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Seville is the capital of Andalucia and the cultural and financial centre of southern Spain. A city of just over 700,000 inhabitants (1.6 million in the metropolitan area, making it Spain's 4th largest city), Seville is Andalucia's top destination, with much to offer the traveler.
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Points of Interest in Seville
Visitors to Seville should consider purchasing a Sevilla Card, designed to aid city exploration and conserve precious travel funds. The card includes free admission to most Seville museums and monuments, unlimited use of public transportation (TUSSAM Buslines, NB: only for Cards with Public Transport), a guided visit of the Real Alcazar of Seville, unlimited use of sightseeing buses, boat rides on the Guadalquivir River and admission to the Isla Mágica Theme Park. The card also allows access to significant discounts in shops, restaurants, shows and leisure centres for adults and children. The Sevilla card is accompanied by a guide and city map. However, please note that Sevilla Card cannot be used for trams and buses.
The Sevilla card comes in three denominations of 1, 2 or 3 days’ duration in blocks of 24 hours from the time of first activation when inserted into the electronic validation terminal of the suppliers associated with the Sevilla Card Programme (be careful not to activate too soon).
Prices: 1 day €50 (with transport €53), 2 days €60 (with transport €66), 3 days €65 (with transport €72). The 2 and 3 day options attract a discount of €3 per card when purchased on the website.
The Sevilla Card can be purchased by the following means: Online ; by telephone +34 91 600 21 21 / 902 088 908; and, once in Seville, at tourism offices, the airport, the train station, travel agencies and through national and international tour operators (check the website for addresses).
A less expensive version, the Sevilla card Cultura is valid only for museums. (1 day €28, 2 days €32, 3 days €36). - 5% if purchased online.
If you are simply interested in using the local buses , you can get either pay the €1.40 single fare price or you can purchase a bonobus, a 10 trip travel card. Bonobuses are found at most kiosks and tabacarias (tobacco shops). Regular times are kept until around 11:30PM, after which night buses run, with different routes, on the hour until 2AM.
- Cathedral of Seville (Catedral de Sevilla), Avenida de la Constitución, ☎ +34 902 09 96 92, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jul-Aug M 09:30-14:30, Tu-Sa 09:30-14:00, Su 14:30-18:00; Sep-Jun M 11:00-15:30, Tu-Sa 11:00-17:00, Su 14:30-18:00. Once judged the third largest church in the world after Saint Peter's in Rome and Saint Paul's in London, this is now arguably the largest church in the world when compared using the measurement of volume. The fifteenth-century cathedral occupies the site of the former great mosque built in the late twelfth century. The central nave rises to an awesome 37m over a total area of 11,520m². The cathedral is the final resting place of the remains of Christopher Columbus. €8 (adults), €4 (seniors/youth under 25), free (residents).
- La Giralda. A large and beautiful minaret tower, originally intended for the chief mosque, but now is the magnificent bell tower of the cathedral and a symbol of Seville. Climb the 34 ramps for a great view of the city. Admission included with entry for cathedral.
- Real Alcázar, Plaza del Triunfo (entrance), ☎ +34 954 50 23 24. Apr-Sep daily 09:30-19:00, Oct-Mar daily 09:30-17:00. A beautiful palace in Mudéjar (Moorish) style, built in the XIV Century by Pedro I the Cruel. With its myriad rooms, extravagant architecture, lavish gardens with many courtyards, ponds and secrets to be explored, it is a fascinating place to visit. Be sure to check out the room where Christopher Columbus's journey to the Americas were planned. You can see his coat of arms embroidered on the wall along with many other royals. In the heat of summer it offers a cool retreat from the suns glare and can quite easily keep you occupied for a few centuries, if not all of your life. During high season it is advisable to make reservations in advance; tickets can be purchased online. €9.50 (adults), €2 (seniors/students 17-25), free (disabled/residents/children under 16).
- Royal Apartments (Palacio Real Alto). Tours daily every half-hour from 10:00-13:30. Still used by the royal family on official visits and open to tours when not in use. €4.50.
- The Jewish Quarter (Barrio Santa Cruz) is located around the Cathedral. It is filled with small winding streets and is generally regarded as the most charming part of the city, but it is also fairly touristy.
