When I think about a visit to Seville, there are a ton of thoughts and places that come to mind. But as always you could find yourself wondering, what are the must-see places? That’s why we made this list of the “Top 9 things to see when you visit Seville”.
Your trip will not be complete if you miss out on any the following. If you don’t have time to spare or you just wan’t to be sure you don’t miss any important places, here are the top 9 things to see when you visit Seville: La Real Maestranza de Sevilla (Plaza de Toros), the Bario Santa Cruz with; the Cathedral, La giralda and Real Alcazar, then Torre del Oro, Metropol Parasol (Las Setas), Plaza de España and finally Parque Maria Luisa.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on these places. Read on to get to know more about them and make sure your trip to Seville will be amazing.
La Real Maestranza de Sevilla (Bullring)
The topic of bullfighting is and will always be a topic of hot debate, in and outside of Seville. On one side people judge too quickly and see it as nothing more than a useless killing. On the other side an animal gets killed every time. But, wether you are against it or not, bullfighting is still deeply imbedded in the culture of Seville. Therefore if you really want to get to know the city, you should at least have a notion of this ancient art form/slaughter/dance/fight (you choose your own term). How do you go about this? Don’t just go to a bull fight! It is definitely not for the faint of heart and every time tourists leave before it is over. Instead take a guided tour inside the arena, which is called the “Real Maestranza de Sevilla” AKA “Plaza de toros”. In this guided tour you will get to know the origins, the traditions and how the fights are nowadays (and even that not every bull is killed every time). It might be possible that after the tour you’ll start to see these fights as a little bit more than just a slaughter. If this is the case you could even go see a fight/dance.
The tours are every day, throughout the year. No need to reserve your spot online as it is a wait-in-the-queue type of tour. We would recommend going in the morning, so you don’t have to wait to long in the line. If you want to know more about the bullfights, read about it in our next posts.
Barrio Santa Cruz with: La giralda, the cathedral and Real Alcazar
The Barrio Santa Cruz is situated right in the middle of Seville. When you want to visit this Barrio (or district), just look for “La Giralda”. This tower is the focal point and everybody in Seville knows it. In Barrio Santa Cruz there are 3 things you should definitely see:
First you definitely have to visit the Cathedral and the attached “Giralda”. Besides several amazing art pieces and the amazingly decorated exteriors and roof, the cathedral also holds the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Why? In short it is because the location from where Columbus left to go explore the world, is not far away from Seville (Huelva). Once you have seen everything the Cathedral has to offer, you can climb up the “Giralda”. The entrance to do so is in far left corner inside of the cathedral. You will notice two things about this remarkable tower. To start, when you take a look at the tower from the outside, you might think it looks a bit like an islamic minaret (tower from which prayer songs are sang, so muslims know when to pray). This is absolutely true! The cathedral is actually built around an old islamic mosque, with of course a minaret. When you enter the Giralda/minaret, you’ll see that there are no stairs to go up, only ramps. This is because the imam who sang the prayers when the minaret was built, was too old to get up the tower on his own. He needed a donkey to cary him up. The ramps are still there. Unfortunately the donkeys to carry us up are not. Read on to know more about the gardens of Seville (Real Alcazar).
First a word of caution about the entrance to the gardens. Only buy your tickets to go to these gardens at the entrance or via: www.alcazarsevilla.org. These are the only two legitimate options to get entrance tickets. Don’t fall for website or even real life scams. Seville isn’t know for scam artists and personally I don’t know anybody who has had problems with this, but just to be sure: buy your tickets via the correct ways! I personally have always walked up to the gardens and bought my tickets at the entrance.
Inside the gardens you will find peace and tranquility. This is usually why I go there. If you are interested in the whole history though, get an audioguide at the inside of the entrance (to your left). They are available in all languages and only cost 6 euro’s to rent. You could also just stroll the gardens and beautiful buildings, to enjoy the beauty of it all.
If you don’t go for the peace, the history or the beauty and you are a bit of a fan of Game of Thrones. Don’t hesitate to go. Inside the gardens you can see the kingdom of Dorn. The scenes of the series were filmed inside of the Real Alcazar de Sevilla. Instagram away fans!
Metropol Parasol (Las Setas)
The Setas of Sevilla, literally the Mushrooms of Seville, is a project by architect Jürgen Mayer and is also known as de Metropol Parasol. Visiting this beautiful wooden structure is definitely worthwhile. You could go see the museum and giftshop, but I would recommend just going in the late evening. This will give you a beautiful view of the city by night and lets you evade the tourist herds by day. From the top of the 28,5 meter high sculpture, you’ll be able to see the whole city.
How do you get there? Very simple. Ask anybody in Sevilla where the “Setas” are and they will all know it by heart. It is located in the middle of the city centre and very known. Or simply look for “Plaza de la Encarnation”.
Torre del Oro
This beautiful tower is located next to the river that separates Seville centre of Triana (another famous barrio). There are two explanations for the curious name of this tower. The one more historically correct than the other, but both as beautiful. You can decide which is which.
The two explanations are short and simple. First of all the tower was used to hold all the gold of the empire, so eventually it got the name tower of gold. The second story, a bit more poetical, is that when you look at the water next to the tower, and the sun is at the right angle, you can see gold shimmering on the riverbed. Don’t be fooled or let down, no gold was ever found there. The reflection of the tower and the sun make it appear that there is gold there and that gave the “Tower of Gold” it’s name.
This tower is worth a visit, just to look at it. Take a stroll down the river “Guadalquivir“ and you’ll pass it. The perfect next stop after the Tower of Golf, is Plaza de España. It is not that far and is the most popular touristic place in Seville.
Plaza de España and Parque Maria Luisa.
Plaza de España is the most famous square in all of Seville (and maybe even spain). It was designed by Aníbal González Álvarez and built for the Ibero-American exposition of 1929. The building was the pavilion of Spain. At the same time a lot of other beautiful buildings were built inside the “Parque Maria-Luisa”(Maria-luisa park). You should go visit both. Take a look at the plaza and stroll through the park. If the season is right, you might see all the orange trees full of oranges. A beautiful sight!
How does the plaza look like and what does it symbolize? The plaza wasn’t just built to be beautiful. It ha a deeper meaning. The buildings and the plaza form a big circle (with the circle having a diameter of 170meters). On one side you see a half circle of buildings, the other half circle is the plaza. When you ask the right person this will symbolize the hug of Spain to the Ibero-American countries. Ask somebody else and they will say it symbolized the grip of Spain on there former foreign territories.
When you walk closer to the buildings, you’ll see there are 52 beautiful mosaics and 4 big bridges crossing the small creek around the plaza. The mosaics symbolize the 52 provinces of Spain and the bridges the 4 kingdoms of Spain ( Leon, Castilla, Aragon and Navarra).
These were the Top 9 Things to see when you visit Seville. If you miss out on these you’re trip will not be complete. They are all must-sees when you visit this beautiful city. If you want to know more about this beautiful city, follow our blog.
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