Three days in Seville - a stroll through the city and a spot of culture - day 1
As the fourth-largest city in Spain, the home of three UNESCO World Heritage sites and with a population of 1.5 million, Seville is a buzzing international city steeped in tradition and culture. Visiting the many sites of historical and architectural importance, including the resting place of Christopher Columbus; joining the local sevillanos at a flamenco show or for an early evening tapas and sherry; and taking a cruise along the River Guadalquivir, are just some of the activities you’ll enjoy getting stuck into in this city famous for dance, delicious food and daring explorers.
09:00 - historic Seville
Make your first day in Seville all about soaking up some of the icons of the city’s history, much of which is best done on foot. Seville’s city centre and old town are located to the east of the River Guadalquivir. Start the day with a strong coffee and a bite to eat from one of the many cafés along Calle Sierpes, before stopping off at the city tourist office
on the same street to collect some maps and other useful information to aid your city explorations.
Make your first stop Seville Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the biggest cathedrals in the world and the largest gothic structure in Europe, the cathedral dates back to the 15th century and is the location of the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Interestingly, the site is also the location of a former mosque from the 12th century. The Giralda Tower was previously the mosque’s minaret, and visitors can climb the steps to the top for a bird’s eye view of the city below.
11:00 – Palace and Old Town
Next, visit the Alcázar of Seville
, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and said to be the oldest royal palace still in operation in Europe, as well as a previous Moorish fort. It’s the Spanish Royal family’s official residence in Seville, although visitors have access to a large portion of the buildings. Make sure you visit the room where Christopher Columbus planned his journey to America. Having been built on and added to over the centuries, the alcázar has an eclectic combination of architectural and cultural styles, while the wending landscaped gardens are peaceful to stroll around.
Wandering around Seville’s old town is the ideal way to complete your first morning in the city, soaking up the history and culture of the squares and sweet narrow lanes. Plaza del Triunfo is found in the same UNESCO World Heritage area as the cathedral and the palace, and is home to various monuments. Barrio Santa Cruz is the oldest district and previous Jewish quarter of Seville. Although it’s a tourist hotspot, the area is full of character and worth exploring. Some of the city’s oldest churches and squares are found amid the maze of lanes. One of the city’s most hailed olive oil shops, Extraverde
, is found here – pick up a bottle or two as a souvenir.
For lunch, stop off at Modesto
in Cano y Cueto. Famous for its fried fish and tapas, this is where the locals go for a bite to eat and beer at lunchtime.
14.30 – park and tram
Not far away from Barrio Santa Cruz, you’ll come across Jardines de Murillo, a tranquil walled park covering 30,000 square feet. Having a look around with a cold drink is the ideal way to let your lunch go down. It feels a little tropical in places, with large palm trees and botanical gardens: there’s plenty of shade to enjoy a short siesta if the heat is too intense.
Since you’ve done plenty of walking for the day, find the tram stop in the nearby Prado de San Sebastián and take it to its final stop at Plaza Nueva. It’s an interesting way to travel like the locals do and take in the picturesque surroundings.
17.00 – shopping, tapas and sherry
Plaza Nueva is well known for its shopping opportunities and classy boutiques, while the vast tiled square itself has been an important centre for centuries. Shops typically open again at around 5pm following the afternoon siesta. The high-end leather goods store Loewe
and a boutique Nespresso store are just two of many shops in and around Plaza Nueva.
Following a busy day, you’ll definitely deserve to join in with the Spanish tradition of some tapas and sherry. Head over to Cervecería Giralda, a tapas bar housed in a former Moorish bath on Calle Mateos Gago. The marinated cod with mushrooms is especially tasty.
19.00 – Bullfight and dinner
Seville is considered an especially important city for bullfighting, which centres on La Maestranza
on Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, the oldest bullring in Spain that dates back to the 1700s. Whether you agree with bullfighting or not, it’s undeniably a part of Spanish culture and attending a ‘corrida’ will give you a true insight into a local pastime. Make sure you buy tickets in advance – they typically sell out within a few hours of going on sale. Bullfights start at varying times leading up to sunset, so check the starting time on your tickets too.
There are plenty of restaurants near La Maestranza for a bite to eat afterwards, although they do get busy as the crowds pour out of the stadium. Try El Marisco Arenal
for some tasty seafood. If you fancy a nightcap before bedtime, head over to Alameda de Hércules, a well-known strip for nightlife. There are plenty of options for a drink, or live music if you like to stay out late.