Seville is the stunning capital of Andalusia, the birthplace of tapas, and the sunniest city in Europe! It goes without saying that this Spanish city is one of the most remarkable destinations on earth, and this article will show you all the reasons why. You’ll find the ultimate 3 days in Seville itinerary here as well as useful information on where to eat, the best places to stay in, and all the delicious food and drinks you should try during your time here because let’s be real — a true Sevillian experience would not be complete without a table full of tapas!
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First off: Some Interesting Facts About Seville
- With a population of 700,000, Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain (after Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia)
- Every year, two very colorful festivals take place here: Semana Santa (which commemorates the passion of Christ) and Feria de Abril (a week-long spring fair that involves a lot of eating, drinking and dancing!)
- Many famous movies were filmed in Seville, including ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones’
- This city has its own symbol: “NO8DO”. You will see it all over town, and legend says King Alfonso X has awarded it to the city in the 13th century. It translates to ‘it has not abandoned me’ (referring to the city of Seville)!
3 Days in Seville Itinerary
Seville has a lot to offer, so I recommend spending 3 days here as it’ll give you an ample amount of time to do all the most exciting things without having to rush from place to place. 3 days will allow you to fully relax and enjoy your experience here! If you have limited time though, you can also find an alternative 2-day itinerary further down.
1. Visit the Magnificent Plaza de España
I recommend starting your day at Plaza de España, a beautiful square built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. One of the main sights here is a gigantic semi-circular building that showcases a mixture of the neo-Renaissance and neo-Moorish architectural styles. Today, it houses government offices. There’s also a row of 48 stunning alcoves in this square decorated with intricate azulejos (traditional ceramic tiles used in Spain and Portugal). Each alcove depicts a different Spanish province, with a relevant fresco and a map. You’ll also see two towers at this square, and they’re both so tall that you can see them from all over the city!
Plaza de España is also known as “the Venice of Seville” because in the middle of the square, there’s a picturesque canal in which you can rent a boat and gently row around. You’ll also see four charming bridges curving over the canal. Each of them represents an ancient Spanish kingdom and is adorned with gorgeous ceramic tiles. If you’re into photography, then you’d love this place even more because there are thousands of spectacular angles all around the square! I recommend taking your time in Plaza de España and spending half a day here to truly soak in its beauty.
Photography Tip: This square usually starts to fill up starting around 8:30 am, so if you want to take photos without anyone around, get here around 7 or 7:30 am! (The square is open 24/7)
2. Take a Stroll in the Colorful Streets of Barrio Santa Cruz
From Plaza de España, cut through Maria Luisa Park and walk to the charming neighborhood of Santa Cruz. This should take you around 15-20 mins. Back in the 13th century, Santa Cruz was the Jewish quarter of Seville. Sadly, things turned sour in the 14th century when many Jews were kicked out of the city if they did not convert to Christianity. Today, this neighborhood is filled with restaurants, secret squares, and old palaces. It’s the perfect place to wander aimlessly because you might just find the best places by getting lost in the colorful maze of alleys.
3. Have Lunch at a Historic Tapas Bar
As I mentioned before, the Santa Cruz neighborhood has a lot of restaurants, so I definitely recommend grabbing a bite here. However, there are tons of tourist traps in this area, so be careful when selecting a place to eat. Here are some reasonably priced restaurants I recommend:
- Tabernas Peregil — A traditional tapas bar known for their delicious orange wine (vino de naranja); this place is very popular among locals
- La Azotea — This stylish restaurant serves traditional Andalusian tapas in a modern way; make sure to try their croquettes and salmon tartare!
- La Bartola — This modern tapas bar serves traditional cuisine and has lots of good vegetarian dishes; make sure to try their zucchini ravioli!
4. Explore the Hidden Casa de Pilatos
One of the hidden gems of the Santa Cruz neighborhood is Casa de Pilatos, a beautiful 16th-century civil palace. Here, you can see how aristocrats used to live back in the days and also admire some incredible architecture. In fact, this place was constructed with a unique blend of the Renaissance, Mudéjar and Gothic architectural styles! Today, Casa de Pilatos is considered to be the prototype of Andalusian palaces. Walking around, you can see 150 different ceramic tiles (azulejos) on the walls, and it’s truly an impressive sight.
