Seville (Spain) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main attractions of Seville with descriptions, guides and maps.
City of Seville (Spain).
Seville is a city in the south of Spain, the capital of Andalusia. It is located on a plain on the Guadalquivir River, which divides the city into two parts – the historic center (on the left bank) and the Triana. Seville is one of the most charming cities in Spain, boasting amazing sights and relics of the past, elegant architecture and a magical atmosphere. Here, in the capital of Andalusia, eastern and western culture, Moorish and Spanish historical heritage collide and intricately mingle. The city captivates at first sight; it is the true cultural and historical heart of Spain.
Seville means elegant buildings and cobblestones, old street lamps and horse-drawn carriages, the rousing rhythms of Flamenco and three UNESCO World Heritage sites. Here you can see sights that are sure to impress! For example, Seville Cathedral, one of the largest Gothic churches in the world with a majestic tower that was once the minaret of an ancient mosque. Or the Moorish Alcázar Palace, with its sumptuous Mudejar decor and beautiful gardens. But the main charm of this city is hidden in the small courtyards and winding alleys of the medieval Barrio Santa Cruz.
Things to do (Seville):
€150 per excursion
Seville – love at first sight
Labyrinthine shopping streets, the Cervantes monument, and the Golden Tower.
€150 per excursion
Seville Cathedral and the Alcázar royal palace.
The story of Seville’s kings and the mysteries of Columbus on this adventurous stroll…
Geography and climate
Seville is located in the fertile valley of the Guadalquivir River. The terrain is flat with an average elevation of 7 meters above sea level. The climate is subtropical Mediterranean with very hot summers and humid mild winters.
- Population – 703 thousand people (the fourth largest city in Spain).
- Area – 140 square kilometers.
- Language: Spanish.
- Currency – Euro.
- Visas – Schengen.
- Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
- In Seville you can drink tap water.
- You cannot eat the oranges that grow in the streets. They are sprayed against birds and are also sour.
Tourist Information Centers:
- Avenida de las Delicias, 9 (Monday to Friday from 9.30 to 17.00, weekends and holidays from 10.00 to 14.00).
- Marqués de Contadero (Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends and holidays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
Best time to visit
September to January is one of the best seasons to visit Seville. During this time there are quite few tourists, low prices for hotels and tickets. In winter it is quite warm, but often rainy.
February to June is considered the high season. This time the most famous festivals are held, a great comfortable weather prevails, and the long daylight hours allow to have time to do everything.
July to August is not the best time to visit the capital of Andalusia. It’s very hot in Andalusia. But if you don’t mind the heat, you can enjoy Seville without the crowds of tourists.
A panorama of the city
Legend attributes the founding of Seville to the mythical Hercules. A few thousand years BC, the Phoenicians already lived here, and in the second century BC, the Romans founded the city of Ispalis. In the early 8th century, the settlement was conquered by the Arabs. At that time, the city was called Ishbilla, which later transformed into the modern Seville. In the 9th century, the future capital of Andalusia was destroyed by the Normans.
In the 11th century Seville was conquered by Berbers. In the 13th century the city became part of the Kingdom of Castile. The greatest prosperity came in the 15th-16th centuries. After the discovery of America Seville became one of the major trading ports of Spain and one of the cultural and artistic centers of southern Europe.
In the 17th century the importance of the city began to decline and by the beginning of the 18th century Sevilla had lost its status as the main commercial center of Spain.
How to get there
Seville has an airport which is located about half an hour away from the historic center and which connects it to the major cities of Spain and the European capitals. From the airport to the center there is a bus every 30 minutes. You can also get to the city by cab for about 25 euros.
Seville is easily accessible by train and bus. There are high-speed trains from Barcelona and Madrid. Santa Justa train station is located in the northeastern part of the historic center.
Public transportation is represented by buses, one metro line and a short streetcar section. The subway crosses the city from west to east. The streetcar runs from the San Bernardo train station to Plaza Nueva.
A panorama of the city
Seville is famous for its ceramics. Numerous stores (including traditional goods and souvenirs) can be found in the winding streets and alleys of the Santa Cruz district and the entire old town.
Seville is famous for its tapas (traditional snacks). Typical tapas are tortilla española (potato omelet), aceitunas (olives), patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) and queso manchego (sheep cheese).
In general, the capital of Andalusia has excellent food and wine, many restaurants and cafes that will not leave you hungry. It is important that the kitchen of many restaurants in the evenings begins at 8 pm.
Seville’s most interesting sights and places.
Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic church in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This religious structure is second in size only to St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Interestingly, the cathedral was built on the site of a Moorish mosque of the 12th century. Construction of the temple began in 1401, after the Spaniards recaptured the city, and did not end until 1506. Five years after construction, the dome collapsed. It was rebuilt in 1519.
