15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Seville
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Seville casts a spell of enchantment over visitors from the minute they step foot on the quaint cobblestone lanes and stroll the palm-lined promenades. Elegant edifices, old-fashioned street lamps, and horse-drawn carriages create a magical ambience, and the sights are as stunning as the famous flamenco performances and flamboyant festivals.
Seville's cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Christendom with a majestic tower that was once the minaret of a great mosque. Another relic of the Moorish past, the Alcázar dazzles with its lavish Mudéjar decor and lush gardens.
The charm of this quintessential Andalusian city is found in the peaceful courtyards and winding alleys of the medieval Barrio Santa Cruz, as well as in the beautiful open spaces of the Parque de María Luisa and the Plaza de España, Seville's most graceful square.
A gem of Southern Spain's Andalusia region, this captivating city boasts an abundance of cultural attractions and things to do.
See also: Where to Stay in Seville
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. Catedral de Sevilla
The Catedral de Sevilla is the largest Gothic cathedral in Christendom, unmatched in its impressive scale and abundance of art treasures. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this glorious place of worship was constructed between 1402 and 1506 on the site of the town's principal mosque.
The cathedral's bell tower, La Giralda, was originally the minaret of the mosque built in the 12th century by Almohad Moorish rulers. This 93-meter-high tower of the cathedral is still the emblem of Seville.
Entering the cathedral, visitors are surprised by the immense proportions of the nave. The five-aisled interior extends 117 meters in length and 76 meters across and soars to 40 meters in height. This overwhelming space is the most grandiose Gothic interior in Spain.
The Capilla Mayor (Main Chapel) features a resplendent retablo, considered a masterpiece of Gothic woodcarving. In the center is a silver image of the Virgen de la Sede surrounded by 45 scenes from the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin. In the south transept stands a striking monument to Christopher Columbus, fitting of his historic stature.
Behind the Capilla Mayor is the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel). Built between 1551 and 1575, this domed Renaissance chapel contains the royal tombs.
The Sacristía Mayor is a magnificent 16th-century chamber, which contains a large candelabrum and a crucifix by Pieter de Kempeneer. Within the Sacristía Mayor, the Treasury displays the precious gem-adorned crown of the Virgen de los Reyes.
Another notable feature is the Patio de los Naranjos (Patio of Orange Trees), which was the forecourt of the mosque. The octagonal fountain in the center is a remnant of the fountain used by worshipers for religious ablutions in Moorish times.
On the east side of the Patio de los Naranjos is Biblioteca Colombina. The son of Christopher Columbus, Hernando Colón, put together the collection for this library between 1496 and 1539, and it is one of the most important collections of Renaissance-era volumes in Spain, with a special focus on the humanist writings of the Golden Age.
The best way to appreciate this magnificent cathedral is on the Skip-the-Line Cathedral and Alcazar tour. Not only will you save time standing in line on this two-hour small-group tour, you'll also learn about the fascinating history of Seville and these two UNESCO World Heritage-listed attractions from an expert guide.
For a break from sightseeing after visiting the cathedral, head to the Calle de las Sierpes, north of the Plaza Nueva. This narrow pedestrian lane is Seville's main shopping street, lined with shops, cafés, and restaurants.
A delightful place to stop nearby is the Confiteria la Campana to sample enticing Andalusian confections such as candied figs, oranges, and pears. This artisanal pastry shop has been selling handmade cakes, cookies, chocolates, and other sweets since 1885.
Address: Catedral de Seville, Plaza del Triunfo, Avenida de la Constitución, Seville
2. Real Alcázar
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Real Alcázar was originally the medieval fortress of Moorish rulers and later of the Christian kings. The palace was built in the 10th century for Moorish rulers. In the 11th century, it was governed by the legendary Moorish ruler and poet al-Mutamid. After the Christian Reconquest in the 1360s, Moorish architects created the Mudéjar-style buildings for King Pedro the Cruel.
Visitors enter the palace through the Puerta Principal, which leads to the Patio de las Doncellas. This elegant courtyard was built between 1369 and 1379 and exemplifies Islamic architecture, with magnificent arches featuring open arabesque work above 52 marble columns.
