“Sevilla tiene un color especial…” as the famous song says. And it couldn’t be more true. The Andalusian Capital has such a special atmosphere, the vibe, the colours and its people make Sevilla, what it is. A charming, vivid & lovely city, that you should visit! We have collected the top 20 places that you cannot miss out on once your are there. So let’s see our Sevilla Bucket List!
- 1 What to see in Sevilla – A Sevilla Bucket List
- 1.1 Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza – Visit the famous bullfighting ring
- 1.2 Las Setas de Sevilla – Enjoy the views from the top of Sevilla
- 1.3 Catedral de Sevilla & La Giralda
- 1.4 Tomb of Christopher Columbus
- 1.5 Torre del Oro – A medieval defensive tower
- 1.6 Triana district & Plazuela de Santa Ana
- 1.7 Parroquia de San Pedro Apóstol
- 1.8 Alameda de Hércules
- 1.9 Calle Sierpes
- 1.10 Plaza de España
- 1.11 Parque de Maria Luisa
- 1.12 Museo de Bellas Artes
- 1.13 Azulejos – The Sevilla Patterns
- 1.14 Barrio Santa Cruz – The always crowded district
- 1.15 Archivo de Indias
- 1.16 Basílica de Jesús del Gran Poder
- 1.17 La Cartuja – Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas
- 1.18 Torre Sevilla
- 1.19 Flamenco Show – Book a live performance or visit a local authentic show!
- 1.20 Real Alcázar de Sevilla
- 2 Best experiences in Sevilla
- 3 Where to stay in Sevilla
- 4 More tips about Sevilla
What to see in Sevilla – A Sevilla Bucket List
Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza – Visit the famous bullfighting ring
This bullfighting ring is open for tourists even if there is no show. Even if you are not a fan of bullfights it’s worth to get inside as a cultural matter. This Plaza de Toros is one of the most famous ones in Spain and probably the most important still being active.
The entrance ticket is 10 EUR per person (information: March 2022). But be aware that sometimes they build different installations on the sand in the middle of the arena. Regardless of the views are not that nice anymore or even completely blocked by the installations they would charge the same entrance fee. Ask about this matter before you book or buy your tickets!
Las Setas de Sevilla – Enjoy the views from the top of Sevilla
When they built Las Setas de Sevilla or Metropol Parasol in 2011, it got a mixed reaction from the residents of Sevilla. But in recent years, the enormous wooden structure has found a place in the city’s heart. It’s about 150 meters long and about 25 meters high and it has six connected parasols.
The wood forms a shape and texture that looks a lot like a collection of mushrooms, earning it the nickname “Las Setas” (The Mushrooms). The space in and around the Metropol Parasol is for public use.
There are several entrance fee options. If you want to see only the views from the top, you can just choose the cheapest 5 EUR option!
This will be an obvious visit, as the Catedral is in the heart of the city. Just next to eat there is the tall Giralda tower, which you can use for orientation in the city center. Just take a look to the Arabic patterns on the walls of the Giralda tower and compare those with the very European top belfry style. For sure you could make the difference in between the construction periods of this gem. It’s really breathtaking. We highly recommend to buy the entrance tickets in advance, as there is always long queues waiting.
Tomb of Christopher Columbus
Right inside the Cathedral door stands a monument to Christopher Columbus. His tomb is held aloft by four allegorical figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain during Columbus’ life, Castille, Aragon, Navara, and Leon. The tomb was one of the last additions to the Cathedral, installed in 1899. The sculptor Arturo Melida designed his tomb, and originally installed it in Havana before they moved it to Sevilla after Spain lost control of Cuba.
Torre del Oro – A medieval defensive tower
Torre del Oro is a medieval defensive tower on Guadalquivir River. Its origin is Arabic from the 13th century. It was enlarged twice afterwards in the 14th century and again during the 18th. It has been used as a part of a defensive system to control the traffic on the river. This is relevant because along the Spanish history Sevilla has always been a very important port and got during more than two centuries the monopoly of the trade with America.
Triana is probably the most famous neighborhood in Sevilla and is definitely not to be missed. As they say, if you visit the capital of Andalusia without visiting Triana, then you haven’t fully seen the city. But Triana is not just a neighborhood, it is a way of life, a way of being, a philosophy of its own that makes the people who visit and who live there feel special.
Triana is separated from the old part of Sevilla by the river Guadalquivir, you need to cross on the Isabel II. Bridge, also known as the Triana Bridge.
