Pearl of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, there are so many things to do in Seville and activities that make the city so enticing and fascinating that hardly a single vacation will be enough. More likely, in fact, you will plan another holiday to complete your Seville sightseeing or sample more of its delicious food.
Top things to do in Seville
Seville’s most important religious building, the majestic Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See is known as Europe’s third largest church and the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Stunning both inside and outside, it was built between 1401 and 1506 on the site of an old mosque, as it was the case of other worship places in Andalusia, like Cordoba’s Mezquita.
The interior of Seville Cathedral displays the monumental tomb of Italian explorer and navigator Cristoforo Colombo and a tall gold altarpiece in the Capilla Mayor, Great Chapel. Its majesty and opulence are the direct show of power of the Catholic rulers in the aftermath of the Reconquista, or Re-Conquest, and this is one of the reasons that make it definitely one of the best things to do in Seville.
Address of Seville Cathedral: Avenida de la Constitucion.
Opening hours of Seville Cathedral: July and August: Mon-Sat 9.30 am-4.30 pm; Sun 2.30-6.30 pm. September to June: Mon-Sat 11 am-5.30 pm; Sun 2.30-6.30 pm. Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
Entrance fee of Seville Cathedral: Adults € 9, retired people and student below 26yo € 4, free for disabled, unemployed, children below 14yo.
Today’s the cathedral’s bell tower, the beautiful Giralda contains the minaret of the former mosque. You can enter the Giralda from inside the cathedral, you can climb it up to enjoy a beautiful view of Seville’s rooftops.
Built under Muslim rule between 1184 and 1198, it has the typical delicate style and hues of the local Islamic decorations, and it’s worth your visit for both its interior and top, making it one of the main Seville things to do.
Address of La Giralda: Plaza Virgen de los Reyes.
Opening hours of La Giralda: Winter (September to June): Monday 11 am-3.30; Tues-Sat 11 am-5 pm; Sunday 2.30-6.30 pm. Summer (July & August): Monday 9.30 am-2.30 pm; Tues-Sat 9.30 am-4.30 pm; Sunday 2.30-6.30 pm.
Entrance fee of La Giralda: Included in the Cathedral’s ticket.
Seville’s Royal Alcazar
Even if you have only one day in Seville, do not miss the Royal Alcazar. Enlisted by UNESCO in 1987 alongside the Cathedral and the Archivo de Indias, the Alcazar is an important testimony of both the Almohads and the Christian civilizations ruling Andalucia in the Middle Ages, and a beautiful example of Moorish architecture.
As put by UNESCO, these three landmarks form a magnificent complex that incorporates “vestiges of Islamic culture, centuries of ecclesiastical power, royal sovereignty and the trading power that Spain acquired through its colonies in the New World.”
Address of the Real Alcazar: Plaza del Triunfo.
Opening hours of the Real Alcazar: October to March: Mon-Sun 9.30 am-5 pm. April to September: Mon-Sun 9.30 am-7 pm. Closed January 1st and 6th, Good Friday and December 25th.
Entrance fee for the Real Alcazar: Adults € 9.50, students between up to 25 years old and retired people € 2, free for younger than 16 and disabled people.
⇒ Extra tip: Skip the line at Seville Alcazar with this guided tour.
Archive of the Indies
The Archivo de Indias is the impressive archive of the Spanish Empire and one of the best things to do in Seville.
If you are a history buff, you will love to peruse the documents and travel in time from Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492 and the following Golden Age of the Spanish Empire through the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Located in Casa de la Lonja de Sevilla, as chosen by Carlos III in 1785, alongside the documents, visitors can enjoy the sight of historical relics and art masterpieces such as old maps and Goya paintings.
Address of Archive of the Indies: Av. de la Constitución.
Opening hours of Archive of the Indies: Mon-Sat 10 am-4 pm. Sundays and public holidays 10 am-2 pm. Closed December 25th and 31st.
Entrance fee for Archive of the Indies: Free.
Casa de Pilatos (Pilate’s House)
A 16th-century mansion, Casa de Pilatos shows the Mudéjar style that decorated Seville and other Andalucian gems before the Catholic Reconquista, an interplay of Islamic patterns blended with the style of the Iberic peninsula.
It’s often off the tourist trail, but if you stay in Seville for a couple of days I totally recommend you pay a visit.
Address of Casa de Pilatos: Plaza de Pilatos 1.
Opening hours of Casa de Pilatos: Winter (November to March): Mon-Sun 9 am-6 pm. Summer (April to October): Mon-Sun 9 am-7 pm. Ticket office closes half an hour before closing time. Wednesdays free for EU citizens from 3 to 6 pm (7 pm in summer).
Entrance fee for Casa de Pilatos: 6 € for the ground floor, 8 € for both ground and upper floors.
Parque de Maria Luisa
Seville’s largest park, this lovely green oasis was donated to the city by the Infanta María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón, Duchess of Montpellier in 1893 to be used as a public park. Its tree-lined avenues meet where scenic fountains and statues are and all over Parque de Maria Luisa you will see pools, more fountains, pavilions and squares.
If you are still wondering what to do in Seville, a day in the park gives you a good mix of relaxing and history.
Address of Parque de Maria Luisa: Avenida de la Palmera.
Opening hours of Parque de Maria Luisa: Sep-June 8 am-10 pm, to midnight in July and August.
Entrance fee for Parque de Maria Luisa: Free.
Plaza de España
This wide and beautiful plaza is located in the Parque de Maria Luisa and is one of Seville top attractions. An impressive complex consisting of a large square, fountains, a semi-circular brick building in neo-Moorish style and Venice-style small bridges and canals, it was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929 alongside the pavilions still visible in the park.