The oldest of the rooms, the Sala de los Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors) has a splendid stalactitic dome ceiling, with decorative friezes and inscriptions in Arabic script. Off the Patio del Leon (Patio of the Lion) is the Sala de Audiencias, one of the most ornately decorated rooms in the palace, featuring a lavish artesonado (intricately carved wood) ceiling.
Also not to be missed are the beautifully manicured grounds. The gardens are planted with leafy palms, sweet orange trees, and colorful roses. In traditional Andalusian style, courtyards, decorative pools, and refreshing fountains are the centerpieces of the landscaping.
Across from the Alcazar is the Casa Lonja, which houses the UNESCO-listed Archivo de Indias, an archive of documents from Spain's colonial years in the New World.
Address: Plaza del Triunfo, Seville
Official site: https://www.alcazarsevilla.org/en/
3. Parque de María Luisa and Plaza de España
Inside the Parque de María Luisa, the Plaza de España is one of Seville's most impressive landmarks because of its scale and grandeur. The enormous 50,000-square-meter plaza is surrounded by the balustraded balconies of a Renaissance Neo-Moorish-style building, which curves around following the shape of the canal running through the square.
A monumental fountain is a graceful centerpiece of the square, while the peaceful canal is crossed by four footbridges. Tourists can rent a rowboat for the afternoon to experience the "Venice of Seville" or opt for an equally romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the park.
The Parque de María Luisa, with the Plaza de España at its center, was the site of the Exposiciones Universales in 1929. This expansive green space was created for the Infanta María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón, who donated it to the city of Seville in 1893. The 34-hectare park flourishes alongside the river, with a lush environment of exotic palms, orange trees, elms, and Mediterranean pines.
Lovely historic buildings and colorful tiled benches add to the park's dreamy ambience, and the landscaping features decorative flower beds, shady avenues, Moorish fountains, and ornamental pools.
Address: Paseo de las Delicias, Sevilla
4. Barrio Santa Cruz: Seville's Most Charming Neighborhood
Brimming with old-fashioned charm, the Barrio de Santa Cruz is one of the most charming places to explore in Seville. It was the Judería (Jewish quarter) during the medieval era under Moorish rule, when many of the quarter's churches were originally synagogues.
This medieval neighborhood is characterized by its labyrinth of cobblestone pedestrian lanes (too narrow for cars), whitewashed houses with attractive patios, and picturesque plazas with outdoor cafés.
Many of the quiet courtyards, such as the Plaza Doña Elvira, are planted with fragrant orange trees. The Plaza Santa Cruz features rose beds and a 17th-century wrought-iron cross in the center. At the Plaza Refinadores, visitors will find a statue of Don Juan Tenorio, a famous local literary character.
The Barrio Santa Cruz has two noteworthy museums: the Centro de Interpretación Judería de Sevilla (Calle Ximenez Encisco 22A), which illustrates the history of the city's Sephardim (Spanish Jews), and the Hospital de los Venerables (8 Plaza Venerables), a 17th-century hospital for retired priests, which now houses a collection of Spanish paintings and sculptures.
One of the special things to do in Seville is stroll through the Jardines de Murillo, beautiful gardens filled with palm trees, fountains, and colorful tiled benches. For an excellent view of the cathedral, head to the Plaza del Patio de Banderas.
The Barrio Santa Cruz is found in between the cathedral and the Alcazar of Seville.
5. Museo de Bellas Artes
Seville has an exceptional Museum of Fine Arts, housed in the evocative 17th-century Convento de la Merced. This museum is considered to have the best collection of painting in Spain after the Prado in Madrid. The collection covers art works from the Gothic period through the 20th century.
The representation of works by 17th-century Spanish painters is especially noteworthy. Visitors will see some of the best paintings by famous Spanish artists including El Greco, Pacheco, Velázquez, and Alonso Cano.
The museum has a special focus on masterpieces by Murillo, as well as works by the Seville school of the 17th century. The religious paintings by Zurbarán are also excellent.
