You’re short on time but you want to make sure you get to see as much of Seville as possible. What do you visit first?
Sevilla is a beautiful city, famous for its sunny weather, the April Fair, Holy Week celebrations, delicious tapas and impressive monuments. It’s a city full of tradition, with charming architecture, winding streets and friendly people. With so much to see and do, it’s hard to know where to start.
If you’re feeling lost already, here’s a quick guide to 5 places you musn’t miss when visiting Sevillle.
1. Plaza de España and María Luisa Park
If you only visit one place in Seville, make it the Plaza de España and the adjacent María Luisa Park. Whichever angle you approach from, it’s bound to take your breath away.
With its swooping arches, impressive tile work and cool water features, this semi-circular plaza is often abuzz with visitors out for an afternoon stroll. The sound of horse shoes on the cobbles, the rowers making their way around the moat and the gypsies selling brightly coloured fans, are all you need to jump right in to the essence of Seville. It’s both touristy and perfectly local all at once.
Wander around the perimetre and you will come across 48 different tiled murals, representing most of the provinces in Spain. You can climb the steps to the central balconies or you can wander in the shade below the arches. Then, hop over the bridge and into the María Luisa Park, to explore its green avenues.
Pro tip: if your head here early in the morning you’ll avoid the crowds and have the place mostly to yourself.
2. Real Alcázar
The oldest Royal Palace still in use, the Real Alcázar is a must for anyone visiting Seville. Even if you are travelling on a budget, I recommend you pay the fee to visit this impressive monument and its gardens.
Ever since Game of Thrones made it part of its set it has become even more popular with tourists who want to visit Dorne and the Water Gardens, but those who are not fans of the TV series will still find plenty to enjoy. A mixture of beautiful halls, lush green gardens and rich history make the Real Alcázar a necessary stop when you travel to Seville.
Pro tip: make sure you book your tickets on the official website as there are other tourist traps out there trying to sell guided tours and non official tickets which may add a good sum of money to your experience. You can also buy tickets at the door and hire audioguides inside. Don’t be put off by the queue, it usually moves quite fast and I promise it is worth the wait. Booking in advance will reduce the hanging around, though you may still have to queue to go through security.
3. Las Setas
Officially Metropol Parasol, this modern structure is better known as Las Setas or The Mushrooms, since its white wooden shape reminds passersby of the fungus with the same name. It was hated by locals when it first was built because it seemed a little out of place in the historic city centre. However, its has grown on people and it is now more popular than the Cathedral among visitors.
As well as admiring it from the ground, for 3€ you can take the lifts up to the viewing platform and have a wander on top. Remember, you have to go down to go up. Find the stairs leading to level -1. Also below ground you will find the Roman ruins of the Antiquarium, with some interesting mosaics.
Pro tip: your ticket to the viewing platform includes a free postcard from the gift shop and a free drink. You can exchange your voucher at the bar on the viewing platform but this only gives you a slight discount. For a completely free drink, wait until you get back down and exchange your voucher at one of the collaborating bars on the ground floor.
4. Alameda de Hércules
If you are looking for a little alternative local experience, head to Alameda at lunch time (after 14:00) or in the evening (20:30 onwards). This is one of the main hubs for local cuisine, the city’s nightlife, music shows and a great way to experience another less touristy side of the city. The Alameda is also one of the oldest public garden promenades in Europe and has a few interesting buildings and monuments around.
5. Giralda and Cathedral
Finally, no visit to Seville would be complete without heading to the Cathedral and up the Giralda bell tower. I have left it to last, because if you are short on time or money, I would take a look from the outside rather than taking the full tour. However, it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the Giralda is the most symbolic monument in the city. If you have the opportunity you should definitely take the time to visit.
Alternatively, if you want a sneak peek for free you can go in during mass, but this won’t allow you to visit the bell tower.
So there you have it. 5 essential places to visit in Seville. Which is your favourite? Have I missed one? What would you include?
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