Seville is one of Spain’s most popular destinations, home to some of the country’s famed traditions like flamenco and bullfighting. The picturesque town is world-famous for its enticing mix of Moorish, Christian and Jewish architecture and history, as well as some of the most delicious tapas found in southern Spain. Experiencing Seville’s warm, vibrant culture is easy — just make sure to do the below essential activities.
Getting To & Around Seville
All three major US carriers (Delta, United and American) fly nonstop from various US hubs to Madrid, as well as Spanish airline Iberia. Once there, take the high-speed AVE train (tickets available the Renfe website) to Seville (2.5-3 hours). If you plan on further exploring the Andalusia region, it’s best to rent a car, though there are buses available.
Once in Seville, getting around on foot or by bike is easy, and taxis will take you from the nearby train station to the historical city center. You can also browse current rental car deals with Kayak.
Roam The Real Alcázar & Gardens
The Alcázar is Seville’s most beautiful palace, built by Christians on the site of a Muslim Fortress. While Game of Thrones fans will enjoy the palace itself (many scenes in Season 5 were filmed there), the gardens are especially charming. Inhale the scents of blooming orange trees as you hear the sounds of bubbling fountains and one of the world’s only working hydraulic organs, which plays a little song powered by water on the hour from 10 am to 7 pm.
Find the Remains of Christopher Columbus
Seville’s cathedral is well worth a visit and it’s one of the largest churches in the world. But what makes it especially interesting are the remains of Christopher Columbus, which allegedly reside inside a regal chest held by four statues located in the magnificent church. Once you’ve seen the rumored remains, make sure to climb the 35 or so ramps to the bell tower to admire the sweeping views of Seville from up above.
See the Sunset at Plaza España
Plaza España is one of the most impressive squares in all of Europe. The square is enormous, complete with a moat, several bridges, towering steeples, and 48 pavilions. Each pavilion is dedicated to a province in Spain. The many columns and towers are in perfect condition, and the tiled, colorful mosaics give the square special energy. Watching the sunset over the fountain makes for a truly unforgettable evening.
While Seville is one of southern Spain’s most wonderful towns, exploring other nearby Andalusian gems is a must. Visit white villages like Arcos de la Frontera, see Ronda’s impressive gorge, Córdoba’s mosque, or the famous Alhambra fortress in Granada. The nearby sandy beaches of Cádiz and Malaga are also worth a stop to frolic in the sunshine. You can even ski several months out of the year in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Experience the Guadalquivir River
Wandering along the riverside in Seville is a peaceful way to spend the afternoon. You can cross one of the many bridges into the local Triana neighborhood. Or, take a boat cruise down the river. Don’t miss visiting the famous Torre de Oro, a watchtower perched on the river’s edge that dates back to 1220.
Rent A Bike
With a recent addition of almost 50 miles of bike lines in past years, the town of Seville is the ideal place to cycle. With a relatively car-free city center, you’ll really only have to dodge pedestrians, not cars. And, many of the areas with heavier traffic have bike lanes. Biking along the river is especially quaint, and it’s an excellent way to end up at Plaza España for sunset.
Become Entranced By Flamenco
Flamenco is one of Seville’s most beloved cultural traditions. Plan to see a show to experience the soulful guitar rhythms, the seductive singing and the passionate dance the art encompasses. The colorful costumes spinning to the powerful music, claps and stamps will keep you hypnotized throughout the entire performance. One of the best places to see it is at Casa de la Memoria, a cultural center dating back to the 16th century.
Sherry can only be produced within the sherry triangle: the area between Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa María and San Lucar de Barrameda. Fino, Manzanilla and Amontillados are among the most popular types. Plan to spend an afternoon sherry tasting at a nearby winery like Tio Pepe, Tradición or Lustau. The tours and tastings will help you understand more about this special drink. Or, sip it within the city limits at bars like El Rinconcillo or alongside tapas at La Bodega.
Eat All The Tapas
There’s nothing more local than hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar in Seville. Start with Las Columnas, a bar crowded with locals near the cathedral to sample the town’s specialty solomillo al whiskey. The famous dish is made of beef and potatoes soaked in a hearty whiskey sauce. Then, head over to Bar El Baratillo to munch on fried fish and gazpacho.
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