Lonely Planet has voted Sevilla the best city trip of 2018. This is huge news for a city that has to compete with Barcelona and Madrid in Spain! Flight tickets were cheap and we got them for €60 departing from Charleroi. We found our hotel through Airbnb. A small duplex in the middle of the city! We spent four days in Seville and we were determined to discover the top things in Seville like Plaza de Espana, The Giralda and Metropol Parasol. Based on our experiences are the top ten places of interest in Seville listed below.
1. Seville’s Plaza De Espana
This colossal square was built for the Ibero-American exhibition in 1929. It’s located in the Maria-Luisa park and forms a gigantic semicircle. The buildings are currently used by the Spanish government. One of the buildings houses the immigration service. So whenever you catch a group of people form a queu there, you should not think it’s a tourist attraction.
At the bottom of the buildings, on the square, are mosaics (azulejo’s) of tiles representing the provinces of Spain. This makes the walk across worthwhile. The square has been used several times as a film set. Among others are ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Star Wars’ and recently ‘The Great Dictator’.
Taking a nice picture can be a challenge. Expect many tourists here, both early in the morning and late in the evening. Try to focus your attention on the details of the square and the architecture rather than the entirety of the structure.
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2. Royal Palace of Seville – Alcazar Real de Sevilla
Long queues, lots of people, security and an entrance fee. All elements that point to a tourist trap. Yet we do not regret this visit to the Royal Palace of Seville at all. I advise you to book your tickets online and take the earliest possible option. We had our first entrance hour on a Monday morning at 9h30 AM.
Let your eyes feast to Moorish influences on Seville. The oldest royal palace in Europe is architecturally a masterpiece. Whether you’re a fan of culture or not, you must’ve been here. Both inside and outside it’s worth the admission pice. The gardens are very well reserved and they’re the most beautiful walk in Seville.
3. Seville’s Cathedral and Giralda
Right next to the Royal Palace of Seville you’ll find the Cathedral. The beating heart of the city is the large Gothic bell towering 105 meters. The cathedral is best admired from one of the many rooftop bars. From this perspective you can see the many vaults and arches that make this Cathedral so unique. I wasn’t surprised that this building is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Your visit to Seville isn’t complete if you don’t see the sun set behind the church and the Giralda tower. It’s possible to climb the Giralda for a unique view over the city if you so desire!
4. Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville
European cities and the winding, narrow streets are the things that make every wandering romantic blush. In the Santa Cruz quarter, you’ll discover the cozy, colourful houses that make you believe you’re in Lisbon. Seville’s street map is perfect for a pointless stroll. From one small coffee house to a mini restaurant in a deserted alley. A city trip is only complete when you’ve made at least 20,000 steps a day, right?
5. Seville is the Home of Bullfighting
Whether you’re for or against it, bullfighting is part of the culture of Seville. We think it’s a gruesome activity, but visiting the arena was definitely on our to-do list. Without financial support, you can queue up at 3 pm on Monday for a free tour of the arena.
You’ll be accompanied by a guide, but it doesn’t really make you any wiser. At the end of the thirty minute tour you can enter the arena. It’s still worth standing in the middle of the ‘playing field’ and think what kind of things have already happened here.
6. Seville’s Umbrella – Metropol Parasol
The largest wooden construction in the world! At least that’s what they claim. It is impressive though. For €3 you can take the elevator to walk ‘on the roof’ of Seville. Up top, you can find every attraction of the city. On top of that, you’ll get a ticket with a free consumption… or they’ll make you believe that. You only get one euro discount on coffees and soft drinks that are one euro more expensive than the average coffee bar.
The same rule as Alcazar applies here. Come here early, because a busy Parasol doesn’t seem like a nice place to relax and enjoy the view. Metropol Parasol also offers an archaeological museum at the bottom with the history of the city.
7. Home of Hercules, Seville’s Almeida de Hercules
A wide avenue of 450 meters with Julius Caesar on one side and Hercules on the other side. Two old legends who guard the fun market on Sunday. Alameda de Hercules is only a must on Sunday! Small self-employed people come here to show off their craft work. Expect sweet tastings and all kinds of random activities. Your Sunday morning will be topped off by a cortado and tostado for € 3.20 in between the locals.
8. Seville’s suburbs – Triana
Take your rental bike (of course! it’s a city trip!) and head across the Guadalquivir to Triana. A neighborhood on the western part of Seville where most bullfighters and flamenco singers and dancers were born. The Triana district gives you the best views of Seville and there’s a relaxed atmosphere.
Your visit to Triana isn’t complete without a visit to the Mercado de Triana. The local indoor market. Fancy some tapas? Then this is a must!
9. The Heart of Seville – Guadalquivir
You may not think of jogging when you plan a city trip, but the Guadalquivir River is perfect for this. Put on your running shoes before sunset and watch the sky change from blue to orange, to purple. Pleasant temperatures and lots of sights pass you on a four kilometre route. The ‘Torre de Triana’, ‘Isla Magica’ (water park), are just a few of the things you can admire.
Of course you don’t have to jog, a quiet walk along the river or a picnic session with a bottle of wine can be an excellent end to your city trip to Seville.
10. Seville is famous for Flamenco
Sevilla is the place to attend a Flamenco show. This is made very clear throughout the city. Therefore you have to be careful where you decide to see a show. To see a decent show you will have to spend +15 euros.
We advise you to ask your Airbnb host or your hotel to make sure you get quality.
Sevilla has been declared by Lonely Planet as the city trip for 2018 and we can only confirm that. Cheap and good food, many activities all in the centre and a summer climate all year round.
Just do it!
Pictures are taken with the Nikon D5300!