Make sure you are careful with your personal belongings especially if someone approaches you to ask you for some information because this is how my travel mate got robbed.
Torre de Oro
A 36-metre watchtower dating back to the 13th century, Torre de Oro, or Tower of Gold, stands out of the crowd of buildings and dominates the cityscape.
It consists of three bodies, and its construction started with the first body in 1221 during the rule of Almohad governor Ibn Uhla. The second body, also dodecagonal, was ordered by Peter of Castile the Cruel (el Cruel) in the 14th century, while the upper floor, cylinder-shaped, was built in 1760 by military engineer Sebastián Van der Borcht. For history lovers and in-the-know travellers, absolutely one of the top places to visit in Seville.
Address of Torre de Oro: Paseo de Cristóbal Colón.
Opening hours of Torre de Oro: Mon-Fri 9.30 am-6.45 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10.30 am-6.45 pm. Closed on public holidays.
Entrance fee for Torre de Oro: € 3 adults, € 1.50 students, children 6-14 years old, retired people over 65 years old, groups. Free for children below 6 years old and disabled. Free on Mondays. 2 € for the audioguide.
Flamenco in Seville
Typical dance from Seville, your trip is not complete if you don’t attend at least one flamenco show. Many places claim to be showing the best flamenco in Seville, and indeed many are. Some of the nightclubs you can go for some flamenco show in Seville are the intimate and vibrant Casa de la Guitarra (Calle Mesón del Moro, 12a), the traditional Casa de la Memoria (Calle Cuna, 6) and the beautiful Casa del Flamenco (Calle Ximénez de Enciso, 28) in the Santa Cruz quarter.
It claims to be the world’s largest wooden building, for sure it bears unusual architectural features. Dominating Plaza de la Encarnación, a former grey area of Seville city centre, Metropol Parasol, designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer, houses a traditional market, a cafe and great views of the city. In its basement, you can visit the Roman ruins discovered during the construction.
Address of Metrosol Parasol: Plaza de la Encarnación.
Opening hours of Metrosol Parasol: Sun-Thur 10 am-11 pm, Friday and Saturday to 11.30 pm.
Entrance fee of Metrosol Parasol: 3 €, free for children below 12 years old.
Santa Cruz Quarter
Very popular among tourists, Santa Cruz is a neighbourhood located in the former Jewish quarter in the old town. A tangle of narrow alleys and traditional courtyards, here you can breathe the authentic Sevillian spirit. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the best places to see in Seville close to some of the most famous Seville attractions.
Hospital de los Venerables
Founded by Justino Neve in 1675 as the residence for the venerable priests, the two-floor Hospital de los Venerables is right the Santa Cruz quarter. Consisting of a church and an old residence, visitors to this old mansion can wander around the courtyard, the galleries of arcades, the central fountain and the tiled decoration as well as a Baroque oval dome and Baroque-style plasterwork.
Address of Hospital de los Venerables: Plaza de los Venerables, 8.
Opening hours of Hospital de los Venerables: Mon-Sun 10 am-6 pm. Closed: 1 January, 25 December, and Good Friday.
Entrance fee for Hospital de los Venerables: Adults 5,50 €, students 4 €, retired people, groups with a minimum of 20 people and students, with ID 2.75 €. Free on Tuesday 2-6 pm.
La Caridad Hospital
The hospital of the Charity Brotherhood (Hermandad de la Caridad), historically the hospital of the poor, a large part of it is still used as a hospital and the entrance fee is one of the ways the Brotherhood has to fund charity projects. A sophisticated example of 17th-century Baroque, this hospital should definitely be on your list of things to do in Seville.
Address of La Caridad Hospital: Calle Temprado, 3.
Opening hours of La Caridad Hospital: Mon-Sat 11 am-1 pm and 3.30-7 pm. Sundays 9 am-12.30 pm.
Entrance fee for La Caridad Hospital: 5 €, 4 € for groups.
Palace of San Telmo
Stunning example of Seville Baroque, San Telmo Palace is the name used for the Palace of the Dukes of Montpensier after the statue of the patron saint of sailors dominating the main entrance of the former Sailors’ School.
Its many interior courtyards, towers, chapel and gardens, as well as its large and finely decorated facade make it a must among the things to do in Seville Spain.
Address of San Telmo Palace: Avenida de Roma.
Visiting hours of San Telmo Palace: Thursday, Saturday and Sunday prior mandatory booking.
Entrance fee for San Telmo Palace: Free.
Convent of Santa Paula
If you are still wondering what to do in Seville, Spain, the Convent of Santa Paula is a fascinating attraction to unearth yet another piece of the local history.
Monastery of Hieronymites, it was founded by Doña Ana de Santillán and Don Guzmán in 1475 for the members of the Religious Order of St Jerome and, like many buildings in Andalusia, Christian and Islamic decorative patterns are beautifully blended, as well as Gothic and Renaissance elements.
Address of Convent of Santa Paula: Calle Santa Paula, 1.
Opening hours of Convent of Santa Paula: Tue-Sun 10 am-1 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Entrance fee for Convent of Santa Paula: 3 €.
Day tours from Seville
Many are the day trips you can take from Seville to explore the surroundings, the countryside and the local natural landscape, whether you are backpacking Europe or on a more classic trip.
Visit the ancient towns and white villages of the old Andalusian kingdoms with the day tour from Seville to Pueblos Blancos and Ronda.
If Seville is your only stop in Andalusia, book this tour from Seville to the gorgeous Alhambra in Granada, no trip to Andalusia is complete without admiring this beautiful Islamic complex, and a day trip to Cordoba to visit the former capital of the Umayyad caliphate.
Explore the wildlife of the region in a day trip to Doñana National Park and end the day at the traditional village of El Rocío and at the beach.