Before moving to Seville, Spain for the semester, I pictured a small city with a few historic spots, tapas bars and flamenco shows. But I had no idea just how massive in size and rich in culture Seville truly is. Experiencing the unique Sevillano culture in just three days is a challenge, but often that’s all the time visitors have. So buckle up everyone as I give you my ultimate guide to Seville in just three days. See if you can keep up!
If you want to kick off your day like a true Sevillano, stop into one of the many cafes on the street for a quick breakfast. I find that the best ones are tucked away into skinny alleys or behind a church, so don’t be afraid to explore the backstreets! I recommend a café con leche and a tostada with olive oil, tomato and jamón if you’re feeling fancy. Many cafes have a coffee-tostada special for as little as 2.20 euros!
Then head over to La Real Alcázar de Sevilla, one of the most iconic places in the city. The palace is features beautiful gardens and is the setting the famous House of Dorne in Game of Thrones. There are tons of guided tours you can choose from, but even if you don’t want a tour, make sure you get an advance ticket to skip the line. I’ve seen how long the line can get – it’s not pretty! Also, definitely get to the Alcázar early (it opens at 9:30 AM); the later you go, the larger the crowds and the hotter the temperatures.
Afterwards, take a stroll through the Jewish Quarter. During medieval times, this neighborhood separated Jewish people from the rest of the city and is rich with history and hardship. Today it is a charming area with plenty of shops, tapas bars, and orange trees lining the cobblestone streets. A popular area – and my personal favorite – is the Barrio de Santa Cruz. It’s the perfect place to grab some lunch and a must-see for anyone in Seville!
A beautiful way to start off the day is with a stroll down the Guadalquivir River and over the Triana bridge. Not only are the views spectacular, but the area is filled with markets, shops, and amazing food. You will undoubtedly see the historic Torre de Oro (“Tower of Gold) from the river, which served as a prison during the middle ages and is now a military watchtower.
Next up is an absolute must: La Catedral de Sevilla. This is probably the most historically rich place in all of Seville and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. While this Roman Catholic Cathedral was completed in the early 1500’s, it was originally the Almohad Mosque completed in 1198. It is dedicated to Seville’s patron saint (Maria de la Sede) and is home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
And the 35-ramp trek to the top of La Giralda (the cathedral’s bell tower) gives you an incredible panoramic view of all of Seville. Be sure to reserve your spot online (you need a ticket to get in) and choose what type of tour you want. I highly recommend at least getting an audio tour so you can really grasp the historical significance of this incredible building! Afterwards, walk four minutes from the Cathedral to La Taberna Coloniales for some delicious Mediterranean tapas and wine.
Now for my personal favorite: the Plaza de España. I’ve been in Seville for almost a month now and have already been here three different times! It’s by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and a trip through the canal on a rowboat will make you feel like royalty.
The boats are available until 9 PM every day and cost 5 euros for 35 minutes – a total steal in my opinion. After you ride through the canal, be sure to walk through the adjacent Maria Luisa Park, known for its Moorish style and beautiful fountains, ponds and exotic trees.
Now for some real local fun. The past few days have been filled with exploring Seville’s most historic and popular sites, but these are not the places where the locals hang out on a daily basis. Today is the day to experience Seville like a local.
Grab breakfast or lunch in La Plaza de Alfalfa – a neighborhood rich in history, Moorish architecture, and a variety of both modern and traditional food. It’s always bustling with locals and their kids, and really makes you feel like you’re in the hub of Spanish life. I highly recommend Cafe Bar Marmoles for either breakfast or lunch. It’s a great value for the quality of food they serve – I SWEAR their tostadas are the best in Seville – and they have a wide variety of breakfast foods, traditional tapas and drinks (coffees, fruit juices, etc.). I go here every single day after class and ADORE the three sisters who run the joint – they’re the best!
Afterwards, grab some sweets at one of the convents that occupy the hidden corners of Seville. Yes, I said convents. For centuries, these nuns have been selling homemade cakes, cookies and other “dulces de conventos” to fund their establishment and are rarely seen by anyone outside of the convent.
They remain completely isolated even as you order – you pay and receive your package using a Lazy Susan! It’s such a fun way to experience a deep tradition in Seville, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these secret spots.
For sunset, head on over to Las Setas (“The Mushrooms”). This modern piece of art is the largest wooden structure in the world and fosters a vibrant social area with tons of restaurants, bars and a food market. Buy a ticket inside and take the elevator to the very top for a gorgeous panoramic view of the city. I did this on my second day in Seville and was absolutely blown away!
Once it hits around 8:30 or 9 o’clock, you HAVE to eat dinner at one of my favorite areas in all of Seville: La Alameda de Hercules. This plaza is home to young Sevillanos’ favorite restaurants and bars and is always a good time every day of the week. Enjoy tapas and a drink (or two!) at one of the many outdoor cafe’s lining the street and make sure to take your time – people tend to sit at their tables for hours, chatting with friends and slowly sipping a Cruzcampo or tinto de verano. You’ll really get to see how the Spanish live here, so just soak up the culture and enjoy your night!
In case you have a bit of free time in Seville, here are a few more cultural activities that may be of interest:
- Flamenco show: These are happening all over Seville every single day in both flamenco venues and on the streets! Prices vary depending on the place, but here is a brief list of some places to see flamenco in Seville. I recommend going at night before or after dinner!
- Bullfight: This has been a tradition in Spain for centuries, but only happens certain times of the year due to the relatively short bullfighting season. Personally, I am not a fan of bullfights and recommend that you do your research beforehand so you know what to expect. Here is a more in-depth guide of when and how to get your tickets!
- La Avenida de la Constitución: This pedestrian-only street cuts directly through Seville’s Old Town, stretching from Puerta de Jerez to Plaza Nueva. You will pass tons of shops, restaurants, historic buildings and incredible architecture. It’s a great way to pass the time!