Like every great city in Europe, Seville has its share of must-see attractions, but the capital of Spain’s Andalusia region also boasts that quixotic quality that travelers yearn for the most: atmosphere.
Much of Seville’s charm comes in its narrow streets, lined with colorful buildings, orange trees, bustling tapas bars, and lively flamenco venues. Combined with its fantastic year-round weather, this creates a vibrant and inviting atmosphere that is easy to get swept up in.
See also: Where to Stay in Seville
While the city’s lively mix of Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance and Modern architecture is dazzling, it’s the lust for life of the Sevillian people that makes a trip to Seville so unique and memorable.
There’s an irresistible vitality that bathes Spain’s fourth-largest city with a warm and sunny glow. Whether swaying to the rhythmic tapping of a flamenco dancer’s nail-capped shoes or dancing the night away at a modern open-air discotheque, it’s easy to find new and exciting things to do in Seville.
Additionally, its delectable cuisine will delight you with flavors and textures that will elevate your taste buds to new levels. With their legendary hospitality, it’s only a matter of time until the warm, proud and passionate locals embrace you as new family friends in this engaging city.
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23. Hospital de los Venerables
The Hospital de los Venerables is a historic landmark that showcases the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Originally serving as a retirement home for priests, the Baroque-style building dates back to the 17th century. However, today, it is better known for housing the Velázquez Center, a museum dedicated to the works of renowned Spanish painter Diego Velázquez.
It is worth visiting if you enjoy art, as it presents an impressive collection of paintings by Velázquez and other influential artists from the Sevillian school.
Granted, it is not a huge collection per se, but each piece is a bona fide masterpiece. They include an exceptional portrait of Santa Catalina produced by Bartolomé Murillo and the incredible Inmaculada Concepción by Velázquez himself.
22. Palace of the Countess Of Lebrija
The Palace of the Countess of Lebrija is one of our favorite cultural attractions in Seville.
Privately owned, the 16th-century palace immediately impressed us with its Arabic-inspired arches, intricately carved ceilings and quaint courtyard.
The palace showcases a fascinating collection of Roman mosaics, sculptures, exquisite ceramics, and antique furniture that was personally curated by the Countess. However, what we enjoyed most was its paved floors, which some judges consider to be the best in Europe.
The exhibits are set across several rooms, and you can explore the ground floor at your leisure. While an entrance fee is required, it entitles you to a guided tour upstairs of the living quarters with an English- or Spanish-speaking guide. (Unfortunately, no photos are allowed in this section of the tour).
21. Archivo General de Indias
If you are into history, particularly Spanish history, The Archivo General de Indias is somewhere you’ll want to visit.
Located on the Plaza del Triunfo’s western side, within what was once a merchant’s exchange, the archival building incredibly holds more than 10 km of bookshelves!
Much of its extensive collection of documents relates to the Spanish colonies in the Americas and the Philippines. Once there, visitors can delve into the fascinating historical records, including maps, manuscripts, and official correspondence, which offer insights into the era of exploration, conquest, and colonization.
A place for historians and those with curious minds, The Archivo General de Indias serves as a testament to Spain’s significant role in shaping the New World.
20. Las Duenas Palace
Seville is blessed with many examples of gorgeous architecture, and one of the best of them is the Las Dueñas Palace.
Constructed in the 15th century, the palace is a private residence owned by the House of Alba. It showcases a captivating blend of architectural styles spanning from Gothic to Mudéjar and Renaissance.
A guided tour of the Palace provides a fascinating insight into the city’s aristocratic history. The tour lasts an hour, during which time you will be enchanted by the beautifully manicured gardens, elegant courtyards, stunning chapel and opulent interiors.
The historic Palace is also full of antique furniture, decorative artwork and exquisite paintings, including an incredible piece by Neri di Bicci over 700 years old.
19. See a Flamenco Show
Experiencing a flamenco show in Seville is a captivating and unforgettable cultural immersion.
Seville is the birthplace of flamenco dancing in Spain. So what better thing to do than see a show whilst you are there?
The perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture, flamenco shows are a sensual and passionate art form that comes alive with music.
Flamenco shows take place all year round and one of the best places to see them is at Tablao El Arenal. They offer a couple of performances every night, each for an hour and a half, including tapas or a full meal.
Alternatively, check out Casa de la Memoria, another famous city destination. If what you see there inspires you to learn some moves, you can also take lessons from them.
18. Isla Magica
If you visit Seville with kids or are a big kid yourself, you’ll love Isla Magica.
Based on the discoveries Spanish explorers made in the 16th and 17th centuries, this theme park provides a fun and fantastic way to learn about the history of Spain.
Some Spanish settlements it has recreated are Amazonia, Cartagena, Puerto de Indias and the famous lost city of El Dourado.
The park is notable for a large lake which facilitates lots of water activities – perfect for when the Andalusian sun gets too hot. Additionally, it has roller coasters, several other rides, and cinematic and live shows.
The Isla Magica is within easy walking distance of Seville’s historic city center. It also has plenty of cafes and eateries to grab a bite to eat at.
17. Day Trip to Cordoba
If you have time to squeeze a day trip into your itinerary, make it to Cordoba.
Easily reached by a 45-minute train ride from Seville, Cordoba is known for its magnificent Mezquita-Catedral. A stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site that seamlessly blends Islamic and Christian architectural styles.
It also has a beautiful Jewish Quarter, with charming, narrow streets that house quaint courtyards, historic synagogues, and interesting shops.
The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, with its beautiful gardens and Moorish baths, will give you a glimpse of the city’s past. While the stunning Roman Bridge, which spans the Guadalquivir River, provides spectacular cityscape views.
Finally, no trip to Cordoba would be complete without trying its delicious tapas and traditional Andalusian dishes. So indulge in Carrillada de cerdo (pork cheek) and Serranito (grilled meat sandwich).
16. Semana Santa Festival
You might want to visit Seville during the Holy Week leading up to Easter because this is when The Semana Santa Festival takes place. This religious festival is one of the most important in Spain, attracting visitors from all four corners of the world.
During this event, the streets of Seville come alive with processions featuring massive floats, called pasos, depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ.
These pasos, carried by bearers known as costaleros, are accompanied by solemn music and followed by penitents dressed in traditional robes. The atmosphere resonates with reverence, emotion, and collective devotion as the processions wind through the narrow streets.
15. Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza
For visitors who are interested in the Spanish tradition of bullfighting, the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is a can’t-miss destination. The oldest bullring in Spain, the 14,000-seat arena dates back to 1758, and bullfights are still held here on Sundays from spring to fall.
You don’t need to watch a bullfight, however, to learn more about the tradition. The adjacent museum exhibits artifacts and information about famous bulls and matadors. Tickets include admission to the museum and a guided tour of the ring.
14. Iglesia Colegial del Salvador
Once a mosque, the Iglesia Colegial del Salvador is now a magnificent church that is a testament to the city’s rich architectural and artistic heritage. This impressive Baroque-style church is the largest in the city, adorned with intricate ornamentation, grandiose facades, and a stunning interior.
Providing you with a deeper appreciation of Seville’s artistic and religious heritage, the church captivates with its soaring ceilings, elaborate altarpieces, and beautifully carved sculptures on its nave.
One of the church’s main highlights is the Chapel of the Holy Christ, which has a striking crucifix. Another is the Chapel of the Virgen del Carmen, known for its exquisite artwork.
However, perhaps the church’s most striking feature is its peaceful ambience. It invites visitors to reflect on and admire the intricate craftsmanship that went into creating this architectural masterpiece.
13. Basilica de la Macarena
The Basilica de la Macarena is another important religious site in Seville. Dedicated to the Virgen de la Esperanza Macarena, a much-loved Andulasian religious figure, the magnificent basilica boasts a striking facade. Its exterior’s distinguishing white and red colors possess ornate detailing that will captivate you with their intricacy.