Address: 9 Plaza del Museo, Seville
6. Iglesia Colegial del Salvador
A short walk from the cathedral, the Iglesia Colegial del Salvador is a stunningly beautiful Baroque church. Construction began in the late 17th century on the site of Ibn Adabbas, Seville's main mosque, and many additions have taken place since this time.
Glowing pink in the late afternoon light, the ornate facade is influenced by the Mannerist-style. Equally splendid and surprisingly grandiose, the extravagant gilded interior is a treasure trove of Sevillian Baroque details and impressive artwork.
Two spectacular altarpieces adorn the sanctuary: Sacred Christ of Love by Juan de Mesa and Jesus of the Passion by Juan Martínez Montañez. Other highlights are the soaring dome, 18th-century organ, and sacramental chapel.
Like the cathedral, this lovely church also includes a courtyard with orange trees. The patio is a vestige of the original Moorish architecture.
Tip for Travelers: You can purchase a combined ticket here for Iglesia Colegial del Salvador and the Catedral de Sevilla, which allows you to skip the typically long lines at the cathedral.
Address: Plaza del Salvador, S/N, 41004 Sevilla
7. Santa Semana (Holy Week Festival)
The Semana Santa celebration in Seville is one of the most exciting festivals in Spain. Following centuries-old traditions, the Catholic brotherhoods (cofradías and hermandades) from different quarters of town participate in elaborate processions. Clad in penitents' garb, they carry impressive floats, which display ornately decorated figures of saints.
The main procession is the eve of Good Friday and on Good Friday morning, and the ceremonies held in the cathedral during Holy Week are particularly splendid.
During the rest of the year, visitors can still see the famous icon of the Holy Week procession at the Basilica de la Macarena (Calle Macarena). This church possesses the figure of the Virgen de la Macarena, which is displayed on a lavish float during Holy Week. With a tender expression and tears running down her cheeks, this Virgin figure evokes an emotional response.
8. Museo del Baile Flamenco (Museum of Flamenco Dance)
Seville is famous for its flamenco, a flamboyant art form with roots in the Gypsy culture. Flamenco includes both dancing and singing, but most importantly, it is an expression of the soul. The best flamenco dancers have technical prowess, as well as a special gift of channeling the emotions.
The Museo del Baile Flamenco celebrates the beauty of flamenco with exhibits on all aspects of the art: dancing, singing, and guitar. This innovative museum features flamenco costumes, creative video displays, and other educational exhibits.
The museum also has a Flamenco School and hosts professional Flamenco Performances daily from 7-8pm all year long.
Another place to see authentic flamenco dance is at El Palacio Andaluz, a traditional tablao-style (small venue) theater near the Basilica de la Macarena. This 19th-century theater offers intimate performances.
Flamenco shows are also held almost every night at La Carbonería on Calle Céspedes. It's a popular nightlife spot, so arrive early to score a seat.
Address: Museo del Baile Flamenco, 3 Calle de Manuel Rojas Marcos, Seville
9. Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla
The Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla (Royal Bullring of Seville) is one of the finest bullrings in Spain, and with seating for around 12,500 spectators, it is also one of the largest.
Built in 1761, it is an emblematic landmark of Seville and its famous tradition of bullfighting. The design is distinctly Baroque, with an oval-shaped ring that makes it unique among Spanish bullrings, and its graceful arcaded seating provides welcome shade on sunny days.
Housed within the bullring is a museum with a collection of traditional matador costumes, as well as photographs and paintings related to the dramatic art of bullfighting. The Bullfighters' Chapel, where the matadors pray before a fight, is also worth seeing.
Address: 12 Paseo de Colón, Seville
10. Barrio de Triana
This historic quarter of Seville has its own distinct character and identity. Across the river from the main tourist attractions of Seville, the quarter has the ambience of being a world apart. Similar to the Barrio Santa Cruz, the Barrio de Triana is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways leading to atmospheric squares.
What distinguishes the Barrio de Triana is its heritage as a traditional potters' quarter, as well as its Gypsy community. For centuries, the people of this neighborhood have used the clay from the banks of the Guadalquivir River to create authentic Andalusian ceramics.