Triana is a fishermen neighbourhood, very vivid but more free from tourist comparing with Santa Cruz. It’s a really cool place to catch local atmosphere and to enjoy of the real street live, with full-character bars, nice terraces and even some tile workshops.
We recommend to take a stroll before the night comes, Plaza Altozano, Calle Pureza, Mercado de Triana, Pelay Correa street and Rodrigo de Triana, and Besides the Obvious’ favourite Plazuela de Santa Ana, which includes the square, the church and some nice authentic local bars to eat some tapas.
Sevilla is extremely reach in churches and monasteries. The smaller ones you can visit for free of charge. Once wondering around, don’t hesitate to step in. You can see beautiful altarpieces, combined with Sevillean patterns – the so called azulejos.
The Alameda de Hércules, meaning the Hercules mall, is a garden square. They built it in 1574, and it was originally a promenaded public garden, named after the eight rows of white poplar trees (álamos in Spanish). We can find this square in the northern half of the city’s casco antiguo (historic center), between the Guadalquivir River and the Macarena neighbourhood. It was the oldest public garden in Spain and Europe. Nowadays, it’s full of nice bars, and always vivid thanks to the people on the terraces.
You should definitely walk on Calle Sierpes since it’s one of the most emblematic streets of Sevilla. It looks old-fashioned a bit with old school shops combined with modern chains. But the origin is very old according to documentations. Its irregular shape, it’s quite straight but with different widths along its path, is due to right there used to run a secondary river course. In 16th Century the city council decided to construct a proper street, originally called Espaderos, using bricks and tiles. Its name changed to Sierpes afterwards.
There is a nice legend that says that was because of a six meters long snake (Sierpes is a derivation of the Latin word for snake) that lived in the sewers and hunted kids. When that snake was killed locals decided to exhibit it and the name was bit by bit changed because people colloquially began to call it Snake Street. Calle Sierpes starts in Calle de la Campana and ends in Plaza de San Francisco, where the City Hall is located.
Plaza de España is really amazing. It’s said, that when the Spanish king Alfonso XIII visited the already finished construction he was impressed and said: “Gentlemen, I knew this was nice…, but not that much“.
It was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. This landmark is an example of Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Baroque Revival, Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival (Neo-Mudéjar) styles of Spanish architecture. It’s undoubtedly the most visited landmark of the city.
Many tiled alcoves were built around the plaza, each representing a different province of Spain. The Plaza’s tiled Alcoves of the Provinces are frequent backdrops for visitors’ portrait photographs, taken in their own home province. Today the buildings of the Plaza de España have been renovated and adapted for use as offices for government agencies. The central government departments, with sensitive adaptive redesign, are located within it. Toward the end of the park, the grandest mansions from the fair have been adapted as museums. The most distant museum contains the city’s archaeology collections.
In 1929, Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair, located in the celebrated Maria Luisa Park (Parque de María Luisa). The park gardens were designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. The entire southern end of the city was redeveloped into an expanse of gardens and grand boulevards.
The centre of it is Parque de María Luisa, designed in a “Moorish paradisical style”. With a half mile of tiled fountains, pavilions, walls, ponds and benches. Also we can admire the “exhedras” – lush plantings of palms, orange trees, Mediterranean pines, and flower beds. Numerous buildings were constructed in the park to provide spaces for the exhibition.
The Museum of Fine Arts of Seville has a collection of mainly Spanish visual arts from the medieval period to the early 20th century. The building they built in 1594. The institution of the provincial museum of Seville was created in September 1835. The building was originally home to the convent of the Order of the Merced Calzada de la Asunción, founded by St. Peter Nolasco during the reign of Ferdinand III.
Azulejos – The Sevilla Patterns
All around the city of Sevilla we can admire the Andalusian tradition of azulejos. Yes, those patterns which Porto made popular worldwide, even though they actually came from Andalucía, especially from Triana in Sevilla.
It was King Manuel I of Portugal who brought azulejo tiles from Sevilla to Portugal, during the 15th century. The azulejos were very common in parts of the Iberian Peninsula dominated by the Islamic Expansion during the middle ages. Indeed, the word azulejo comes from the Arabic word ‘al zellige’ which means: the polished stone.
Portugal imported its azulejos tiles from Sevilla, and the Portuguese mastered the art during the 16th century. In Portugal, the art has developed its own forms, changing from being just geometric shapes and flowers to something that tells stories, mostly of religious nature. Indeed, azulejo tiles both in Sevilla and in Porto are a great example of how different cultures and eras can give life to something so symbolic and so beautiful.
