Seville is the capital of Andalusia and its most populated city. Discover in this Seville city guide why the capital of Andalusia is meant to have “un color especial”. Seville is a busy city with an eventful history. This is apparent both from Seville’s buildings, which are of great importance to the cultural tradition of Spain, and from its festivals. It is favorably situated in the fertile valley of the Guadalquivir, which curves gently past the city and is navigable for some 56 miles down to its mouth at Sanlúcar de Barrameda. From early times, this site was of great importance and frequently changed hands!
Discover the best things to enjoy in Seville, ideal hotels to stay in, restaurants where you will eat like a true Sevillano, and much more, from the famous Barrio de Santa Cruz to Triana and the top sights in the city.
Seville travel guide - Contents
The 2 most popular Seville turs
Cathedral and Alcazar Combo tickets
Private Tour with Giralda and Alcazar tickets
SEVILLE 10 TOP HOTELS
BEST SEVILLE TOURS
Our 3 top: hotels with character in Santa Cruz district
Hotel Fernando III in Seville 4*
Basic hotel Doña Manuela
Hotel Amadeus La Musica
5 Top Reasons To Visit Seville
History Roman Hispalis, an important port thanks to the river Guadalquivir (the vier is navigable all the way south to the Atlantic ocean, 60 miles south of the city) , then an important taifa during the Muslim occupation and one of Spain´s most important cities and the one with a more strategic role in the trade with American colonies. All this history explains many of the things you will feel in Seville
Flamenco. Magical and different. Flamenco has captured the attention of people from around the world. Passionate and seductive, writers and poets alike have tried to explain the strong emotional charge that takes place in a tablao. The sound of castanets and taconeo increases, cancers get their colorful dress moving in the air and a deep voice starts singing loud.
La Giralda and cathedral . Seville´s top attraction and one of the icons of Spain, la Giralda is the minarete of the ancient mosque where today´s cathedral stands. This was meant to be the largest cathedral in the world, and icon for Christianity and a marvel for everyone to enjoy today.
Food and wine . Seville is a foodies heaven. More than 3,000 bars, taverns, and restaurants await you and you will be able to taste fantastic Andalusian dishes, which are amongst the best-known specialties in the Spanish diet. Gazpacho, Salmorejo, fino wine from nearby Jerez de la Frontera, olives and olive oil, jamon Iberico and much more. Seville is also home to some excellent markets like el Mercado de Feria or the typical Mercado de Triana.
- Fiestas and traditions. Seville is home to 2 of Spain´s most important Fiestas. The Seville Semana Santa (Holy week in Seville) commemorates the passion and death of Christ through religious processions done by the brotherhood of the city’s Cathedral from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. During this time, 61 brotherhoods carry out their path in the streets and 10 more do it 2 days before, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. On top of these religious aspects, The Holy Week in Seville is a sociocultural, touristic and economic event of great importance in Seville. Continue reading. La Feria de Abril. After Easter vacation is over, halfway through spring, the city turns into the bride of the world, and for this, the streets tidy up with perfume and orange blossom flowers. It puts on a flamenco outfit, striped white, red and green, with frills to celebrate the Seville April fair. Continue reading
Barrio Santa Cruz:
Best Time To Visit Seville
Our favorite months to visit Seville are March, April, May, first half of June, September and first half of October.
Bear in mind that during April the April festival takes place. Accomodation prices increase notably but the city offers a fantastic atmosphere. During Easter prices also increase a lot and the city tends to be overcrowded.
Weather In Seville
It is nearly never cold in Seville. From November till end of February you can expect daily high averages of 60F (low averages in those months around 45 during the night.
During summer temperatures can get as high as 97 in July (warmest month of the year) for daily high averages.
The probability of rain is low, with 25% rain probability in October (month of the year with more rain)
Most popular attractions in Seville
Barrio Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz neighborhood of Seville is the city’s main tourist area. Here you will find some of the city’s top attractions including the Gothic Cathedral of Seville and the famous Giralda, as well as the gorgeous Real Alcázar and its lush gardens. The Santa Cruz neighborhood also has a beautiful and charming Jewish Quarter with narrow winding lined with shops and quaint little bars.
It is one of the most authentic areas of Seville and encapsulates the passionate spirit of the city. The Barrio de Santa Cruz was made famous by the American writer Washington Irving (1783-1859) stayed in the area and surely later headed to Granada to write his Tales of the magical Alhambra.
Barrio Santa Cruz – An Overview
Seville was known as Híspalis under Roman rule and the original settlement was located where the Barrio de Santa Cruz now stands. The city was once walled and was confined to, in the east, by the Puerta de la Carne, and to the south, by the Plaza del Triunfo. The cardo maximus (or great Roman road) once passed through the current Abades and Don Remondo streets.
