Seville

Seville City Guide

Located in the south-west of Spain, Seville is the capital of Andalusia and the fourth largest city in Spain. Known for its rich history, culture and sunny weather, that is exactly what attracts people to visit it. Seville lies on the Guadalquivir River which is the only navigable river in the country. Back in the 16th century, this city was the commercial capital of the Western world. Today, it is the perfect combination of tradition and modernity.

The river divides the city into two parts: Sevilla and Triana. It has around 1.5 million inhabitants, the official language is Spanish and their official currency is Euro. 

Weather in Seville is ideal for those who love the sun all year round. The climate is Mediterranean with quite warm summers and mild winters. During summer the temperatures can go above 30 °C. In the wintertime, the maximum temperature reaches 16 °C and the minimum is around 5 °C. Whatever season you choose to visit Seville, the weather will be enjoyable.

If you decide to visit this southern beauty, we made a detailed guide below of all the things you should be aware of!

Getting to Seville

Although it is the fourth-largest city, it is very well connected to the rest of Andalusia, Spain and Europe.

By plane

Seville airport (SVQ) also called San Pablo Airport serves as the main airport in the region of Andalusia. It is located 10 km north-east from the city of Seville. You can reach the airport either by EA airport bus or a taxi. The bus leaves approximately every 30 minutes and the ticket costs €4. Vueling and Ryanair are the main low-cost companies at the airport. It serves flight connections to all over Spain as well as to some of Europe’s capital cities (Paris, London, Brussels and more).

By bus

The city of Seville has two main bus stations: Plaza de Armas and Prado de San Sebastián. The bus system in Seville is exceptionally well organised with the rest of the nearby and further Spanish cities. ALSA is a very affordable Spanish coach company that offers plenty of routes.
NOTE: Seville has connections with several Spanish cities e.g. (Alicante, Granada, Málaga) as well as international bus connections with Portugal (Lisbon, Tavira, Albufeira), France (Montpellier) and Switzerland (Zurich). 

By train

Seville’s main train station is Santa Justa. It is located in the northern part of the city and has been served with a high-speed train AVE since 1992. This station is a hub for all interurban and regional routes.

By car

Seville has an excellent road network with several highways. The most relevant ones are: A-4 which connects Andalusia with Madrid and Cádiz, A-92 connects Seville with Granada and Coast of the Sun. A-49 is connected with Portugal.

Getting around Seville

Exploring the city on foot is by far the most convenient way. The parking spots in the centre are limited so driving could be a bit of a hassle. However, public transport is very well organised and accessible.

Bike

Seville has put a great emphasis on developing the cycling culture, so choosing this as your option to explore the city is ideal. Cycling lanes exist throughout the whole city so you can even reach the central areas. The bike rental service they use is called Sevici. There are 2,600 bikes displayed on the Sevici stations all throughout the city. There are short-term and long-term passes and the first 30 minutes on the bike are free. 

Bus

The bus network is highly extensive and covers every neighbourhood in the city. The price for a one-way ticket is €1.40 which you can buy on the bus. Bus lines C-3 and C-4 cover circular rings around the historic centre and C-5 covers the inner part of the centre.

Tram

The tram system in Seville is called MetroCentro although it does not have anything to do with the metro. The company that operates the tram is TUSSAM (Urban transports of Seville Municipal Corporation). It covers 1.4 km of territory and has five stops, from Plaza Nueva to San Bernardo. One way ticket costs €1.20. 

Tram in Seville

Tram in Seville

Metro

Seville’s metro opened in 2008 and currently operates with one line that is 18 km long. It has 22 stops that go from Ciudad Expo to Olivar Quintos, covering the west-south area from the suburban parts of the city all the way to the center. 

Ticket System

The best option when visiting this city is to purchase the Tarjeta Turística. It is a public transportation card that offers unlimited access to bus, tram and metro. You can either choose a one-day option (€5) or a three-day option (€10). They can be purchased online and delivered to your accommodation address or you can buy them at any TUSSAM information point.

NOTE: By purchasing this card you can acquire great deals and discounts for some tours, shows, museums etc.

Parking system in Seville

If you have a car or rent a car to get around the city, have in mind that parking might be a bit challenging. It is best to avoid parking in the strict centre because it is most likely to be a very expensive and frustrating experience. However, you have a few free car parks on the outskirts of the city as well as paying ones. Parkvia is a great tool that helps you find all the free and paying car parks in Seville. The parking system is generally managed by zones. In the blue marked zones, you can park as a visitor for a maximum of 2 hours and in the green zone for three hours. You can pay for the parking either on the parking meters or using an app called Apparkya. The zones are usually open from 9:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 21:00 on working days. On Sundays and public holidays, the services are free. 