Interior of the cathedral
As many as eight doors lead into the cathedral, and its interior is striking. The temple has the longest nave and the largest altar in Spain. The remains of Christopher Columbus are believed to be housed here as well as the tomb of Fernando III of Castile. The Seville Cathedral is surrounded by small columns connected by huge chains. These chains were installed in 1565 to prevent traders with their horses from entering the temple during bad weather. On the north façade there is a collection of busts by the sculptor Susillo, each representing an important figure for the city.
The Giralda is one of the main symbols of Andalusia, the bell tower of the cathedral. It is probably one of the oldest structures in Seville, built in the 12th century as the minaret of a mosque. The tower is 97.5 meters high and at that time was one of the tallest structures in the world. The bell tower was rebuilt in the Renaissance style in the 16th century, but it still retains features of Moorish architecture. From June to September you can climb the Giralda observation deck.
The Alcázar is another symbol of the Andalusian capital and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Royal Palace of Seville was originally a Moorish fort built by the first Caliph of Andalusia in the 10th century. Construction of the current royal castle began in the 14th century. It is the best example of the Mudejar architectural style in Spain, although elements of Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture are also clearly visible.
Alcázar is a Spanish word, synonymous with fortified castle. It actually comes from the Arabic word “al-Qasr”. which means palace or fortress.
The original site of the palace was a Roman settlement, later occupied by the Visigoths. In the 8th century, the town was conquered by the Arabs, who built a fortress there. In the 13th century, Fernando of Castile turned the fortress into a royal palace. In the 14th century Pedro I rebuilt the Alcázar in the Mudejar style. Mudejar is characterized by being a mixture between Muslim and Christian architectural elements. This style can only be found in the Pyrenees.
As you enter, be sure to note the Lion’s Gate. On the left is the room of Justice and part of the old Arab walls. On the right is the House of Commerce, where Columbus was received after his second voyage. On the left is the entrance to the courtyard and the 13th century Gothic palace. If you walk through the main entrance, you can see the Mudejar palace, the most beautiful building of the Alcázar.
- Winter (October-March): Monday to Sunday from 9:30 to 17:00
- Summer (April-September): Monday to Sunday from 9:30 to 19:00
Church of St. Salvador
The Church of St. Salvador is the second largest religious building in Seville. It belongs to the Roman Catholic diocese. The building was erected on the foundations of Ibn Adabba, a 9th century mosque. The church stands out for its beautiful architecture and impressive interior.
Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) is one of Seville’s most recognizable landmarks, located by the Guadalquivir River. It was built in the 13th century during the reign of the Taifa kings when Spain was invaded by the Moors. Currently, the walls of Torre del Oro house a naval museum. Among the things you can see are old nautical charts, models of ships, navigation tools and historical documents. The museum shows the history of Seville’s navy and Spanish maritime history.
Plaza de España
Plaza de España is one of Seville’s most impressive squares. It is elliptical in shape, 200 meters in diameter and has an area of about 50,000 square meters. Its architecture is dominated by a huge semi-circular Renaissance building with balustrade balconies. Also on the square is a monumental fountain. The highlight of the square is a canal. Because of it, this place is often called the Venice of Seville. There is also the Parque de Maria Luisa.
De Los Venerables
De Los Venerables is a historic building of a former hospital in the Barrio de Santa Cruz. This two-story 17th century building is a classic example of the Baroque style prevalent in Seville at the time. Inside is a small courtyard and a pretty chapel.
Barrio Santa Cruz
Barrio Santa Cruz is one of Seville’s most charming neighborhoods with old-fashioned charm. During the Middle Ages there was a Jewish quarter here. Most of the local churches are former synagogues. This medieval neighborhood is characterized by a maze of cobblestone alleyways (too narrow for cars) with orange trees, pretty houses with attractive courtyards, small cozy squares and outdoor cafes.
The Mestranza bullring is one of the largest bullfighting arenas in Spain. Accommodates 14,000 spectators. It was built in the 18th century.
Pilate’s house is a historical building of the 16th century. It is considered a copy of Pilate’s house in Jerusalem. It combines Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance styles. The small courtyard has a fountain and is decorated with colorful tiles.
Barrio de Triana
The Barrio de Triana is Seville’s historic quarter with atmospheric streets and squares. It is a traditional neighborhood of artisans. In the Triana neighborhood you can find colorful ceramics and cute cafes overlooking the river.
Things to see in Seville
Interesting places to see and visit in Seville.
- Convent de Santa Paula – founded in the 15th century. Contains valuable works of art.
- El Costurero de La Reina – A pretty building in the Parque Maria Luisa. Allegedly was built for the wife of Alfonso XII and literally translates as “sewing room”.
