Seville is one of the most popular city trip destinations in Spain and all of Europe and we can absolutely understand this. The stunning city in Andalusia combines a wonderful climate – with pleasant temperatures even in winter – with yoone of the largest historic cities centers in the world. It is simply impossible to get bored during a city trip to Seville and all historic sights and beautiful monuments will keep you entertained for days. So what are the best things to do in Seville? Read this blog to learn about the most beautiful sights of Seville, including practical tips and a Seville tourist map.
Did you know: Seville has its own international airport and you can easily find affordable flights to Seville?
Why Seville is definitely worth a visit
The rich architecture and history
Seville is known for its charming alleys, city walls, flamenco theatres, arches, churches, squares, monuments, palaces and more churches. A city usually has its sight concentrated around a cathedral, central square or castle, but Seville is different. There is not just small section with historic buildings. The splendor of Seville seems to never stop! The city has one of the largest historical centers in the world and there is so much to see and admire.
The reason for this is the rich history of Seville. Rich in the sense of money, but also rich in the sense of culture. From the Visigoths to the
From the Visigoths to the Romans to the Islamic Moors to the Christian monarchs, they all left their mark and created one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The Islamic Moors in particular have enriched Seville into the monumental city it still is today. The architecture of the Moors from North Africa was unprecedentedly refined, developed and large-scale. Over a period of more than five hundred years, Seville was built up with the most beautiful buildings and many of them are still there today.
The unique Mudajar architectural style
The Moorish buildings were so beautiful that when the Moors were expelled and Seville became part of a Christian kingdom, the architecture has been preserved. To erase the Moorish influences, the buildings were Christianized. So old mosques were decorated with Christian saints and reused as churches. The result is a special architectural style that you only find in Spain – and sporadically in Portugal. The Mudejar style is a beautiful combination of Muslim and Christian architecture, and Seville is arguably the best place to admire it.
Later in history, architects were still impressed by the Mudejar style. This inspired them to introduce the Neo-Mudejar style in Seville. In the 1920s and 1930s, the old Mudjar style was reintroduced, but with a contemporary twist. Famous highlights like it Plaza de Espana and the Hotel Alfons XIII are good examples of this unique reincarnation of the old Moorish and Christian architecture.
The most important commercial city of colonial Spain
But before we jump from the Moors to the 1930s, it is worth mentioning Seville’s wealth as a colonial trading city. The river port of Seville was the most important in Spain and the exclusive place where all ships returned from the Spanish colonies. They brought tobacco and other precious merchandise, so Seville prospered. This resulted in a golden age with impressive monuments and a large expansion of the historic city center. Seville lost its special position when the Spanish ships became too large to reach the city by the river. The most important colonial port was moved to Cadíz, conveniently located on the coast.
So why is Seville worth a visit? Its rich history translates into an old city full of monuments, creating one of the largest Old Towns in the world. Add to that a pleasant Spanish atmosphere and a wonderfully warm climate and you understand why the city should be on your bucket list.
The neighborhoods of Seville: where to stay?
If you are looking for accommodation in Seville, it is good to first choose which neighborhood you’d like to stay. The old center of Seville is large and although all sights are within walking distance, the different neighborhoods offer a different atmospheric.
The best neighborhoods in Seville’s city center are:
- Centro with the iconic Metropol Parasol and the major shopping streets
- Barrio de Santa Cruz, also called the Jewish Quarter, with the Real Alcázar and the Cathedral
- Barrio del Arenal with the Hospital de Carridad and the Torre del Oro
- Barrio San Vicente with great restaurants and hip hotspots
- Maria Luisa Park with the famous Plaza de España
- Barrio de la Macarena packed with churches and also the Palacio de las Dueñas
- Barrio de la Triana, a working-class neighborhood on the other side of the river, where flamenco once originated
We recommend to stay in either Centro, Santa Cruz, Arenal or San Vicente. These districts are most centrally located between the sights, so you’ll get to stay right between the beautiful highlights of Seville. Santa Cruz is often praised as the best neighborhood in Seville and we can agree to that. The narrow alleys, squares with orange trees and beautiful vistas make this the most charming part of the city. Yet the other neighborhoods we mentioned are so close to it and they also have a lot of that charming atmosphere that we would just as well choose Centro, Arenal or San Vicente. As Santa Cruz is very popular, most hotels are quite pricey and the other areas offer more affordable places to stay in Seville.