Within the walls of the Alcázar, you will find the famous Patio de Banderas, or the Patio of Flags, so-called because of the flags that were painted on the gate of the wall through which it is accessed. In the 1970s archaeological remains of a Christian basilica that could be from the fourth century, were found at this site.
In the 11th century, the palace of Al-Zahir was built in front of the citadel, which was fortified like a castle and had high towers. Closer to the Guadalquivir river, the smaller palace of Al-Zahi was built as well. But the largest of all the palaces within the city walls was the Al-Mubarak. This most opulent of the palaces would become the Alcazar centuries later. Alfonso X took advantage of the space in the main building to build the Gothic palace.
After the reconquering of the city in 1248 the Jewish population settled in the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz and San Bartolomé, and their cemetery was located between Calle Cano y Cueto and Paseo Catalina de Ribera. Some of the inhabitants of the Jewish quarter of Seville were very close to the kings of Castile and held very influential positions within the court. It was the second most important Jewish community in Spain, after Toledo.
Three of the cities mosques were re-purposed as synagogues. But after an anti-Jewish revolt of 1391 these temples became Christian places or worship. The synagogues were demolished and the churches of San Bartolomé, Santa María la Blanca, and Santa Cruz were built. After the French invasion of Seville in 1810 the church of Santa Cruz was demolished.
The Plaza de Santa Cruz was renovated in 1918 by Juan Talavera y Heredia, placing in the center the Cruz de la Cerralería, from the 17th century.
Best things to see in Barrio Santa Cruz
The Barrio de Santa Cruz is legitimately a place where you should “get lost in”. It is an intricate network of small and charming squares, narrow streets, and passages, that feels unchanged by time.
To make sure you don’t miss out on the top highlights that Santa Cruz has to offer, here is our list of the essential sights to see during your visit:
- Plaza del Triunfo: This spectacularly beautiful square is the heart of Santa Cruz. Surrounding it are the buildings of the Cathedral of Seville, with the famous Giralda, the General Archive of the Indies, and the Reales Alcázares. This monumental complex has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The square is known as the “Square of Triumph” because it survived, practically intact, the horrific Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, which also led to the installation of the Triumph monument.
- La Giralda and Cathedral: A lot has been said and written about the Sevilla Cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, and the Giralda, which was minaret of the old mosque on which it was built in the XV century. This is one of Spain´s top attracions. Seville was the capital of the Iberian Peninsula during the Almohad domination, it was its biggest mosque three centuries earlier.
- Square of Santa Marta: This charming little square can be accessed from the Plaza del Triunfo. This square is much smaller with hardly enough space to house four orange trees and a 16th century cross in the middle. It was once the site of one of the city’s original hospitals, now substituted by a small convent.
- The Real Alcazar in Seville: When Europe was in its “dark” middle ages around the 13th century, Seville was an important city and as proof of this, we can enjoy today the architectural marvel of the Royal Alcazar of Seville. The Alcazar is one of the highlights of architecture in Spain and with no doubt, one of Spain´s main tourist attractions, and a must-visit during your stay in Seville. Unesco agreed a long time ago with all of this and the Alcazar was granted UNESCO heritage status to recognize its historical value.
- Patio de Banderas: Located right next to the Reales Alcázares building there is a large square known as the Patio de Banderas or the Square of Flags. Visits to the Real Alcazar end in this square and from here you will have one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the cathedral and the Giralda.
- Calle del Agua: The Calle del Agua or Callejón del Agua is a magical little street that runs along one of the outer walls of the Alcazar. Here you will find the beautiful patio of Washington Irving’s house which you can recognize by a plaque on its facade.
- Santa Cruz Square: This square is one of the more magical spots in the city. It houses several orange trees and a monument from 1692, known as Cruz de Cerrajeria, which was initially installed in a central area of Calle Sierpes, but was finally moved to that place in 1921.
The famous Spanish painter Murillo was buried in the church that once stood in the same spot, which is remembered with a plaque that you can now see installed in the square.
You will also find a monument dedicated to the literary figure of Don Juan Tenorio, who had a special connection with the Barrio de Santa Cruz.
- Mateos Gago Street: Mateo Gago street is well known in the city for the many shops, bars and restaurants it holds and it is a must if you want to enjoy a cold drink in the heart of Santa Cruz.
Where is Barrio Santa Cruz?
Barrio Santa Cruz is the southernmost neighborhood within the Casco Antigüo district of the city of Seville. It borders: to the north with the streets of Francisco Bruna, Blanca de los Ríos, Francos, Pajaritos, Bamberg, Aire, Fabiola, Cruces and Mariscal streets; to the east with Menéndez Pelayo avenue; to the southeast with Avenida de María Luisa; to the southwest with the Paseo de las Delicias; and to the west with Avenida de la Constitución and Plaza de San Francisco. A portion of the neighborhood is located along the bank of the famous Guadalquivir river.
