Day trip to Seville – the #1 guide
One of the most recommended activities you can undertake in the Algarve is a day trip to Seville in Spain. Seville is only a 2 hour car drive from Faro. Seville (Spanish: Sevilla) is considered to be one of the most beautiful and beloved cities of Spain. Here you can experience the one of a kind culture of Andalusia, that is famous for its passionate flamenco shows and its outstanding tapas food. This historically rich city is filled with royal palaces, grande squares and exciting museums. Chances are high while wandering the streets of sunny Seville, you might want to extend your trip. Find out everything you need to learn about this dreamy destination.
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What to do on a day trip in Seville
Alcázar of Seville
The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace just south of the Seville Cathedral. The palace is from the 14th century and the architectural style is mainly Mudéjar, although you can see Moorish and Renaissance influences as well. The Alcázar of Seville is perhaps the most important architectural attraction in Seville. The royal palace is a UNESCO world heritage site as well.
This royal palace is in fact the Seville residence of the Spanish royal family. It is still in use today. In other words: when the king of Spain comes to Seville, he stays here. In fact, the Alcázar of Seville is the oldest royal palace in Europe that is continually used by the royal family. Their chambers are on the upper level. For a small extra fee, you can also view these chambers.
You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering around this royal palace. A ticket to the ground floor costs € 11,50 and admission to the royal bedroom upstairs costs € 4,50. When visiting, also make sure to check out the baths of Maria de Padilla.
Inside the royal palace you can also appreciate the gold ceilings.
Outside the royal palace there is a beautiful garden with fountains, palm trees and many flowers. It is a wonderful place to walk around.
Beware that there is often a big queue to enter Alcázar of Seville. The best way to skip the queue is to book a guided tour with priority tickets. This way you won’t have to stand in line. You can do that below.
Plaza de España
Plaza de España is a huge 50.000 square metre plaza in the shape of a half-moon. It is located inside the María Luisa park. On one side of the plaza there is a big red palace overlooking the square. In the centre there is a nice fountain. In addition, there are canals with Venetian-style bridges. This is surely one of the most iconic landmarks in Seville.
Plaza de España was built in 1928 in preparation for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It was designed by the famous Seville architect Aníbal González. The architecture of the plaza is a combination of Mudéjar and Renaissance architectural styles. The result is one of the most beautiful squares in Spain. This has also been noticed by Hollywood: the Plaza de España can be seen in several films, such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002) and The Dictator (2012).
The canals have a total length of 515 metres. You can actually rent a boat to go on here. Along the canals you will see 4 bridges over the water, representing the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain. Plaza de España is an amazing place for a romantic boat ride, as well as a great place to walk.
On Plaza de España you can also see typical azulejos (painted tiles) that represent various parts of Spain.
María Luisa park
The María Luisa park is the biggest and most famous park in Seville. It features a botanical garden and you can find many flowers, plants and birds here.
The María Luisa park is the best place in Seville to walk around and get some fresh air. Also, when it is really hot, this is the best place to be. When walking around, look for the lion fountains and frog fountains, as well as some statues.
The Seville Cathedral is one of the highlights of Seville. Construction of this cathedral started in 1401 and was completed in 1528. Legend says that members of the cathedral chapter said “let’s build a church so big and beautiful that those who see it will think that we are mad”. This worked out quite well: everything in this cathedral is gigantic. In fact, the Seville Cathedral is the fourth largest church in the world, and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Nowadays the cathedral is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
There is so much to see here. For example, the cathedral has about 80 different chapels. In the Great Chapel you will find a hand-carved alterpiece that was the lifetime’s work of one single cratfsman. You can wander for hours and get lost in the details. Just take your time to visit this cathedral. A ticket to visit costs € 9.
Inside the Seville Cathedral you also also find the tomb of Christopher Columbus. It was the wish of Columbus to be buried in the New World, so his bones were brought to the Dominican Republic, where they stayed until 1796. When the Spanish retreated from the Caribbean, they brought the bones of Columbus with them and buried them in the Cathedral of Seville.
Beware that there be a big queue in order to enter the Seville Cathedral. You can skip this queue by booking a ticket in advance. You can do that below.
The Giralda is the bell tower right next to the Seville Cathedral. It used to be the former minaret of a mosque that once stood here. After the conquest of Seville (1248), the mosque was converted into a cathedral and the minaret was subsequently transformed into a bell tower. The bell tower has a height of 104 metres and is an important symbol of Seville.
You can visit the Giralda bell tower during the day. A ticket to visit the Giralda costs € 8. However, it is best to buy a combined ticket with the Seville Cathedral, so you can enter both.
You can actually go all the way up the bell tower. From here you have a beautiful view over the town of Seville.
You can’t visit Seville without watching a flamenco show. Before you have dinner, we recommend to go to a flamenco show. Flamenco is born in Andalusia. Since Seville is the capital of Andalusia, it is part of its local culture. A flamenco performance encompasses the song, the guitar and the dance. Be mesmerized by the women in their colourful long dresses clapping and stamping their feet to the songs about love and life. Watching a flamenco show is a great way to absorb the local culture that you can only find in Andalusia.