Hotels or hostels in Seville we can recommend:
- Hotel Amadeus & La Musica for a small-scale hotel in a picturesque alley with stylish design rooms.
- Hotel Alfonso XIII for those who have a big budget and want to sleep in one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in the city.
- Hostal Sierpes for a budget-friendly family hotel in a seventeenth-century monument surrounding a patio.
- Adriano Boutique Hotel with classic boutique rooms in the heart of Santa Cruz.
How to get around Seville
On foot around Seville
The historic center with the famous highlights of Seville is quite large. Yet you can reach everything very well on foot, if you’re fit and don’t mind running your pedometer overtime. Make sure to map out a convenient route, so that the distances remain manageable.
Tip: do you want to explore the old town on a free tour of Seville with a guide? There are several free walking tours available and we can highly recommend them. You simply pay the guide afterwards what you believe the tour was worth.
By bike or electric scooter
If you want to cover the distances more easily, using the local bicycle or electric scooter system is a good option. The city center has many safe and seperate bike lanes, making it easy to cruise around. You can rent a bike for a day at several places. But you can also use Sevici, the self-service bike rental system you’ll find all over the old town.
Tip: if you want to see as much of Seville as possible in a short time, a guided bike tour is highly recommended.
You will also see many electric scooters and steps in the old town. Would you also like to tour the city on an electric scooter or scooter? Then look for the electric steps from Voi and mint green scooters from Yego. You can easily and fairly cheaply rent them via an app.
Not recommended: horse carriages
You will probably also see horse-drawn carriages everywhere in the old center to ride tourists around during a romantic trip along all the beautiful highlights. That sounds very idyllic, but we wouldn’t recommend you to do it.
We don’t like the use of animals as tourist attractions. We believe that’s not what animals are meant for and we have noticed many times that the animals working in tourism aren’t treated well. Even if it seems that the animals have a good life, you just can’t determine this as a tourist and we would simply choose not to opt for a horse carriage.
If you like being driven around old Seville, you could opt for the Hop-On Hop-Off Buses. These are included in the Sevilla Pass, as is the entrance ticket to the Royal Palace and the Cathedral.
Our Seville tourist map
What to do in Seville: 10 must-see highlights
#1 Plaza de Espana
The most beautiful square in Seville and most impressive landmark is the Plaza de España, or: the Square of Spain. As a Star Wars enthusiast, this square may look familiar to you. It actually appeared in Star Wars Episode II. But even without having seen this film, you have probably seen photos of this beautiful square. It is no less than 160 meters wide and has spectacularly beautiful architecture!
It was built in 1929, when Sevilla hosted the World Expo. The world exhibitions usually leave many spectacular marks in the cities hosting them, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Atomium in Brussels. That is exactly what the Plaza de España is for Seville.
The square is shaped like a semicircle. An open form was deliberately chosen to give visitors a warm welcome in this new symbol for Spain. A colonnade and beautiful buildings were erected along the edge of that semicircle, where government offices are now located. One of our top tips for Seville is the viewpoint over the square. The facade protrudes slightly in two places. At those places, you can take the stairs up to have look over the square from the balustrade.
Along the edge of the square all provinces of Spain are represented in alphabetical order in a tile tableau with a seat, where people often sit on sunny days. Another way Spain is represented in the square is in the four bridges. The country was once divided in four kingdoms – León, Castilla, Aragon and Navarre – and the four bridges each symbolize a kingdom. The bridges cross a canal and there are small tourist boats to enjoy the square from the water.
#2 The Royal Palace: Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Seville has the oldest royal palace in the world that is still used in that function. There may be older palaces, but they are no longer used by the royal family like that of Seville. When the Spanish King and his family are in Seville, they are allowed to stay in their palace and the palace is closed to visitors. The gardens are still open though and because of this lack of privacy the royal family usually chooses to stay in the prestigious Alfons III Hotel. Nevertheless, the people of Seville are proud to boast of their palace as the oldest royal palace in the world that is still in use.