Map of El Barrio de Santa Cruz
How to spend one day in Seville? Recommendations
This is our suggested itinerary in case you have 1 day in Seville and want to get the most out of a short-break in Seville. Have a look at our “insiders´s hints and tips” in our next section where we also recommend things to look for during this day itinerary in Seville
The Alcazar . Not many people know that the Alcazar is one of Spain´s most visited monuments. It was always very visited, but having been used for Game of Thrones has increased its popularity. We strongly recommend booking a tour to avoid queues or get there very early and with your ticket booked
Archivo de Indias
Located right next to the Alcazar, the Archivo de Indias has some amazing documents in it like the ones used by Cirstonal Columbus to calculate the latitude and longitude of this first trip. The entrance ticket is free, and you will be able to enjoy an exciting video.
This is an exciting way to enjoy Seville. You will find many people that offer a ride. In order to avoid problems with the prices, the City-hall fixes a price each year. We recommend checking the current price at the tourism office to ensure you know the exact amount to pay.
Plaza de España
It is widely known today that the Alcazar has been used in Game of thrones. Fewer people know that La Plaza de España was used in Lawerence de Arabia. Seville turned out to be a real oasis for the filming crew after having spent weeks at the dessert in Jordan.
On your way to Triana
Walk by the river. Once you leave the Park, we recommend not to enter Triana by the Puente de los Remedios, but to do it by the Puente de San Telmo to enjoy a walk next to the river.
Pescaito and tapas
Once you are finished with Flamenco we recommend you enjoy a bit of fried fish (pescaito) and tapas in Calle betis in Triana
Insider Tips - Seville itinerary
The cathedral of Seville is the world´s largest Cathedral. The old mosque was used as a church till 1402, but then the church authorities decided to build the largest Cathedral in the world. A guided tour is highly advisable.
The Santa Cruz district is very well but there is still some things unknown to most tourists, the Plaza de las Cruces in the Santa Cruz neighborhood is, in reality, a street that widens and where three crosses stand in the middle. If you pay attention, you will also find more crosses in the walls.
Besides the Plaza de Santa Cruz (which gives its name to the district) and the romantic Plaza de Doña Elvira, we recommend you Plaza de Alfaro. On the ground floor of the palace off Lope de Rueda, there is a forging window which locals refer to as “La Reja del Diablo”. The design of this forging work is almost impossible to accomplish: “the devil´s work”.
The origin of the name of his street hides a dark story, the sort you would find in a Stephen King novel. The street was known before as Calle Espaderos (blade maker) due to the number of workshops dedicated to swords. But the name changed to Sierpes. Locals start to call it that due to a legend. In the mid-XV century, children disappeared in Calle Espaderos and a huge snake (serpiente in Spanish) was found guilty. Locals started to refer to the street as Calle de la Sierpe.
Do not miss these fantastic facades and shops. Confitería La Campana, Real Circulo de Labradores, papelería Ferrer, El cronometro , maquedano sombreros, abanicos Diaz and Robles Laredo bar (where you can actually stop for a well-deserved drink!)
You will be able to decide for yourself if you love it or hate it! (Metrosol-parasol divided local opinions when it was built). Five immense mushroom-like pillars hold up a gigantic undulating roof
Why was Seville so important?
The ancient Hispalis’ was renamed Colonia Julia Romula’ after Julius Caesar captured it in 45 BC. It became a Roman judicial district and was fortified the remains of the wall can still be seen. Various dinasties ruled the city during the Moor occupation, and Seville rivalled for a time with Cordoba as the most important center in Al Andalus.
With the discovery of America Seville became a very important harbour.
Enjoy Ronda, of the most visited cities in Spain! Andalusia is home to many amazing cities, one of which is Ronda. Find out what makes it so special in this city guide. Landscapes, amazing architecture, heritage and a true Andalusian feeling make of Ronda a very special destination … Read More
Enjoy Cordoba, one of the most populated cities of the world in the Middle ages, in a 1 or 2 day city-break. Cordoba can be accessed by high speed train very easily from Madrid and this secure connection makes it easy to enjoy a break in Cordoba
Depending on your travel schedule you may decide to dedicate 1 or 2 days to Cordoba. One day is enough to enjoy the most important highlights and get a good feeling of the city. With 2 days you will be able to enjoy more attractions and even an excursion to MEdina Zahara. We have built this city-break in Cordoba including our recommendations for hotels, … Read More