Sights

A city that is enriched with such history, culture and tradition will leave you speechless on so many different levels. Here are the not-to-miss sights of Seville.

The first out of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seville is the Cathedral in Seville (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See). It is the largest Gothic church as well as the third-largest cathedral in Europe. In the 16th century, at one point, it even displaced Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world. The legend has it that people built it solely to show off the city’s wealth and power. Another thing worth the visit is the Giralda, church’s bell tower (105 m tall) that was originally built as a minaret. Patio de los Naranjos is a beautiful courtyard in front of the cathedral filled with orange trees. The royal chapel inside holds the remains of Christopher Columbus and Seville’s famous conquerors.

Across the cathedral is situated the second site that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage,  Royal Alcázar de Sevilla. The palace is a mixture of Islamic, Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance style. Some of the important places in the palace are the main entrance Puerta de León, The Courtyards of the Maidens and the Baths of Lady María de Padilla. In the outdoor part are located the astonishing Prince’s Gardens and the Fountain of Neptune. Famous HBO series Game of Thrones was filmed here as well.

The General Archive of Indies is the third UNESCO World Heritage Site in Seville. It dates from the 16th century and counts around 9 km of shelves with books about the Indies. The entrance fee is gratis.

The Golden Tower (Torre del Oro) is a city’s military watchtower from the 13th century. Built by the river Guadalquivir, next to the San Telmo bridge, this monument served to control those who wanted to enter Seville via the river. Nowadays, the tower houses a nautical museum and at the top is a terrace where visitors have an amazing overlook of the river and the city.

Golden tower (Torre del Oro)

Golden tower (Torre del Oro)

The Jewish Quarter is a charming little district near the main cathedral with a dark history behind it. In the beginning, this area was just a wall that separated Jews from the rest of the people. In the 14th century when Christians no longer saw any benefits from the Jews, they invaded the city and exiled the Jews. It’s a place full of cute houses, narrow streets and many restaurants. If you want to learn more about Jewish history, you can visit the Centro de Interpretación de la Judería.

María Luisa Park is a huge green park south of the historic centre. Visitors can see Moorish and Renaissance glorietas or pavilions all around. The main focus of the park is Plaza de España, a semicircular square that is a mix of Moorish and Renaissance style. They call it ‘the Venice of Seville’ due to a 500 meter canal that spreads across the square. It is intersected with four bridges that represent four old Spanish kingdoms. You can rent a small boat there and row in the canals for a more vivid experience. The surface area covers around 50,000 square meters with many balconies where usually tourists take pictures.
Fun fact: The movie Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones was filmed here!

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de América is situated in the south part of María Luisa Park. It is a beautiful area with many small gardens inside. Besides the Plaza, visitors can stop by the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs and the Archaeological Museum

The Triana district is the part of the city across the river Guadalquivir. To get there you will have to cross Triana Bridge or Puente de Isabel II. In the past, this was a place where flamenco artists and Gitanos (en. gipsies) lived since they were forbidden to reside inside the city. Famous azulejos or ceramic tiles are made here from the river mud. Centro de la Cerámica Triana is a museum that used to be an old factory, an ideal place to learn more about the history of this craft. Triana is the perfect place to see an authentic flamenco show. Sevillian people call it the “Independent Republic of Triana” due to the fact that it is a place with many traditions, integrity and individuality. 

The Maestranza bullring from the 18th century is one of the oldest and finest bullrings in Spain. It is a gorgeous building built in Baroque style. One of the prominent parts is the main entrance called the Prince’s Gate. The arena itself can fit up to 14.000 people and has incredible acoustics. 

The Flamenco Dance Museum or Museo del Baile Flamenco is home to this abundant tradition. Very well known and respected flamenco dancer Cristina Hoyos was the one who came up with the idea to open the museum and educate people about the tradition. The museum shows the evolution of this tradition, from the sole beginning to modern times.

The Museum of Fine Arts is a building that used to be a convent but was restored and converted into a beautiful museum. It is a great place to see Spanish art all the way from the Middle Ages to modern times. On the other hand, the Caixa Forum is an ideal place to experience art in a more interactive way. It is a cultural hub for the lovers of contemporary art. 

Metropol Parasol is supposedly the biggest wooden set-up in the world. The curvy structure is made out of criss-cross wavy wooden girders, due to the shape it creates they call it the Incarnation’s mushrooms (sp. Las Setas de Sevilla). This architectural masterpiece is 26 m high with dimensions of 150×70 metres. It is located on the Plaza de Encarnación in the old town. 

Activities

Cruise on the river Guadalquivir is great for exploring the city from a different perspective. Tours depart from the pier next to the Golden Tower on a daily basis. The cruise offers a breathtaking panoramic look of the city. From the boat, you can admire the towers from Plaza de España, the Maestranza bullring as well as the Triana district. In addition, you will visit the Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas on the Isle of Cartuja. 

A horse-drawn carriage is a truly unique way to familiarize with the city. This is a big part of their cultural heritage and tradition. It’s a great option if you don’t have much time to do all the sightseeing in detail. The carriages can be found all over the city, you just need to ask and the tour is on. The tour guide will tell you all about the sights and monuments along with some interesting stories about them. 

Carriages in front of Cathedral of Seville

Carriages in front of Cathedral of Seville

Attending a proper flamenco show is without a doubt a ‘must’ when you visit this city! Tablao is the local name for a flamenco bar and the best place to experience this. The District of Triana is the birthplace of this tradition, so visiting local bars here definitely won’t be a miss! Some of the most popular places to attend the shows are Casa de la Memoria, T de Triana, Casa Anselma and Casa del Flamenco.

Aquopolis Sevilla is a Sevillian water park that has 10 rides, a jacuzzi and a lake. If you want to take a break and eat something, there are 3 restaurants to choose from.

Isla Mágica is a theme park with seven different areas centred around the main lake. The general theme of rides and other activities is based upon colonial Spain. You can also go to Agua Mágica, a small water park. 

To experience relaxation like people in ancient times then go to Aire de Seville and take an Arab bath. This place offers sessions including thermal baths and massages. They recommend that you put your phone away so you get the proper experience.

Outside the city centre, you can book a hot air balloon ride. This is a perfect opportunity to do in Seville due to its breathtaking landscape that for sure looks even more beautiful from up above.

Festivals and events

Semana Santa or Holy Week is a celebration that takes place the week before Easter. It is a big tradition all over the country and people prepare for it all year round. Organization and events occurring during this spectacle are an absolute dream! You can witness pilgrimages and 12-hour long processions. Outstanding pasos or huge sculptures that depict the scenes from Christ’s Passion are one of the main attractions. These floats are carried by locals, so-called costaleros. Women tend to wear a traditional mantilla, a decorative headpiece accompanied by a lace veil. If you happen to be here during the Holy Week, expect to experience a cultural exhibition! 

Only two weeks after the Holy Week is when one of the biggest celebrations occurs, Feria de Abril or the Spring Fair. A tradition that originates from the livestock market that took place here in the 19th century. Locals call the event’s area – Real de Feria. The grounds are filled with casetas or big tents which are the center for all the fun, drinking and dancing. Note that some of the tents are private so look for the ones where entry is free. The party ambience starts in the early afternoon and lasts until the morning. Women tend to dress up or wear their traditional gipsy dresses with ruffles and polka dots while men usually wear suits. Prepare to stuff your face with delicious food such as churros or a local dish called adobo (marinated cuttlefish). A typical drink that you can find is called rebujito – sherry mixed with Sprite.

Seville celebration

Seville celebration

Nightlife

Equally to the rest of Spain, the city of Seville has buoyant nightlife as well. The list goes all the way from clubs, bars to popular flamenco shows.

The district of Triana is where the famous Calle Betis is situated. In the evening this street is the focal point to let loose and have some fun. There are plenty of flamenco hot spots, tapas bars and nightclubs. Bar-hopping is a common thing locals do here, having one or two drinks at each location before going to a nightclub. Another great neighbourhood is Alameda, a boulevard filled with rooftop bars and terraces. If you prefer a more alternative club scene, this is the place to go. Obbio Club and Fun Club are the trendiest places to go out there. 

The area where the nightlife never rests is the Alfalfa district, according to the locals. More specifically, the street of Perez Galdos is where young people gather to drink and socialize. There is always something going on here, the bars are always full and the music is loud. Some good places to visit are Garlochi and La Rebotica.

Antique Theatro is one of the top clubs in the city that hosts DJs, concerts and plenty of themed events. It covers the surface of 2,500 square metres with a beautifully decorated interior. This is usually people’s top choice when going out. In the city centre, another popular club is Uthopia Sevilla that has three floors, each one playing a different genre of music. Sala Cosmos is the hub for the fans of electronic music and Sala X is a concert hall and a nightclub in one place. 

Food

As we all know, Spanish cuisine is known globally as very delicious and flavourful. Seville’s food spectrum ranges from mouth-watering traditional meat dishes and seafood specialities to local vegetarian delicacies. 

