Things to do in Seville

Seville’s top sights

Seville may have important monuments and an illustrious history, but it’s essentially famous for its own living self - the greatest city of the Spanish south, of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro, and the archetype of Andalucian promise.

  1. Discover the cathedral and belltower
  2. Visit the Museo del Baile Flamenco
  3. Explore the royal palace
  4. Tour the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza
  5. Walk from Plaza de Santa Cruz
  6. Marvel at the Museo de Bellas Artes
  7. Gaze at the Torre del Oro
  8. Stay at the Hotel Alfonso XIII
  9. See the tobacco factory
  10. Relax in the Parque María Luisa
  11. Experience bird’s-eye Seville 

With fabulous architecture, twisting alleyways and Spain’s second gallery, you’ll never be short on things to do in Seville.

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Rough Guides

1. Discover the cathedral and belltower

If you love old buildings, you’ll love this beautiful city. Seville Cathedral was conceived in 1402 as an unrivalled monument to Christian glory - when it was built, it was (apparently) said that ‘a building on so magnificent a scale that posterity will believe we were mad’. The total area covers 11,520 square metres, and new calculations - based on cubic measurement - have now pushed it in front of St Paul’s in London and St Peter’s in Rome as the largest church in the world. Inside you’ll find a grand monument to Christopher Columbus and paintings by Goya, Valdés Leal and Zurbarán - but the high point of the cathedral is its 94m tower, La Giralda, the most beautiful building in Seville.

Address: Av. De la Constitución, s/n
Don’t miss: The minaret supplies panoramic views of the city, including many patios of old houses, invisible from street level, in the patchwork below.

2. Visit the Museo del Baile Flamenco

Sensual. Seductive. Sexy. Flamenco is highly expressive and highly charged. The good news is that you can learn all about it in the Flamenco Dance Museum, an innovative and entertaining museum dedicated to the history and evolution of this emblematic andaluz art form.

Address: Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos, 3
Don’t miss: The museum also stages concerts of flamenco, which bring the art form to life at a very high standard.

3. Explore the royal palace

The second architectural jewel in Seville is the Real Alcázar, the fortress-palace of both Muslim and Christian rulers. Highlights include the Sala de Justicia, considered to be the first example of Mudéjar architecture, the Chapel and the magnificent Salón de los Embajadores (Ambassador’s Hall), effectively the throne room. The latter has an intricately carved and gilded dome.

Address: Patio de Banderas, s/n
Don’t miss: The evening concerts - held in the gardens in summer - are hopelessly romantic.

4. Tour the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza

Whatever your view on bullfighting, you can still admire the beauty of its Seville home. The Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is more than just a bullring; it is a legendary venue for lovers of la corrida. The 13,000-seater can be visited on a 55-minute guided tour (in both Spanish and English).

Address: Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 12
Don’t miss: Surveying the amphitheatre from the matador’s position in the centre of the burning sand.

5. Walk from Plaza de Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz quarter is a cluster of narrow picturesque streets and squares, white houses, secret azulejo-decorated patios, window grilles and flowerpots. The delight here is taking things slowly and following your nose to wander around and peer down alleyways and into little squares. Start at the Plaza de Santa Cruz, the true heart of the quarter.

Address: Plaza de Santa Cruz
Don’t miss: Tablao Los Gallos is one of the best known of the traditional flamenco venues in town.

6. Marvel at the Museo de Bellas Artes

The Seville Museum of Fine Arts is one of Spain’s most impressive art galleries, housed in a beautiful former convent. Inside are works by El Greco, Goya, Murillo, Zurbarán, Velázquez and Valdés Leal, among others.

Address: Pl. del Museo, 9
Don’t miss: Inside Room 1 is a wonderful late 15th-century sculpture in painted terracotta - Lamentation over the Dead Christ - by Andalucian Pedro Millán, the founding father of the Seville school of sculpture.

7. Gaze at the Torre del Oro

Despite being much shorter than La Giralda, the riverside Torre del Oro is almost as much of a landmark in Seville. Dating from 1220, it was built outside the city walls as a watchtower. Its history reads like a page of pirate fiction - it has anchored a defensive chain that stretched across the river, stored gold brought back from the America’s and served as a prison.   

Address: Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, s/n
Don’t miss: Down by the Río Guadalquivar itself are pedal-boats for idling away the afternoons, and at night, local couples come to sip beer on its banks.

8. Stay at the Hotel Alfonso XIII

Anyone looking for Seville holidays - with deep pockets - should consider staying at the palatial Hotel Alfonso XIII. It was built in imitation of the Seville patio style for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition, with elegant salons around a central courtyard and many ornamental flourishes.

Address: Calle San Fernando, 2
Don’t miss: If a stay at the hotel is too rich for your blood, have a drink in the Art Deco American-style bar instead.

9. See the tobacco factory

Next door to the Hotel Alfonso XIII is the Real Fábrica de Tabacos, a reminder of one of the most cherished discoveries of the New World and the setting for Bizet’s Carmen. By the 18th century, when this vast and handsome factory building was erected, tobacco was smoked all over Europe. Much of it was supplied by the 3,000 female workers, cigarreras, who worked here rolling cigarettes on their thighs.

Address: Calle San Fernando, 4
Don’t miss: In the summer, the factory plays host to the 21 Grados (21 Degrees) art festival.

10. Relax in the Parque María Luisa

Visiting the vast Parque María Luisa is one of the best things to do in Seville - you'll instantly feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle. The park represents the former gardens of the long-vanished Palacio de San Telmo and the site of Seville’s Ibero-American Exhibition in 1929. Inside the park is the most eye-catching remnant of the exhibition and one of Seville’s greatest monuments, the Plaza de España - you may recognize it from the Star Wars films. The extraordinary semi-circular building half enclosing it took 15 years to build.

Address: Paseo de las Delicias, s/n
Don’t miss: There are rowing boats for hire on the 515m-long canal. 

10. Experience bird’s-eye Seville

Anyone still struggling with what to do in Seville should make for the Las Setas de Seville, a series of undulating wood-waffle flat-topped mushroom structures on giant concrete pillars. Only visit if you’ve a head for heights - its German architect, Jürgen Mayer, claims it to be the world’s largest timber construction. There are stunning views from the sky deck.

Address: Pl. de la Encarnación, s/n
Don’t miss: There’s also a market, shopping mall, restaurant and a basement museum here. The museum displays the ruins of Roman Sevilla - complete with mosaics - encountered during the preliminary excavations. 

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