Seville is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It’s a city full of gorgeous architecture, vibrant history, and wonderful food. I loved my visit to Seville.
Originally founded as a Roman city, Seville came to prominence after the Islamic conquest in 711. Today, the city is known for its flamenco dancing (which originated in Andalucía), its beautiful architecture that blends Islamic and European styles, and its scorching summers.
Seville is a big university town and is extremely popular with people studying abroad, making it a more affordable destination than cities like Barcelona or Madrid (it’s not as crowded either).
This Seville travel guide will give you everything you need to know to eat well, save money, and see the best sights Seville has to offer!
Table of Contents
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Top 5 Things to See and Do in Seville
1. Tour Casa de Pilatos
2. Explore Parque de Maria Luisa
3. Visit the Royal Alcázar
4. Walk through the historic Jewish Quarter
5. Take a bike tour
Other Things to See and Do in Seville
1. Visit the Catedral of Sevilla
This Roman Catholic cathedral dominates much of Seville’s skyline. Surrounded by Andalusian orange trees, the Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Sea) is one of Seville’s top tourist attraction. Lines can get long, partially because hours are limited around church services, so get there early. While you can just admire the stunning design and stained glass from outside, the Cathedral is where Christopher Columbus is buried, so it’s worth going inside. The bell tower also offers a panoramic view of the city. Admission is 10 EUR and the audio guide costs 5 EUR (4 EUR if you use the app).
2. Check out Plaza de España
One of Seville’s most picturesque spots, Plaza de España was built at the northern edge of the Parque de María Luísa in the 1920s for the Ibero-American Exposition. The unique building mixes Baroque, Renaissance, and Moorish architectural styles, and there’s a small canal with Venetian-like bridges and gondolas. The Plaza has gotten a lot of attention in the past few years because it has served as a backdrop in film and TV, such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones. The murals along the sweeping arc of the building depict the various regions and municipalities of Spain. It also has benches that depict the 49 provinces of Spain in ceramic tiles. Admission is free.
3. Visit the Iglesia de San Isidoro
While this church is less popular than the Catedral de Sevilla, the Iglesia de San Isidoro is considered one of Seville’s most impressive churches. The 14th-century church was built on top of a former Arabic fortification and its fusion of Gothic and Mudejar styles is a common example of unique architecture in Andalucía. The intricate design makes this worth a visit. Admission is free.
4. Enjoy some contemporary art
The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC) is a contemporary art museum located just across the river from the city center. Housed in a former Franciscan monastery that dates to the 15th century (and was later a ceramic tile factory), today the museum hosts a collection of Andalusian artists. There are rotating exhibitions so check the website to see what’s on during your visit. Admission is 3.01 EUR, though there is free entry every evening from 7pm-9pm.
5. Learn about Spain’s colonial history
The General Archives of the Indies is a 16th-century building and UNESCO Site. Built in the Spanish Renaissance style, it contains a large collection of documents and artifacts related to Spain’s colonization of the New World. Highlights include the personal diary of Columbus and the Treaty of Tordesillas, which divided the New World between Spain and Portugal. Admission is free.
6. Visit the Flamenco Museum
Flamenco music and dance is an important cultural element of southern Spanish culture, and the Flamenco Museum in Seville is a great way to learn more about this unique style of performance. The museum features many intricately designed flamenco dresses and illuminates the history behind the dance’s origins. Admission to the museum is 10 EUR. Live flamenco shows in the museum’s theater are 25 EUR (29 EUR for a combined ticket).
7. Admire fine art
The Museo de Bellas Artes is a fine arts museum with works from the Middle Ages through to the 20th century. The museum lies in the Macarena neighborhood in a building that dates to 1594. Two floors in the building are full of paintings, sculptures, furniture, and crafts — many by artists from Seville or Andalucía. Admission is 1.50 EUR and free if you’re an EU citizen.
8. Take a Spanish class
Seville is a popular study abroad location for international students and there are a number of language schools catering to students from around the world. You can take Spanish courses for just a single week or longer. Many students choose Seville to study because of the big student population of the city, the affordability of the city, and the unique Andalusian culture. The CLIC language school offers a variety of courses for any number of weeks or months, plus affordable housing for those that want to stay with other students or in a homestay. A one-week intensive Spanish language course at CLIC costs as little as 205 EUR, though discounts are available depending upon a package or multi-week course.