- Hospital de los Venerables (Diego Velázquez Research Centre), Plaza de los Venerables 8 (in the Barrio Santa Cruz), ☎ +34 95 456 26 96, fax: +34 95 456 45 95, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 10:00-14:00, 16:00-20:00. A 17th century retirement home and hospital for aged and sickly retired priests, recently restored by the Fundación to preserve an example of Andalusian architecture at its very best. Includes a resplendent Baroque chapel which is highly recommended, as well as the Santa Rufina painted by Diego Velázquez. €4.75 with audio guide.
- Torre de Oro (The Golden Tower), Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, ☎ +34 954 22 24 19. M-F 09:30-18:45, Sa Su 10:30-18:45; holidays closed. A thirteenth-century tower, the top of which is rumored to have once been covered in gold. It now houses the local maritime museum. €3 (adults), €1.50 (seniors/students/children 6-14), free (children under 6); €2 for audioguide.
- Parque María Luisa (near the Plaza de España). Built for the 1929 Iber-Americano World's Fair and now landscaped with attractive monuments and museums.
- Plaza de España. The site of the Spanish pavilion from the 1929 exhibition. In more recent years it was used in the filming of the new Star Wars episodes. It is somewhat in need of repair. Visit it early in the morning on a weekday to see a long line of immigrants outside one of the government offices it now houses, or visit it right before it closes (officially at 22:00 but likely half an hour later) to see it completely empty and rather eerie..
- Antigua Fábrica de Tabacos (Universidad de Sevilla), Calle San Fernando, 4, ☎ +34 954 55 10 00. During term time only: M-F 10:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-14:00. The main building of the University of Seville was once the Tobacco Factory of Seville, and was constructed between 1728 and 1771 by Sebastián Van der Bocht. Over the main entrance, the triangular façade ends in a statue of La Fama (fame). The tobacco factory was then the largest industrial building in Spain. A monopoly assured high income, which is reflected in the factory's architecture and surrounding Gardens. Its chapel and prison complement the main building. In the interior you find impressive stairways, fountains and Patios. It was the setting for the first act of Bizet's opera Carmen. In 1953 the factory was converted into the main building of Seville University. Just behind the tobacco factory, the María Luisa Park borders the historic center of Seville to the south. Free.
- Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija (Palace of the Countess of Lebrija), Calle Cuna, 8, ☎ +34 954 22 78 02, fax: +34 954 50 10 29. M-F 10:30-19:30 (Jul/Aug 09:00-15:00), Sa 10:00-19:00 (Jul/Aug 10:00-14:00), Su 10:00-14:00 (Jul-Aug closed). The palace is considered the 'best paved house-palace in Europe' owing to its collection of Roman mosaics, which paved practically the whole of the ground floor. There is also a collection of well parapets, vases, amphora, columns and sculptures of incalculable worth. On the upper floor you can visit the residences previously inhabited by the Countess and her descendants, up to only a few years ago; extremely well-preserved, they are today filled with ornaments and furniture from all over the world, priceless artwork by Van Dyke, Bruegel, Alonso Cano, among others, as well as collections of porcelain and glass. €5 (ground floor only), €8 (both floors).
- Casa de Pilatos, Plaza de Pilatos, 1, ☎ +34 954 22 52 98, fax: +34 954 21 90 12, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nov-Mar daily 09:00-18:00, Apr-Oct daily 09:00-19:00. A sixteenth century palace and generally thought to be one of the best in the city. €8; free on Tuesdays after 13:00.
- Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace), Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. Located in the historical section of the city and is home to various clergy and the Archbishop. On the outside you only can catch a glimpse of the patio but on the inside there are important works of art. Free.
- Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies), Avenida de la Constitución, 3, ☎ +34 954 50 05 28. 16 Sep – 15 Jun: M-F 08:00-15:00; 16 Jun – 15 Sep: M-F 08:00-14:30. This Renaissance building houses extensive archives relating to the Spanish conquest of the Americas, and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Included in the collection are the diaries of Columbus. The archive hosts rotating special exhibits. Free.
- Metropol Parasol, Plaza de la Encarnación (bus 27/32, metro T1), ☎ +34 606 63 52 14. Su-Th 10:30-24:00, F Sa 10:30-01:00. A enormous wooden structure designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, inspired by the Cathedral of Seville and in the form of giant mushrooms. Known to locals as 'las setas' (the mushrooms), the structure covers the Central Market and the Antiquarium; the top level contains a restaurant and provides some of the best views of Seville. €3 (includes drink voucher for restaurant on top), free (children under 12/disabled/Seville residents).
