The Torre del Oro tower
La Giralda tower
Plaza de España square
Reales Alcázares palace
La Maestranza bullring
Situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville has a rich Moorish heritage, and used to be a prosperous port that carried out trade with the Americas. The streets and squares in the historic quarter of the capital of Andalusia are lively and busy. They treasure many constructions that have the World Heritage designation, and many districts are full of traditional culture, like Triana and La Macarena. Seville is a prominent business and service centre in the south of Spain and has many hotels distributed all over the city which enable visitors to discover endless attractions. Museums and art centres, theme parks, cinemas, theatres and clubs are some of the many leisure options that a great city like Seville holds. Without forgetting, of course, the numerous terraces, inns and bars where visitors can practise one of the most deeply-rooted and tasty traditions in the city: "Going out for tapas".
Another good excuse to come to the Sevillian capital are the festivals. The celebrations of Easter Week and Feria de Abril (the April Fair), which have been declared of National Tourist Interest, reflect the devotion and folklore of the people of Seville, always open and friendly to visitors. But Seville's appeal does not end there, as the city is also the starting point for the many cultural routes the province offers, such as the Roman Bética Route or the Washington Irving route. The visitor will also discover the immense natural wealth of this region, which sits halfway between two continents, in natural treasures such as the Doñana Nature Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, and the Sierra Norte Nature Reserve. They will be the ideal setting for practising outdoor sports, including hiking, horse riding, and cycling routes. If, on the other hand, golf is your sport of choice, then you will be glad to know that Seville has four excellent golf courses in its vicinity.
Seville For you
A blend of art traditions
Many civilisations have come and gone in the city of Seville. The Tartessians founded Hispalis, and the Romans built the famous Itálica next to it in 207 BC.
Founded by General Scipio, two Roman emperors were born there: Trajan and Adrian. The long presence of the Moors, from 711 to 1248 AD, left permanent imprints on the city. The end of the Caliphate of Cordoba (11th century) brought about the splendour of the Taifa Kingdom of Seville, especially under the reign of al-Mutamid, the poet king. The years of highest splendour in Seville happened after the discovery of America. During the 16th and 17th century its port was one of the most important in Spain, because it had the monopoly of the foreign trade by sea. Thanks to the trade carried out during that period in Seville, many mansions, stately homes, churches and convents were built. The main monuments in town - the cathedral, the Reales Alcázares Palace and the General Archive of the Indies - have the UNESCO World Heritage designation. The Gothic cathedral stands in the white-washed Santa Cruz neighbourhood, built on the Almohad Great Mosque of Seville. Some of the Moorish elements still remain - the old minaret, which is the famous Giralda, and the Orange Tree Courtyard. Next to the cathedral you can find the Reales Alcázares Palace, which is also built on the site of a 9th-century Moorish fortress, but it was Pedro I the Cruel (14th century) who introduced the Mudejar decoration. Many rooms, magnificent halls and romantic courtyards are enclosed behind the walls. Vast gardens, with Moorish and Renaissance elements, surround the building. The other monument, the General Archive of the Indies takes us to Spanish Renaissance art. It is one of Europe's most important document centres relating to the conquest of the New World. Another important Renaissance construction in the city is the Casa de Pilatos house, a palace which combines Gothic and Mudejar elements with imported Italian Renaissance details.
We can also approach the baroque façade of the Royal Tobacco Factory, now the University, the San Telmo Palace, the María Luisa Park, or Plaza de EspañaAround here there are many interesting buildings, part of the Hispanic-American Exhibition that took place in Seville in 1929. On the banks of the Guadalquivir we find the Torre del Oro, of Arab origin, which dates back to the 13th century and was part of the ancient walls. Because of its close relationship to the maritime history of Seville, this tower was chosen to house the Navy Museum.Its silhouette marks the entrance to Arenal, a bullfighting district par excellence. One of the most emblematic bullrings in Spain is located here: the one belonging to the Real Maestranza de Caballería. Seville's city centre leads us into the best-known streets, like Sierpes or Campana; and to numerous churches, hospitals, Renaissance palaces and Baroque buildings. In addition, the district of La Macarena holds landmarks like the Alameda de Hércules, the old Hospital de Las Cinco Llagas (now housing the Parliament of Andalusia), the Basilica of La Macarena, and the Church of San Lorenzo. The last two guard the most cherished religious images of Seville: La Virgen de la Esperanza (the Virgin of Hope), and the Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus Almighty), carvings venerated during the Holy Week processions. Another one of the truly authentic districts of the city is Triana, on the other side of the river. Its old seagoing tradition is evident in Calles Pureza, Betis, and Alfarería, as well as in the Plaza del Altozano. The