Are you planning to visit Spain?
If yes, what about Seville, the capital of the Andalusia region?
Seville will have you busy seeing its three UNESCO heritage sites and much more.
So, make sure you plan at least three days in Seville to ensure you can try delicious tapas, wander the Santa Cruz quarter and enjoy Flamenco.
But first, a little story.
A Wee Story from 30 Years Ago
We must confess, 30 years ago, when we arrived at the Seville train station, we only got as far as a small restaurant near Cathedral square. While enjoying a delicious Andalusian hamburger, we met two fellow travellers from Australia and joined them for a beer or two in the midday sun.
Several hours later, and with an evening train to catch, left us with a couple of hours to run around the main sights of the old town of Seville.
How we travelled back then to how we travel now is so vastly different.
It’s one of the reasons we love Slow Travel.
Getting to Seville is Easy
1. Take the Train to Seville
Train travel is ideal, with high-speed trains from Madrid to Seville in comfort.
The Santa Justa train station is outside the old town area of Seville, so unless you book a hotel nearby, take a taxi.
2. Get a Bus from Portugal to Seville
If you are coming from the Algarve in Portugal, a bus to Seville is easy to organize.
The bus trip from Tavira in Portugal (for example) takes 2 hours to Seville for about €19.
You will pass by the Castelo de Castro Marim, over the Puente Internacional del Guadiana (the Portuguese-Spanish Border Bridge over the River Guadiana) and through the town of Huelva to Seville.
The Bus Terminal (Socibus) at the intersection of Calle Torneo and Calle Arjona is near the river, making it easy to reach hotels in the old town.
But you can also find taxis and car rentals for day trips from Sevilla.
3. Arriving at Seville Airport
From Seville airport to Seville city centre, you can take a bus (Line EA) or a taxi for about €20-25, depending on the time of day and traffic conditions.
Depending on traffic, the bus takes about 35 minutes and stops at the Santa Justa train station.
What to See on DAY ONE in Seville
Sevilla is a fantastic pedestrian-friendly city with one of the best all-around vibes of a Spanish city.
If you haven’t booked a tour of the Cathedral of Seville (which includes the Giralda Tower) or the Royal Alcazar, one option is to locate the tourist office at Plaza del Triunfo.
The tourist office can assist you with prices, opening times, and guided tour options.
Or you can check tour prices and times on the Viator website below.
Book a Visit to Seville Cathedral, Mosque, and Tower
If you want to see the Cathedral and Giralda Tower by yourself, then for €9 (plus €1 booking fee) you can purchase a ticket at Catedral de Sevilla.
If you choose this option, rent an audio guide once inside for more detailed information throughout the cathedral.
The Cathedral Sevilla is the world’s third-largest cathedral. With stunning Gothic architecture, 80 chapels and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
You will need a couple of hours here, including the Giralda Tower.
The Giralda Tower was the tower of the Almohad Mosque when the Moors ruled Seville. There are no steps inside the tower, only a continuous ramp of 35 incline ramps.
If you peek inside the alcoves on the way up, these used to be stables for the donkeys. With the five calls to prayer each day, the man allocated to perform the task rode a donkey up to the tower’s height.
This history of the mosque and the cathedral building completed in the 16th century is a great place to start your tour of Seville.
Eating Tapas in Santa Cruz Quarter
Santa Cruz was home to the Jewish people when Sevilla developed multi-culturally with Jews, Muslims, and Christians under the rule of King Fernando III.
The narrow and cobbled streets give glimpses through large doors or grilled entrances into the courtyards.
And as you wander past shops selling fans and flamenco costumes, make sure to find the craftsmanship on many doors.
With fountains as centrepieces in small plazas. No wonder people are enjoying their tapas and drinks under the shade of an orange tree.
We chose Bodeguita la Parihuela with local specialities of pig cheek, pork meatballs, bull tail, and octopus. The tapas were small plates, delicious and reasonably priced at €3 each.
Another evening we ate at El Rincon de Murillo.
Stroll the Murillo Gardens
Meandering out of the Santa Cruz quarter, you will find yourself in the Murillo Gardens.
So shady, especially when the sun is hot.
You’ll find a monument to Christopher Columbus from his patrons, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.
Unexpected Highlight of Sevilla
An afternoon walk to Plaza de Espana is a wonderful way to end your first day in Sevilla. This incredible building will have you spending way longer than you thought.
Known as the Jewel of Seville, built for the 1929 Latin American Exposition, you can enjoy fountains, rowboats, and history depicted in tiles and balconies to enjoy the many views.
There is so much to see here.
People seem to spend their time reading the tile tablets of historical events and the history of nearby provinces—rowing boats or enjoying a horse-drawn carriage ride.
And access to the large verandah with views over the Plaza is a chance for great photos to savour the moment.
The sunlight and buzz of many people enjoying this impressive plaza are invigorating.
Nearby Find Teatro Lope de Vega
Start DAY TWO in Seville with Tostados
Near Le Petit Paris Hotel, we found a small family cafe, “Patronas“, for breakfast.
Inside with tiled walls and quaint table settings, you can join many locals for breakfast of toasted baguettes with jam and butter.
Another option is to ask for crushed tomatoes or ham and cheese.
Add a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) or a Cortado (cafe with small milk). It makes a reasonable breakfast of €4.50.
Triangle of Three UNESCO sites
A good place to start Day 2 of Seville is Plaza del Trifuno, the Triangle of the Cathedral, Royal Alcazar and Archives of the Indies.
The Archives of the Indies holds the records of all the transactions between Spain and America.
So why is it named the Indies?
Well, Christopher Columbus thought he had discovered India when it was the Americas.