Aside from that extra significance as a real royal palace, the Real Alcázar is one of the most beautiful structures in all of Spain. It is a unparalleled piece of architecture in which Moorish and European influences are intertwined, a typical example of the Mudajar architectural style. The palace complex is made of mosaic, arches, domes, passages, carvings and more beautiful details. The unique architecture will keep your eye entertained for hours.
Don’t miss the gardens of the Royal Palace. They are huge and just as beautiful as the palace. Game of Thrones fans should recognise the gardens from the many scenes that were shot here. The gardens have been used as a film set for the fictional Game of Thrones area of Dorne. The impressive Baths of Lady María de Padilla with that beautiful vaulted ceiling? That was where the Sand Snakes forged their plots.
You can buy tickets for the Real Alcázar on the spot, but then you will have to queue twice. First at the ticket office and then once again at the entrance. You shouldn’t be surprised if tickets are already sold out, as we unfortunately experienced when we wanted to visit the palace the first time. And that was even in the low season during the winter months. We recommend you to book your tickets online af the official palace website in advance. Are you traveling on a strict travel budget? Then we have the perfect tip for Seville: entrance to the Real Alcázar is free each Monday at the end of the day. Beware that you need an online ticket for this free entry as well – for which you pay a € 1 administration fee per person – and those are already sold out well in advance. Entry to the Real Alcázar is included in the Sevilla Pass.
#3 The Cathedral and Giralda Tower
The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is one of the largest churches in the world. Only St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London are bigger. The monument is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the city’s best-known tourist attractions. The history of the cathedral began when Seville was part of the Moorish Empire and the Muslims built their mosque at this exact location. After the city was conquered by the Christians from the Moors, the mosque was reused as a cathedral. Christian elements were added, creating a unique mix that we now call the Mudajar architectural style.
The literal pinnacle of the cathedral is the Giralda, the bell tower of 104 meters high. You can see this tower from almost every street in the old town. Does it remind you of a minaret? That might be right, as that’s what the tower was originally. The Moorish influences are still clearly recognizable in the square tower, but supplemented with Christian saints and other Christian references. One of those later additions is the Giraldillo, the Christian statue on top of the bell tower that can turn with the wind like a weather vane. The tower has been preserved over the centuries. The Moors were known for their phenomenal architecture. Even when parts of the city were destroyed by earthquakes, the Giralda survived.
The Moors also built a clever piece of art inside the Giralda. The first part of the towers consists of ramps instead of stairs. This way visitors could easily get up on a donkey. Nowadays you don’t have that luxury and you will just have to climb all the way up to the top. The beautiful view of the old city is well worth the effort though. It is still prohibited to build anything higher in the old town than the Giralda, so you can see all of Seville from the top.
Admission to the Cathedral and Giralda Tower is included in the Seville Pass. You can get tickets at the Cathedral, but if you want to skip the line, buy your tickets online in advance.
#4 Metropol Parasol: Setas de Sevilla
In a city where historic buildings and monuments fill every street, the Metropol Parasol is a surprising building. It is the largest wooden construction in the world with dimensions spanning the entire square. The design consists of six umbrellas that are connected to each other. It is also called the Setas de Sevilla by locals: the mushrooms of Seville.
Construction work for a parking garage once took place at the square. As centuries-old remains from Roman and Moorish times were found, the project was halted. Only many years later a new attempt was made to redevelop the square. There was a design contest and the impressive wooden creation we know now was the winning design. The building was completed in 2011, after which it quickly became one of the city’s famous tourist attractions.
You can simply walk on the elevated square, under the umbrellas and admire the beautiful structure from below. But if you want to see more of the Metropol Parasol, you can walk on top of it as well! Go into the cellar – where those Roman and Moorish excavations can also be seen – and buy a ticket there for a walk at the top. A walking path has been laid out over the umbrellas with a beautiful view of the artwork itself and of course the city.