Casa de Pilatos consists of a Summer Palace (the ground floor area) and a Winter Palace (the upstairs area). Today, part of the upper floor is still partially inhabited by the Dukes of Medinaceli. You can tour the ground floor with a personal audio guide, but to visit the upper floor, you’d have to join a guided tour for which you can purchase at the entrance. This palace also has a gorgeous garden with 24 sculptures of Greek gods and Roman emperors. I recommend spending 1-2 hours here to explore the entire complex!
Opening hours: November to March: 9 am - 6 pm daily | April to October: 9 am - 7 pm daily Entrance fees: Whole house: €12 (includes free audioguide) | Ground floor only: €10 Free entrance: Mondays from 3 pm onwards
5. Relax at Metropol Parasol
Just an 8-minute walk from Casa de Pilatos is Metropol Parasol, a wooden structure designed by a German architect in 2011, after he won a contest to revitalize the square. This monument is also known as “Seville’s mushrooms” (Las Setas de la Encarnación), and with dimensions of 150 m x 70 m and a height of 26 m (85 ft), it’s the largest wooden structure in the world! You can take an elevator to the top of the platform and get a fantastic view of the city. Right beneath the structure, you can also find tapas bars, restaurants, cafes, an archeological museum, and a food market!
Opening hours: Sunday - Thursday: 9:30 am - 10:30 pm | Friday - Saturday: 9:30 am - 11 pm Entrance fees: €3 (includes a drink) | Residents of Seville, people with disabilities & children <12 years - free
6. Have Dinner at El Rinconcillo
A mere 5-minute walk from Metropol Parasol is El Rinconcillo — the oldest bar in Seville. Established in 1670, it’s very popular among both tourists and locals, but it’s an iconic place that absolutely lives up to the hype. The atmosphere inside the bar is very historic and takes you back decades in time. The cuisine is also as traditional as it gets — get ready to taste some classic tapas that are a big part of the Andalusian heritage! You can find their menu here.
Opening hours: 1 pm - 1:30 am daily
1. Get a History Lesson at the Royal Alcázar of Seville
I recommend starting off your second day in Seville with a visit to the Royal Alcázar, the oldest royal palace that’s still in use in Europe today! This palace has an astounding history of over 1,000 years, and it’s evolved tremendously over the course of time. Back in the 10th century, the Cordoban governors of Seville used it as a fort. It was then enlarged and rebuilt in the 11th century under the city’s Abbadid (Arab Muslim) rulers. More palaces were subsequently added to the complex in the centuries following that, by different kings that have conquered the region.
Walking around the Alcázar, you can admire the magnificent Mudéjar architecture there blended with elements from the Renaissance, Gothic, and Romanesque styles. The upper floors of the complex are the official residence of the Spanish royal family today — the king’s sister even held her wedding celebrations there! One of the highlights of the Alcázar that you can’t miss is the stunning Patio de las Doncellas courtyard, which has a long pool in the center. I also recommend taking a stroll in the lush gardens!
Opening hours: October to March: 9:30 am to 5 pm daily | April to September: 9:30 am - 7 pm daily Entrance fees: Regular ticket - €11.50 | Students <25 years & retirees - €3 | Audio-guide - €4.10 | Residents of Seville, people with disabilities & children <16 years - free Free entrance: Every Monday from 4 - 5 pm in the winter & from 6 - 7 pm in the summer
Top Tip: There are two lines to enter the Alcázar – one for those buying tickets at the entrance, and another one for those who already bought them online. Both queues are very long, but the latter is always shorter. I therefore recommend you to book your tickets online in advance so that you can get in the shorter queue, but make sure to arrive 30-45 mins before opening hours regardless (unless you don’t mind waiting) because even that queue is really long.
2. Have Lunch at Taberna del Arenal
The Alcázar will most likely take you at least half a day to explore, so by the time you’re done, you’ll probably be hungry. The good news is there are plenty of places to eat nearby, and the one I recommend is Taberna del Arenal — a cozy and well-priced tapas bar with an outdoor seating area, large portions, and great service! From the Alcázar, it takes around 5 minutes to reach this place on foot.
