Seville (or Sevilla in Spanish) is the 4th largest city in Spain and the capital of the region of Andalusia.
Known for sunny weather, delicious tapas, historic architecture and stunning monuments, Seville is also the birthplace of flamenco dance, designated in 2010 as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
From the Real Alcázar palace and the Catedral de Sevilla to the neighborhood of Triana, the modern Setas de Sevilla and more, you could find plenty to keep yourself busy for several days if not longer. But if you’re working Seville into a longer trip through Spain and don’t have unlimited time, two to three days is perfect for a great intro.
Here’s a suggested itinerary to help you plan your time in Seville.
Three Days in Seville
Day One: Arrival, Hotel Check-in and a Night of Tapas
We arrived in Seville by car in the late afternoon and dropped our rental at Seville-Santa Justa train station. We walked twenty minutes to our lodging at the beautiful Hotel Amadeus & La Musica and headed straight up to the rooftop patio to unwind from our drive.
If you arrive in the city early enough, take a walk around to get your bearings and maybe even hit up one of the spots I’ll mention below. If it’s on the later side, take your time settling in and then head out for a late dinner in the form of a tapas crawl.
A tapa – meaning “cover” or “lid” – refers to a snack or appetizer. While the exact origin of the name is still debated, tapas are a huge part of Spanish culture, and Seville is a great city for dipping your toe into this culinary tradition.
That said, learning the ropes can be intimidating. You might be used to arriving at a restaurant, being seated by a host, and being taken care of by one server all night. With tapas, be prepared to take matters into your own hands. Squeeze yourself into a spot at the bar, grab a server’s attention politely but assertively, order one or two dishes at a time, and settle up with the bill (la cuenta) when you’re ready to move onto the next spot.
The process felt awkward to us at first, and I think that might be inevitable. Don’t worry. You’ll find yourself getting the hang of it before you know it!
And remember – the stakes are low, so try not to stress too much. Don’t order ten plates to start – getting to experience several places in one night is the best part of tapas. Not loving the food or atmosphere somewhere? Just ask for la cuenta, por favor, and head to the next place.
Las Teresas at Calle Santa Teresa, 2 | We loved the atmosphere of this crowded, fun bar and went back multiple times
Bar Alfalfa at Calle Candilejo, 1 | We enjoyed delicious bruschetta here, a nod to the Italian owner
Las Golondrinas at Calle Pagés del Corro, 76 | Try the champiñóns: grilled mushrooms stuffed with a garlic aioli
Sal Gorda at Calle Alcaicería de la Loza, 23 | One of the only tapas bars where we did receive table service. Don’t miss the patatas bravas!
La Fresquita at Calle Mateos Gago, 29 | A tiny bar with a big personality: you’ll notice the Semana Santa (Holy Week) theme right away
Blanca Paloma at Calle San Jacinto, 49 | The other tapas bar where we had table service. (Plenty of places do offer table service, but we usually found the bar more fun – keep in mind that there may be an extra charge for sitting at a table.)
Patatas Bravas | Diced fried potatoes served with spicy tomato sauce and aioli
Patatas Aliñadas | Potato salad
Salmorejo | Cold soup made with puréed tomato and bread
Tortilla de Patatas | Spanish omelette made with eggs, fried potatoes and onion
Espinacas con Garbanzos | Spinach with chick peas
Jamón Iberico de Bellota | Cured ham made from free-range, acorn-fed pigs
Albóndigas | Meatballs
Aceitunas | Olives
And we can’t forget the wine! The house red or white was delicious everywhere we went, so don’t feel pressure to choose something specific.
Day 2: Plaza de España, Torre d’Oro, Guadalquivir River, and Triana
Start your day at the Plaza de España, located in María Luisa Park. This grand square was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition, a world’s fair held in the city from 1929 to 1930.
Lining the plaza’s half-circle formation are intricately tiled alcoves representing each of Spain’s provinces.
The tiles, also known as azujelos, are a beautiful example of classic Andalusian architecture.
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Take a walk around the square or rent a rowboat to enjoy it from the water.
When you’re done exploring the Plaza de España, follow the Avenue Rodríguez de Casso away from the square. Located at the center of the plaza, this pathway will lead you through more of the park and toward the Guadalquivir River.
Turn right when you reach the water to walk north along the river. Stop for a moment to enjoy the striped Costurero de la Reina building at Paseo de las Delicias, 7.
Ten minutes further along the river you’ll find the Torre del Oro, or Tower of Gold. Construction on this military watchtower and once-prison started in the 13th century and spanned several centuries. Once used to control access to the city’s port and to defend against enemy ships, today it houses Seville’s Maritime Museum and a panoramic terrace.
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At this point you’re hopefully soaking up the sunshine as you stroll along the Paseo Alcalde Marqués del Contadero, a scenic, palm-tree lined walkway along the Guadalquivir River.
Interested in learning more about Spain’s tradition of bullfighting? Stop by the Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla at Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 12.
Click here to learn more about the history of the bullring and how to visit.
Cross the river a few minutes later at the Puente de Triana, or Triana Bridge. You are now in the neighborhood of Triana!
Triana has a rich artistic history linked to artisanal ceramic tile making. It was also the birthplace of many famous sailors, flamenco dancers, and bullfighters. Residents of this fiercely proud neighborhood are likely to view Triana as independent from Seville as opposed to a neighborhood of Seville, often referring to themselves as Trianeros instead of Sevillanos.
