How To Get There
Seville is located in the region of Andalucia, in southern Spain. It’s just a couple of hours from other popular destinations like Cordoba, Malaga, Ronda, and Cadiz. Seville is well-connected with trains, buses, airport, and well-maintained roads. There is a high-speed train, the AVE, that connects Madrid and Seville and takes about 2 hours or you can catch a daily flight from Madrid. I personally recommend taking the AVE as you can calmly enjoy the variety of landscapes that Spain has to offer. The best plan is to spend 2-3 days exploring the city and then rent a car to tour the region.
Seville’s Top Sights
- The Real Alcazar
- The Cathedral and Torre Giralda
- Museo de Bellas Artes
- Plaza de España
- Torre del Oro
The Real Alcazar
The Alcázar of Seville has always been used as lodging for kings and important personalities. The original fortification was built on an old Roman site and later became a Christian basilica. It began to take on its present appearance after the Arabs took over the city in the year 713. After the reconquest of the city, King Peter of Castile ordered the renovation of the Alcazar with upper-level arches that are clearly more European and reminiscent of the Renaissance. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Real Alcázar has also been the scene of several productions, such as The Kingdom of Heaven, Alatriste or Game of Thrones.
The Cathedral and Torre Giralda
Seville’s Cathedral it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the third Christian temple after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. Since 1401, its construction was carried out in several phases for over more than a century, resulting in a mixture of several architectural styles that provide its astonishing beauty. The Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel), is dominated by a vast Gothic altar piece comprised of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ.
One of the main attractions of the cathedral is the tomb of Cristopher Columbus which houses the remains of the great explorer who died in poverty in Valladolid. Even though other cities claim to hold his remains, recent DNA tests proved beyond doubt that this tomb does hold Columbus’ remains. It is advisable to get your tickets in advance to skip the long lines, get an audio guide and map or a guided Cathedral tour to help orient yourself inside and increase your appreciation of the Cathedral’s history and architecture. General admission is 9 €.
The magnificent Giralda Tower is an icon of Seville. This tower is now part of the Cathedral but stands as a piece of the past from the Mosque that was originally on this site. You can begin your way up the tower from inside the Cathedral. Tower access is included with your Cathedral entry ticket.
Museo De Bellas Artes
After the Prado Museum in Madrid, this is perhaps the most important art museum in Spain. The original museum opened in 1839 in this monastery building, which was renovated in 1662 in Mudéjar style. You will find works of art from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque era and up to the 20th century, mostly of renowned Spanish artists. Entrance is just € 1.50 and free for European residents.
Plaza de España
This massive building is Seville’s most impressive after the cathedral and it was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. In front of the building there is a 500-meter canal crossed by four bridges, and in the centre of it all is the Plaza itself. You can rent small boats to row in the canal which cost 5 euros for 45 minutes. The Plaza has been used over the decades as a location for filming several movies, such as Star Wars.
Torre Del Oro
This is a watchtower located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river, it is 36 meters tall and dates back to the 13th century. Torre del Oro now houses a small but interesting naval museum with two floors of exhibits and a panoramic terrace. Tickets are 3 € and there is free entrance on Mondays.