Opening hours: 1 pm - 4 pm | 8:15 pm - 12 am daily
3. Admire the Majestic Seville Cathedral
Now that you’re recharged, it’s time to visit the largest Gothic cathedral in the world! Seville Cathedral is only a 5-minute walk from the Alcázar / Taberna del Arenal, and it was originally built in the 12th century as a mosque in Moorish Spain. When Christians conquered the city in the 13th century, it was converted to a cathedral, only for it to be destroyed by an earthquake in 1356. The reconstruction of the current cathedral took 73 years, and today, it’s also the burial place of Christopher Columbus.
4. Climb up the Giralda Tower
After you’ve explored the cathedral, it’s time to climb its bell tower — the iconic Giralda. This tower has been a symbol of Seville since the Middle Ages. When the Seville Cathedral was still a mosque, this tower was originally built as its minaret in 1171. Today, the Giralda is one of the only two parts of the original mosque that’s been preserved in the reconstruction (the other one being the Moorish entrance).
At 104 meters high, the Giralda was the tallest building in Seville for over 800 years, and you can see it from all over the city today. To get to the top, you have to walk up 35 inclining ramps. Back in the days, muezzins and guards would walk up these same ramps with their horses and donkeys. The view from the top of the tower is well worth the climb — you get a splendid bird’s-eye view of the cathedral and the city!
Opening hours for Seville Cathedral + Giralda: Monday: 11 am – 3:30 pm | Tuesday - Satuday: 11 am - 5 pm | Sunday: 2:30 pm – 6 pm Entrance fees: Regular ticket - €9 | Students <25 years & retirees - €4 | Audio-guide - €3 | Residents of Seville, people with disabilities & children <14 years - free
5. Enjoy a Flamenco Show
Did you know that Seville is the birthplace of flamenco? A trip to this city would be incomplete without watching a performance of this traditional folk art! While there are countless tablaos (flamenco venues) in the city, here are two I recommend the most:
- Tablao El Arenal — Just a 5-minute walk from the cathedral and the Giralda, this historic venue lets you pair your flamenco experience with either drinks, tapas or a full meal. They’re regarded as “the best place in the world to enjoy flamenco” according to the New York Times. You can book your show here. Prices start at €40 per person (with drinks included).
- Casa de la Memoria — This 18th-century venue is an 8-minute walk from the cathedral and unlike the previous venue, it doesn’t offer food services, but instead, there’s a fantastic view of its beautiful patio from the theatre. So if you’d like to pair your show with a scenic environment, then you can book it here. Prices start at €18 per person.
1. Climb up Torre del Oro
I recommend starting your third and final day in Seville with a visit to Torre del Oro (“Tower of Gold”), where you can learn even more about the history of this city! At 36 meters high, this tower was built in the 12th century by the Almohad Caliphate (a North African Muslim empire) and was part of the Moorish city wall, which extended from the Alcázar to the rest of Seville. The tower is located right next to the Guadalquivir River, and was in fact built to protect shipping and control access to Seville via the river.
Torre del Oro got its name from the golden gleam it projected on the river thanks to its construction materials (a mixture of lime, mortar, and pressed hay). You can climb up to the roof terrace of the tower to get a cool view of the river and the surrounding neighborhoods. There’s also a Naval Museum on the top floor which showcases shipping instruments, flags, scale models, sea maps, and diving equipment used back in the days. From this museum, you also get a nice view of the Guadalquivir River!
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 9:30 am - 6:45 pm | Saturday & Sunday: 10:30 am - 6:45 pm Entrance fees: Regular ticket - €3 | Students, children 6-14 years & pensioners >65 - €1.50 | People with disabilities & children <6 years - free Free entrance: Mondays
2. Stroll Along the Riverfront to Mercado de Triana
Now it’s time to get an insight into local life in Seville! From Torre del Oro, take a walk along the riverfront to the neighborhood of Triana. In about 15 minutes, you will reach Mercado de Triana (Triana Market). This place is filled with friendly vibes and provides a great opportunity to meet locals and make new friends! There are also tons of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and drinks around, all at a very reasonable price. If you’re feeling even more snacky, you can also check out the little tapas bars, but don’t eat too much because the next stop on your itinerary is the most important food stop of your trip… 😉
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 9 am - midnight | Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm
3. Have a Tasty Lunch at Espacio Eslava
If there’s one restaurant you have to eat at during your time in Seville, it’s definitely Espacio Eslava. This place is one of the most famous tapas restaurants in Seville among both locals and tourists, and it is for a good reason. The tapas here are very unique; you can’t find many of them anywhere else. One of my favorite dishes of theirs is a mushroom cake with a slow-cooked egg on top, dipped in caramelized wine. You absolutely have to try it! From Mercado de Triana, it’s about a 20-min walk to reach here.