#5 The Jewish Quarter: Barrio de Santa Cruz
The most beautiful neighborhood of the historic center is Barrio de Santa Cruz, the historic Jewish quarter. It has two of Seville’s biggest tourist attractions, the Real Alcázar and the Cathedral, surrounded by a maze of streets and alleys.
Wandering through this neighborhood is one of the best things to do in Seville. It has many narrow alleys, cobbled streets and small squares with orange trees or historic churches with colorful facades. Marvel at the picturesque vistas and beautiful buildings and just get lost. Barrio de Santa Cruz has many restaurants with sunny terraces, so this is also the perfect place for an authentic lunch while watching the people strolling past the terraces.
You inevitably end up at the imposing city walls of the Royal Palace. The Jardines de Murillo gardens also run along the walls, where you can see huge trees and enjoy some shade and tranquility.
#6 Parque de Maria Luisa
The Maria Luisa Park is the green lungs of Seville. It is a dizzyingly large park that runs along the Guadalquivir River. You’ll find it just south of most attractions and right next to Plaza de España.
The park is named after Maria Luisa, the Spanish princess who donated the parks to the public. Until then, the park was part of the private gardens of the Palacio de San Telmo. The park got a major transformation when Seville hosted the World Exhibition. The Plaza de España was built on the edge of the park and several pavilions were built in and around the park. The remnants of the World Exhibition are still some of the most beautiful buildings in Seville.
Make sure to visit Plaza de America, named after the American pavilion that was built here. It is a beautiful square with equally beautiful buildings, of which the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions is the most impressive. It is built in a Neo-Mudajar style, a modern version of Moorish-Christian architecture from centuries earlier.
We also recommend you just relax in the green park by making a long walk. There are ponds, statues, fountains, gazebos, small monuments, larger pavilions, benches, ancient trees, wide avenues and narrow paths. The park is the perfect place to feel far away from the busy city and enjoy nature.
#7 Real Fabrica de Tabacos
This beautiful building in the old town of Seville was once a tobacco factory. At a time when mostly men had work, this was one of the main employers for women in the city. Women, with smaller hands and greater precision, were said to be the perfect workers for rolling tobacco.
Because tobacco was still a very exotic and also precious commodity at that time, the ladies were checked daily to prevent them from taking their work home. The tobacco factory even had its own chapel to immediately do penance for these kinds of sins and a own prison to cool down for a while. Not for too long of course, as the factory had to keep running and every pair of hands missing meant less production. The Real Fábrica de Tabacos was even surrounded by a ditch, making sure the precious goods were well protected like a medieval fortress. The canal is now empty and even trees grow in it, but you still have to cross it to visit the old factory.
The impressive monument is now home to the university. There are several university buildings in the city, but this is the most important and the most beautiful one. It is open to the public, so be sure to take a moment to visit the inside as well.
#8 Hotel Alfonso XIII
The World’s Expo in Seville has left more traces in the city than just the famous Plaza de España. In order to accommodate all those visitors, a monumental hotel was also built: the Hotel Alfonso XIII. It was already one of the most luxurious hotels in the world then and it still is. The property was built in Neo-Mudajar style, a modern version of Moorish-Christian architecture centuries earlier. Interestingly enough, the building looks extravagant and beautifully luxurious, though cheaper materials such as bricks and plaster were used for construction.
Inside the hotel has kept the glory of past times. The marble floors and huge banquet halls with chandeliers still exude wealth and luxury. Named after the king who then ruled Spain, it is still a place of royal allure today. Although the royal family of Spain can use their own royal palace in Seville, they usually prefer Hotel Alfonso XIII. Other famous guests include Prince Charles and his then wife Diana, as well as stars such as Angelina Jolie and Madonna.
Would you like to visit the hotel yourself? Certainly do! A night at Hotel Alfonso XIII is not cheap, but you’ll stay in the most beautiful and famous hotel in Seville. If that is a bit above your budget, it is good to know that you can also enjoy a cup of coffee in the hotel restaurant without being a hotel guest. We just asked the lady at the reception if we could take a look and that was no problem as well.
