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Everything You Need to Know Before You Visit Seville

Aerial view of Seville from Las Setas when you visit. Seville buildings in the distance

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Seville is the ultimate destination for city breaks in Spain and Europe and a must-see for families, couples, and backpackers alike. Visit Seville and you’ll find one of the richest cultures Europe with some of the world’s best architecture in Plaza de España and the Real Alcázar. Seville is renowned as the home of flamenco in Spain and it has been my home for many special years.

Here’s everything you need to know about Seville and why you should make it your next travel destination today.

Is Seville worth visiting?

I had my first taste of Seville when I studied abroad here almost ten years ago. A friend from university had told me that I should go elsewhere as he’d heard mixed reviews about the Erasmus program here.

I took his advice and made Valencia my first choice and Seville my second or third.

Arriving home to my student house in Nottingham one afternoon, I received an email from the university informing me that I was heading for Seville. I had never really considered the possibility I might actually miss out on Valencia — in my mind it was a done deal.

However, my spirits were lifted considerably when my housemate (who also studied Spanish) broke the news that he was heading for Seville as well. And so we cracked open two beers, grabbed my laptop, and googled one word: Seville.

Almost ten years after renting property in Seville I’m still here and still loving every second of it.

Even as its popularity grows, things move at such a gentle pace here that one can actually feel comfortable exploring the city. Wandering the streets in cities like Madrid and Barcelona can feel a bit like you’re on a rollercoaster with kaleidoscope glasses on.

It was worth visiting ten years ago and yes, Seville is worth visiting today.

What is Seville famous for?

A view from inside the plaza de españa and one of the best reasons to visit seville

On a global level, Seville is widely recognized as the home of Flamenco. Japan, for example, has long been an admirer of flamenco music and Japanese tourists frequently visit Seville for this reason. You’ll have plenty of tablaos (flamenco bars) to choose from too, particularly in the Triana area.

But flamenco isn’t the only attraction in town so don’t worry if that’s not your thing.

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Seville is in fact one of the most religious cities in Spain and many of its people are devote Christians. In addition to the magnificent Seville Cathedral, the city houses hundreds of Roman Catholic churches. However, I can’t say I ever realized how prevalent religion was here until I witnessed Semana Santa with my own eyes.

Endless processions with pasos (floats carrying statues of popular religious figures) are paraded through the streets while marching bands play in front and behind them. Pasos are carried on the shoulders of men known as Costaleros and Nazarenos also participate in the processions.

Many Sevillanos (Seville natives) prepare and look forward to this week all year and it’s certainly worth seeing at least once but here’s some advice:

  • Don’t come for the whole week: Try to visit during the last few days of the celebration and avoid leaving Seville during the processions. Many streets will be locked down and it’s impossible for taxis to pick you up from your hotel if you’re staying somewhere central.
  • Drink plenty of water before: Watching the processions go by is impressive but very tiring if stay for long. You’ll have to fight (not literally) to get through the crowds and you’ll be on your feet most of the day. With so many people around it won’t be easy to get anywhere fast so drink plenty before, take some water with you and make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Claustrophobic people beware: The crowds for holy week in Seville are never-ending and people pack into the streets like sardines. Getting out of some of the processions can be difficult due to the vast amount of people clambering to get a glimpse of the pasos. If you’re claustrophobic, stay in areas where there’s space and observe from a distance instead.

Semana Santa is an event you should aim to see at least once if you live in Spain or visit frequently. Just keep my advice in mind before you visit Seville during this busy week of processions.

Shortly after Semana Santa, Seville is ready to begin the festivities again with with another famous event in its calendar year.

Feria de Abril (Seville Fair)

The build up to Feria is when people really start to get excited here as this is the real highlight of the year. It’s a week filled with dancing, drinking, and partying until the early hours of the morning.

Here’s what else you can expect:

  • Flamenco dresses: Women wearing colorful trajes de flamenca (flamenco dresses) flock to Feria in the thousands from all over Spain. It’s a very formal event and men are required to wear suits so make sure you turn up smart if you visit Seville during Feria.
  • Rebujito: This mixture of manzanilla wine and lemonade flows freely during Feria and is served in glass jars topped up with ice. It’s not nearly as heavy on the stomach as beer but it is notorious for getting you drunk fast so consume with caution.
  • Sevillanas: These flamenco dances are commonplace anywhere you go in Feria. The woman takes the lead here and if you want to learn how to dance Sevillanas before attending, bear in mind that women have more to learn than men.
  • A journey back in time: You’ll see Casetas (large tents/huts) lining the streets with wooden furniture inside, women in traditional flamenco dresses, and horses pulling carriages through the streets. If you want to experience an event unlike anything else in the world, visit Seville during Feria.

These are special events in the Andalusian capital’s calendar but if you want to visit Seville another time, rest assured it has much more to offer year-round.