The ceramic workshops of the Barrio de Triana, mostly located on the Calle Callao, the Calle Antillano Campos, and the Calle Alfareria, are especially renowned for their fine azulejos, glazed ceramic tiles adorned with colorful geometric patterns—a legacy of Andalusia's Moorish aesthetic.
The boutiques of this quarter also sell beautiful decorative ceramic plates, cups, pitchers, serving pieces, and other objects for the home. After browsing the little shops, tourists will be ready for a meal at one of the neighborhood's riverfront restaurants; many have outdoor terraces overlooking the monuments of Seville.
An interesting trivia fact about the Barrio de Triana: From this quarter near the San Telmo Bridge, Magellan set out for his voyage around the world.
11. Casa de Pilatos
The Casa de Pilatos (Palace of the Governors of Andalusia) is a designated National Monument. This exquisite private residence was the home of the aristocratic Enríquez de Ribera family, including the Dukes of Alcalá.
Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Casa de Pilatos is believed to be a replica of Pilate's house in Jerusalem. The house features a variation of Mudéjar style, with Gothic and Renaissance details. Typical of Andalusian architecture, the building has a central patio adorned with azulejos (colorful ceramic tiles) and antique sculptures.
The Salón Dorado (Golden Room) is a beautiful room with faience decorations and an artesonado (coffered wood) ceiling. The main staircase and the private chapel are also noteworthy. A collection of ancient Roman sculptures is displayed throughout the house.
Address: 1 Plaza de Pilatos, Seville
12. Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla
Located within the Parque de María Luisa, the Archaeological Museum of Seville occupies a Neo-Renaissance pavilion built for the Latin American Expo of 1929. The collection begins with the early Paleolithic period; continues with Phoenician, Greek, and Roman antiquities; and finishes with Moorish and Mudéjar items from the Middle Ages.
The ground floor displays artifacts discovered at the Itálica archaeological site (nine kilometers away) in the province of Seville. Among the highlights are the gold jewelry and a statue of Diana.
Another remarkable piece is the Carambolo Treasure from the Tartessian period, which is displayed in its own room on the first floor. This room contains a reproduction of the gold treasure and a shrine dedicated to Phoenician divinities.
Address: Plaza de America, Seville
13. Ayuntamiento (Town Hall)
This impressive 15th-century town hall was designed in the Plateresque style by Diego de Riaño. The intricately carved reliefs on the southern facade depict figures from historical stories and mythology, as well as emblems of the storied founders of the city, Hercules and Caesar.
The building was renovated in the 19th century with a Neoclassical main facade that looks out onto the Plaza Nueva. A small archway connects the town hall building to the adjacent Franciscan monastery.
Tourists may make an appointment (advanced reservations are required) to visit the interior, which contains several important artistic works including a painting of the town's patron saints, Justa and Rufina.
Address: 1 Plaza Nueva, Seville
14. Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija
The Palacio Lebrija is a lovely aristocratic Sevillian mansion of the 16th century. The palace was designed to impress, with its splendid mosaic floors, grand staircase leading up to the second floor and gorgeous artesonado ceilings. The walls are decorated with Arabic-style plateresque ornamentation, and the courtyard is filled with Andalusian plants.
The palace displays a collection of archaeological treasures, including Ancient Greek mosaics, glasses, vases, and sculptures. Other highlights include paintings by Joaquín Sorolla, the famous 19th-century Spanish painter (the "Master of Light") known for his vibrant sun-dappled scenes.
Visitors should note that the Palacio Lebrija has limited opening hours (mornings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Admission is free on Fridays.
Address: 8 Calle Cuna, Seville
Official site: https://palaciodelebrija.com/en/
15. Monasterio de Santa Paula
The Monasterio de Santa Paula was founded by Doña Ana de Santillan in 1473 for the Jerónimas nuns. For five centuries, this monastery has been devoted to divine worship and the study of Scripture.
Within the cloisters of the building, the monastery possesses an important art collection. Tourists can visit the monastery to discover its artistic heritage. Sometimes the nuns can also be found selling their handmade cakes and confections here.