Parish of Santa Ana, and the Chapel of the Cristo de la Expiración, were they worship the Cristo del Cachorro are surrounded by colourful houses and reminders of the 19th century. The Island of Cartuja is located on this side of the river, where the architectural legacy left by the 1992 World Exhibition meets the monumental site of the Carthusian monastery and the Andalusian Centre for Contemporary Art. A walk around Seville will take us to a number of museums, like the Fine Arts Museum, one of the most important of its kind in Spain. Located in the 18th century Convent of La Merced, it has works by El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, and Valdés Leal and an outstanding collection of paintings by Murillo, located in the convent's chapel. In addition, the Cathedral Museum exhibits priceless collections of precious metalwork, paintings, reliquaries, jewels and religious vestments. Another important museum is the Provincial Archaeological Museum, which has a collection of Roman artefacts that were found in the nearby city of Italica, as well as the Tartessian Carambolo treasure, and other oriental pieces. To complete your experience of the Roman World, visit the no less important collection under the care of Condesa de Lebrija House-Museum. However, if the traveller has enough time, an "in situ" visit to the Italica Archaeological Site, which includes the amphitheatre and the Hadrian district, with Roman mosaics and sculptures. The Museum of Popular Arts and Customs, which has a peculiar collection of antique clothing, lathes and horse-drawn flour mills, as well as popular furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, should not be forgotten. The attractive cultural panorama of Seville also includes other centres and art galleries, like the Bullfighting Museum, the Focus Foundation, and the Monastery of San Clemente Exhibition Hall.
A natural paradise on the banks of the Guadalquivir River
The entire province of Seville and a whole range of nature areas are within easy reach of Andalusia's capital city. A group of unique ecosystems can be found between the provinces of Huelva and Seville where the Guadalquivir River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Marshes, dunes and reserves are the most typical landscapes in the Doñana National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. This is a place to marvel at the ecological richness of the landscape, but also a place for hunting, climbing, fishing and water sports. The cultural offer includes Aracena, in Huelva, with its castle and the Las Maravillas grotto. To the north of the province you can find the Sierra Norte Nature Reserve, and its most emblematic town, Cazalla de la Sierra. The Dehesas de Sierra Morena, along the northern mountain ranges in the provinces of Huelva, Seville and Cordoba, have been declared a Biosphere Reserve. Back in the city, the Guadalquivir River is the perfect setting for a range of water sports like sailing or kayaking. People in Seville are passionate about football. There are two historical teams in the Spanish premier league –Sevilla FC and Real Betis Balompié– which gather thousands of fans every weekend at the stadiums. And if you want to improve your par, Seville has the best climate all year round to practise golf on any of the courses around the city.
A real treat for the palate
The best place to taste the typical food in Seville is probably in the bars in the historic quarter and in the districts of Triana and La Macarena, where you can enjoy a range of delicious tapas. There is a wide variety of tapas available, but whatever you choose, we recommend washing it down with a cold beer, or "fino" or "manzanilla" sherry. When you order tapas, we suggest ordering a range of flavours, to try as many as possible. Typical tapas are made of cured meats (Iberian ham, Iberian cured pork sausage...), seasoned food (olives, papas aliñás - seasoned potatoes, garlic prawns…), fried fish (anchovies, marinated dogfish, puntillitas - small squid…), montaditos (small toasted sandwiches), potato omelette and kebabs. And if you go to Seville in the hottest months, don't forget to ask for gazpacho (cold soup, made mainly with tomatoes), which is very tasty and refreshing.
For young people
Leisure alternatives for everybody
Seville is a high-spirited and lively city, which is why it connects so perfectly with young people.
There are a number of cultural activities aimed at young people. Examples include the Territorios Sevilla festival and the Festival of Nations, where you'll find traditional ethnic music, a spirit of solidarity and a wide range of multi-cultural activities. Throughout the year, some of the top national and international singers and bands appear on the city's most emblematic stages: La Cartuja Auditorium and El Palenque. The theatre offer features events staged at the Sala Imperdible by young actors from independent companies, and the Teatro Central theatre is a venue known for its innovative and groundbreaking plays. Seville's status as a major city means that every weekend all the latest films to be released in Spain can be seen in its cinemas. The capital has a large number of cinemas, many of which are located inside shopping centres. Don't miss one of the best leisure options in Seville –the Isla Mágica theme park. The exceptional atmosphere, rides and live performances are all a guarantee of an unforgettable experience. If you want to sample Seville's nightlife, you'll be spoilt for choice. The Santa Cruz neighbourhood and the Calle Argote de Molina are the ideal places for enjoying the evening's first drink.