Another important part of Andalusian culture is the siesta. This is the time between 12.30 and 15.30 o ‘clock for the locals to escape the heat by eating and resting. During siesta all shops are closed, children and students do not have classes and even the people in the offices stop working to enjoy a good meal and possibly even a nap. When you are visiting Seville, please take your time to enjoy one of the best restaurants the city has to offer.
Seville is world famous for its tapas, which are the local specialty. When visiting, you should definitely try some tapas bars. You can find many of them across the city. Our favourite restaurants in Seville are:
- Bodega Palo Santo. If you would like to try some local bites, go here. This favourite among locals is outside the centre, but worth travelling to. This restaurant offers excellent food and wine in a warm atmosphere. On some days you will have to queue to get in, but it is definitely worth it.
- Abaceria del Postigo. This place serves incredible tapas, all presented beautifully. The staff is friendly and helps you choose your favourite tapas. It is also a great place for lunch.
- Al Wadi. As Seville has many Arab influences, you will also come across some Arab culinary influences. This Moroccan restaurant is among the best. They have a wide choice of dishes, which are all full of flavours. If you would like to try some Middle Eastern food, go here.
What to see if you are staying several days
The Metropol Parasol is a building in a very different style than all the other buildings in Seville. With 150 metres in length and 25 metres in height, this is a big piece of art. In fact, this is one of the largest wooden structures in the world. It kind of looks like an unusual attraction, but it fits in quite well.
The Metropol Parasol consists of several connected parasols, which kind of look like mushrooms. That is why this building is also called Las Setas (the mushrooms) by locals. The construction of Metropol Parasol started in 2005 and was completed in 2011. During the construction, some Roman ruins were discovered. When walking around you can actually see these ruins.
You can also walk on top of the Metropol Parasol. A ticket costs € 3. From the top of the structure you have a tremendous view over the old city and its traditional buildings.
Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos is a charming palace in the centre of Seville. It dates back to the 15th century and is considered to be a prototype Andalusian palace. The palace is built in Italian Renaissance architectural style with some Mudéjar elements. The heart of the palace is characterized by big columns, statues and a lovely fountain.
Inside the palace you can find marvelous painted tiles on the walls. In fact, the collection of azulejos in this palace is one of the biggest in Europe.
Casa de Pilatos has amazing green gardens as well. Tickets for visiting this palace are € 10 for the ground floor and € 12 for both the ground and upper floors.
On the other side of the Guadalquivir River you can find the vibrant neighbourhood of Triana. You can cross the Isabel II bridge to get there. Triana used to be home to sailors, gypsies, singers and flamenco dancers. This area of Seville has played an important role in shaping the culture of the city, including painted ceramics and flamenco. Still nowadays, walking along the colourful streets is a real authentic experience. You can also eat tapas by the river, in one of the many tapas restaurants there.
The neighbourhood is also home to one of the best markets of Seville: Mercado de Triana. This market has lots of fruit and vegetable stalls, as well as meat, fish and cheese. Highly recommended for an authentic local experience.
Plaza de toros bullring
Seville has one enormous bullring, officially called Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla. It has a capacity of 12.000 people and is one of the most famous bullrings in the world. Construction of the bullring began in 1761 and was completed in 1881. Historically, the tradition of bullfighting has been very strong in Andalusia.
Whether you like bullfighting or not, this bullring is one of the most visited attractions in Seville. The place also houses a museum which highlights the history of bullfighting. Visiting the bullring costs € 8 and includes a guided tour in the arena.
If you would like to get a guided tour of the bullring and skip the queue, you can book your ticket below.
Torre del Oro
Torre del Oro is a 13th century military watchtower right next to the Guadalquivir River. The tower is 36 metres tall. Literally, Torre del Oro means tower of gold. In the Middle Ages, this tower also served as a prison. Over the centuries this tower had several restorations. The most recent resoration was in 2005. Nowadays this building houses the small Maritime Museum, which shows the historical importance of the Guadalquivir River to Seville. Visiting the museum costs € 3.
Archivo General de Indias
The Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) explores the Golden Age of the Spanish Empire after Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. It houses about 80 million documents, all containing information about the Spanish Empire in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. In total, the archive contains more than 10 kilometres of bookshelves with documents. The archive is actually a UNESCO world heritage site.
The building itself dates from the 16th century and has interesting architecture, especially inside. The archives themselves are kept out of sight, but there is usually a temporary exhibition that can be seen for free. Visiting this place is relatively quick and takes you only about 15 minutes.
Santa Cruz is the old Jewish neighbourhood of Seville, and is one of the most authentic neighborhoods in the city. Walking along the narrow cobbled streets is a real experience. You can also find many tapas bars and cute restaurants in this area. The heartbeat of the area is Plaza de la Santa Cruz, which is a famous square.
Palacio de las Dueñas
Palacio de las Dueñas is a 16th century palace near the old town of Seville. It is also known as Palace of the Dukes of Alba. This palace is considered a national monument since 1931 and is owned by an aristocratic Spanish family. However, the palace only opened its doors to the public in 2016. Palacio de las Dueñas is lesser-known than for example the Alcázar of Seville, and thus less crowded. Still, it receives plenty of visitors. Visiting this place is recommended and a ticket costs € 10.