And the wealth of trade that followed was a 200-year monopoly with the New World, bringing great wealth to Seville.
Find Ferdinand III in Nueva Square
Ferdinand III was King of Castile and Leon, annexing Andalusia in the twenty years from 1228-1248.
He is the patron saint of Seville and is buried in the Cathedral, enclosed in a gold and crystal casket.
His son Alfonso X and No8Do
If you happen to look down while you walk, you’ll notice the logo of Seville.
The No8Do originated from the coat of arms from the 13th century when King Alfonso X awarded it to Seville.
No8Do means “the city had not abandoned me” when Alfonso’s son failed to usurp him.
Tobacco, Opera, and a University
When you admire the University building, you look at the 18th century Tobacco factory. At one time, the factory produced 75% of cigarettes in Europe, with tobacco originating from the Americas.
During the 1800s, the workforce was women, so it became the set for the 1845 Opera Carmen.
For more information, check out Andalucia.com
Tasty Bull Ring Tapas
Bullfighting is still an event here in Seville, with tours available inside the ring.
For tasty tapas with a local beer, try Casa Pepe Hillo Tapas nearby.
Visit Real Alcazar de Seville
You will need to book a tour to avoid long queues and be part of the 750 visitors allowed into the Alcazar at any time.
You can check out the various tour options with Viator and book online.
So, with an earpiece in place to listen to your guide, you enter the Alcazar. This royal residence has, for over 1000 years, been the longest royal residence still used for that purpose in Europe.
The Alcazar is in three sections; Moorish, Gothic and the Gardens, covering many hectares.
Devoid of furniture (in storage or museums), you enter the many different rooms and water courtyards, viewing beautiful tiled and decorated rooms.
One highlight is the Meeting Room of the Navigators, where explorers and benefactors met to discuss the voyages of discovery.
Look for Christopher Columbus’s coat of arms on the wall.
You will be amazed by the throne room with decorated walls and ceilings showing incredible craftsmanship.
Visit the Alcazar Gardens
Even the Game of Thrones series, we were told, used certain rooms of the Alcazar, giving more authenticity to some of the episode locations.
A tour of the Real Alcazar de Seville takes about 1.5 hours and usually finishes at the Fama Fountain in the gardens.
If you have patience and time, there is a musical fountain at 5 pm. The fountain plays two songs using a very old technology of water pressure.
Otherwise, you can explore the gardens.
Day Three – Explore outside the Seville Old City
Across the river into the area known as Triana, you will find the authentic daily life of Seville away from the tourist area of the old city.
Here’s what we found.
Discover History in Triana
Take a walk across Triana Bridge to find one of the many towers. These towers were built to protect the cargo into Seville from pirates.
A local produce market sells anything from fish, whole-skinned rabbits, vegetables and fruits. Even 13kgs dried ham legs at varying prices from €80 to €299.
Triana is also an area known for its Flamenco.
Flamenco is performed by a singer, dancer, and guitarist to tell stories of the persecution of those who did not conform to the new religion of Seville many centuries ago.
To visit the Flamenco Museum on Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos, visit the museum yourself or check out Flamenco evenings on Viator.
Return via Torro de Oro
The tower is close to the bullring.
Torro de Oro has been used as a prison and a watchtower but is now a naval museum. You can climb the tower for views across the river for a small entry fee.
And for a carriage ride, there is currently a fee of €45 to see the main sites of Seville. (Remember to check the carriage ride price listed on signs in Plaza Trifuno)
Find Hercules, a Roman Wall, Feria Market, and Parasols
If you love getting away from the tourist area, take a walk to the Macarena.
Here you can try tapas at the indoor Feria Market.
On the way is Alameda de Hercules, one of the oldest parks in Spain. Here Hercules (the mythological founder of Seville) is represented by two-column statues at each end of a pedestrian walkway garden.
See the Old City Wall from Roman times
Walkthrough the Arco de la Macarena for a closer view
Find some cool street art in Seville
Enjoy views from Espacio Metropole Parasol in the Las Setas De Sevilla
It is said to be one of the largest wooden structures in the world. It is impressive at 26 meters in height, with six parasols in the shape of a mushroom.
Originally in the 19th century, the Las Seta de Sevilla was a market.
So, on Level 1 of Espacio, Metropole Parasol is a market. If you venture below, you can find Roman and Moorish ruins. Above the market, Levels 2 and 3 have panoramic views of Seville.
A Night Walk in Seville
It seems Seville never sleeps. And when people are heading out at 10 pm for dinner, you understand why. Restaurants cater to the early bird and later diners, so why not embrace late-night dining?
You can always enjoy Sangria while you wait for the late hour or a coffee and churros.
So, if you return to the Santa Cruz quarter, you will have plenty of Tapas bars to choose from. Plus, you get to see the city lit at night.
Seville Hotel Recommendation for Comfort Travellers
Le Petit Paris Hotel on Calle San Pedro Martir, Seville, is reasonably priced.
The Hotel Foyer is charming and welcoming. The rooms are clean with pleasant decor. However, the bathrooms are very small, and the shower may be over a small tub.
A double bed is a small size which is often common throughout Spain.
English is spoken at reception, and they help recommend places to eat nearby.
Would we revisit Sevilla?
Exploring Seville again has rekindled our love of Spain. With many aspects of architecture, history, food, and flamenco, Seville is one of Spain’s best cities to visit.
A large pedestrian-friendly area makes getting around the favourite places of Seville so easy. And having three UNESCO heritage sites so close to each other helps with planning how to spend a day in Seville.
So to book your train, rental car or flight to Seville, we use Skyscanner to find the best deals because any season in Seville is perfect.
And Seville is a fascinating travel destination to explore.