Best 6 Top Sights to See in Seville
1. Plaza de España
You might recognise the Plaza de España from movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars or The Dictator because they all featured this impressive square. My favourite sight in Seville was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair, the building itself now houses a handful of government offices. To reach the huge semi-circular pavilion you must first cross over one of the four bridges spanning a small moat, each of which represents an ancient kingdom of Spain. You’ll then find numerous tiled alcoves, one for each Spanish province. Rowing boats are available for hire if you want a different perspective of this spectacular place.
2. Parque de María Luisa
Stretching out from the Plaza de España this park has lush planted gardens, grand boulevards lined by huge trees, shaded pathways to get lost on and green expanses perfect for a picnic. Keep an eye out for colourful birds flying above, including bright green parrots. Dotted throughout the park are pavilions, fountains, ponds and statues, most of which were made for the 1928 Ibero-American Exposition. The most impressive of these, apart from the Plaza de España, are by the Plaza de América where two pavilions have been converted into museums. The Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Arts & Traditions are both free to EU citizens or 1.50€ to others. Here you can also feed the birds, if you want to get covered in pigeons, I didn’t fancy giving this one a try! I did hire a 4-wheeled bike which fits up to 4 people, a fun way to explore the park if short on time. A word of warning to keep an eye on your belongings, as I very nearly had my handbag stolen whilst sunbathing.
3. Real Alcázar
The Alcázar is the oldest royal residence in Europe still in use today. The palace was originally a Moorish fort, and now contains a mixture of Islamic and Christian architectural styles. The walls, ceiling and floors are all covered in rich, detailed decorations, intricate wood panels lie next to Arabic stone work, while beautiful archways loom above lavish tiles. Then there are the stunning gardens, featuring tall palm trees, green mazes, noisy peacocks, orange trees, lemon trees and trees that grow both oranges and lemons?! Strange! This place is 8.50€ well-spent, and you could easily spend a few hours getting lost here.
4. Seville Cathedral & Giralda Tower
No trip to Seville would be complete without at least a look at the outside of its gothic cathedral. The third-largest church in the world was supposedly built so big so that “those who see it built will think we were mad.” It is on the site of an ancient Muslim mosque, some of which was incorporated into the cathedral, including the minaret which became the bell tower Giralda. If you fancy taking a walk to the top of the tower for a panoramic view of the city you’ll notice there are no steps, but a ramp so originally a horse could be ridden to the top for the Islamic call to prayer. Have a look at Christopher Columbus’ tomb before making sure you leave the cathedral through the ‘Patio de los Naranjos’, a pretty courtyard full of orange trees. If you’re not keen on the 8€ entrance fee an evening stroll in the area would be worthwhile to see this impressive building lit-up.
5. Torre del Oro
Built right on the banks on the Guadalquivir, this tower originally had an identical twin on the opposite side with a chain between the two to block the river from enemy ships. Torre del Oro literally means Tower of Gold, however there is debate as to whether this is due to the fact it looked golden or because it stored huge amounts of gold from the New World. Now it serves as a naval museum but my recommendation is to take the spiral staircase to the viewing platform. I personally preferred this to see the city from, as even though it’s smaller than the cathedral, from here you can actually see the cathedral. Monday is free entrance, 3€ the rest of the week.
6. Parasol Metropol
A controversial project, ‘Las Setas’ (the mushrooms), as it is popularly called, was only completed in 2011 and claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. This very modern-looking building is hidden from view, until you reach the square it sits in, and comes as quite a shock in comparison to the rest of traditional Seville. Underneath are the remains of a Roman building conserved in a museum, the ground level holds a market, while above is a large rather boring shaded square. The best bit is for less than 2€ to take the lift up to the top of Las Setas where a walkway gives great views of the city. Buy a drink in the bar, watch the sunset and the city light up.
Do you agree with my Seville top 6 choices? What would you add?