Things that you just HAVE to do in this incredible city...
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So… you’re thinking of going to Seville (great choice!) but not sure what to do when you arrive? We’ve put together a list of our absolute musts in this city to really make sure you get the best experience possible. Try and tick off as many as you can in your time there, and hopefully you’ll begin to love this amazing city just as much as we do!
Adapt to the Sevillian lifestyle:
To get a true authentic experience in Seville, you need to adapt to their way of life on your trip! Sevillanos start their days late, the streets are very quiet if you start exploring at 8 in the morning, but by 11 they are starting to come to life, with people only just heading out to work! Lunchtime is late - normally between 2 and 4pm, then a lot of typical bars and restaurants will shut for a very late siesta anytime between 5 and 7. If you head out for your evening meal at 8pm, many restaurants will only just be re-opening. 9:30-10pm seems to be peak time for beginning a meal, but you will spot people just getting seated at 11pm - a culture shock for UK families who often eat at 5!
Try tapas in a traditional bar or bodeguita:
Avoid those tourist traps and hunt down a typical Spanish bar, restaurant or bodeguita to taste some Sevillian specialities. Order yourself a carrillada (braised pork’s cheek), pork with whiskey sauce, queso curado (cured cheese, normally manchego) or a tortilla to try our personal favourites! Spot the more traditional spots by keeping an eye out for places with crowds at the Sevillian peak eating times, lower prices, less obvious English translations on the menus or adverts and lots of Spanish people inside! Our favourites were Bodeguita Reyes de Antonio Romero and Bar Casa de la Moneda.
Visit the Real Alcazar de Sevilla:
This place really took us by surprise. Although it costs around €18 to enter, we thought this price was 100% worth it, as this experience is not to be missed in Seville. The palace has so much more to it than you’d expect, each time you turn you find a new room that you haven’t explored. The design is stunning and unlike anything we have ever seen before! There are also acres of gardens, with palm trees, topiary, and even peacocks just wandering around the grounds. Make sure to take a drink and a snack, we were in there for much longer than we anticipated and the café was unfortunately closed. We'd recommend to book online direct here to avoid the ticket queue.
Marvel at the cathedral:
It seems pretty unlikely that you’d actually manage to have a trip to Seville without stumbling across the cathedral, even by accident! But just in case you’ve forgotten, Seville’s cathedral is the 4th largest cathedral in the world, and definitely not to be missed on your trip. There is an entry fee to go inside, and women do need to make sure that their shoulders and legs are covered. But, to be honest, the exterior is extraordinary enough!
Brunch by Las Setas:
Las Setas (literally translates to “The Mushrooms”) is a metropolitan parasol that stretches over Plaza de la Encarnación. It lights up in the evening in an array of colours and is an absolutely gorgeous area to spend a day wandering, soaking in the sights and trying lots of new food and drink. There is a small indoor market and a huge range of bars and restaurants around Las Setas, but our favourite was La Mala Brunch. If you go, you HAVE to try the pancakes!
Grab a taxi to Lagoh shopping centre:
Have you ever been to a shopping centre with a zipline before? Or a beach bar? Lagoh, about a 15 min drive from the centre of Seville, has both of these and so much more. We’re certain that no matter what you’re interested in, there’s a shop for everyone here, from a huge Primark to Levi’s to Media Markt (electricals and home supplies). And if you really hate shopping but have been dragged here anyway, there’s an outdoor activity area, a huge terrace filled with cafes, bars and restaurants and even a man-made lake with a beach bar. We ordered an Uber from the cathedral in Seville to Lagoh and it cost just under ten euros.
Visit the tower hotel:
I know what you’re thinking - why would we visit a hotel that we’re not staying in? Honestly, we originally doubted heading over there, but after seeing the tower from a distance we had to go and get a closer look! The five-star, 37 storey hotel has a shopping centre right next door (which is fantastic, but doesn’t compare to Lagoh), and a rooftop terrace bar. The terrace is free if you’re staying in the tower, or for €8 per person you can head up there and enjoy the view. When we were planning the trip, we did look at staying in the tower, and we’re sure its absolutely incredible. However, after walking to the hotel we realised just how far out of the main city centre it is! It’s at least 20 mins walk to get to the main attractions, we would say. Just something to consider before you spend a lot of money!