Stop first at the Mercado de Triana, or Triana Market, just past the Triana Bridge on the right.
If you’re ready for a sweet treat, don’t miss the Manu Jara stand at the market. I especially enjoyed their bocasù: tiny bites of choux pastry with assorted fillings and sparkly toppings.
You can also walk ~2 minutes along the Calle San Jorge to visit the bakery itself.
Hungry for something more substantial? Las Golondrinas and Blanca Paloma, two of the tapas bars I referenced above, are located in this area, along with many other options.
If it’s more of a caffeine boost you’re after, Bravo Café y Copas is right across from Blanca Paloma.
When you’re done enjoying Triana, it’s time to head back to your accommodations and relax until dinner.
If you’re up for an evening activity, consider a flamenco show.
We didn’t manage to fit this into our time in Seville, but La Casa del Flamenco was recommended in our trusty Rick Steves guide. That said, there are a lot of options! Here’s a helpful post from Devour Seville Food Tours.
Day 3: The Real Alcázar, Santa Cruz and Las Setas de Sevilla
I hope you got a good night’s sleep, because today is a big one: visiting the Real Alcázar. This gorgeous complex of palace buildings, royal quarters, and gardens has a history that spans more than a thousand years, with roots in Islam and Catholicism. You may experience some sensory overload as you take in the intricately decorated spaces, created and refurbished over the centuries with a combination of Mudéjar, Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance details.
Quick tips for visiting the Real Alcázar:
- Book a timed entry ticket online before your trip so that you can show up and skip the line.
- The official site for info and tickets is alcazarsevilla.org. A general admission ticket is 14.50 euro (with a 1 euro processing fee for online tickets).
- On Mondays for the last hour of the day, you can reserve a free entry ticket (or really 1 euro with the online processing fee). I decided against this because you can only access the site for 1h45 at the most, and I didn’t want to rush. In the end we spent about four hours at the site, so I was right about that! But if you’re sticking to a budget, you could still hit up the main sights during this shortened window.
- The audio guide costs an additional 6 euro. It’s definitely helpful to get some extra context, but if you’d prefer to skip it, there are informational signs scattered throughout the visit.
- You can also pay extra to access the royal quarters upstairs.
- There are restrooms and a café by the Puerta de Marchena. I would suggest stopping here between visiting the palace interior and the gardens to recharge. That’s mostly for the restrooms, though – you can bring water and snacks with you, so you don’t need to buy anything at the café unless you want to.
After visiting the Real Alcázar, walk around the surrounding Santa Cruz neighborhood. Santa Cruz is the home of the city’s former Jewish neighborhood, or judería.
Given that it’s home to the Catedral de Sevilla, the Real Alcázar, dozens of tapas bars and seemingly endless picturesque and winding streets, it’s not surprising that this neighborhood is considered the center of tourism in the city.
Up next is a visit to Las Setas de Sevilla, also known as the Metropol Parasol.
The Metropol Parasol is a huge wooden structure offering shade from below and city views from above. Due to the shape of its six segments, locals call it las setas (the mushrooms).
Its home in the Plaza de la Encarnación was the location for an indoor market until the 1970s, when the partially-demolished market building was fully torn down. Plans for an underground parking lot began in the 1990s but were halted when Moorish and Roman ruins were discovered at the site. 14 million euro had already been spent, but an international competition for use of the space incorporating the ruins was opened instead of moving forward with the parking lot.
Today, the ruins are housed underground in the structure’s basement Antiquarium.
That’s it for day three! It’s time for more tapas and a glass of house wine. You earned it.
More Activities in Seville
Spending more than three days in Seville? Here are some additional ideas. Depending on how quickly you go through the itinerary above, you might be able to fit some of these into a short visit as well:
- Casa de Pilatos | Plaza de Pilatos, 1
- Sevilla Cathedral and Giralda bell tower | Avenida de la Constitución
- Plaza del Cabildo | Just off of the Avenida de la Constitución across from the Cathedral
- The Edificio de la Adriática | Avenida de la Constitución, 2
- Breakfast at Jester | Calle Puerta de la Carne, 7a
- Pasteis de nata from De Nata | Calle Mateos Gago, 29
- The Jardines de Murillo, or Murillo Gardens | Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo
Some require more of a time commitment, like the Casa de Pilatos and the Seville Cathedral. Others, like the Plaza del Cabildo and Edificio de la Adriática, are quick stops to admire the architecture.
Here’s a map with all of the sights, eats and extras in this post:
Returning to Travel During Covid-19
If you don’t feel comfortable booking any big trips yet, I don’t blame you! Just bookmark this guide for a later date and revisit when you feel ready.
If you are preparing to hop on a plane as soon as this summer, be sure to check if any entry or exit restrictions are in place at your destination, what regulations to expect while you are there, and if any of the main attractions you’re hoping to see are temporarily closed or operating differently. It’s also a good idea to check local case counts and risk level to determine whether it’s safe to visit yet.
6 Things You Should Know About Traveling to Europe This Summer The New York Times
Americans Will Be Able to Visit Spain by June Travel and Leisure
Have you visited Seville before? What did you think? If I left any of your favorite spots out of this post, share them in the Comments!
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