Insider’s tip: As this place is very popular, I recommend getting here 15 minutes before its opening time so that you won’t have to stand in line for an hour.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 12:30 pm - midnight | Sunday: 12:30 pm - 5 pm | Monday: closed
4. Tour the Museum of Fine Arts and/or the Flamenco Dance Museum
After lunch, you can explore some of the museums in Seville. There are two in particular that I recommend: the Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes) if you’re interested in artwork dating from the Gothic period to the modern days, and the Flamenco Dance Museum (Museo del Baile Flamenco) if you want to learn more about the history of flamenco through interactive exhibitions! You can also watch a flamenco show at the museum if you didn’t get a chance to watch one the previous day. You can walk to either of these museums from Espacio Eslava; the first one will take around 10 mins to reach, and the second one 20 mins.
Opening hours for Museum of Fine Arts: Tuesday to Saturday: 9 am - 9 pm | Sunday: 9 am - 3 pm | Monday: closed Entrance fees for Museum of Fine Arts: €1.50 | EU citizens & students - Free Opening hours for Flamenco Dance Museum: 10 am - 7 pm daily Entrance fees for Flamenco Dance Museum: €10 - museum | €20 - flamenco show | €24 - flamenco show + museum
5. Relax with a Drink at a Rooftop Bar
Being the sunniest city in Europe, there’s a high chance you’ll be greeted with a scorching hot sun your entire time in Seville. If it gets too humid (and it most likely will), it’s always a good idea to cool down in one of the many spectacular rooftop bars in the city! My top recommendations are:
- Terraza Hotel Doña María — For the best closeup view of the Giralda tower and the cathedral. The atmosphere here is quite rustic and old-school. You can also book a stay with them!
- La Terraza de EME — This incredible terrace of the EME Catedral Hotel also offers an amazing closeup view of the Giralda, but unlike the previous bar, this one is more modern and fancy.
- La Terraza at Hotel Inglaterra — You can enjoy crafted cocktails at this modern and stylish rooftop bar which offers a 360° view of the entire city skyline! You can also book a stay with them.
6. Go on a Seville Food Tour or Have Dinner at La Brunilda
The last activity on your Seville itinerary will be all about enjoying the culinary delights of the city. I recommend joining an organized food tour such as the Seville Tapas Crawl Tour. Your tour guide will take you to 5 different tapas bars that are away from the touristy areas to really give you a local and authentic experience. You’ll also get to learn all about Spanish food, history, and culture while tasting the best local specialties! The food you’ll be eating on this tour is the equivalent of a full meal, but if you’d rather just sit down at a restaurant instead, then I recommend La Brunilda for some equally tasty and creative tapas.
La Brunilda opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 1 pm - 4 pm, 8:30 pm - 11:30 pm | Sunday: 1 pm - 4 pm | Monday: closed
Alternative 2 Days in Seville Itinerary
If your time in Seville is limited to 2 days, don’t worry — simply follow the first two days of this itinerary because the most important things to do and see are all there! In my opinion, Torre del Oro and Mercado de Triana (on day 3) are not essential if you’re tight on time. If you’d like to squeeze in a drink at a rooftop bar during your two days here, I’d recommend doing that instead of visiting Metropol Parasol. One important thing though: you do not want to miss out on Espacio Eslava! It is hands down the best tapas bar in Seville, so I would definitely include that in your 2-day itinerary (you can go there for dinner on your second day).
Where to Stay in Seville
The best areas to stay in Seville are the historic Old Town and Barrio Santa Cruz as they put you right in the city center, within walking distance of pretty much all the attractions to see. My recommendations are:
- Melia Sevilla — A 4-star hotel in the Old Town with a fantastic pool view of Plaza de España
- EME Catedral Hotel — This 5-star luxury hotel in the Old Town has an incredible rooftop pool with a closeup view of the Giralda tower
- Vincci La Rabida — A 4-star hotel in the Old Town with a gorgeous Andalusian courtyard and a roof terrace overlooking the Giralda
- Las Casas de la Judería — A unique hotel in Barrio Santa Cruz made of traditional Sevillian houses connected by courtyards. It has a rooftop pool, a spa and traditional Andalusian patios. A great place to stay for a more authentic vibe!