9. Take in the view from the top of a mushroom
This large sculptural platform in the Plaza de la Encarnación used to be a car park but, in 2011, it was transformed into a massive public art project called Las Setas De Sevilla, or the Metropol Parasol. Resembling mushrooms (or more like a beehive in my opinion), the structure provides shade to the plaza below and there are two 85-foot panoramic platforms where you can take in the view. Admission to the platform is 5 EUR.
10. Hang out in Alameda
The best nightlife spot in Seville is in and around the Alameda de Hercules. The large, open-air plaza attracts many students and creative artist types who relax here drinking, playing music, or enjoying any of the tapas bars and outdoor seating that line the mall. Many of the restaurants and bars in the area offer live music and great deals on food & drinks too.
11. Relax on the Guadalquivir River
The first trip around the world originated in Seville when Ferdinand Magellan sailed out along the Guadalquivir River in 1519. The river was the main maritime route for Atlantic traffic for over 200 years, making Seville the mercantile center of the western world in the 16th century. These days you can enjoy rowing and canoeing on the river or you can take a cruise on it. You can also visit the First Journey Around the World exhibition which includes a tour of the Nao Victoria 500, a life-size replica of Magellan’s ship (admission is 6 EUR).
For more information on other cities in Spain, check out these guides:
Seville Travel Costs
Hostel prices – Seville is very popular with backpackers, so there are lots of options for hostels. Many offer luxury & flashpacking-style amenities like rooftop pools and free breakfast. Most hostels are located in the city center or are a short walk from the city center. Hostels cost between 12-25 EUR for a dorm no matter the time of year. Private rooms cost between 25-40 EUR.
There are a few campgrounds outside the city, some offering private cabins with swimming pools for 40 EUR. For those with a tent, a basic plot for one person costs 5 EUR.
Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels cost 40-60 EUR per night, though prices are slightly higher (around 50-100 EUR per night) in peak tourist season and around Easter. Continental breakfast is usually included, as are basic amenities like TV and Wi-Fi.
Airbnb is available here as well, with private rooms starting at 30 EUR per night. An entire apartment goes for at least 60-80 EUR per night and many include air-conditioning — useful to have for the hot summer season.
Food – Spain has a strong food culture, where meals can last hours and dinner often isn’t served until after 8pm. Each region in the country has its own local dishes and food culture, and Andalucía is no exception. Owing to its location on the coast, seafood is huge in this region, including shellfish and pescaito frito (fried fish). Gazpacho is also super common here, as is Iberian ham. Don’t miss trying some of the local sherry too (William Shakespeare apparently loved it).
You can eat very cheap in Seville. Tapas bars offer great deals and a number of takeaway stands with falafel, shawarma, or other late-night snacks can be found for as little as 7 EUR. Most tapas bars offer small plates for anywhere from 3-8 EUR depending upon the type of dish.
If you want to splurge, there are many nicer tapas restaurants with more elaborate meals and innovative takes on typical Andalusian-style foods. Mid-range tapas restaurants serve small plates between 7-15 EUR and, again, two or three plates is usually enough food for one person.
For a mid-range meal including an appetizer and drink, expect to pay at least 20 EUR. For cheap fast food (think McDonald’s), a combo meal costs around 7 EUR.
Beer costs as little as 2-3 EUR. A glass of sangria or wine costs 3-5 EUR. A latte/cappuccino is around 1.50 EUR while bottled water is under 1 EUR.
If you plan on cooking your own meals, expect to spend about 40 EUR for a week’s worth of groceries. This gets you basic staples like pasta, rice, seasonal produce, and some meat.
Backpacking Seville Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Seville, expect to spend around 50 EUR per day. This budget covers a hostel dorm, cooking most of your meals, limiting your drinking, taking public transportation, and doing mostly free activities like relaxing in the park and seeing some of the churches. Add 10-15 EUR per day to your budget if you plan on drinking or partying a lot.
