The capital of Andalusia is an exuberant city and a must-see on a trip to southern Spain. High-speed trains (AVE) run between Seville and Madrid. The journey takes about two and a half hours.
It’s wonderful to explore this city, the home of so many cultures over the centuries, and to stop by the Cathedral to admire the lovely bell tower, the Giralda. Be sure to visit the palace complex of the Reales Alcázares, the Pilate’s House, the Museum of Fine Arts, or stroll around the charming Santa Cruz district, the former Jewish quarter and now a maze of charming little streets, squares, and whitewashed houses. Seville is one of the largest cities in Spain, with an extensive cultural calendar and famous fiestas, such as the Feria de Abril.
Cathedral and Giralda: The world’s largest Catholic cathedral, and the third largest Christian church after St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London. Its tower, La Giralda, was originally the minaret of Seville’s Almohad mosque. At 97.5 metres, it was once the world’s tallest tower.
Real Alcázar: A beautiful fortified palace complex, the residence of the Arab rulers from 720 CE. This magnificent complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site, as are Seville Cathedral and the Archive of the Indies.
Plaza de España and María Luisa Park: The square was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, and since then has been one of Seville’s most visited spots and the backdrop for several films. The tiled seats represent all the provinces of Spain. Next to it are the gardens of the Parque de María Luisa, which you can see from a horse-drawn carriage.
La Maestranza bullring: One of the largest and most attractive bullrings in the world. It also has a Bullfighting Museum.
Torre del Oro and cruises on the river Guadalquivir: On the bank of the Guadalquivir, the Torre del Oro is a symbol of the city, called the 'Golden Tower' for its bright reflection on the water. You can take a boat cruise on the part of the river that runs through the city.
Flamenco shows: Try one of the city’s tablaos, or a music festival, such as the famous Bienal de Flamenco. You can also visit the Flamenco Dance Museum, the only museum of its kind in the world.
Carmona: Just over 30 kilometres from Seville, this beautiful Andalusian town is dominated by its imposing Arab fortress, the Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro. It makes a great half-day excursion.
Shopping options range from the high fashion of local designers like Victorio and Lucchino to food markets and off-beat shops. You can take a guided tour with a personal shopper to visit luxury stores, Flamenco costume studios and workshops producing religious embroidery. If you’re looking for crafts, try the pottery in the Triana district, where they have been making it since the Islamic era, or items such as shawls, lace mantillas, and hand-painted fans. And finally, a shopping day in Seville must include a visit to the lively, pedestrianised Calle Sierpes, one of the city’s best known shopping streets, with establishments of every kind.
There are also themed tours and amusement parks for all the family. Isla Mágica amusement park is a must-see, with 16th century themed shows. If you prefer watching animals, you could visit the Seville Aquarium or go 50 kilometres out of the city to the Castillo de Las Guardas Reserve, set in the remains of a former copper mine and surrounded by a natural habitat which is home to over 1,000 animals.