#9 Archivo de Indias
Located right next to the cathedral and the Royal Palace, the Archivo de Indias was the place for trade. The city was once the main trading center for overseas and colonial trade, so the wealth was endless. Seville needed a commercial building fitting that wealth and this monumental building was erected to house the overseas and colonial trade. This created a triangle on the central square between politics (palace), religion (cathedral) and economy (commercial building).
When Seville became less important as a commercial city, this building became superfluous. Fortunately it has been beautifully preserved. It’s now a archive for colonial documents, like maps and mission reports. Exhibitions are also often organized.
When we visited Seville, there was a large exhibition dedicated to the local trading history, showing maps, historical paintings and replicas of ships. Unfortunately, the exhibition itself was only signed in Spanish, but the entrance was free and allowed us to take a look at the inside of the Archivo de Indias.
#10 Hospital de la Caridad
One of the hidden gems of Seville is the Hospital de la Caridad, located in the Arenal district. It was the headquarters of the Christian brotherhood Hermandad de la Caridad and the hospital where the sick and homeless were cared for. Such a holy place also needed a church to honor God and that became one of the most beautiful baroque churches in town.
When the wealthy philanthropist Miguel de Mañara became the head of the Order of the Brothers in 1662, he decided to found the hospital. Until that time, the Order of the Brothers was mainly concerned with assisting and later burying those sentenced to death, collecting corpses after floods and such gruesome jobs. But with the arrival of this wealthy benefactor, the living could also count on the support of the Order of the Brothers. A homeless center, a hospital and the Hospital de la Caridad with its beautiful baroque church were built.
The church was completed in 1670 and is now the main reason to visit this landmark. When you enter the Hospital de la Caridad, you will first pass through the old hospital next to the church. You will cross a beautiful courtyard with historic Delft blue tile tableaus. But the Baroque church itself is the highlight. The church has a beautiful but simple classical facade from the outside, but the interior is very exuberant.
The church is beautifully decorated inside. Although it’s not very big, it certainly makes an impression! The plasterwork with decorations from wall to ceiling and a lavish golden altar immediately catch the eye. But the real eye-catchers are the paintings of the famous Spanish painter Murillo. He made six paintings about mercy for the Baroque church. Four of them were stolen during a war in 1810 and were scattered around the world. They are now in museums in London, Ottawa, Washington and St. Petersburg. Replicas therefore hang in their place, making the church looks as it was once intended. Because of this only two works of Murille are original. Which ones? The lower one on the left wall – Saint John with a sick man – and the lower one on the right wall – Saint Elisabeth healing a sick person – are still in their original place.
Tickets are €8 and audio tours €1. But every Monday at the end of the day, you can visit the Hospital de la Caridad for free.
#11 Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro is one of the great icons of Seville. This massive tower stands on the Guadalquivir River bank. The lower, dodecagonal part of the tower was built as early as the thirteenth century, so back in Moorish times. It was part of the city walls that protected the old city. The central part is dodecagonal and was added in the fourteenth century. The round spire dates from 1760.
Why it is called the Torre del Oro – or Golden Tower – is not entirely clear. It could refer to the gold that entered the city at this location once via the river, or to the city’s golden times as a colonial trading port. But it is also said that the tower is built of a material that contains straw, giving the tower once a golden glow in the sunlight.
The tower now houses a maritime museum. Tickets are only €3, but you can visit the museum for free on Mondays. From the top you have a beautiful view over the river, bridges and the working-class district of Triana on the other side. Do you also want to see the silver little sister of the Golden Tower? The Torre de la Plata is located nearby in a somewhat less impressive location – next to a parking lot – not far from the Torre del Oro. The two towers were once connected by a city wall.
#12 Plaza de Cabildo
One of the hidden gems of Seville is right next to the famous cathedral: the Plaza de Cabildo. This square has the shape of a half oval and is completely surrounded by buildings and part of the old city wall. You can get to the square via three passages under the apartment building, one of which is opposite the official but unused main entrance to the cathedral.
Along the Plaza de Cabildo is a part of the historic city wall, in front of which is a fountain. But it is the buildings that make this square so special. It consists of a gallery with marble columns, and above it three floors, two of which have balconies. It is a beautiful structure of marble, simple white plaster and colorful frescoes. The frescoes are located between and above the columns, but also at the very top under the eaves. So don’t forget to look up when you walk across the square.
