Seville is a fascinating and romantic city, rich in history, culture, architecture and gastronomic delights, filled with Andalusian temperament. Lonely Planet’s travel experts voted Seville as number one among the top ten cities to visit in 2018. Here, in the south of Spain, traditions are being lived and reinvented by the day. The capital of Andalusia remains an authentic Spanish city whose historical center is not as packed with tourists as other Spanish destinations. While the sun is shining for more than 300 days a year, the Sevillanos master the art of enjoying the moment and the good things in life. Are you interested in Seville travel inspiration to follow them?
I have lived in Seville for over a year and fell in love with this Spanish city, whose magic hardly anyone can resist. As inspiration for your Seville travel planning, I want to share some of the things that make the Andalusian capital so fascinating and unique.
What is so fascinating and inspiring about Seville?
Sevilles Top Sights
Seville is home to impressive monuments such as the Real Alcazar Palace, the largest gothic cathedral in the world with its former minarett bell tower Giralda (Unesco World Heritage sites). The Parque Maria Luisa and the emblematic Plaza España were built for the Iberoamerican Exposition in Seville in 1929. While relaxing in the park, you can look for the pavillons of the different countries that participated in the exhibition.
The list can easily be extended with remarkable sites such as the Lebrija palace or the Casa de Pilatos mansion, the old Tobacco Factory (scene of the opera Carmen and nowadays part of the university of Seville) or the Tower of Gold next to the river Guadalquivir. If you have a little more time in Seville, check out this post for great day trip options out of Seville.
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 1: To find out more about insights and legends, join a free walking tour in Seville. To get an overview on the top spots in Seville Panchotours was very helpful for me.
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 2: Sevilla Secreta (in Spanish) provides insider information what is going on in Seville and ideas to experience Seville off the beaten tracks. If you don’t speak any Spanish, use Google translate to find out what the locals are talking about.
Getting lost and enchanted by Seville’s peaceful squares, winding alleys with the famous orange trees, colourful houses, palaces and patios (courtyards)
Next to the top sights, Seville has so much more to offer. For me, the best way to discover the hidden treasures of Seville is to just start walking and to get lost in the different Barrios (neighbourhoods). From wandering around in the narrow, winding alleys of the most famous Barrio Santa Cruz, drifting to the less crowded streets of Alfalfa with its bars and cafes, strolling along the vivid commercial streets such as Calle Sierpes until arriving to the northern part of the historic center (Alameda, Feria or Macarena)…there are so many peaceful squares with orange trees, colourful houses, amazing palaces and patios (courtyards) to discover…
Check out the most instagrammable spots in Seville here.
Tasty Tapas and Drinks – living the good life
On your walk, you will also pass by countless bars and cafés – inviting you for a drink and some tapas in between. When in Seville, do as the Sevillanos do: Enjoy some beer, wine or tinto de verano (red wine mixed with carbonated lemonade) while standing on Plaza del Salvador square in the afternoon or early evening.
My favorite spot for culinary treats in Seville is the zone around the square Alameda de Hercules where locals and foreigners equally enjoy the good life. Be aware that hardly any restaurant kitchen opens before 20:30 or 9 pm. Sevillanos often have dinner after 11 pm. From the terrace of Al Aljibe, you can observe life on the Alameda while enjoying elaborated tapas. Still hungry? Check out DuoTapas or Bar Antojo close to the Northern part of the square (In DuoTapas, try the mushroom croquetas or the mushroom risotto). Eslava, located close to the Alameda square, is famous among tourists and locals for its elaborated dishes and tapas. Come early for this one and be prepared to eat your tapas standing outside.
What to eat in Seville?
Try the Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham), Solomillo al Whisky (pork in whisky sauce), Salmorejo (refreshing cold tomato soup), Croquetas of different sorts or Cola de Toro (bull tail). Taste the Secréto Ibérico (pork filet) or the Carillada de Cerdo (pork cheek) softly melting on your palate. Many Sevillanos also recommended the Serranito. A warm sandwich with grilled meat (usually pork), cured ham and a fried green pepper served with alioli. Delicious!
Gourmandising in Seville wont burden your wallet like in Barcelona, Madrid or other European destinations.
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 3: Looking for more food options? On Tapasconarte (in Spanish) or De tapas por Sevilla (in Spanish) locals and expats find and exchange recommendations of the best bars and restaurants and hidden gems like the Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo. Here you will find real culinary gems and bypass the tourist masses of the top Tripadvisor places. Use Google translate if you don’t speak any Spanish.
Roof tops or how to enjoy a view from above
The best place to overlook the town of Seville is proabably the bell tower Giralda. If you like the view and want to enjoy it after finishing your sightseeing program for the day, there are other options: Walking on top of the mushroom – shaped Metropol Parasol (also called las setas, which means mushrooms in Spanish), allows you to enjoy a 360 degrees panoramic view over Seville. The entrance is €3 with a drink included to enjoy in the bar on top of the wooden structure.
Looking for something more fancy? From the roof-top bar of the Five-Star EME Catedral Hotel you will have the closest view to the cathedral and the Giralda. Drinks are accordingly pricier. Another great option is the top of the Corte Ingles department store at Plaza del Duque.
