Located on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain's Andalusia region, Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain. But the city itself has the feel of a much smaller city - a city you will fall in love with. Walk the winding alleyways, enjoy some tapas, take in a flamenco show, explore the famous churches and palaces, take a stroll or boat ride along the Guadalquivir River - Seville will not disappoint! In fact, Seville may just be the loveliest large city we've ever visited! Here is how to spend a wonderful couple days exploring this beautiful city.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHERE TO STAY
We absolutely loved our hotel that we stayed in while visiting Seville - the H. Boutique Voluve Sevilla. This lovely hotel was centrally located in the historical center literally right across the street from the Real Alcazar and was a wonderful place to base ourselves while visiting Seville. This small 12 room hotel was super accommodating in helping to store our luggage for the day before we could actually check in and we loved the clean rooms - many of which offer a balcony view. We actually had a room that was located on the top roof-top terrace which provided for great views looking out over the city.
CATHEDRAL DE SEVILLA & COLUMBUS TOMB
To start off our time in Seville, we first headed to the Cathedral de Sevilla. The Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plan on at least an hour to wander around this massive cathedral - the architecture is absolutely beautiful! The sheer size of this cathedral is sure to impress - the central nave rises almost 138 feet and the cathedral includes 80 different side chapels to explore. Built on the site of a 12th century Moorish mosque, the current building now seen today was completed in 1507. Inside the church, one of the main attractions is the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The tomb itself is held up by four figures which represent the four kingdoms of Spain during the time of Columbus - Castille, Aragon, Navara, and Leon. Originally the tomb was installed in Havana, Cuba but when Spain lost control of Cuba, the tomb was moved to Seville, Spain in 1899. Today it is hotly debated as to whether the remains in the tomb are really those of Christopher Columbus or if his remains are actually elsewhere such as in the Dominican Republic where they have their own monument and tomb that is claimed to be the the real remains of Christopher Columbus - a mystery that may never be solved!
A can't miss site when visiting Seville is to visit La Giralda. This tower - attached to the Seville Cathedral is actually part of the original 12th century Mosque that the current Seville Cathedral was built over. The Giralda Tower is one of the few parts of the Mosque that was spared and incorporated into the current cathedral. Today La Giralda is one of the best preserved examples of Moorish architecture that remains in Spain. Different than most towers that include a set of stairs to the stop - this tower actually includes a ramp that spirals all the way to the top. Once at the top - enjoy the gorgeous view! See how many gargoyles you can spot while looking out over the top of the cathedral!
TORRE DEL ORO
The Torre Del Oro which translates to Tower of Gold is another great stop during your time in Seville. The name Tower of Gold comes from the shine that the building materials projected onto the waters of the Guadalquivir River below. Built in the 13th century, the tower was used to control access to Seville from the Guadalquivir River. Today, the tower is used to house a small maritime museum - the Museo Naval de Sevilla which is worth a quick stop if you have time.
PLAZA DE TORROS
Located not far from the Torre del Oro near the Guadalquivir River waterfront is the Plaza de Torros. Considered to be one of the finest and oldest bullrings in Spain, the Plaza de Torros is worth a visit while in Seville. Even if you are not able to take in a bullfight, the museum provides a good overview of the controversial sport of bullfighting.
CASA DE LA GUITARRA FLAMENCO SHOW
One of our absolute favorite things while visiting Seville was taking in a Flamenco show at Casa de la Guitarra Flamenco Show. With a toddler in tow, we loved this activity! Lasting one hour, we absolutely loved the guitar, singing and dancing of this authentic Flamenco Show. While most people think of a woman in a red dress dancing when they think of Flamenco, there is so much more to this beautiful form of dance - especially the Flamenco guitar. In fact, the building itself houses a small museum of Flamenco guitars. For those wanting to learn a bit about the culture and history of Spanish Flamenco - this is a wonderful way to spend a evening while visiting Seville!
To start off our second day in Seville we headed straight to the Royal Palace or Real Alcazar de Sevilla and spent the better part of our morning exploring this beautiful sight. First built by the Moors in 913 over the sight of a Roman fortress, the castle has been further expanded over the years under various rulers. Today the palace we see was last conquered by the Spanish in the 13th century and retains a large amount of the original Islamic influence that has since been combined with Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque styles to create the Mudéjar style we see today. Declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Real Alcazar is still actually in use today for the Spanish Royal Family when they visit the city of Seville. Wandering thru the exquisite rooms, courtyards and gardens of this palace is a true delight and really takes you back in time as you explore the Moorish and Christian influences that have blended to create this beautiful palace. It is highly recommended though to pre-book your entry tickets as the lines can become quite long to enter this popular attraction.
PLAZA DE ESPANA
Built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exhibition, this is a beautiful area to spend some time while visiting Seville. Plaza de Espana or 'Spain Square' is a beautiful display of Spanish architecture and each alcove along the square represents each of the provinces in Spain. Spend some time wandering the square and enjoying the ornate tile-work or take a ride along the moat for a fun relaxing experience as you take in the beauty of this wonderful plaza. Today, the large ornate buildings that surround the square are used as government offices.
For those that love Architecture - make sure and include a stop at Seville's Metropol Parasol. Located in Seville's old quarters in the Plaza de la Encarnación you'll find the world's largest timber structure that was built by German architect Jürgen Maye in 2011. Also known as 'Las Setas de Sevilla' or 'the mushrooms of Seville' - the structure is either loved or hated - we personal loved the structure! Take the time to stroll under the structure along the plaza or head to the top for a panoramic viewpoint from the top of the mushrooms!
Interested in planning your own trip to Seville, Spain? Below is our summarized itinerary for you to follow or adjust to your own preferences. ENJOY!
Day 1: Cathedral de Sevilla/La Giralda/Columbus Tomb €9, Torre del Orro €3 (small marine museum with views), then walk waterfront to Plaza de Torros, Casa de la Guitarra Flamenco Show (7:30pm - 1 hour).
Day 2: Real Alcazar €9.50 (opens at 9:30am), Plaza de Espana/Parque de Maria Luisa, Metropol Parasol (€3 for elevator to top of structure)