- City Walls. Seville has been surrounded by walls since Roman times. During the Moorish invasion the fortifications were enlarged. Seville’s walls were 7 km long with 166 towers and 13 gates. Most of the fortifications were destroyed in the 19th century. Sections of the old walls and gates can be seen at the Macarena Church.
- El Postigo (The Oil Gate) is the most famous entrance to the city. It was built in the 12th century by the Arabs.
- The royal shipyards next to the Guadalquivir River. They were used as dry docks in the 15th century.
- The Torre de la Plata (Silver Tower) is one of the surviving towers of the original Arab walls. It dates from the 13th century.
- The Parliament of Andalusia is a monumental historical building from the 16th century.
- Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) – 16th century historic Renaissance building.
- Flamenco Dance Museum – Dedicated to Spain’s most famous dance.
- Museum of Art – The collection includes works of art from the Gothic period to the 20th century. It is considered the second museum after the Prado in Madrid.
- Archaeological Museum – interesting collection of antiquities from the Paleolithic and Phoenician times.
€100 per tour
Seville Cathedral and its great past
See Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral and learn about its Moorish roots
Seville. The sights of the city.
The Giralda is perhaps Seville’s most famous landmark, and even without further notice no tourist in the city has passed it by yet: the imposing patterned structure rises over the roofs of the old city and is visible from absolutely anywhere in the city.
Alcázar Palace in Seville
The Alcázar Palace in Seville is one of those buildings that define the face of the country: it is literally one of the most famous landmarks of Spain. Among the palaces, only the Alhambra in Granada can compete with it in terms of popularity.
The Royal Tobacco Factory in Seville
From the outside, the Royal Tobacco Factory in Seville does not look like a factory and is much more consistent with the organization that now houses it, namely the University of Seville. But it is originally an industrial building, the only trick is that it is one of the oldest in Europe.
The Golden Tower in Seville
The Torre del Oro or Golden Tower is as famous a symbol of Seville as the cathedral, despite its much more modest size. It has a lot to do with a lot of different things. The Golden Tower was built in 1220 under Moorish rule in Spain.
The cathedral in Seville is one of those places, which you should not miss if you come to this city. There are many reasons for this: it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and a Catholic cathedral based on a Muslim mosque.
Metropolis Parasol in Seville
A sight called Metropol Parasol (which very conventionally and roughly can be translated as “urban umbrella”) in Seville is designed for lovers of modern architecture and everything unusual in general, and there are quite a lot of them among tourists.
Plaza de España in Seville
Plaza de España in Seville is somehow little known in Russia, but in Western Europe it is among the brightest modern squares. There is nothing surprising in this – it is absolutely unlike anything else.
Mean-spoken Sevilleans have nicknamed the Alamillo Bridge the Viagra Monument, because of its specific contour. In fact, they’re proud of the beautiful architectural masterpiece erected in the run-up to Expo ’92, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.
Archive of the Indies in Seville
The Archive of the Indies in Seville, at first glance, looks a bit strange on the UNESCO World Heritage List, but it only seems so. In fact, it’s a very interesting building that is almost 450 years old, it contains even more interesting documents, and it is for these two factors that the Archive of the Indies was inscribed on the list.
City Hall in Seville
The Seville City Hall, the seat of the city government, is a small but interesting landmark. It is interesting for several reasons. First, the building was built for the city administration in the 16th century and since then this administration has never left it.
The Hospital of the Five Sacred Wounds in Seville
The Hospital of the Five Sacred Wounds in Seville did not become a landmark until recently, when it was a working hospital that had retained its historic name since its founding. But the hospital was closed, the building was restored and turned into the seat of the Andalusian Parliament.
Palacio San Telmo in Seville
The construction of the building on this site began in 1682, commissioned by the administration of the Inquisition as an institution for orphans, or rather, a maritime school where children from the families of fallen sailors would be taught free of charge about seafaring. The main details of the building were planned by the architect Leonardo de Figueroa.
The architecture of the palace is a whimsical mixture of the Mudejar Spanish-Moorish style, Italian Renaissance, and antiquity. The patio, an inner courtyard, is surrounded by arcades on slender columns, and in niches hide sculptures of Greek gods, Roman emperors, and a bust of the orator Cicero.
The Carthusian monastery in Seville
The buildings of the Carthusian monastery in Seville are located on the island to which they have given their name (it is Isla de la Cartuja, that is, the Island of Cartesia – “cartesian” was the name of the Carthusian monasteries at the time). It has a rich and interesting history, and it began, as often happens, with a chance discovery.
Casa de Salinas in Seville
Casa de Salinas, that is, the Salinas House, is a small but interesting sight. A 16th century dwelling house that has been carefully restored to its original historical appearance cannot be uninteresting. And here the building is also very beautiful in its own right.
