Seville

What to See in Seville

04 Mar 2023

Giralda Tower

Seville Cathedral © catedraldesevilla.es
Seville Cathedral © catedraldesevilla.es


The third-largest church building in the world (and the largest cathedral), Seville Cathedral is every bit as big as you think it is, possibly bigger. It also happens to be spellbindingly beautiful too, all stunning Gothic arches and 15th century magnificence. The cathedral was built on the remains of a mosque and has actually retained a couple of those features, but this is a house of Catholicism and then some, home to the longest nave in Spain and a quite incredible section of paintings depicting the experiences of Christ. The views from the top of the Giralda? You’ll just have to see for yourself. Expect plenty of queuing in the busy months, so buy your tickets ahead of time and save yourself the stress. Oh, Christopher Columbus is buried here as well, if you needed any more reasons to visit.

Real Alcázar

Real Alcazar © Real Alcázar de Sevilla/FB
Real Alcazar © Real Alcázar de Sevilla/FB
A royal palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site
It started life as a Muslim fortress way back in 913, but Seville’s Real Alcázar is so much more than defence and neurosis. This is the architectural history of the city in one spot, touching on the slight evolutions that came in every single century since the 10th, and it remains the finest piece of Mudéjar architecture in the entire country. You may recognise it from the fifth season of ‘Game of Thrones’ or even the film version of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and you could easily spend a day getting lost in its various courtyards, gardens and exquisitely designed rooms. An absolute stunner, in every sense of the phrase.

Plaza de España

Plaza de España © Carlos Delgado//en.wikipedia.org
Plaza de España © Carlos Delgado//en.wikipedia.org

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.

Barrio Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, Seville © holeinthedonut/pinterest.com
Santa Cruz, Seville © holeinthedonut/pinterest.com
The main tourist neighbourhood of the city, Santa Cruz is an attraction in its own right. Formerly the Jewish Quarter, the district fell apart with the expulsion of Seville’s Jewish population in 1492, only to undergo an incredible reconstruction in the 18th century. This is an old town the likes of which we are use to coming across in Eastern Europe ― a maze of narrow streets that all offer the curious mixture of history and 21st century life. Wandering the streets of Santa Cruz is a real delight, and an entirely free one at that.

Metropol Parasol

Metropol Parasol © Anual/en.wikipedia.org
Metropol Parasol © Anual/en.wikipedia.org

The world’s largest wooden structure. What more is there to know? The Metropol Parasol was opened in 2011 and provides some much needed shade during those scorching summer months, not to mention a convenient place for meeting up and taking some of the most Instagrammable pictures in the city. A number of cafes sit underneath, but it is worth getting to the top of the structure for the excellent views and aesthetically pleasing shots. It is much better than the concrete car park that used to stand here, that much is for sure.

Parque de Maria Luisa

Maria Luisa Park © marialuisapark.com
Maria Luisa Park © marialuisapark.com
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.

Triana

Triana © Ajay Suresh/wikipedia.org
Triana © Ajay Suresh/wikipedia.org
Every city has its Triana. A picturesque little neighbourhood on the west bank of the Guadalquivir, this is a fiercely independent part of the city that has its own distinct character, its own unique way of doing things and its own mentality. ‘Quirky’ isn’t the right word, but this is definitely different. This is where Seville comes alive in the most vibrant of manners, with many of the best bars in town found on this side of the river. Triana is everything you want an old Gypsy quarter to be.

Torre del Oro

Torre del Oro © Jebulon/en.wikipedia.org
Torre del Oro © Jebulon/en.wikipedia.org

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.

Museo de Bellas Artes

Museum of Fine Arts © Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla/FB
Museum of Fine Arts © Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla/FB
The best museum in Seville? We’re not biased, but the Museum of Fine Arts might just be in our top one. Instituted in 1835, this is one of the oldest galleries in the country, let alone the city, and it happens to be located in one of the most stunning buildings in town. Spanish painting is the name of this game, with the centuries between the 1400s and 1900s the focus. The 17th century gets particular attention, with religious paintings from that era the main event. Works are displayed in chronological order, making this a must-visit museum for anyone with an interest in Spanish Baroque art, or art in general.

Casa de Pilatos

Casa de Pilatos © Ajay Suresh/en.wikipedia.org
Casa de Pilatos © Ajay Suresh/en.wikipedia.org

A home fit for nobility. That is both figurative and literal, as the stunning 16th century Casa de Pilatos serves as the official residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli. The palace is another splendid example of affluent architecture in Andalusia, with many regarding this as the prototype of an Andalusian mansion. This is Italian Renaissance architecture at its most elegant.
 

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