Seville is very easy to fall in love with once your eyes settle on the colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming locals. It was easily one of my favorite stops when I was touring the beautiful Andalucía region with Toma and Coe. My guide Matt was a joy to be around and I felt very lucky getting to see Seville through his eyes. Here are some of my highlights from the trip that any person visiting Seville should not miss out on!
Seville Cathedral & Giralda Tower:
The sheer size of Seville’s Cathedral will take your breathe away immediately. The Giralda Tower is very striking from the outside and is absolutely worth a visit too. It’s the cathedral’s iconic belltower which offers stunning panoramic views of the whole city.
Construction started on the cathedral in the 1400’s and it was completed over 100 years later in 1507. Its original purpose was to show off the city’s wealth and power which it still does to this day. I also found it fascinating that it is built over the site of a 12th century mosque and some of its remains can still be seen. For example, there are bronze doors from the 1100’s which have inscriptions from the Koran. There are so many different layers of history in this place.
Once inside, you’ll notice a lot of the tourists gathered around a grand monument with four ornate statues holding a coffin. This is the burial place of Christopher Columbus, Spain’s most famous explorer. This tomb is very impressive and like the cathedral itself, it’s huge. In fact, Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the third-largest church in the world! You can easily spend half a day inside.
Alcázar & Murillo Gardens:
The Alcázar is a magnificent fortress-palace which was built by King Pedro I in the 14th century. I learned that it is the oldest royal residence in Europe still in use! When the current King Felipe and Queen Letizia visit Seville, they stay at the Alcázar. Apart from the stunning Alhambra palace in Granada, the Alcázar contains some of the best examples of 14th century Mudejar architecture used by the Moors.
Take your time exploring the ancient palace rooms as there are just so many beautiful details to admire. But make sure you save enough time to stroll through the Murillo Gardens which are quite extensive and incredibly beautiful! There are so many different sections in the garden that represents Islamic, Renaissance and Romantic influences; not to mention there are over 20,000 plants to admire! I found the Murillo Gardens to be such a tranquil place that’s right in the middle of the city. You get to enjoy the best of both worlds in Seville.
Plaza de España:
A visit to Seville just isn’t complete without visiting the impressive Plaza de España. In 1929, Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exposition and this plaza was built as the centerpiece for it. You’ll notice a mix of 1920’s Art Deco with “mock mudéjar” which you can see at the Alcázar. It was built to wow visitors back then and it’s definitely still doing that today! On any given day, you’ll find tourists rowing boats, horse drawn carriages, and locals enjoying the grand space. I’d highly recommend visiting during the golden hour which is about 60 minutes before the sun sets. The sunlight shines so beautifully on the plaza and it’s the ideal time to take photographs.
Barrio Santa Cruz:
You can’t leave Seville without exploring the Barrio Santa Cruz. This neighborhood is in the heart of Seville and is the former Jewish quarter of the medieval city. It is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys that are so much fun to wander around. Getting lost in Seville isn’t bad at all when the streets are so charming! However, my trusty guide Matt knew his way around very well and pointed out the best spots for great photo opportunities.
After lots of walking, be sure to relax on one of the beautiful tiled benches or sit outside an old bar to enjoy some tapas for lunch or dinner. I’d highly recommend ending the day at a Flamenco show at the Museo del Baile Flamenco.
Whether you’re interested in historical sites, beautiful architecture, amazing food or nightlife, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in beautiful Seville!