Tavromachia, the game with a bull, has been known in the Mediterranean since ancient times. Its most famous variety is Spanish bullfighting with the mandatory killing of an innocent animal in the arena. You can treat it in different ways.
Maria Luisa Park in Seville
Parque Maria Luisa is the main park of Seville and reflects the sunny climate of the Mediterranean. The park complex stretches along the Guadalquivir River, which runs through the city, and it’s home to the famous Plaza de España, and the rarities are too numerous to list.
Santa María la Blanca Church in Seville
Seville’s Santa Maria la Blanca church has an amazing history – even in Western Europe, religious structures still rarely change denominations more than once. This church is an exception.
Church of St. Luigi of France in Seville
La iglesia de San Luis de los Franceses in Seville was built by the famous architect Leonardo de Figueroa, and that alone is enough to make it worth seeing: this master does not have uninteresting buildings.
Seville is one of the brightest cities in Spain, even the Spaniards themselves admit it. For the tourist, this means a lot of new experiences, new discoveries, and memories as vivid as the city. There are many reasons for Seville’s vibrancy, but most of all it has to do with its history.
Seville was founded by the Phoenicians in the 3rd millennium BC, then it became a Roman colony. At the beginning of the 8th century, the Moors took over the region, and they ruled here until the middle of the 13th century. Then they were defeated by the Spaniards, and the independent Kingdom of Castile was formed here. With the union of Castile and another small state – Aragon – and began the unification of Spain into one country. Accordingly, Seville for a long time was the capital: first the Moorish Califate, then Castile, and then became a very, very rich city, because it was by commission of the local Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus went to search for India and discovered America. It was Seville that got the first colonies in the Americas, Native American gold, and also sold tobacco, chocolate, and more to Europe.
Each stage of history is reflected in the city’s architecture. The least surviving Roman traces are actually only one significant fragment of buildings, located in the Metropolis Parasol. But a great many Moorish ones have survived, and this is what has defined the city.
Seville is unique in that, unlike many other cities in Spain, it did not seek to completely erase the traces of the Moors; they were woven into the local culture.
These traces have become perhaps the most striking local feature. The fusion of Moorish and European cultures is what has made Seville truly unique.
The fusion of traditions is present in almost all the attractions of the city. The most famous of these is the Mudejar, which combines European and Moorish decorative techniques. The most striking example of this is Spain’s Plaza de España which is rare in its impression.
One of the two most famous attractions in Seville is the cathedral. It was built on the foundations of the city’s largest mosque and combines Gothic and Moorish influences in its exterior, but inside it is decorated by the best masters in Spain with a unique interior decoration and a world-famous altar. Next to it is the Haralda, a former minaret converted into a bell tower in the 13th century. The lower parts are historic, the top is 16th century, on top is one of the symbols of the city, the Haraldillo weathervane statue. The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The second famous attraction is the Alcázar Palace. It is the former palace of the Caliph, which has been under construction for centuries, so it’s a fascinating mixture of all styles over the last 800 years. Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque – and almost all with a local flavor. The interior decoration is also amazing – the paintings, carvings and mosaics will not leave anyone indifferent.
Another thing on the UNESCO list is the Archive of the Indies, which, in a building by a famous architect, contains all Spanish documents about the discovery, conquest and exploration of the Americas (Columbus’s reports, among others). The collections are closed, but there are always interesting exhibitions going on, where you can see the most famous exhibits.
If you are familiar with the work “Carmen” – be sure to go see the building of the Royal Tobacco Factory. Carmen, according to its creator, worked here. In addition, it is one of the oldest industrial buildings in the world, built in 1728, and its lush Baroque facade is quite unlike modern enterprises.
For lovers of architectural intricacies, the Palace of San Telmo, decorated in a peculiar style called ultra baroque. The style is colonial, imported from Mexico, and in Seville it comes across often. Some elements are not like anything else. Some of the city’s churches are also built in this style, for example, its elements are present in the forms of the church of St. Luigi of France.
Fine carvings cover the old parts of the town hall, built in the Plateresque style. You have to walk around the building to find them, but it’s worth it – its rare decoration is a must-see. You can also see the Hospital of the Five Sacred Wounds, which is almost 500 years old.
Churches occupy a separate place. The most notable are the Church of St Mark, which brightly combines several styles at once, the Church of Magdalene, the remnant of the monastery that was the local center of the Inquisition, and the two monasteries of St Paula and Cartesian, with their eventful history.
In addition to the large buildings, Seville has many smaller buildings, including apartment blocks. Adjusted to the southern climate, they were often built in the same mixed style, with Arabic columns, European galleries and patios. Some houses are open to tourists, such as the Casa de Salinas, which can be toured.
You can relax in the Maria Luisa Park. It is a large Mediterranean garden on the banks of the river, very sunny and fragrant and as atmospheric as the rest of Seville.