The bustle continues to Calle Betis and La Alfalfa, with plenty of bars and nightclubs. To dance the night away, go to the areas where the streets Marqués de Paradas, Julio César, and Adriano are located, near the old Plaza de Armas station. If visiting the city in summer time, you are strongly recommended to frequent the many restaurant and bar terraces set up along the banks of the river. Young people will enjoy easy access to public transport by purchasing a Bonobús Joven, which provides discounts on city buses, or otherwise the Tarjeta Studio, good for suburban trains.
A number of options for children to have fun
Seville offers a whole range of possibilities for children.
The best place for children to have a great time in Seville is without question the Isla Mágica theme park. This park on the La Cartuja island will take you back to the time of the discovery of America, and has numerous rides, live performances and multimedia shows in the central lake. The cultural programme caters for children. In May, the Alameda Municipal Theatre organises the Puppet Festival, as well as plays for children. The numerous cinemas to be found in different parts of the city offer morning screenings and include the latest releases for all the family. A refreshing option in summer is the Aquópolis Sevilla water park. The water park has amazing slides, several pools and other attractions such as go-karting and an animal display. A great way to explore the city with children is through the initiative entitled "Adventures with the family". These four routes feature the fun and friendly Giráldez Family, who visit different parts of the city based on a different theme each time: Hidden Seville, Green Seville, Seville of Myths and Legends, and Fun Seville. More information on the Facebook profile: www.facebook.com/FamiliaGiraldez. The city also offers a whole range of other activities such as bicycle routes, kayaking and canoeing on the river, visiting parks, browsing in toyshops… Just outside the capital in the town of Guillena you'll find Mundo-Park, a site that is home to a botanical garden, a zoo and an amusement park. There are a number of attractions in the province of Seville that encourage children to learn about fauna and nature. These include the Carmona Zoo, an educational park where many species of birds and mammals live; the Trance de Aragón Animal Reserve in Utrera, which has a wide variety of species from the area and other parts of the world; the Cañada de los Pájaros Private Nature Reserve in La Puebla del Río; and El Castillo de las Guardas Nature Reserve, with exotic birds that live in semi-freedom.
Craft products such as ceramics, lace, shawls and fans, foodstuffs, fashion clothes, jewellery, gifts and antiques are just a few of things you will find in the shops of Seville. Traditional establishments stand side by side with new franchises, shopping centres and the latest fashions, thus giving a wide range of different shopping possibilities to the visitor to the capital of Andalusia.
Seville has everything for the shopper from craftwork and souvenirs to sophisticated fashion all sold in its many shops, workshops, shopping centres and street markets. There are three main shopping areas: the old quarter, Triana and Nervión.
Other useful information
Opening times: some shops, especially the major franchises and the shopping centres, are open from 10am-9pm. Traditional shops open from 10am-1.30pm and from 5-8.30pm approximately.
Sales: the winter sales generally begin in the second week of January and go on until the end of February, and the summer sales begin on 1 July and run until the end of August.
How to pay: most people pay in cash or with a credit card, when you must show your passport or identity card.
Tax free: residents from outside the European Union are entitled to have Value Added Tax (IVA) refunded on purchases of more than €90.15.
Sevilla Card: you can buy this card from the Tourist Offices and you will be given interesting discounts in certain shops, restaurants, shows and leisure centres. Using this card you can get free entrance to most of the museums in the city, free public transport and you can have a guided tour of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood.
A city open to professional tourism
Over one hundred congresses, exhibitions and other events each year endorse Seville as one of the primary destinations for business tourism in Spain.
The city's excellent transport connections include a modern international airport located just a few kilometres outside the centre, and the station for the AVE high-speed train which links to Madrid in little over two hours of travel time. All this is complemented by an extensive road network of motorways and dual carriageways which make Seville easy to reach from any point on the peninsula. The refurbished Seville Exhibition and Conference Centre, FIBES, is a social meeting point distinguished by its large-scale light-filled design and its multifunctional capacity and sustainability. It comprises three modules: a covered walkway of 3000 m² which joins the existing building with the new one; a multifunction building with a restaurant area of over 2000 m², a 2500 m² exhibition zone and a registration area of almost 700 m²; an auditorium seating 3,557 people at full capacity with a stage measuring 670 m² and a stage opening of 23 metres, which offers a wide range of possibilities for all types of meetings and congress events, in addition to musical productions and large-scale shows. It also has numerous multifunction rooms. Seville's hotel capacity is beyond any doubt, as it has almost 10,000 hotel beds distributed among five and four-star hotels, and around 3,500 places in three star hotels. Its distinctive accommodation options include the Alfonso XIII hotel, located in a neo-Mudéjar building, and the Casas de la Judería hotel in the centre of the old Jewish quarter, in what was once the house of the Duke of Béjar.
On the outskirts of Seville, there are three specially significant hotels: The Hacienda Benazuza (Benazuza Country Estate), in Sanlúcar la Mayor; the Casa de Carmona Hotel; and the Parador Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro, in Carmona.