On a mid-range budget of about 115 EUR per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb or private hostel room, eat out at cheap restaurants for most meals, have a few drinks, take the occasional taxi, and do more paid activities like and museum visits or Spanish classes.
On a “luxury” budget of 235 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink as much as you’d like, take more taxis, and do as many guided tours as you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!
You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you spend more, some days you spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.
Seville Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Food, drinks, and tours can add up in Seville if you aren’t watching your spending. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of free things to do here. Here’s how to save money in Seville:
- Get the Tarjeta TurÍstica pass – If you plan on using the bus or tram often, get this pass. A one-day pass costs 5 EUR and provides unlimited access for all public transport. A 3-day pass costs just 10 EUR.
- Visit the Seville Cathedral on Monday – Seville’s busiest tourist attraction is often crowded, and admission isn’t cheap compared to other things to do in the city. But, on Mondays, the Cathedral offers free admission. Show up early to avoid the crowds.
- Buy your own alcohol – While drinks are hardly expensive at bars and restaurants in Seville (and in Spain as a whole), you can save yourself a lot of money if you buy your own beer and wine. Many locals buy their own bottles and drink in public at the Alameda de Hercules in the evenings, taking advantage of the street performers, buskers, and musicians that crowd the plaza on weekends.
- Stay with a local – Couchsurfing is a great way to save money on accommodation while also getting some insight from a local. While hostels aren’t too expensive in the city, this is still the best way to save money and deepen your travel experience.
- Go on a free walking tour – Like most of Spain, there are many opportunities to take advantage of free walking tours. Seville has a number and many depart from Plaza del Salvador. You just need to tip your guide. My favorite is Sandeman’s New Europe tour!/li>
- Visit the markets for groceries & cheap tapas bars – The Triana Market is one of the main food markets in Seville and has many fruit and vegetable vendors. There are food markets in each of the major Seville neighborhoods, and sometimes the smaller ones outside the main tourist trails even have small, local restaurants with great food deals. The Mercado de Feria is a favorite. Buying snacks, small meals, and groceries at the local neighborhood markets can cut down on your food budget.
- Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
Where to Stay in Seville
Seville has a ton of hostel choices for any budget. My recommendations places to stay are:
How to Get Around Seville
Seville’s many tourist neighborhoods, or barrios, are all pretty close to one another and can be easily walked. However, since it gets super warm in the summer, taking the bus or tram is much more comfortable.
Public transportation – There is an extensive bus network that operates in Seville and can help you get from one edge of the city to another. Tickets can be bought on board and cost 1.40 EUR per trip. A one-day travel card, the Tarjeta TurÍstica, costs 5 EUR (10 EUR for a 3-day card).
Seville’s tram system connects to some of the further out areas of the city (and it’s air-conditioned). The tram is part of the same public bus system so tickets are the same price.
Bicycle Rental – Bike rentals are a great way to save money while seeing the sights from a new perspective. Rentals in Seville cost just 12 EUR per day.
Taxis – Taxis start at 2.50 EUR, with normal tariff being 0.94 EUR per additional kilometer. Skip them if you can as the prices add up fast!
Uber – Uber is available in Seville but it won’t save you a ton so skip it and stick to the bus.
Car rental – Car rentals can be found for as little as 15 EUR per day, however, you don’t need a vehicle in Seville unless you’re planning to leave the city and explore the region. Renters need to be a least 21 and have an International Driving Permit.
When to Go to Seville
Like most of southern Spain in Andalucía, Seville gets a lot of sunshine and has hot summers. I think the best time to visit is between March and May when crowds haven’t peaked but the weather is still warm and sunny.
The Easter season is especially popular in Seville because of the famous Feria (a large fair), which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and religious pilgrims. Part of the Semana Santa holy week, it’s a beautiful time to visit because of the colorful dresses and the many street activities and parades, but it does get crowded and expensive during the holy week.
In the summer (June-August), the weather is hot and sunny, with daily highs reaching upwards of 38°C (100°F). While the city is lively during the summer, it can be very taxing exploring in the heat.
The winter months (December-February) offer more comfortable temperatures, usually around 7-18°C (45-65°F). The city is much quieter, making it a nice time to visit if you want to beat the crowds and don’t mind some chilly days.
