Planning Your Trip to Seville
Many people breeze through Seville in a single day, focusing on its majestic Alcázar and the Seville Cathedral. The city is fairly walkable and bike-friendly, so it's possible to visit some of its highlights in 24 hours, but the experience would be somewhat rushed.
With two or three days, you could take the proper time to explore more Seville landmarks, like the grandiose Plaza de España, as well as other palaces, museums, and parks. You could also go to a flamenco show, which is an important tradition in the region.
Visitors who are lucky enough to have more time in Seville can start planning day trips around Andalusia. Ronda and Málaga are some of the most popular destinations that can easily be reached from Seville.
Seville in 24 Hours
If you only have a day to visit Sevilla, you should concentrate on two landmarks: the Alcázar of Seville and the Seville Cathedral.
The first is an interesting mix of Christian and Islamic architecture, and is considered one of the most beautiful Alcázars in the country. This 14th-century landmark gives you an insight into the southern region's deep Islamic influences. King Peter of Castile built it over a Muslim fortress as a symbol of the Christian Reconquest. However, he decided to do it in Mudéjar (Neo-Moorish) style, which features arches, symmetrical gardens, and geometric motifs.
After you've finished touring the Alcázar and enjoying some time in its gardens, you can head over to the Seville Cathedral. Built in the 15th-century, it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the entire world! Besides witnessing this beautiful architectural wonder and seeing its famous bell tower—La Giralda—, you can visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Although this figure is highly controversial, many visitors are interested in seeing his tomb because of his historical importance.
Given the limited time and the popularity of the landmarks, we recommended joining a local tour that can help you skip long lines.
In the evening, head to the Historical Center to see the city come to life while you enjoy some tapas.
Seville in 2-3 Days
With a bit more time, you can get to the heart of this beautiful city.
Begin with an obligatory visit to the iconic Plaza de España. Although less than 100-years-old, this landmark has become a symbol of Seville. The plaza is located within the María Luisa Park and is famous for its semi-circular structure and its tiled alcoves representing the different Spanish regions. Visitors can walk in and around the main building, cross bridges, and even row a boat along a small canal. The plaza has been featured in films like Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars: Episode II.
When you are ready to leave Plaza de España, head to the Santa Cruz neighborhood. The former Jewish Quarter of Seville, this neighborhood continues to be marked by its distinct and well-preserved architecture. Today, it is one of the trendiest places in the Historic Center, as it's lined with tapas places, small bars, cafés, and artisanal shops.
You should also make some time to visit the exciting Plaza de la Encarnación. This is the site of the Setas de Sevilla, or Sevilla's mushrooms. These modern abstract sculptures provide an above-the-ground walkway with great views of the city.
From here, you can go to nearby Centro Cultural Flamenco "Casa de la Memoria." This flamenco museum and cultural center is one of the best places in the city to learn about this traditional Andalusian dance.
At night, you can catch a performance at the cultural center or look for a small bar hosting a more informal show.
Seville in 4-5 Days
Now that you've hit most of Seville's major landmarks, you can spend the day doing fun activities like a city bike tour or a gastronomical tour and cooking class. For the latter, most companies take you to a local market to buy fresh ingredients, giving you an inside look into what exactly makes Spanish food so delicious. Afterward, you'll get to make the dishes you have been enjoying for days, like gazpacho and Spanish omelette. Of course, sherries and wine tend to flow freely in this kind of activity.
We also highly recommend using this time to do exciting day trips around Andalusia. The southern region is known for its natural beauty and gorgeous towns, many of which are only a few hours away from the regional capital. You can visit breathtaking Ronda, which is perched on top of a mountain and overlooks a gorge, or head to Málaga, Picasso's coastal hometown. History buffs love Cádiz, an Atlantic port city that is one of the oldest in Western Europe.
See more about what you can do in these three Andalusia cities with this 8-day self-drive itinerary.