The gallery now houses shops, but it is mainly an oasis of calm in the busy center of the city. Except on Sundays, because then the Plaza de Cabildo hosts an antique market where you can buy coins, stamps, historical medals and other antique items.
#13 Palacio de las Dueñas
We usually prefer not to include a highlight that we have not visited ourselves, but we have heard so much good about this Seville attraction that we do not want to leave it out of this list. Unlike, for example, the Royal Palace, in the Palacio de las Dueñas still has furnished period rooms and an impressive art collection.
The palace is owned by the House of Alba, a noble family with a long lineage. You might have heard of the Duchess of Alba, an extraordinary Spanish socialite who was often in the tabloids for her striking outrages and in the Guinness Book of Records as the person with the most noble titles. She married a much younger man in the family palace at the age of 85, something even the Spanish king spoke out against.
The beautiful palace is one of the oldest city palaces in Seville. It was built at the end of the fifteenth century. The architectural style is a remarkable mix of Mudajar, Gothic and Renaissance. It has a number of colonnaded courtyards with exotic plants and fountains. Many of the rooms are decorated, making the palace really come to life. A unique part of the palace is its art collection with many antique tapestries, but also a large collection of historical football posters.
Tip: if you’re still not bored of the Seville palaces after visiting the Real Alcázar and Palacio de las Dueñas, there is one more gem to visit. The Casa de Pilatos is also said to be a beautiful city palace with a similar architecture to the Palacio de las Dueñas.
#14 A free walking tour
Do you want to visit as many highlights of Seville as possible in one go? And learn more about the history, legends and best places to visit in Seville? Then join a free walking tour as we did. We are big fans of this concept and have joined these types of city walks with a local guide all over the world.
You can find many different tours in Seville only. You’ll have to register in advance, so the guides know what to expect from the group size. After gathering at a convenient starting point, the local guide will lead you along the most beautiful Seville sights. The guided tour is free, although you are supposed to pay a tip at the end, depending on what you can spare and what you think the tour was worth. Big tourist destinations like Seville have several tours at several times, so you’ll always find one that fits your travel plans.
Our guide took us to most of the big sights, while telling us anecdotes and stories about Seville and his history, some of which ended up in this blog as well. A tour is a fun way to see a lot of the city in two to three hours. So especially if you are in Seville for a short city trip and don’t have much time, this is a very efficient way to explore the city.
#15 Restaurants in Seville
As one of the biggest tourist destinations in Spain, Seville offers many great restaurants, tapas bars, coffee spots and hotspots. The neighborhoods of the old center have many lovely squares with terraces, where you can enjoy a drink and some tapas. The historic neighborhood of Barrio de Santa Cruz is the perfect place for this.
We can also recommend you to visit the Seville mercados, the local covered markets. There are many of them in the city and locals use them for grocery shopping or having a quick lunch. Mercado de Triana is the most famous and one of the oldest markets in the city. It has stands with vegetables, fruit, fish and meat and is used by locals to buy their groceries. It is one of the best places to visit in the Triana district. Another recommendation is the Mercado Lonja del Barranco, which is a more trendy counterpart to the Triana market. It is a modern food court with a bar, where mainly the young locals come. A third recommendation is the Mercado de Feria, where you have a fish market as well as trendy bars and places where locals come for their lunch.
Are you looking for the hip hotspots of Seville? Filo is a nice but very small lunch spot for mainly healthy food. Large salad bowls and fine sandwiches are on the menu. For a well-priced breakfast, we recommend Almazen Café. It is also a popular spot for digital nomads, as the wifi is good and the juices are tasty. If you’re looking for another digital nomad spot, then you should definitely visit Caótica. This bookstore coffee spot is full of people working on their laptops. La Cacharreria is a popular spot for lunch. This is the perfect place for pancakes, avocado toast and bagels. Speaking of pancakes: we also really liked La Mala. This fine brunch spot is very cozy and is located in a cozy street, where you can also get a table at their terrace.