How to Stay Safe in Seville
Like most Spanish cities, Seville has a problem with pickpocketing and petty theft. The area around the Alameda de Hercules, a popular nightlife spot, was once very seedy with problems with crime and drug use, but that’s been cleaned up a lot in the past decade. Still, watch your bags when going out at night and avoid dark, empty streets if alone.
If you go out at night, only bring the money you need and leave the rest locked up in your accommodation. When at the bar, always keep an eye on your drink.
Tourist scams are prevalent as well so keep an eye out for groups of kids trying to distract you, as they’re probably trying to take your money. Additionally, be wary of people offering to carry your luggage. They may try to charge you a large fee.
When dining, keep your bags and belongings close and secure (especially when outside). Don’t leave your things on the table when going up to order. They can disappear quickly.
Read more about common travel scams to avoid here.
If you do experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.
Remember, if you don’t do it at home, don’t do it in Seville.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:
Seville Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel around Seville. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the ones I use the most and are always the starting points in my search for travel deals.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Momondo – This is my other favorite flight search engine because they search such a wide variety of sites and airlines. I never book a flight without checking here too.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments. The big cities have tons of listings!
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or in their spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can share the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
- Booking.com – The best all-around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no money down policy, great interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Eurail – If you are going to Europe and taking a lot of high speed or long distance trains, get a rail pass. I’ve used a rail pass three times and saved hundreds of dollars each time. The math just works.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do a group tour around Europe, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you get a discount when you click the link!
- The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B in the best and cheapest way possible. It gives you all the bus, train, plane, and boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include Wi-Fi and electrical outlets too.
- BlaBlaCar – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that lets you share rides with vetted local drivers by pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve, and off you go! It’s a cheaper and more interesting way travel than by bus or train!
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
- EatWith – This website allows you to eat home cooked meal with locals. Locals post listings for dinner parties and specialty meals that you can sign up for. There is a fee (everyone sets their own price) but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local’s brain, and make a new friend.
Seville Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts (Unbound Merino is my preferred company. If you’re a member of NM+, you can get 15% off your purchase)
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Seville Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
Don Quixote, by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote became so enamored with reading tales of chivalry that he decided to become a knight himself. With his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, they roam the world together in a series of adventures and misadventures — including mistaking windmills for giants. Is Don Quixote a wise fool, or simply a madman? This book by Cervantes is considered the world’s first true novel and it has been delighting people for 400 years.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
In 1937, Ernest Hemingway went to Spain to cover the civil war for an American newspaper. This novel is the result of his experiences there. It’s about Robert Jordan, an American in the International Brigades tied to an antifascist guerrilla movement in the mountains. It’s part love story, part war story, and is considered one of Hemingway’s best novels. It’s the best literature to come out of the war. It’s a must-read.
Winter in Madrid, by C. J. Sansom
Winter in Madrid is an international bestseller that illuminates life in post-Civil War Spain. It’s a witty spy noir thriller that brings to life the stakes in Spain after the violent Civil War came to an end. While it is a novel, the book brings the era to life and sheds light on this dark, challenging period in Spain’s history.
Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past, by Giles Tremlett
After the Spanish Civil War ended, Spaniards kept quiet about the whole affair, calling it “the pact of forgetting.” But then a discovery of mass graves filled with victims of Francisco Franco’s death squad came to light and the pact was broken. In this beautiful book, Tremlett sets out on a journey around Spain and through its history to better understand what kept the Spaniards quiet for so long. It’ll give you some sobering insight into the country and its violent past.
Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain, by Chris Stewart
Here’s your comedic relief to all that Civil War literature. Chris Stewart had set his eyes on El Valero for maybe two minutes before handing over a check. Then all he had to do was explain to his wife that they were now the happy owners of a remote sheep farm in Southern Spain. Despite being overrun with olive, lemon, and almond groves, the farm is clearly lacking in other areas — there’s no running water or electricity. Thankfully, Stewart’s eternal optimism pushes them through, and along the way, he’s enchanted by the gorgeous landscape of the mountain range and the people he meets along the way.
Seville Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Spain travel and continue planning your trip: