Cheapskates? Us?! Nonsense! Despite our denials, we’re always happy to find a way to explore a beautiful city without spending a cent, and we’re just as happy to help others do the same. Seville has plenty of free (or cheap options), and these are just a few of our favourites. The palaces of the city are free to enter on Mondays, so we’ll focus on some other possibilities here.
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful parks on the planet, Seville’s Maria Luisa Park is a staggeringly beautiful expanse of verdant glory, the main green area in the city and a refresher in many meanings of the word. It was created in 1911 and stretches along the languid Guadalquivir, bringing nature to the fore in a city dominated by man-made genius and architectural brilliance. The park covers 100 acres, wonderful for exploring nooks and crannies or simply going for a long stroll to clear the head. It is full of monuments, birds, gorgeous images and all the rest. This is beautiful.
The first of its kind in Europe, the old Royal Tobacco Factory is an impressive stone building constructed in the 18th century that was arguably the epicentre of wealth in Seville, such was the monopoly of the city’s trade with the Americas. This was the second largest building in Spain when it was built, and now acts as the seat of the rectorate of the University of Seville. This is about as beautiful as industrial architecture gets.
Another important and influential landmark in Seville, the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) is a twelve-sided polygon that started out life as a muslim military watchtower, but it is the flag of Spain that flies from its viewpoint today. Built in the 13th century, it also served as a prison for a while, although we’d rather not think about that. It is now home to a maritime museum and a watchtower, along with the ghosts of the lost souls who came to their demise here. Maybe.
The Archivo General de Indias is a monolithic 16th century construction that houses a hugely valuable collection of documents detailing the centuries of Spanish rule in the Americas and the Philippines. The building is astonishingly designed, a real success story of Renaissance architecture that would be a must-see with or without the archive that lies inside. Almost 50,000 documents wait inside, and while many are filed away for safe-keeping there is more than enough to cause mouths to open wide. That is centuries of colonial history after all.
As far as city squares go, this is about as extravagant as it is going to get. Seville’s Plaza de España is a jaw-dropper from the get-go, a mass of panoramic beauty that is fit for a king. Built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, each and every Spanish region is celebrated in ceramic form, with some seriously impressive alcoves and benches ringing the square and singing the praises of Spanish territories. The square is found on the very edge of Maria Luisa Park,, and has also featured in films as varied as Lawrence of Arabia and The Dictator.