Insider Tips: Planning a trip to Seville
Jiayi Wang is the creator and publisher of The Diary of a Nomad, a photography-driven travel blog. She has travelled extensively throughout Europe and is very passionate about providing insider travel tips.
What should I do on my first trip to Seville?
Start your visit at the incredibly picturesque Plaza de España, a gigantic square with lots of artsy alcoves, bridges, architectural wonders, and even a canal, where you can rent a boat and row around. Another must-see attraction is the Royal Alcázar, a mesmerizing palace with over 1,000 years of history. You can spend half a day there exploring its many courtyards, gardens, and Mudéjar architecture.
What are some hidden gems to see in Seville?
Seville's most stunning hidden gem is hands down Casa de Pilatos, a 16th-century civil palace with incredible displays of Andalusian architecture. There, you'll also find 150 different azulejos (ceramic tiles) on the walls. Another hidden gem worth exploring is Metropol Parasol, a big wooden structure that resembles a mushroom. It's the largest wooden structure in the world, and you can take an elevator to the top to enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of Seville.
How much time should I spend in Seville?
Spend at least three days in Seville so that you'll have enough time to cover all the major attractions as well as some hidden gems. Spend your first day exploring the popular Plaza de España and the hidden gems of Casa de Pilatos and Metropol Parasol. Use your second day to focus on the Royal Alcázar, Seville Cathedral, and the Giralda. Finally, on the third day, discover the hidden attractions in the Guadalquivir River area and complete your visit with one of the many food tours in town!
What food is Seville known for?
Andalusia (the beautiful region where Seville is located) is actually the birthplace of tapas. For those who don't know, tapas are essentially snacks, canapés, or small plates that are shared between the whole table, constituting a full meal. There are lots of delicious tapas dishes to try in Seville, including espinacas con garbanzo (spinach with chickpeas), montadito de pringá (pulled pork buns), serranito (a sandwich made of pork/chicken loin), and torrijas (a dessert made of deep-fried stale bread).
What is the best way to get around Seville?
The best way to get around Seville is walking, as the main attractions are all within 20-30 minutes of walking distance from each other. Walks in the city are often quite scenic too, and it's a great way to discover the less touristy parts of town. If you don't enjoy walking, the city is very bikeable as there are bike lanes everywhere. You can also use Uber or public transportation such as buses and trams.
What are the best months to visit Seville?
There are two big annual festivals in Seville: The Semana Santa and Feria de Abril. They both take place sometime between March and June (the exact month varies each year). Temperatures during spring is also very pleasant, ranging from 13° to 25° C. Due to the festivals, though, there will be more crowds than usual. If you prefer fewer crowds, nice weather, but don't mind missing the festivals, visit between September and November.
What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Seville?
Barrio Santa Cruz is definitely one of the best neighbourhoods to visit in Seville. Santa Cruz used to be the Jewish quarter of Seville until the 14th century, when many Jews were forced to leave the city when they refused to convert to Christianity. Today, you'll find plenty of hip restaurants, hidden squares, and gorgeous palaces in this neighborhood. Definitely stop at one of the many traditional tapas bars there, such as Tabernas Peregil or La Bartola.
What are the best neighborhoods for food?
Just outside the city center, you'll find the San Vicente neighbourhood, which is home to one of the most beloved establishments in Seville: Espacio Eslava. It's a tapas bar that almost all locals would recommend, with unique dishes that are hard to find elsewhere. Another neighbourhood that's great for food is San Julián, home to El Rinconcillo, one of the oldest establishments in Seville. There are also plenty of other tapas bars to try in these two neighbourhoods, but definitely don't miss those two restaurants.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
Calle Sierpes is one of the most popular shopping streets in Seville. It's also very lively and bustling with activity. You can find everything from clothes to handcrafted jewellery and churros there. For a different kind of shopping, head to the riverside Mercado de Triana, where you'll find lots of fresh produce, fish, and refreshing drinks.
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Seville?
I highly recommend staying in the neighbourhood of Alfalfa. It's a gorgeous area with tons of delicious tapas restaurants, and it's within walking distance of pretty much all the major attractions. It's also not as expensive to stay there compared to the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, which is very crowded and the typical go-to choice for most tourists. There is also a great night scene in Alfafa, with lots of bars tucked away in the quiet little streets.
What's are 4 best tips for a person traveling to Seville?
1) Avoid visiting in July or August; the heatwave is too strong during those months to make for a pleasant trip.
2) If you love getting immersed in local festivities, be sure to check when exactly the Semana Santa and Feria de Abril festivals are happening on the year you go. They are both large festivals that provide great insight into local culture.
3) Book your Royal Alcazar tickets in advance! Otherwise, you can spend hours queueing in the sun.
4) Don’t order sangria - it’s often overcharged in Seville as it’s considered a “tourist drink”. Instead, try a glass of tinto de verano - the local version of sangria.
What is a common mistake people make when visiting Seville and how can it be avoided?
Avoid driving in Seville. There are too many narrow streets and it’s very difficult to navigate unless you’re a local. Parking is also very difficult to find in town. Instead, use Ubers or public transport. Another thing to keep in mind is if you’re visiting in the summer, avoid doing activities in the afternoon unless it’s a museum or something indoors. This is when the sun will be the brightest and strongest, and it won’t be pleasant.
What are your top 5 favourite GetYourGuide experiences in Seville?
1) Seville: Cathedral, Giralda, and Royal Alcázar Guided Tour
2) Seville: 1-Hour Guadalquivir River Sightseeing Eco Cruise
3) Seville: Tapas Crawl
4) Seville: 3-Hour Sunset Bike Tour
5) Seville: Exclusive River Boat Tour with Tapas
What is one thing that surprised you about Seville?
What surprised me was the sheer amount of flamenco venues (tablaos) you can find in Seville. Once I researched it, it makes complete sense, because Andalusia is the birthplace of flamenco! Definitely check out at least one flamenco show at one of the many tablaos in Seville, such as El Arenal.