Museums and Galleries
- Museo de Bellas Artes, Plaza del Museo, 9, ☎ +34 955 542 942, fax: +34 955 542 148, e-mail: email@example.com. 16 Sep – 31 May: T-Sa 10:00-20:30, Su and holidays 10:00-17:00; 1 Jun – 15 Sep: T-Sa 09:00-15:30, Su and holidays 10:00-17:00. Considered by some as the second most important fine arts museum in Spain after the Prado in Madrid. The museum building is a former mercy convent renewed in the 17th century and the fifteen exhibition rooms show a comprehensive picture of Sevillian art from the Gothic period to the early trends of the 20th century. The square just outside hosts an open-air art market on Sundays until around 13:30. Plenty of original paintings on local topics, although some not so interesting bits as well! €1.50; free for EU citizens.
- Museo de Carruajes, Plaza de Cuba, 10, ☎ +34 954 27 26 04, fax: +34 954 27 29 95, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1 Sep – 15 Jun: M-Th 09:00-14:00 17:00-19:30, F 09:00-14:00; 16 Jun – 31 Aug: M-F 09:00-14:00. A small museum with carriages of various kinds. €3.60 (adults), €2.60 (children/students/seniors), free (EU citizens); free admission on Tuesdays.
- Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla (Seville Archeology Museum), Plaza de América, ☎ +34 955 12 06 32, fax: +34 955 12 05 89, e-mail: email@example.com. 16 Sep – 31 May: Tu-Sa 10:00-20:30, Su and holidays 10:00-17:00; 1 Jun – 15 Sep: Tu-Sa 09:00-15:30, Su and holidays 10:00-17:00. It has one of the best collection of Roman-era artifacts in Spain, brought from nearby Italica. €1.50; free for EU citizens.
- Museo Antiquarium, Plaza de la Encarnación (underground level of the Metropol Parasol), ☎ +34 955 471 581. Daily 11:00-14:00, 15:00-20:00. A museum with excavated Roman and Moorish remains, discovered during construction of the Metropol Parasol. €2.
The city is situated on the banks of the smooth, slow Guadalquivir River, which divides the city into two halves. The Guadalquivir (known as Betis by the Romans and as Betik Wahd-Al-Khabir by the Arabs) has had a major impact in the history of the city. The location of Seville is roughly coincident with the point where the Guadalquivir stops being useful for navigation. It is at this point that the cereal producing region of the Guadalquivir Valley starts, and Seville has acted as a seaport for commerce of agricultural goods produced further west. Intense trade existed in the area from Roman times, continued under Muslim rule, and exploded as Seville monopolized the new trade with the Americas. As the monopoly was broken and Cádiz largely took Seville's place, the city entered a period of relative decline.
In the 19th century Seville gained a reputation for its architecture and culture and was a stop along the Romantic "Grand Tour" of Europe. Seville has built on its tourism industry since, playing host to the International Exposition in 1992, which spurred the construction of a new airport, a new train station, a bullet train link to Madrid, new bridges and improvements to the main boulevards. Tourist facilities are top-notch and the city is buzzing with festivals, color and a thriving nightlife scene.
- Semana Santa. The sombre Easter week processions feature thousands of people and go on all week, a spectacular display of conspicuous Catholicism.
- Feria de Abril. A release after the somberness of Semana Santa. To say this is a huge party is an understatement. Most if not all of Seville takes a weeks holiday and they plan for the Fair months in advance. The fair is close to the river and covers a huge area and contains hundreds of private and public casetas which are laid out to form streets. Casetas are small marquees and you can only get into the private ones if invited. The public ones are large but just as much fun. The day is naturally split in two and between noon and 8PM the streets of the fair throng with horses as riders and carriages strut their stuff dressed in traditional Spanish robes. After 20:00 the streets are cleared and "Calle del Inferno" comes to life. This must be one of the best funfairs in Europe – it takes weeks to assemble and pack up. Experience traditional dress, flamenco dancing, guitars, fino, great tapas and participants who dance with gusto and eat and drink the day and night away.
- Football (Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium), Calle Sevilla Fútbol Club (next to Plaza Nervion), ☎ +34 902 51 00 11. Sevilla has two football teams, Sevilla FC and Real Betis. At the Sevilla FC stadium you can regularly catch the last 5 minutes of a game for free.
- Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza (Bull ring), Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 12, ☎ +34 954 22 45 77. Nov-Apr 09:30-19:00, May and Oct 09:30-20:00, Jun-Sep 09:30-23:00; on bull fighting days 09:30-15:00. Bullfighting is not a sport for all; those who are either squeamish or have convictions on animal welfare should stay clear, as the event usually concludes with the killing of the bull. Failing that, a visit to the arena and the attached museum of bull-fighting is well worth the time. While it is not the largest, it is considered the most attractive bull arena in Spain due to its history. €7 (adults), €4 (seniors/students), €3 (children 7-11), free (children under 6); free on Mon 15:00-19:00.
- Climb to the top of the Cerro de Carambolo for a view of the whole city. The hill is outside of the town but can be reached on the M-170, M-171, and M-173 from the Plaza de Armas bus station.
Seville, like most Andalusian destinations, is known for its tapas. "Tapa", while it is associated with certain dishes, is actually a size and many restaurants or bars will offer a tapa, ½ ración (half serving, although sometimes enough to make a meal) and ración (serving) of the same dish. There are many great tapas places around the foot of the cathedral in the center of town. You can't go wrong, simply order one of everything to find your favorite! Some typical tapas include tortilla española (potato omelet), pulpo gallego (Galician octopus), aceitunas (olives), patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), and queso manchego (sheep's milk cheese from the nearby La Mancha region). Also be sure to try the jamón (ham), which you often see hanging above the bar. Be aware that most of the restaurants kitchens do not open before 20:30 in the evening. Though usually some easy to prepare meals are available before that time.
A must visit is the oldest tavern El Rinconcillo, where you should definitely have some Espinacas con Garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas) and Salmorejo, while watching the witty bartenders running around and writing your bill on the bar in front of you with, get this, chalk. In Taberna Coloniales you can enjoy delicious solomillo (sirloin steak) which is prepared in various ways for every taste. Some bars near the river, such as Pedalquivir and El Faro de Triana, offer a nice view but aren't as good of a deal in terms of the quality of the food. Another would be El Patio San Eloy (San Eloy 9, Sevilla) where the tapas can be a little hit and miss, but where the cool staggered seating steps, fabulous décor and fruity sangria; provide a wonderful respite from the heat of the day. A good deal can more easily be had at less characteristic places such as Sloppy Joe's Pizza Inn and Papasá. For the most typical and interesting meal, stop at one of the many bars, especially one which doesn't offer English menus (the prices are likely to be lower).
If you're vegetarian, make sure you specify that you eat no fish or tuna as vegetarian only implies no flesh here. A place with a very good selection of vegetarian and vegan foods is Habanita, a quiet open air restaurant in the center of the city.
If you want good tapas, head to La Manzanilla, the food is cheap and delicious. It is located off of Calle de Alphonse.
Another amazing place for tapas is the Taberna Coloniales located in Plaza Cristo de Burgos 19. The place is cozy and has only a few tables. Go there early to put your name on the board to get a table, then head inside for a couple of beers. Portions are large and food is very very good. Nice homemade desserts, too.
- Bodeguita Romero, Calle Harinas, 10, ☎ +34 954 229 556. T-F 09:00-17:00, 20:00-24:00; Sa 12:00-17:00, 20:00-24:00; Su 12:00-17:00. A classic neighbourhood bodega, very popular with locals and serving excellent tapas.
- Trees on the street. Do not eat the oranges from the trees on the street if you are visiting off season. They are extremely sour and have been sprayed to stop the birds from eating them.
If you would like to purchase your own food, head down to one of the markets close to the center of the city, such as in Plaza Encarnación. El Corte Inglés is a larger more popular department store that you can go to for almost every need.
- M.A.S and Dia. These are two very popular grocery stores and have everything you need for much less money than El Corte Ingles. Additionally, Dia has its own discount brand on a lot of items. Though they are closed on Sundays (like most everything else in Sevilla) they are located throughout the city and are very easily accessible.
- Levies, Calle San José, 15, ☎ +34 954 225 096. L-J de 20:00 a 2:00 / V-D de 20:00 a 3:00. Levies is a set of three restaurants in one small plaza, sharing table space and menus. The original Levies is a tapas restaurant with inexpensive jarras of sangria. The Taberna has a different menu and offers tapas as well as more mexican-inspired dishes such as burritos and nachos. The third Levies is their wine and drinks bar.
- Rodilla. Rodilla is a great place to get lunch, they serve up sandwiches in the form of tapas. They have a large selection of sandwiches, fresh squeezed oj, and great cafe con leche. There are two locations in Seville, one close to the cathedral and the one I prefer is conveniently located just outside of the Barrio Santa Cruz area. Rodilla is inexpensive, and can also be a great option if you a vegetarian. $.
The nightlife of Seville is fantastic; no other European city has so many bars per inhabitant than Seville. In summer go to Isla Cartuja and find out why the Spanish night doesn't stop before 7AM. There you can find plenty of open-air discothèques. Other nightlife spots include Calle Betis in Triana, La Alamede de Hércules, and Plaza Alfalfa.
- There are quite a few teterias in Triana across the river offering teas, shakes and middle eastern pastries in a cozy cushion filled environment.
- Across from the cathedral sits a coffee shop called Cafe de Indias where you can buy delicious chocolate shakes and coffees. Down the street is a patisserie shop selling chocolate covered palmeras, a wonderful afternoon treat after a long day touring the sites. There are many coffee shops and patisserie shops in Seville, particularly in Calle Asunción in Los Remedios. Café de Indias, Starbucks and other franchises have descended lately on the city and are a good option in an emergency, but you can get a decent coffee in most local bars. For an up-market classic, visit La Campana, at the end of calle Sierpes.
- Don't miss Cervecería La Internacional, one of the best beer shops in Spain. More than 250 types of beer, wonderful tapas and good connections. It's located in Calle Barcelona, just 1 minute away from Plaza Nueva, near the Town Hall. However, do not get confused, it is international, meaning, not typically Sevillano.
- Sangría (an alcoholic fruit punch) is often sought by tourists, but Tinto de Verano (a mix of red wine and lemon or orange soda) is more authentic, has less alcohol, and is often cheaper.
- Cruzcampo, the local beer, is worth trying. Compared to other Spaniards, Sevillanos consume more beer and less wine.
- The tap water in Seville is good.
- Agua de Sevilla is sometimes thought of as a popular drink in Seville, but you will never see a person from Seville drinking it, despite all the tourists drinking it as if it were something popular.
Seville is home to many beautiful artifacts, some of the more popularly known are plates and Spanish tiles. Triana offers many ceramic factories where one can buy various tiles from authentic craftsmen. There are stores that custom design plates and tiles near the cathedral, especially in Calle Sierpes, but across the river in Triana are other worthwhile pottery stores. Depending on the time of year, but especially leading up to Christmas, there are a number of artisan fairs throughout the city.
- Wander through an open-air market. Vendors in many parts of the city sell on the streets, but on Sunday, when everything else is closed, a few spots really fill up. One market is located behind the Alcampo shopping center at Ronda del Tamarguillo on Avenida de la Paz (Bus lines 30, 36 from Prado de San Sebastian), but it is easily outdone by a large flea market, selling clothes, furniture, trash, books, shoes, CDs, food, tools, and probably everything else just northwest of Triana near Avenida Carlos III (off of the left-hand side of most tourist maps).
Seville offers a wide variety of retail clothing, although generally at high prices. The main shopping district is home to all the big international and Spanish clothing lines (such as Zara who has at least 4 separate stores in Seville). The winding streets and alleyways of the Santa Cruz area (around the Cathedral) do a roaring trade in Spanish- and Andalusian-themed T-shirts and inexpensive flamenco dresses for little girls. The Corte Ingles (translated literally to "The English Cut") is a large chain of department stores located throughout Spain selling clothes in the "American style".
- Toro de Fuego, Hernando Colon, 38 local 3, 954 215 176. An above-average and tasteful T-shirt boutique, offering a large number of variations on the popular "bull of fire" theme. Printing is high quality, the fabric is good quality and proprietor María Gutiérrez is friendly and helpful. T-shirts average €16 for all sizes.
- Bershka, Popular with the younger generation, Bershka has significant presence due to their clothing line with a distinct urban, or street culture feel.
- Blanco is particularly popular with young women in Spain and Europe. The trendy and free designs are colorful, comfortable and affordable.
- El Corte Inglés, The main building in Plaza del Duque has several floors of clothing. The same for the Nervión Plaza location outside the historic center.
- Massimo Dutti, Men's and women's fashion chain caters to a more modern feel of clothing. The designs are formal but quite trendy and utilize excellent fabrics with urban and cosmopolitan details.
- Stradivarius, Known for its original, constantly changing fashion, the designs follow the latest trends in clothing and accessories.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Seville on Wikivoyage.