As a coffee lover, Sebastiaan has tried all of the best coffee spots in Seville. Strangely enough, the best specialty coffee spots in the city are not hip hotspots with stylish interiors and cozy corners and seats, but white and simple bars where people simply come for excellent coffee. Great options are Hispalis Café, Virgin Coffee, Jester, Parceria Café and Borbotea Coffee Lab. Borbotea was the only good coffee bar with a cozy interior that makes you want to stay and enjoy your coffee inside.
Best things to do outside Seville: the best day trips near Seville
#1 The western village of El Rocío
The picturesque El Rocio is known as a pilgrimage destination, but only at Pentecost when the city is overrun by thousands of visitors. The rest of the year, the small town is a lot quieter and visitors come mainly to taste the unique western atmosphere.
El Rocío is like a western movie set, where you would expect to see a cowboy on horseback riding by. The white houses, dusty dirt roads, locals on horseback and historic porches in front of the houses seem to belong in the wild west. It’s like a time machine bringing you to the old days of the wild west. The town is designed for horses and horse-drawn carriages. The horses and covered wagons now seem to be mainly used for tourists, but the town still clearly shows how this was once the standard. The many large squares with grass fields in the center show where the horses used to graze. And do you notice those wooden beams in front of all the houses? They were used to tie the reins of your horse.
Tip: from Seville you can book a guided day tour to El Rocío during which you also visit the lovely Matalascañas beach.
#2 Doñana National Park
Southwest of Seville is the Doñana National Park, which is also well worth a visit. The park is a gigantic swamp area with special flora and fauna, such as flamingos and deer that we both spotted in the park. There are also rare lynxes in the park, but it is very hard to see on of them.
You can enjoy beautiful hikes in the park. You can walk the Camino de Moguer, where you explore a beautiful part of the park. Other scenic hiking trails start from the three visitor centers in the park. These are mainly short walks, varying from more than 2 kilometers (from the visitor center of La Rocina) to 7 kilometers (from the visitor center in the white palace Palacio del Alcebrón).
Tip: from Seville you can book a 4×4 tour in Doñana, where you explore the park in a rugged 4WD car.
#3 Picturesque Carmona
Only a fifteen-minute drive from Seville is the cozy village of Carmona, one of the hidden gems of Andalusia. For centuries, this strategic hilltop site has been inhabited, conquered from enemies and developed with the most beautiful structures. From the Carthaginians to the Romans and from the Moors to the Christians, they all left their mark on this beautiful town.
When visiting Carmona you will probably enter the historic center through one of the two gates at the old city walls. Especially the Puerta de Sevilla is very impressive to see. From this city gate, the Alcazar palace is hard to miss. The old palace is located on top of this city gate and was once a Roman fortress to defend the city. Be sure to visit the Santa Maria Church, which was once a mosque before it was reused as a catholic church. You can still recognize the old minaret in the church tower, just like the Giralda tower of the Cathedral of Seville.
If you have enough time, we also recommend a stop at the Roman necropolis just outside the city. This necropolis dates from the second to fourth centuries BC. You can still see the remains of a system of corridors, an amphitheatre and a crematorium. Admission is free for EU residents.
Tip: from Seville you can visit Carmona with a guided tour, including a visit to the Roman necropolis.
#4 The Roman Ruins of Itálica
Just north of Seville, you can visit the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Itálica, which is one of the best-known day trips from Seville. It was one of the first Roman cities in nowadays Spain and therefore one of the more important places for the Romans. Did you know that the Roman Emperors Trajan and probably also his successor Hadrian were born in Itálica?
The archaeological park is located in the village of Santiponce, under which part of the Roman ruins are still buried. Only part of it has been excavated, but even that is impressively large. You can see the remains of an amphitheatre, temples, bathhouses, aqueducts, houses and temples. Particularly impressive are the mosaics in the old houses.
The amphitheater is especially a great place to visit for Game of Thrones fans. Some key scenes from Season 7 were filmed here, in which the remaining competitors for the throne of Westeros gathered in the dragon pit to discuss what to do about the white walkers. The archaeological park is free to visit for EU residents.
Tip: from Seville you can visit Itálica with a guide, also stopping at the medieval monastery of San Isidoro del Campo.