Grab a can of tinto verano and wander around a park:
Seville is well-known for its incredible range of lush parks and gardens spread across the city centre. We highly recommend picking up a can (or three) of tinto verano or cold beer from a local shop and drink these whilst exploring the green spaces. You could even get some cheeses, bread and jamón ibérico and have a full picnic! Tinto verano (sweet, fruity red wine with around 4% alcohol content) is a popular choice of drink as you can buy a single can in most supermarkets and local shops for 50 cents to a euro! But, saying this, you can also generally get a whole bottle of wine for about 3 euros, so the choice is yours…
Explore Plaza de España:
After your picnic in the park, you need to go and see the incredible Plaza de España. It literally translates to “Spain square”, and has sections dedicated to every region in the country. The architecture is fantastic, and the atmosphere is something else. Generally you can also catch a free flamenco show here too!
Catch a sunset by the river:
We spent a ridiculous portion of our trip sitting by the wonderful Guadalquivir river - talking, relaxing and watching the sun go down under one of the ornamental bridges. Something about sitting next to this river is addictive and strangely calming. Others must have felt this too, because even when we were still sitting by the river at 2am, there were still other groups enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. A little earlier in the evening, you will often find buskers playing covers of Spanish and British pop music, usually on an acoustic guitar, surrounded by couples and groups of students watching the sunset. If you'd like a different perspective, there are also boat trips along the river you can take!
See the flamenco:
The Flamenco style of dancing originated in Andalusia, therefore it is deeply embedded in the Sevillian culture. You can generally catch free shows on the streets of the city, especially at busier times. The main free show is at Plaza de España, as we mentioned earlier. But there are also lots of specialised flamenco bars where you can book a table and watch a show whilst enjoying a drink, and theatres to watch the flamenco live too! There’s even a flamenco museum, which is one of the things we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit. We saw an amazing live flamenco show in a theatre which we booked through GetYourGuide here and we loved it! The dancers were extremely talented, and all of the music and vocals were live as well as the dancing! Yes, the show was packed with tourists, but you can only expect that at a flamenco theatre in Seville.
I feel the death stares through the screen already but… try the McDonalds:
We feel like there is so much stigma around eating fast food on holiday. No, we are absolutely not saying eat fast food or things you know from home for every meal when you visit a new destination. Food and drink are a huge part of every culture, and local delicacies are something you definitely need to experience when visiting a new place! But, sometimes you just need something quick, comforting, and familiar. And Spanish McDonalds is, in our opinion, even better than at home. You can order shareboxes of loaded wedges, mini chicken bites, and chicken wings. They also sell café con helado. I kid you not, I think we had one of these every day. It’s whippy (McFlurry) ice cream in a short, creamy coffee - absolute heaven!
Visit a rooftop bar:
We read that there were plenty of rooftop bars in Seville but we actually struggled to find many at all! However, if you can find a rooftop bar, even if they are a little more pricey than your standard bar in Seville, it’s so worth it for the stunning views. Our recommendation has to be Pura Vida which has an amazing view of the cathedral. You can relax in the sun with chilled music and a unique cocktail, it’s one of those places that you just never want to leave. You access the bar through a hidden door near entrance to the hotel Los Seises Sevilla. The stairway up is covered in graffiti which glows in the dark!
Speaking of bars… enjoy a cocktail from a kiosk by the river:
This one speaks for itself really. What could be better than sipping a (strong) mojito and looking out onto the river and the other side of the city. Our favourite was Kiosko Bombay, which is close to the bullring and makes a gorgeous strawberry daiquiri!
Head over the “Puente” to Triana:
Triana is a part of Seville that is sometimes missed off of people’s list, but a great area to get a true feel of the local culture. You can visit Mercado de Triana to browse fresh fruit, fish, meat and small tapas bars within this indoor market. The tapas bars in Mercado de Triana were some of the only places we spotted selling orange wine (vino de naranja) - which is a Sevillian speciality.
Seville is still standing as my favourite city in the world. I really hope you go there, experience the best things to do, and see for yourself why Owen and I both adore Seville as much as we do!
Thanks so much for reading and hope you love Seville just as much as we do! - Jess
Ready to go?
- Search for somewhere to stay in Seville on Expedia here
- Look for things to do in Seville on GetYourGuide here