Roman ruins of Italica
About 15 minutes outside Sevilla you can find the Roman ruins of Italica. The highlight of these ruins is the amphitheatre, which had space for up to 25.000 spectators back in the days. In fact, this is one of the best preserved Roman ruins in Spain. It is a good place to spend 1 or 2 hours wandering and exploring.
The Archaeological Museum of Seville shows important artefacts from archaeological sites in the area. They have displays dating back to the 8th century. The museum is located near the María Luisa park. Entrance costs € 1,50.
Museum of Arts and Popular Customs
The Museum of Arts and Popular Customs showscases the traditions and customs of Seville. You can see everyday items that were used in Seville hundreds of years ago, such as ceramics from the 16th century. The museum is located inside the María Luisa park. A ticket costs € 1,50.
Museum of Fine Arts
In the Museum of Fine Arts (in Spanish: Museo de Bellas Artes) you can see Spanish paintings and sculptures from the Sevillian school. The museum is located near the centre, in a former convent. It is open every day, except Monday. A ticket costs € 1,50.
Hospital de los Venerables
The Hospital de los Venerables is a museum in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood where you can see works from for example Velazquez, Murillo, Valdes Leal and Roldan. It is a very impressive building. Formerly this used to be a hospital for the elderly. A ticket costs € 5,50.
Santa María Magdalena church
This church in Baroque style was completed in 1709. It is one of the best examples of Sevillian Baroque. The church has a beautiful facade and some famous sculptures inside.
Iglesia del Divino Salvador
This Roman Catholic church from the 18th century is actually the second largest church of Seville (the Cathedral being the biggest). The facade has three portals and the main alterpiece is quite stunning. A ticket to visit this church costs € 4.
Puerta de la Macarena
A long time ago, the city of Seville was guarded by big city walls. The Puerta de la Macarena is one of the three gates to the city of Seville that are still standing today. It definitely is the most beautiful one. This gate is located in the La Macarena neighbourhood. Right next to the city gate you can see Basílica de La Macarena.
Isla Mágica is a water theme park near the centre of Seville. The park opened in 1997 and is based on the Spanish discoveries from the 16th and 17th century. It is a great way to have fun and learn something about Spanish history at the same time. Besides, when it is really hot outside, this water park is probably the best place to be.
Seville is the capital of Andalusia. With about 700.000 inhabitants, it is the fourth biggest city of Spain (after Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia). Without a doubt, Seville is the best city to visit in the southwest of Spain. The city is located at the Guadalquivir River and has many historical and cultural sights. Did you for example know that Seville is also the city of the famous Don Juan? Yet, you can walk the most important parts of Seville on foot. However, the sun is very hot in Andalusia, especially in summer (often above 35 °C). Always make sure to bring sun cream. If it is too hot to walk, you can always take a tram within the city. The best months to visit Seville are perhaps April or May, since it is not too hot and there are some big events, such as Feria de Abril and Semana Santa.
If you wish to stay in Seville, we recommend any of the following hotels:
- Palacio Pinello. This four star hotel lies within a 16th century palace, which is quite an experience. It is completely renovated, while the building has kept its original soul. Moreover, the hotel is very nicely decorated. Located in the old town, only 200 metres from the Cathedral.
- Zaida. This hotel offers incredible value for money. Even though rooms are relatively cheap, the hotel is situated within a beautiful Neomudejar-style palace. Rooms are comfortable and the service is good. Located in the centre of Seville.
- Hotel Fernando III. This four star hotel has a stunning rooftop terrace with a swimming pool, which offers beautiful views over Seville. It is quite a modern hotel, with plenty of facilities. In addition, the staff is amazing and will do everything to make your stay as memorable as possible.
Another option is to quickly check the availability of hotels and their prices. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in Seville. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
How to get there
You can reach Seville either by plane or by car. Coming from the Algarve, the A22 highway turns into the A49 once you cross the Spanish border. If you follow the A49 for 1,5 hours, you will end up in Seville. Just follow the signs.
There is plenty to discover in Seville. The best way to explore the city is by going on an excursion. After all, a tour guide can tell you the story behind all the details you might have otherwise missed. Below you can find our favourite excursions in Seville.
During the year, there are some interesting events in Seville. The two most important ones are Feria de Abril and Semana Santa. If you have the possibility to visit Seville during one of these events, it will surely enrich your holiday experience.
Feria de Abril
This is the spring fair of Seville and starts 2 weeks after Easter Sunday. The fair lasts for almost a week and is one of the biggest fairs in the area. During this fair people eat, drink, dance and have fun for several days in a row.
You will see people walking around in traditional costumes, as well as horse-drawn carriages. In total, about 5 million people attend the festivities of Feria de Abril, which shows that it is truly a huge event.
Semana Santa is the Holy Week leading up to Easter. The religious festival includes processions as a tribute to Jesus Christ. You will see huge statues of Juses Christ, as well as religious customs and traditions. Is is truly fascinating to be in Seville during this festival.