If you’re a first-time visitor to Sevilla and aren’t quite sure what there is to see or do, allow me to help! I’ve compiled a list of activities and sights that I feel will give you a great introduction to the city. If you have traveled to Sevilla and have more recommendations, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list!
1. La Catedral de Santa Maria and its tower, La Giralda (worth the climb to the top — highest point in Sevilla; also, check out Christopher Columbus’ tomb inside the Cathedral)
2. El Real Alcazar (the residence of the king and his family whenever they stay in Sevilla, and there’s a room where lots of famous explorers and conquistadors came to pray to the Virgin Mary before setting sail for the New World, including Columbus and Magellan) and its gardens (tons of peacocks, and help yourself to the fruit growing on the trees!)
3. La Plaza de España (immense, beautiful; a scene from Star Wars was filmed here!)
4. The Guadalquivir River — enjoy a stroll along it, and admire the bridges: Isabella II (a.k.a. Puente de Triana; designed by Eiffel), Barqueta, and Alamillo (both designed by Calatrava) were my favorite.
5. El Metropol Parasol (a.k.a. La Seta — “The Mushroom”) — the world’s largest wooden structure, and worth the minimal price to get a great 360 degree view of the city from the top!
6. El Torre del Oro — one of the most famous symbols of Sevilla
7. La Real Fábrica de Tobacos / El Rectorado — originally the first tobacco factory in Europe (the play “Carmen” was inspired by the female cigar-rollers here), but now serves as the main building for the University of Sevilla.
8. Calle Sierpes — the main shopping street in Sevilla; at the southern end of the street look for the building with a plaque on its corner marking the place where the royal jail used to stand — this is where Miguel de Cervantes first started to write “Don Quixote” (can you tell I’m a total nerd?)
9. Calle Betis — on the other side of the Guadalquivir River, in the Triana neighborhood, this is where you want to be if bars and nightclubs are what you’re interested in. There’s also a restaurant/bar called “T de Triana” — every Tuesday and Thursday you can enjoy a free Flamenco show after your dinner! (I advise arriving no later than 9 PM to secure a table with a great view)
10. La Alameda de Hercules — The Alameda was one of my favorite places to hang out with friends in Sevilla. If you want to go bar-hopping (el poteo) or tapas-hopping (el tapeo), you’ll find an abundance of great bars and restaurants here, and there’s even clubs for those who want to dance the night away! For tapas, I recommend Bar Antojo, Duo Tapas, and Las Columnas (MUST get the Solomillo al Whisky). Also, the best ice cream place in Sevilla is right off of the Alameda — it’s called Heladeria Freskura, and they serve Italian gelato always made with fresh, natural ingredients. LOVE. But the best part about the Alameda is the atmosphere; here, you can come dressed however you like, do whatever you like, be whoever you want to be, and nobody cares. It’s got a very let’s-all-just-love-each-other-and-get-along-and-let-your-freak-flag-fly kind of vibe to it. So fun. If anything, go to the Alameda to people watch. You won’t be disappointed!
11. El Parque del Alamillo – A massive park; probably Sevilla’s best-kept secret. This place is gorgeous, and Sevillanos come here to picnic, hang out with friends, go for a jog, enjoy some time in nature, or engage in other recreational activities. Lots of lovely sculptures to be found as well!
12. El Parque de María Luisa – A much smaller, but more famous, park. It’s located right next to the Plaza de España.
13. Isla Mágica – Sevilla has its very own theme park! It’s open during the summer months.
14. La Real Maestranza – one of the best and most beautiful bullrings in Spain
15. Sevilla FC and Real Betis – Sevilla is one of the cities in Spain with TWO of its very own professional soccer (fútbol) teams and stadiums. If you have the opportunity, GO to a match! I went to the rivalry game between the two teams and it was one of the biggest highlights during my time in Sevilla!
16. El Museo de Bellas Artes – Spanish art museum, 2nd only to the Prado
If you ever come to Spain, make Sevilla a part of your trip! But if you can, avoid coming in July and August. The heat is intolerable. The best time to come visit is in the winter if you want to avoid the throngs of tourists, or if you’d like to experience lots of cultural events, come in April (Semana Santa and Feria de Abril). Trust me, you won’t regret visiting the capital city of Andalucía, and the 4th-largest city in Spain.
¡Sevilla es una maravilla!