this beautiful city and participate in the Feria de Abril, it’s really worth it!
Iglesia Colegial del Salvador (Church of the Divine Savior)
Iglesia Colegial del Salvador
Church of the Divine Savior
or simply El Salvador
is located in the Plaza del Salvador and is the largest church in the city after the Cathedral. In the garden, you can see the traces of the Roman and Visigoth.
The building was built on the remains of Ibn Adabbas, the Muslim Mosque of Seville (ninth century), noteworthy are the interiors, in sumptuous baroque and rococo style. The entrance ticket to the church is included with the purchase of the ticket for the visit to the Cathedral. It is a must to visit this church if you’re in Seville.
is a bit far from the city center but it is still easily accessible by public transport. The exterior facade is simple and almost anonymous, but once inside you are struck not only by the beauty of its Baroque style, but also by the atmosphere of faith and devotion that is generated by its pilgrims and devotees. Inside, the basilica houses the statue of Our Lady of Esperanza Macarena, the most venerated patron saint of Spain which in its beautiful and rich dress welcomes many faithful and curious visitors.
Maria Luisa Park (Parque de Maria Luisa)
Maria Luisa Park (Parque de Maria Luisa)
is a green space full of charm and cultural milestones. The Parque de Maria Luisa (opening hours from 8:00 to 22:00, free admission) is a beautiful park with colored fountains, ponds and ceramic animals. The coolness and the smell of the trees is intriguing and invite you to stay a long time.
Inside the park there is also the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (opening hours Tue-Sat 9:00 am -20:30 pm and 9-14.30 Sun, free admission) and the Archaeological Museum (opening hours Tue-Sat and Sun 9-20.30 9-14.30, free admission), both attractions are set up in two curious pavilions built for the Exposition of 1929.
Museum of Fine Arts, Sevilla
Museum of Fine Arts, Sevilla
offers an interesting art collection that is housed in a former convent and the great thing is that the entrance is free. It stars the artworks and painters of the Spanish Golden Age, the 600 shields, exponents of Baroque painting by Velazquez, Murillo, Zurbaran, Leal, but there are also Flemish and other eras. There are lots of sacred art, portrait, and landscape paintings to admire. The museum is not too big but it is full of things to see and take pictures with. The interior gardens are also beautiful!
Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos
is located in a large square with the same name planted with orange trees (common here). From a short distance there is the ring road that runs around the center of Seville, so it is easily accessible by the many buses that pass from there. It is called Casa de Pilatos because the first owner returned from a trip to the Holy Land in the sixteenth century and he discovered that the house was far from a church as the house of Pontius Pilate from the place of Calvary of Christ so he instituted a Via Crucis between his home and this church (which at that time was out of town). You may decide to visit only the ground floor with courtyards and sumptuous rooms in Mudejar style or participate in a guided tour of the rooms on the first floor where the family still lives and remain as owner of this sumptuous building.
The ticket also includes an audio guide for the ground floor, although it is very verbose and a little bit repetitious. The entrance of the square is a Renaissance portal that is very simple with loggia above. After the ticket-bookshop, once you enter the large patio you will reach the heart of the house. It has a two-story portico with a fountain in the center and impressive Roman statues in the corners. The arcades, as well as the staircase that leads to the first floor are decorated with beautiful tiles in the colors of blue and green (typical of the Arabian style), while many ceilings presented the classical decorations Mudejar stalactites.
The whole city of Seville is an enchanting place with a constant discovery of places, streets, old markets, entertainment spaces, museums, churches, flamenco bars, with the highlighted Cathedral of Seville in the background. To have the best view of Seville, climb the tower of the cathedral (even if it’s quite difficult), in the end it is all worth the effort because the view of the entire city and its surrounding landscape is magical.