Once inside, you’ll be impressed by its spectacular stained glass windows, stunning sculptures and beautiful architecture. But what steals the show is the chapel which features an incredible image of the Virgen de la Macarena. Devotees regularly pay their respects to it and seek spiritual guidance and solace.
Due to its popularity, The Basilica de la Macarena does get very busy. So it is best to come here in the hour either side of it opening and closing.
12. Itálica Ruins
The Itálica Ruins are probably one of Seville’s biggest drawcards. You’ll need to hop on a bus at Plaza de Armas to get to them. But once there, you will have arrived at the birthplace of two of the most significant Roman Emperors – Hadrian and Trajan.
The Roman city was founded in 206 BC and is now an archaeological site of great historical importance. It features the well-preserved remnants of a grand amphitheater, which at the time was one of the largest in the Roman Empire.
As you walk through the ruins, you’ll see impressive mosaics, columns, and the remains of several other homes and buildings. All of which provide a glimpse into the daily life of its Roman inhabitants.
The site also houses a small museum where artifacts and sculptures found during excavations are displayed.
11. Museo De Bellas Artes
Also known as the Museum of Fine Arts, The Museo de Bellas Artes, is somewhere all art lovers should visit. Housed within the former Merced convent, the museum accommodates a remarkable collection of several centuries of artwork.
It showcases various styles, from historical and religious paintings to sculptures and decorative arts. They include masterpieces by renowned Spanish artists, including Velázquez, Murillo, and Zurbarán.
The museum incorporates spacious galleries and beautifully restored interiors, creating a serene atmosphere regardless of how busy it is.
Some of its most notable works are in its chapel, where the artworks reside in a space with a stunning painted ceiling and an impressive dome.
Situated within easy walking distance of Seville’s town center, the building also has a series of peaceful courtyards where you can sit and reflect on what you have seen.
10. Barrio de Triana
While there is plenty to see and do in Seville’s main town center, make sure you take the time to cross over the Guadalquivir River. There, you’ll be able to visit the vibrant and historic neighborhood of the Barrio de Triana.
The district resides on the river’s west bank. It is renowned for its distinctive character, epitomised by its brightly colored houses. Strolling through its charming streets, you’ll get to see them close up and venture into traditional ceramic workshops, lively markets, and bustling tapas bars.
Triana is also known for its strong ties to flamenco dancing. So it is another excellent place to catch an authentic flamenco performance. The neighborhood is also famous for its delicious seafood and vibrant nightlife, with many fabulous restaurants and bars.
9. Torre del Oro
No other structure in Seville better explains the role that the Guadalquivir River played during Spain’s colonial period than Torre del Oro, the Golden Tower. Seville owed much of its success in maritime trade to the navigable river, which offered ships more protection than a traditional European port.
For centuries, a heavy chain was strung across the river from the tower to protect the city from seafaring invaders. Built in the early 1200s, the watchtower’s name comes from the golden glow that the reflection of its building materials casts on the river.
Today, the tower is home to a maritime museum that outlines the river’s importance throughout Seville’s history. Visitors can enjoy views of waterway and city from a rooftop viewing platform.
8. Parque de María Luisa
Seville can be a bustling city at times. So when you need an escape into serenity, head to the Parque de María Luisa.
The park is the city’s primary green area, parallel to the Guadalquivir River. It is an expansive green oasis renowned for its beautiful gardens, tranquil ponds, and grand boulevards lined with lush trees.
Within it are several winding pathways to stroll along, ponds with bridges to cross and shaded benches to sit. You can also rent a rowboat to navigate the tranquil waters of its central lake.
In the park, there are several notable monuments and architectural landmarks, including the Plaza de España. There is also plenty of space to sunbathe or enjoy an al fresco picnic in several of its scenic areas.
7. Metropol Parasol
Located at La Encarnacion square in Seville’s Old City district, the newly completed Metropol Parasol is described as the largest wooden structure in the world. Designed by German architect Jurgen Mayer-Hermann, the building features six gigantic umbrella-shaped structures made of birch wood imported from Finland.