Real Alcázar de Sevilla (Royal Alcazar of Seville)

The Alcazar of Seville is one of the most impressive places to visit in Spain. Originally constructed in the 14th century, the palace is a highlight of Mudéjar architecture but contains Islamic, Baroque, and Renaissance influences as well. Mudéjar refers to the Muslims who remained in Iberia as Christians began their reconquest here.

The palace is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and offers lavish gardens alive with wildlife (squirrels and peacocks too), painstakingly detailed architecture, grand art pieces, and so much more.

In fact, the palace is so good that it was used as one of the filming locations for Dorne’s Water Gardens in Game of Thrones. Watch some of the scenes that were filmed here if you want to get excited before you visit Seville and this magnificent palace.

Even if you’re not big on history you can still have a wonderful day here. For the most part I generally have little interest in museums but the Alcázar left me speechless during my first visit. You can find even more palaces like this one in other towns and cities less than an hour away. Read all about the 6 nearest and best day trips from Seville here.

Plaza de España

If you didn’t think the Alcazar could be beaten, Plaza de España might give it a run for its money. Built in 1928 by Aníbal González, the plaza is potentially one of the best attractions in Spain and a must-see come day and night.

The amount of detail throughout the plaza is genuinely mind boggling and it’s even caught the attention of many film directors including George Lucas. In addition to the film Lawrence of Arabia, the Plaza de España has famously appeared in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. 

You can explore the plaza in true Andalusian style by renting a horse and carriage or you can hire one of the little boats that await in the plaza’s brilliant blue canal. The canal is just over 500 meters in length and perfect for a romantic boat ride with loved ones.

Orange Trees

Seville has more orange trees than any other city in the world. It’s estimated that there are more than 25,000 orange trees in Seville alone and this has made it famous for the “Seville Orange.” When you visit Seville you can see these trees almost everywhere you go.

Bear in mind that these are not regular oranges and they’re not suitable for eating straight from the tree. They’re actually used to make orange marmalade, specifically British marmalade. Once a year they’re collected from the trees in Seville and distributed directly to British manufacturers.

The best time to see the orange trees is from the end of December until the middle of February.

How many days to see Seville, Spain?

In my opinion, the average tourist will need a total of 3 days in Seville to see the main attractions. In less than a week you can see Seville’s best attractions and you can read my full guide on how to spend 3 days in Seville here, which also includes excellent restaurant recommendations and directions.

Day 1

  • Plaza de España: Arrive early to avoid crowds and don’t forget to check out the lovely Parque de María Luísa that hugs the perimeter of the plaza.
  • Seville Aquarium: Only a short walk from Plaza de España, the aquarium is great for family fun out of the sun. It’s a nice way to cool down when temperatures are high and a chance to discover the interesting aquatic life here.
  • Triana: Triana is most notable for flamenco music and its incredible ceramics. Calle Betis also offers a string of fantastic bars where you can enjoy a cold drink and excellent views of the river.

Day 2

  • Real Alcázar de Sevilla: Simply unmissable if you’re visiting Seville for the first time.
  • Seville Cathedral: If you visit the Alcazar, you have to visit the Cathedral next door if you’re not too tired. The Cathedral sits just next to the palace and you can always catch your breath with a drink beforehand in one of the bars on the famous Avenida de Constitución.
  • Torre de Oro: Head towards the river from the Cathedral and you’ll find the Torre de Oro, another historic landmark in the Andalusian capital.
  • Barrio Santa Cruz: This famous neighborhood in Seville is the perfect place for some tapas in the evening before heading home for the night.

Day 3

  • El Mercado Arenal: Start your day here with something delicious to eat before renting bikes and continuing the day on two wheels.
  • Las Setas: Only a short walk from Arenal, this “mushroom” structure is the largest wooden structure in the world. Enjoy amazing views from the top and visit during the evening when it lights up the whole area.
  • La Alameda: A great location for drinks in the evening, this popular square is filled with bars and restaurants and has quite an alternative vibe compared to other areas in Seville. It offers low prices and a lively atmosphere, perfect for most ages.

If you’re also interested in non-touristy things to do, check out my list of hidden gems in Seville that evade most tourists.

Seville Infographic

An infographic about Seville, Spain

Can you walk around Seville?

The short answer is yes, you can walk around Seville and it’s completely flat too, which offers some relief when temperatures begin to soar. Most of the main attractions in Seville are also within walking distance of each other and exploring on foot is one of the best ways to see the city.

Best places to walk in Seville

Some of my favorite places to walk around Seville include:

  • Parque María Luísa (Location): Just next to Plaza de España, this is easily one of the best parks in Seville and the perfect spot for a picnic on a sunny day.
  • Parque Alamillo (Location): Parque Alamillo isn’t quite as impressive as Parque María Luísa but it does have more space to roam if you want long walks in the sunshine.
  •  Rio Guadalquivir from Puente de Triana (Location): From the Puente de Triana, walk along the river towards the Torre del Oro and continue in that direction for a scenic stroll through Seville.
  • Barrio Santa Cruz (Location): This charming neighborhood has plenty of winding streets and shops that you can enjoy exploring.