Address: 11 Calle Santa Paula, Seville
Where to Stay in Seville for Sightseeing
The best place to stay is in the historic center of Seville, close to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the cathedral and the Alcázar. Just adjacent to these landmarks is the Judería, a maze of charming streets known as the Barrio Santa Cruz. A number of the old houses here are now small hotels, while larger hotels are plentiful in the nearby streets of the Alameda district. Here are some highly rated hotels in Seville that are close to the top-rated attractions:
- For the old-world grace and elegance of a grand hotel, the five-star Hotel Alfonso XIII is Seville's most luxurious hotel. The hotel is ideally located near the Real Alcázar and the Cathedral of Seville. Guest rooms are outfitted with sumptuous Andalusian, Moorish, or Castilian decor.
- The Hotel Colón Gran Meliá is in the center of Seville near the Museo de Bellas Artes and a 10-minute walk from the cathedral. The area is known for its great shopping and restaurants. This five-star hotel offers stylish rooms and exceptional service. Amenities include a spa, traditional Andalusian restaurant, and a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool.
- Near the Casa de Pilatos and a 10-minute walk to the cathedral, the Hotel Palacio de Villapanés occupies an elegant 18th-century Andalusian palace. The guest rooms are decorated in a warm contemporary style. This five-star hotel features lovely courtyards, a wellness center, gourmet restaurant, and a rooftop terrace with a plunge pool.
- In the heart of atmospheric old Santa Cruz, close to the cathedral and Alcazar, the three-star El Ray Moro is found in a renovated 16th-century manor house. This charming boutique hotel has rooms that surround a lovely courtyard with a fountain.
- The Hotel Bécquer is in the historic center of Seville near the Barrio de Santa Cruz and a 10-minute walk to the cathedral. This four-star hotel has large rooms, some with balconies, and views of the cathedral from its rooftop terrace and pool.
- Just steps away from the river, the NH Sevilla Plaza de Armas is about a 15-minute walk from the cathedral. This modern four-star hotel offers excellent amenities, including a gastronomic restaurant, spacious lounge areas, a sun room, and an outdoor swimming pool.
- Monte Carmelo Hotel is on a pedestrian street in Triana, a picturesque neighborhood with lots of restaurants, just across the river from Maria Luisa Park and the historic center. This affordable hotel offers four-star amenities, such as parking, a 24-hour front desk, and concierge services.
- Housed in a characteristic Andalusian building, the Hotel Goya is in the heart of Santa Cruz, steps from the cathedral and Alcázar. This family-run hotel offers a 24-hour front reception desk and simple yet stylish guest rooms.
- In the central shopping area close to all the historic sites, Hotel America - Seville has recently renovated guest rooms.
Tips and Tours: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Seville
See the Sights:
If you plan to see most of the top attractions in Seville, the City Sightseeing Seville Hop-On Hop-Off Tour is a great-value and flexible option. You can hop on and off this open-top double-decker bus at any of 14 stops, including Plaza de España. The tour also includes free entry to select museums and three complimentary walking tours. A highlight is the stroll around the Seville Cathedral.
Cordoba Day Trip:
To add some other evocative Spanish cities to your itinerary, consider the Cordoba Day Trip from Seville. This full-day tour explores the magnificent Moorish architecture and cultural attractions of this atmospheric Andalusian town, including the UNESCO-listed La Mezquita, the Jewish Quarter, and the Alcazar Fortress.
Granada Day Trip:
The Granada Day Trip from Seville takes you to soak up the beauty of this Andalusian city at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Highlights of this full-day tour include the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alhambra Palace and an optional walking tour of the Albaicin quarter.
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Exploring Andalusia: Once you've explored the top places to visit in Seville, you'll find plenty of other worthwhile destinations in Andalusia. It's only about a 90-minute drive to the fascinating Andalusian city of Córdoba. Here, you can see the magnificent UNESCO-listed La Mezquita (the Great Mosque) and wander the tangle of lanes in the enchanting Judería (old Jewish quarter), with its white-washed houses and charming squares. Drive about three hours east from Seville to explore the highlights of Granada, including the magical Alhambra, a UNESCO-listed complex of ornate palaces, a Moorish fortress, and luxuriant gardens.