Nicknamed Las Setas de la Encarnacion, or Incarnacion’s Mushrooms, the modern design has spurred almost as much controversy as the building’s exorbitant price tag. Delays and changes in building methods doubled the estimated cost of 50 million euros. The structure is home to a marketplace, an antiquarium, a restaurant and an open air plaza.
6. Casa de Pilatos
Located next to the Plaza de Pilatos, the Caso de Pilatos is considered a premier example of an Andalusian palace. Designed by architect Genoese Antonio Maria Aprile in 1529, the “Pilate’s House” was so named in reference to the original owner’s son, Fadrique Enriquez de Rivera, who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1519.
Although the building is privately owned by the Medinaceli family, it’s open to the public for guided tours much of the year. Standout features include a series of bullfight paintings by Francisco Goya, a 16th-century marble gate and a grand staircase ornamented with a Mudéjar-style honeycomb ceiling.
5. Plaza de Espana
If there is one place you must visit in Seville, it is The Plaza de España. Found at the Parque de María Luisa, the magnificent square perfectly embodies the grandeur and beauty of the city. Built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, it features a marvelous combination of Renaissance and Moorish influences.
The plaza has a semicircular design and comprises colorful ceramic tiles, ornate Venetian-inspired bridges, canals and a centerpiece fountain. Visitors can explore the plaza’s expansive walkways, each representing a different Spanish province, and admire the intricate ceramic work depicting historical scenes and landmarks.
A popular gathering place for locals, it is a lovely destination for an afternoon stroll, a romantic boat ride down the canal, or a horse-drawn carriage ride through the square.
4. Barrio Santa Cruz
Located to the east of the Old City, the Barrio Santa Cruz is bordered by the Guadalquivir River. The neighborhood was Seville’s Jewish quarter until the late 1300s, when synagogues were closed, homes were confiscated and thousands of Jewish people were either killed or forced to convert to Christianity.
A neighborhood of narrow, cobbled alleys and streets, the barrio is filled with orange trees, colorfully tiled patios and small-scale plazas as well as a wide array of tapas bars and restaurants. Closed to vehicle traffic, the neighborhood is perfect for visitors who want to experience the ambience of a medieval Spanish city.
3. Real Alcazar
Still used today by Spain’s Royal family on state occasions, the Alcazar complex of royal palaces, patios and gardens has undergone many transformations over its more than one-thousand-year history.
In the 11th century, Muslim Moors constructed a palace on the site of a 10th-century fort, which was converted to a Gothic-style structure in the 13th century. One hundred years later, King Pedro hired Moorish craftsmen to rebuild and expand the palace in the Mudéjar style.
From the starry design of the domed ceiling in the Salón de Embajadores (Ambassadors’ Hall) to the delicate arches and plasterwork of the Patio de las Doncellas (Patio of Maidens), the Palacio de Don Pedro is considered one of the top tourist attractions in Seville.
2. La Giralda
The Giralda is the only remaining structure of the 12th-century mosque torn down during the construction of the Seville Cathedral. Moors built the minaret with a series of ramps so that guards could ride to the top on horseback.
Today, the 35 ramps make it easy for visitors to ascend to the summit to enjoy panoramic views of the city below. The bell tower is capped with a bronze weathervane called El Giraldillo, which is a symbol that represents the triumph of faith.
The entrance to the tower is located in the cathedral’s northeastern corner.
1. Seville Cathedral
Built on the site of a grand Almohad Mosque, Seville’s medieval cathedral was built to demonstrate Seville’s power and wealth after the Reconquista.
At the time of its completion in the 16th century, it supplanted the Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world. It is still the third-largest church in Europe, and the biggest by volume.
The mammoth Gothic structure features an altarpiece depicting the life of Jesus that includes more than 1,000 figures covered in gold leaf. The cathedral’s artistic treasures include Pedro de Campaña’s Descent from the Cross, Francisco de Zurbarán’s Santa Teresa and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s masterpiece, La Inmaculada. Within the church’s transept lies the tomb of Christopher Columbus.