Other ways to get around Seville

Seville’s flat terrain is perfect for exploring on wheels too and you’ll have fun seeing the city by bike and scooter if that’s more your speed. You can also hire kayaks and paddle boards, which give you a unique view of Seville from the river.

When to visit Seville?

The best time to visit Seville is during spring or autumn. Generally any month before or after summer (June, July, and August) is a great time to visit Seville. July and August are especially difficult months for tourists because temperatures can rise to as high as 45°C (113°F). The heat is made worse due to Seville’s low altitude and lack of wind and the city is consequently described as a “frying pan” by many locals.

If you decide to visit Seville in the summer, make sure your hotel or accommodation at least has a pool where you can cool off.

Winter, spring, and autumn are all excellent times to visit Seville. Year-round sunshine makes the city one of the most attractive destinations in Spain, particularly during primavera (spring). If you want sunshine and the opportunity to wander the city in shorts and a t-shirt in the afternoon, aim to get here in March and April. Winter (December, January, February) is also a glorious time to visit Seville and temperatures can reach 24°C (75.2°F).

My personal favorite time to visit Seville would be otoño (autumn) when the extreme temperatures have cooled down and there’s a breeze in the air again. Seville has some extraordinary places to visit but it can be challenging to do so during the summer. Autumn (late September, October, November) is the perfect season to visit Seville if you want sunshine, cooler temperatures, and the occasional gust of wind.

Is Seville safe at night?

The city is generally very safe and if you’re visiting Seville for the first time, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any problems here. During the five years that I’ve lived here I’ve witnessed just one incident at night which occurred in the Torneo area.

Torneo sits just above the Alameda and leads towards the Macarena, one of the poorer areas in Seville.

Central areas and streets like Avenida de Constitución and Las Setas are very safe but be careful if you’re walking down the river late at night. I have heard of one or two incidents involving homeless people harassing women around the river but I’ve never witnessed anything myself.

Compared to cities like Barcelona and Madrid, Seville is generally very safe at night. Just try and stay away from the river especially if you’re no longer somewhere central like the Puente de Triana (Triana Bridge) where there’s usually more people around.

Is Seville expensive?

For most tourists, Seville is not expensive. If you’re visiting Seville from the United Kingdom or U.S. where salaries are generally much higher you can indulge in food and drink that is both delicious and cheap. The price of a cerveza grande  (large beer) is around €2.50 – €3 in total and you will pay a maximum of €3.50 – €4 in some of the more expensive restaurants in Seville.

I recommend you order cañas (small beers) if you’re just out for dinner though as beer is generally much more expensive in restaurants. If you want to continue the night with some more drinks, look for a bar nearby and save money abroad by ordering your beer or wine there instead.

Seville is also renowned as one of the best places for tapas in Spain at great prices. There’s plenty of restaurants and tapas bars in Seville where you can pay as little as €2.50 for a tapa. Research the best places to eat in Seville before you arrive and avoid touristic areas where you’ll pay more for the location than the quality of the food.

Final tips for when you visit Seville

If you want to get the most out of your time when you visit Seville, remember this advice:

  • Visit the main attractions early: Main attractions like the Alcazar and Plaza de España are usually the busiest places in the city. Arrive as early as possible if you want to explore without the crowds. You can also take better photographs in the morning when the lighting is better and the areas are less crowded.
  • Don’t pay for boat tours on the river: In my opinion, the larger boat tours are overpriced and quite boring. You can have a better experience on a bus tour if you want more historical context. If you want to get out on the water, hire a couple of kayaks instead.
  • Plan your days and choose restaurants beforehand: It’s easy to fall for tourist traps when you’re hungry, thirsty, and tired from seeing the city. If you plan ahead and make your reservations beforehand you can avoid the expensive and low-quality restaurants that tourists typically fall for.
  • Don’t visit in August: I have to remind you of this because August in Seville really is the worst time to visit. It’s extremely hot all month and the majority of the city’s residents move to the beach for the month, which also turns the city into a ghost town.
  • Be aware of eating times: Lunch here is usually between 14:00 and 16:00 and most restaurants won’t get busy for dinner until 21:00 – 22:00. People also tend to take siestas between 14:00 and 17:00 when it’s hot so don’t be surprised if things seem a little quieter around this time.


Visit Seville and discover one of the best travel destinations on the planet where you’ll find the best tapas bars and flamenco shows in the world. As they say here: “Sevilla tiene un color especial.”

If you plan to visit Seville soon, remember that it gets extremely hot in summer and I don’t recommend traveling here in July or August. And always remember to plan your days and make an itinerary if you want to have the best experience possible. Please share and comment on this article if you’ve found it useful, we’d love to hear from you!

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1 year ago

Lovely write up! Sevilla is my favorite. After living there for a short time I truly fell in love with it! Semana Santa is beautiful and the Feria is the best! I am so glad to hear these success stories from former study abroad students like myself!

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