- Hotel Ateneo Sevilla — Located in the Old Town, they have really elegant, vintage and colorful decors as well as a traditional courtyard
Best Time to Visit Seville
The great thing about Seville is that it’s sunny all year round with an average of only 80 days of rain per year! But while you’re likely to get good weather no matter when you go, there are still some other things to consider:
- For great temperatures and fewer crowds: September to November (14° C – 26° C / 57° F – 78° F) — shoulder season
- For great temperatures and local festivities*, but more crowds: March to June (13° C – 25° C / 55° F – 77° F) — high season
- For least amount of crowds but very hot & humid weather: July & August (temperatures often exceed 36° C / 96° F) — low season
*The Semana Santa and Feria de Abril festival dates vary from year to year — check them here.
How to Get to Seville
- From Madrid or Barcelona: You can either fly or take the AVE high-speed train, which takes around 2.5 hours from Madrid and 5.5 hours from Barcelona. I recommend booking your tickets in advance on Renfe to find cheap deals (as low as €40)!
- From Granada: You can either take the ALSA bus for 3 hours (around €22) or the AVE train for 3.5 hours (around €30).
- From Cordoba: The AVE train connects Seville and Cordoba almost every half hour and costs €20-30. Cordoba is also a great day trip idea from Seville as it’s very quick and easy to reach!
- From other European cities: Seville Airport (SVQ) has connections to 42 destinations around Europe and Northern Africa, and the airport is just 15 mins by car from the city center (I recommend using Uber). Alternatively, the bus to the city center takes 35 mins.
Travel Insurance for Spain
I always buy travel insurance before my trips as it gives me peace of mind. I’ve always found it to be really worth it! I recommend getting travel insurance from World Nomads — they offer affordable prices, amazing coverage, 24/7 on-call service, and also allow you to make claims online while on the road.
Getting Around Seville
Seville is a very walkable city with lots of charming and colorful neighborhoods, so I really recommend getting around on foot so that you can discover all the hidden gems tucked away in the street corners. As you may recall from the itinerary, the time it takes to walk between all the suggested attractions is around 20-30 mins max, and oftentimes a lot less than that. The strolls are also really scenic! Alternatively, you can rent a bike as the city is flat and bike lanes are everywhere. If you prefer getting around by car, I don’t recommend renting a car as the city is not car-friendly and parking is always hard to find — simply use Uber.
What to Eat in Seville — The Best Tapas in Seville
As I mentioned before, Andalusia is the birthplace of tapas, so there are plenty of traditional dishes to try in Seville! The top ones I recommend are: salmorejo (cold tomato soup), espinacas con garbanzo (spinach with chickpeas), carrillada (pork/beef cheeks), montadito de pringá (pulled pork buns), croquetas (ham & cheese wrapped in fried potato), serranito (Seville’s signature sandwich made of pork/chicken loin and Serrano ham), cazon de adobo (deep-fried marinated fish), mojama (salt-cured tuna), and torrijas (a dessert made of deep-fried stale bread and served with ice cream).
What to Drink in Seville
Given how hot it can get in Seville, it’s definitely a good idea to cool down with a local drink or two! Some must-tries are: tinto de verano (a local specialty made of red wine and soda), manzanilla (a dry local sherry), rebujito (a refreshing mix of sherry & Sprite) and orange wine (a symbol of Seville; it’s dark and sweet).
Top tip: Do not order sangria in Seville! It’s considered a “tourist drink” and places will often overcharge you for it. The local version of sangria is tinto de verano and it tastes very similar, I highly recommend giving it a try!
Is Seville Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Absolutely! Seville is perfectly safe for solo female travelers. Simply take the general precautions you would anywhere else and you’ll be completely fine. While the risk of getting pickpocketed here is low, I still suggest taking extra care of your belongings in popular touristy spots such as the Cathedral and the Alcázar.
I hope you enjoyed this 3 days in Seville itinerary! For other European destinations, check out my article on the best photography spots in London and the 28 most astounding hidden gems in Europe!
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A big thank you to Lukáš Platinský for contributing his beautiful photography to this article!