Almost 700,000 inhabitants live in the largest city in Andalusia. Seville is one of the most popular destinations in Spain and is visited every year by tourists from all over the world.
The sunny city has a lot to offer for its visitors: History, culture and lots of Mediterranean joie de vivre. Seville is one of the hottest places in Europe. Therefore, you should better postpone your sightseeing tours to spring or autumn.
Seville has world-famous sights, is one of the “cradles of flamenco” and a city where you will definitely not get bored. Festivals like the Semana Santa or the Feria de Abril are the cultural highlights every year.
Tip 1: Alcazar
On the outskirts of the old town, opposite the famous Seville Cathedral, stands one of the most important buildings in all of Andalusia. The Alcázar of Seville, the royal fortress. The Alcázar of Seville, the royal fortress, is located directly on a busy avenue, the Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo.
Dating back to the Middle Ages, the royal palace, whose Spanish name is Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, looks back on a long and very varied history. Built for King Pedro I on the ruins of a Moorish fort, the Alcázar is an impressive example of Christian architecture combining Moorish elements from the long period of Moorish rule. The testimony of the so-called Mudéjar architecture was built from 1364 onwards, and in the course of the centuries it was extended more and more by the following rulers.
The Alcázar is an extensive complex of various building elements, which is one of the best preserved historical buildings in Spain. The many additions have created a colorful mix of styles. In addition to Moorish and early Christian buildings, influences from the Gothic period predominate. Visitors can gain an impression of the beauty of the majestic building in numerous halls. The Ambassador Hall is one of the most beautiful rooms in the palace. Particularly worth seeing is the wooden ceiling, which, in the style of Mudejar architecture, testifies to the Islamic elements of the building. Besides the palace of Pedro I, the picturesque gardens are a particular attraction. The different horticultural styles of France, England and Arabia are represented here. The “English Garden” and the Renaissance style gardens are among the attractions of the complexes.
Tip 2: Plaza de Espana
The stunning Plaza de España is the most famous square in Seville. In and around Maria Luisa Park, several buildings were designed for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Aníbal González designed this Spanish square, a Spanish Renaissance style square with a diameter of 200 meters. Spain’s goal with the exposition was to create a symbolic peace with its former American colonies.
The shape of the Plaza de España is a semicircle surrounded by a series of buildings that are still used today as government institutions. On the sides are two tall towers. Of particular note are the 52 benches and mosaic tiles located at the base of the building in the Plaza de España. These 52 frescoes depict all 52 Spanish provinces. The tiles are typical Andalusian tiles called azulejos. Spanish tourists are only too happy to pose in their own province in Seville.
Also, the large fountain in the middle of the square and the circular canal with many cute bridges stand out. You can even take a rented boat in the canals. In October 2010, the Spanish square underwent a major renovation and this top attraction should not be missed during your city trip to Seville.
Tip 3: Seville Cathedral
The official name of the Seville Cathedral is “Catedral de Santa María de la Sede” and it is one of the largest churches in the world.
The Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Seville was built on the site where a Moorish mosque of the Almohads first stood. This mosque was conquered by the Moors in 1248 and put into use as a cathedral. In the 13th century, this mosque was demolished except for the “Patio de los Naranjos” (the Orange Courtyard) and the Giralda Tower. In 1403, the construction of the Cathedral began and in 1507 it was finally inaugurated. Seville Cathedral was built as a five-nave cruciform church with chapels. Inside, the cathedral is 127 meters long, 83 meters wide and 43 meters high.
The important sights when visiting Seville Cathedral are, firstly, the tomb of Christopher Columbus. His mortal remains were brought from Cuba to Seville in 1898 and are now in this tomb with a bronze coffin supported by four figures symbolizing the kingdoms of Castile, León, Aragon and Navarre.
And secondly, the Royal Chapel (Capilla Real), dedicated to King Ferdinand III of Castile. This king reconquered Seville from the Moors in 1248.
Tip 4: Metropol Parasol
In the Plaza de la Encarnación in Seville is the Metropol Parasol, also known as the Mushrooms of Seville (‘Setas de Sevilla’). This building, which opened in 2011, was designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer, who won a design competition to revitalize the square. It is the largest wooden structure in the world (150 x 70 meters and 26 meters high). Mayer won the competition in part because of the way he incorporated the remains of a Roman colony into his building. The original plan was to build a parking lot here, but the discovery of these Roman remains prevented that from happening.
Metropol Parasol’s mushrooms are not only a wooden structure that covers the square, but above the umbrellas there is a special walkway and a terrace with a beautiful panorama (“El Mirador”). Metropol Parasol also offers an archaeological museum (Antiquarium, see below), stores, several bars and restaurants. A walk on Metropol Parasol is certainly worthwhile during your city trip to Seville.
Tip 5: Plaza de Toros
A particularly noteworthy architectural example of the influence of Moorish traditions on Andalusian culture is the Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería in the Andalusian capital of Seville. The bullring is located in the heart of Seville’s old town on the Paseo Cristóbal Colón.
The magnificent building was built in the middle of the 18th century in a mixture of Hispanic and Moorish styles and was for a long time one of the most important venues for bullfights in the whole of southern Spain. From the outside it appears playful and graceful with its numerous turrets and gables. The facade is painted bright white, and the windows and doors are each framed in bold yellow. The play of colors is complemented by solid wooden doors and shutters in a Mediterranean shade of red. Through this yellow-red color scheme, the perception of the exterior walls alludes to the colors of the Spanish flag.
Inside, visitors are greeted by a stately ring structure with a circular sandy area and seating tiers that rise up the sides. This is where the great bullfights of Seville took place, and the enthusiastic public feasted with the toreros and matadores, who were, so to speak, the “pop stars” of their time. Numerous important corridas with the most important matadors were held in this stadium building in the course of its history – today, however, the building serves primarily as a museum and attracts countless tourists from all over the world year after year.