As the capital of Andalucia, Seville does not disappoint; although I personally think that the number of sights isn’t varied enough for a city with such an extensive history. Perhaps the reason is simply due to so much being built on or buried under; and we can’t see it. So, 2 days in Seville is enough time to enjoy the key sights. Of course I would recommend longer there if you have the time.
Seville was constructed by the Moors, Visigoths and then Christians, who all superseded the Romans. There is a lot of mixed architecture as a result this. For example, the Giralda tower, which is attached to the cathedral, has a Roman base and then is predominantly Moorish up to the level of the bell tower. Originally it had a dome which has more recently been replaced, with the bells that now reside there.
The climate in Seville during the summer months can reach temperatures of 55°C. So a visit in spring or autumn is recommended unless you like it hot.
The city consists of maze like alleyways facing in all directions, probably built to vary the shade/sun ratio throughout the day.
So, I recommend you take your time when you visit. Here’s my suggestions for a 2 days in Seville.
Day 1 – Walking tour and other key landmarks
I always recommend taking a walking tour the first day in a city, to get your bearings and a good overview. I would recommend panchotours.com which also does tours in a number of other cities in Europe. Tours are everyday at 11am and are free, but they work for tips so give what you feel it’s worth or can afford.
When you think of Seville, football or oranges perhaps, spring to mind first?
Spain winning the World Cup in 2010 resulted in Seville hitting the headlines …for the partying/riots that took place in Puerta de Jerez (Jerez Gate). Apparently this is also when the head was knocked off the statue in the fountain that is now where the Jerez Gate once stood. Today this is a good central meeting point between the old and the new areas of the city.
We were told that the oranges here are renowned by the locals for being bitter. Despite this, those that grow at the cathedral are picked each year and sent to the queen of England to make her marmalade! Whether the latter is true or not, I refrained from tasting them…
Seville of course offers so much more, and on a walking tour you will hear lots more about the city and can ask advice on places to go that are of interest. I would recommend checking out some of the sights covered after the tour in a little more detail.
Plaza de Espana
A beautiful site and probably the highlight for me. The walking tour ended here for us, so we took time to explore further before lunch. Note that in the middle of the day the heat here can be scorching, so it’s good to hang out in the shaded walkways.
The arches represent each province of Spain and the bridges represent the kingdoms. Nowadays this building houses the town hall/immigration office and has of course been the set for Star Wars Episode 2, city of Theed in Naboo (check out YouTube).
The Arabian army’s palace in Laurence of Arabia also features the plaza and more recently it featured in The Dictator – the trailer still has a Spanish flag in it which was overlooked during editing.
The 3rd largest in Europe. St Peter and St Paul were incorporated into the walls on the East side, by the Pope, to remind the people of the Vatican in Rome (largest cathedral) and St Pauls cathedral in London (second largest). The inside is worth a look and entrance includes the Giralda (see below) – see more details on their website. Note that entry is free on Mondays.
Situated within the cathedral. This tower is somewhere between 97 and 105 metres, depending on which guide or guidebook you refer to. I had anticipated a lot of steps to climb but fortunately there is just a ramp. There are 35 corridors, which were designed to accommodate a mule or horse to transport the poor guy who had to call everyone to prayer 5 times a day.
The views are of course worth it, and the ramp really does make it easier. I preferred the tower to the cathedral but both are included in the same ticket price.
Tapas tour for dinner
I highly recommend taking a food tour with We Love Tapas in the evening. A great way to suss out some of the great local places to eat tapas, on your first night and meet other travellers. If your budget can’t stretch to a tour then just stop by some of the tapas bars that take your fancy and make sure you try some of the recommended dishes in my post 5 must try tapas in Seville.
Day 2 – Alcazar and Plaza Mayor
You need a good couple of hours to take the Alcazar in fully, especially if you enjoy wandering around gardens. I recommend you head there early morning and avoid the crowds.
This palace has been the home of many Muslim and Christian kings. With beautiful and extensive decor which varies from the Moorish decorative arches to the more simple Christian coverings and is often a mishmash of both.
Game of Thrones fans in particular will enjoy hunting out the numerous locations featured in the series whilst wandering the Alcazar and it’s many rooms.
In the afternoon head over to Plaza Mayor, also known as Plaza de la Encarnacion according to the map. Here is housed a wooden structure (Metropol Parasol). Created from 3,500 sections of wood, the viewpoint at sunset is lovely.
Underground is a very interesting archaeological site. Here the displays show life in both Roman and Moorish times, and a little of the life below the city.
There’s probably time to do more if you want to. However Seville is a city with a laid back feel. So, just take your time and enjoy these recommended sights and you will have experienced things at the local pace.
Seville is a great place to experience a Flamenco show and the Devour Seville website has some great suggestions on where to go for something authentic and less touristy – check out their post Five places to see Flamenco in Seville.