What to eat

  • Bull’s tail or Rabo de toro is a type of stew that is cooked for approximately three hours. Besides meat, they add red wine and vegetables. The meat is really tender and flavourful and they usually serve it with baked or mashed potatoes. 
  • Pork cheek or Carrillada de Cerdo is also a meat stew that is prepared in tomato sauce with red wine, garlic and vegetables. The meat is really soft and savory and usually recommended to have along with red wine. 
  • Pork in whiskey or Solomillo al Whiskey is a pork tenderloin prepared with whiskey sauce and garlic.  Another exclusively traditional dish is Serranito de Lomo, a trademark of the city. It’s a small sandwich with pork, Serranito ham and grilled green pepper.
  • Pringá is a very interesting speciality. The proper way to eat this is the vegetable broth with chickpeas first and then after that, you eat a mix of meats and sausages. It can be served either as a dish or you have the option to try the meat stuffed in montadito or a small sandwich.
  • Huevos a la Flamenca, a dish that has no exact recipe but rather lets the cook’s imagination flow. They mix the eggs with tomato sauce, vegetables and put ham or sausage on top then bake it.
  • Seville has access to fresh fish every day so consequently, seafood is a big thing here. They usually serve the fish fried. The famous delicacy is Cazón en Adobo, which is dogfish marinated in spicy sauce. 
  • If you are not a meat lover than Espinacas con Garbanzos or Spinach and chickpeas is your dish. Another option could be salmorejo, a cold thick tomato soup with olive oil and garlic served with bread for dipping. 
  • For the ones with a sweet tooth, you should definitely try las torrijas, small sweet treats made from stale bread that is previously dipped in egg and then fried. Dulces de Convento or literally convent sweets are also very typical here.   
Paella and tapas

Paella and tapas

Where to eat

  • The Triana food market is located right next to the Triana bridge. This is a big covered market with plenty of food stands. You can buy fresh local goods, fruits and vegetables. There are also plenty of tapas bars where you can stop for quick delicious snacks. 
  • The Feria market is situated in the Feria neighbourhood. Likewise to the Triana market, this one also has all the fresh food that is produced locally. It is recommended that you try fried fish in one of the market’s tapas bars. Under the Metropol Parasol is the Encarnación food market, another great option to go food exploring.  
  • Located in the old local prison is the Arenal market, the oldest food market in the city. You have plenty of options to choose from  including some of Seville’s best vegan joints. 
  • El Rinconcillo is the oldest tapas bar in the city founded in the 17th century. The interior is beautifully decorated with ceramic tiles and cured Iberian ham that hangs above the bar.
  • La Carbonería is the perfect combination of delicious food and tradition. You can eat tapas and drink sangria while watching a flamenco performance. This is an ideal place to feel the authentic vibe of the city.
  • Casa Morales is another place that exudes pure tradition. The place is decorated with big wine containers that are covered in chalkboard material so often the daily menu is written there. Their famous dish is rice with liver or Arroz con higado
  • It is known that Seville has a big thing for fried seafood. Freiduría Puerta de la Carne is a shop that has been selling fried fish since 1929. 
  • If you are vegan or vegetarian go to Gaia Bar Ecológico, they exclusively serve vegan and vegetarian dishes. Or you can go to restaurant Habanita to try their vegan delicacy arepas which is a flatbread stuffed with different fillings. 
  • The best paella in town can be found in La Paella Sevilla. The family that owns the place is from Valencia so authenticity is guaranteed. 
  • El Rincón de Beirut is the best place to go if you prefer halal food, they also specialize in Lebanese cuisine.
  • Al Wadi is a place with Morrocan vibes that also has halal, vegan and gluten-free options. 

Shopping

Seville has more than enough options for a shopping spree of your choice. Whether you prefer window shopping, souvenir shops or large malls, this city will not let you down!

The hub shopping area is located near Plaza Nueva on the Sierpes and Tetuán street. There are all kinds of shops that offer a variety of clothes, shoes, souvenirs, jewellery etc. East of the city centre is the big shopping centre Nervión that has all the international brands, chain stores and one big cinema. Plaza de Armas is a train station that is also a shopping complex with several speciality shops, coffee places and a movie theatre.  Fifteen minutes away from the city is Seville’s Fashion Outlet that has many famous brands at discounted prices.  

Los Remedios neighbourhood is the centre of shopping in the Triana district. The street where the majority of clothing and decor shops are located is La Calle Asunción.
Since Triana is home to the city’s traditional ceramic craft, you cannot go home without buying a beautifully painted bowl or an azulejo tile. Cerámica Santa Ana and Cerámica Triana are two great souvenir shops that sell all kinds of ceramic decor.

Accommodation

Seville has plenty of accommodation options; from hotels, hostels and private accommodation. Click below to see all of them:

Useful contacts

Emergency: 112
Police: 092
Ambulance: 061
Fire department: 080/085
24/7 Pharmacy: Farmacia Neto Del Rio C.B., Calle Castillo de Constantina, 4 (tel: +34  954610437)

Map of Seville

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