Barrio Santa Cruz – The always crowded district
To get lost in the district of Santa Cruz is always a pleasure. Here we can find the mentioned Cathedral, the Archivo de Indias, which is very important for the Spanish Colonial History and the Alcazar, probably one of the best Spanish treasures from the Arabic period.
Streets here are impossibly narrow to conserve precious shade during warm summers. Building facades are tall and whitewashed. In Santa Cruz is easy to find cosy taverns, always crowded and cute corners everywhere. The streets are narrow and lovely.
The Archivo General de Indias is the general archive of the Indies. It is in the ancient merchants’ exchange in the Casa Lonja de Mercaderes. It is the repository of extremely valuable archival documents illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and Asia. The building itself is an unusually serene and Italianate example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. This structure and its contents were registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site together with the adjoining Seville Cathedral and the Alcázar of Seville.
Basílica de Jesús del Gran Poder is great church in a mix of different styles. The Plaza San Lorenzo, on which the church stands, is a delightful little square that’s anyhow worth the visit.
This basilica gets many visits from the locals because they venerate the statue of Jesus and they think that it has been the source of many miracles, so they like to pray to the statue. They take out the statue during the Holy Week processions and paraded around town. Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus of the Great Power) is one of the three most venerated icons in Seville. The basilica is worth visiting for 10 minutes to see the statue. The church feels authentic Sevilla, a church for the local people rather than tourists.
La Cartuja – Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas
The ‘La Cartuja Monastery’ also named ‘Monasterio de Santa Maria de las Cuevas’ is originally a 15th century monastery from the order of the Carthusian monks. After the monks abandoned the monastery in 1836, they converted the building to a ceramics factory. The typical chimneys are characteristic of the ceramics factory. The beautiful ceramics nowadays carry the name of ‘La Cartuja de Sevilla’. Allegedly, Christopher Columbus spent some time in the ‘La Cartuja’ monastery in preparation for his voyages around the world and helped the monks with their duties.
In line with the Expo ’92, the monastery served as the main building of this world exhibition. Nowadays the monument is in the hands of the CAAC, or the Andalusian Centre for Contemporary Art. They have various exhibitions that you can enjoy for a reduced entrance fee.
The Sevilla Tower (Spanish: Torre Sevilla), known until 2015 as the Pelli Tower, is an office skyscraper. Its construction started in March 2008 and completed in 2015. The tower is 180.5 metres tall and has 40 floors. It is an office building, with the entrance to the tower located off Odiel street. The tower is the tallest building in Andalusia and in the city of Seville, and the seventh tallest in Spain. It provides a panoramic view on all Seville.
The tower is located in La Cartuja, the former zone of the Universal Exposition that took place in Seville between April and October 1992. It is next to the river in a new business area from the early 2000s. The tower has two four story podium buildings also designed by César Pelli. The curved edges of the podium buildings define a plaza that opens on the north and south and narrows at the center, creating a pedestrian-scaled commercial street. The tower notably hosts a 5-star hotel, Eurostars Torre Sevilla, along with various offices.
Flamenco Show – Book a live performance or visit a local authentic show!
The art of flamenco dance originated in Andalusia, southern Spain. It’s part of gypsy “gitanos” heritage here, with roots in Indian, Arabic, and Spanish culture. There are essentially three parts to the flamenco performance: the song, the guitar, and the dance. Far away from the touristic shows you can enjoy authentic performance in Tablao Baraka, Orillas de Triana, Pura Esencia or Teatro Flamenco de Triana.
The Real Alcázar de Sevilla is the Royal Palace of Seville. The name ‘Alcazar‘ means castle in Spanish and is coming from the Arabic word “al-qasr” (fortress or palace). The complex of palaces is in the Mudéjar style, which is an architectural style with many influences from Moorish and Christian culture. It is probably the oldest palace still in use in Europe.
The Real Alcazar Palace is definitely one of the number ones attraction in Sevilla and you should not miss during your visit. To avoid the disappointment of standing in long queues in hot temperatures and to prevent sold-out tickets (as no more than 750 visitors can visit this palace at the same time), we recommend that you buy your tickets online during the popular months.
Best experiences in Sevilla
Where to stay in Sevilla
Sevilla offers many options, from luxurious hotels to small private studios. It depends on your preferences where you want to spend the night. But certainly you will find it. The below two hotels we tried and can recommend wholeheartedly. If you decide to book them, feel free to use our links – just click on the image.
More tips about Sevilla
We visited Sevilla in 2019 as well. Take a look at the below reviews what our opinion was about Sevilla before the pandemic. Also you can find – a still useful – bike tour plan, if you decide to ride the city!
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