Nighlife in Seville
After dinner, which means around midnight, is the time for Sevillans with ambitious party plans to start the predrinking. Although it is actually illegal, doing ‘Bottelon’ is very popular among young people in Seville. During a Bottelon people drink and socialize in public places. The most common areas are next to Torre del Oro or in the streets of the Alfalfa District.
But Seville offers a variety of nightlife options for different tastes. I prefer the more alternative zone of Alameda de Hercules to enjoy some drinks and talks with friends. You are likely to find groups of locals chilling around on the tree laned square and occasional guitar players.
Another option is Calle Betis street in the neighbourhood Triana on the western side of the river, where you can enjoy drinks, food, dancing or chatting with the gorgeous scenery of river Guadalquivir, the neighbourhood El Arenal and Torre del Oro and the Giralda in the background.
The most amazing places to dance the night away during the summer months are the open air clubs around Parque Maria Luisa. One of them is the Terraza Casino.
Flamenco, Sevillanas and April Festival (Feria de Abril)
Feria de Abril
The best moment to experience Sevillan tradition, dances, lifestyle and joy, is the spring festival Feria de Abril in Seville.
Every year in April (exceptionnally May), there is one week when time seems to be turned back in Seville for at least a hundred years. It is the time of the Feria de Abril festival. The streets fill with decorated horses and horse carriages. Women in flamenco dresses and men in elegant suits all head to the festival site. Six entire days of dancing Sevillanas (a kind of flamenco danced in pairs), chatting and singing, enyoing delicious Anadalusian food, drinking manzanilla or rebujito, strolling along the casetas (festival tents) and watching the colourful hustle and bustle, the flamenco dresses, the dancing and the expression of pure joy of life.
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 4: If you have the chance to be in Seville for the Feria week, take in mind that many small casetas are private. Unless you know someone, you won’t be able to enter. Look out for the large public casetas municipales which are open to everyone. There you can mingle with the crowd, order rebujito and if you are brave enough ask someone for a dance.
Flamenco and Sevillanas in Seville
If you cannot make it to Seville during the Feria, but want to get a glimpse into flamenco, you can visit „la carboneria“, a tavern with free flamenco shows, or the lesser known „Casa Anselma“. Dont forget to order drinks in exchange for the free show!
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 5: To watch locals dancing Sevillanas, stop by the bar „el nuestro“ in Triana. They have fantastic life music from 11pm.
Have you been to Seville? Let us know if you have any Seville Insider Tips to add in the comment section.
Where to next?
– The city of Granada in Andalusia is one of the most famous destinations in Spain. And not just because of the incredible and famous Alhambra Palace. Check out what to do and see in Granada in 2 days here.
– If you are trying to book tickets to the Alhambra but all official tickets are sold out, check out our solution guide here how to get last minute tickets to the Alhambra.
You should also check out our insider guides on Barcelona and Bilbao.
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37 thoughts on “Seville – An insider guide”
I spent a long weekend there last January. It was great.
Useful info on a historic city!
This is fab and really impressive. I really need to visit Seville especially after reading this.
Spain indeed has a lot of hidden gems and Seville is one of them. Going to read this article for some tips again before I fly to Seville someday!
Seville looks fantastic. I somehow missed it during my visit to Spain, now regret it a bit.
Looks super beautiful with some really crazy and fascinating architecture.
I absolutely love Sevilla! The food, the city! I really want to go back now! Also your pictures are fab!
What did you enjoy most? Is there any place you would recommend for food?
I am always looking for inspiration for my next visit there. 🙂
Plenty! They are all linked in the post!
Sorry wrong post!!!! Bloody WordPress app! 🙂 About Sevilla though, my favourite part was the small streets in the city centre!
Amazing architectures and rich cultures. Would definitely love to experience the Feria week. Looks very interesting.
Seville looks beautiful, I love architecture of the old buildings and the Metropol Parasol looks very interesting. I would like to try the food as it sounds delicious.
These photos bring back so many wonderful memories! I lived in Sevilla in 2008 and although I live in Spain, have somehow never made it back! I’ve been considering a weekend getaway there and I think you’ve helped make up my mind!
I know what you mean. I live in Barcelona but it’s a different world.
I lived in Seville in 2013 / 14 and since then I came back once a year.
Thanks to the Vueling flash sales, I found very cheap flight tickets the last time…
Where do you live in Spain ?
Do you have any Seville travel inspiration tips to add?
I really wanna go there sometime! Looks amazing 🙂
I’m going there in May! So exciting!
Incredible roundup! You’ve really covered everything here. Sevilla was the first city I lived in when I moved to Spain, and though I’ve since relocated to Madrid and later the Canary Islands, it will always hold a special place in my heart! You’ve brought back so many great memories for me with this post, thanks 🙂
Same here 😉 it was the first place I lived when I moved to Spain. Right now I am living in Barcelona but I do miss the south and sevilla especially.
Canary islands sound great, which one ?
This is a great post. I live in Seville and you have really captured the essence of such a wonderful city. You said you lived here too, in which part?
I’m a massive fan of flamenco, did you see a show?
In Calle correduría Next to Alameda de Hércules – a great place to live 🙂
In which part do you live?
I went to the free shows in carboneria and casa anselma. I really love to dance myself that is why I enjoyed the feria de abril so much. And I went to lo nuestro to practise dancing sevillanas before 😉
Can you recommend a flamenco show in Seville?