The bewitching city of Seville is one of the jewels in Andalusia’s glittering crown. With its labyrinth of orange-scented squares linked with geranium-filled streets, rich history and a vibrant tapas scene, it is hard not to be captivated.
But how should you plan your Seville itinerary if your time is limited? Some tough choices will be needed.
This is where I can help you.
Based on my experiences as a two-time visitor to this city, I have put together a three-day Seville itinerary to help you make the most of your time there. Spending 3 days in Seville will allow you to explore its main sightseeing districts as well as the city’s historical and cultural legacy.
You will be busy, but in a good way.
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Do you have just one day in Seville? If so, take a look at my 1-Day Seville itinerary.
A Short History of Seville
Before we get started, let’s learn a little bit about the city’s history to make more sense of what you are going to see during your 3-day Seville itinerary.
Although Seville was first settled by Iberian tribes as early as the first millennium BC, it prospered under the Romans from the 2nd Century BC The Vandals briefly held the town in the early 5th Century AD before it was passed to Visigoth rule in 461.
In 711, Seville fell to the Moors. Ixvillia, as it was then called, flourished and became a leading cultural and commercial centre, particularly under the Almohads in the 12th Century.
The Muslim glory days ended in 1248 with the reconquest of Seville by the Spanish Christians under Ferdinand III.
At the turn of the 15th Century, the Spanish discovery of the Americas brought new prosperity to Seville. It became the centre of the exploration and exploitation of America, regulating commerce between Spain and the New World.
Sightseeing Districts of Seville
At first sight, Seville appears to be a sprawling city. But on closer examination, you’ll see that its main sightseeing districts are close to each other.
This means that the city can be easily explored on foot.
If you find orientation is challenging, breaking the city down into the main sightseeing districts makes it much more manageable.
SANTA CRUZ – This maze of plazas and cobblestone streets is home to some of Seville’s best-known sights, including the Cathedral and Real Alcázar.
LA MACARENA – North of Santa Cruz, this arty, more offbeat corner of the city has the best flea market in town, excellent historic churches and the iconic Metropol Parasol (Las Setas)
EL ARENAL – Between Santa Cruz and the river, this district is the location of the Torre del Oro and Museo de Bellas Artes
PARQUE MARIA LUISA – Seville’s green lung and adjacent to the much-photographed Plaza de España
TRIANA – On the opposite side of the mighty Rio Guadalquivir, trendy Triana has a clutch of riverside bars and is home to historic potteries
Best Things to Do in Seville in 3 Days
3-Day Seville Itinerary
Seville Itinerary Overview
This 3-day Seville itinerary will allow you to cover the best things to see in the city in a relatively short space of time. You will be busy and should reckon on at least six hours a day of sightseeing, excluding evening strolls, and early starts.
Wear your most comfortable shoes!
Setting out early is essential, not only to make the most of your visit to Seville but also to give you a fighting chance of avoiding the worst of the crowds at a few of the busier spots.
If you want to discover the best things to see in Seville at a more leisurely pace, take a look at my suggestions for an alternative 2-day Seville itinerary later in this article.
Seville Itinerary: Map
To help you plan your visit and to navigate the city, I’ve included a map of the places included in this Seville itinerary.
This map is colour coded to correspond with the days in this itinerary:
- Day 1 – red star
- Day 2 – yellow star
- Day 3 – purple star
DAY 1 IN SEVILLE: ROYAL ALCÁZAR, PARQUE MARIA LUISA & PLAZA DE ESPANA
Your first day in Seville begins with historic immersion at the fabulous Royal Alcázar. In the afternoon you’ll walk the short distance south to take a look at the old tobacco factory before taking well-deserved time out at Parque Maria Luisa and Plaza de España.
It may make sense to visit the Royal Alcázar and Seville Cathedral on the same day but I don’t recommend this.
These are two relatively intense visits – there’s a lot to see and take in – and both should be visited as soon as they open their doors to avoid the tour groups that descend from late morning.
Real Alcázar of Seville
The UNESCO World Heritage site the Real Alcázar of Seville is one of the city’s highlights.
Although it is very Moorish in appearance, it was built 100 years after the reconquest as a royal palace for Pedro I, or Pedro the Cruel as he was also known.
Palace life centred around the exquisite Patio de las Doncellas, which features delicately carved stucco, azulejos (tiles) and wooden doors.
The nearby Salon de Embajadores is famous for its cedar wood ceiling dome of red, green and gold cells, its horseshoe arcades and Mudéjar tiles.
The rambling and eclectic gardens of the Royal Alcázar feature tinkling fountains, still ponds, Renaissance arches and orange and palm trees a-plenty. There’s even an English garden.
READ THIS NEXT: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting the Real Alcázar of Seville
Hotel Alfonso XIII
Just south of the Royal Alcázar is the swankiest hotel in town.
Built to house important guests attending the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, Hotel Alfonso XIII features an elegant neo-Baroque façade. Its grand collonaded interior patio is open to non-guests for the price of a drink.
Universidad (Real Fábrica de Tabacos)
The former Real Fábrica de Tabacos (Tobacco Factory) is just behind Hotel Alfonso XIII.
Once upon a time, three-quarters of Europe’s cigars were manufactured here, rolled by over 3,000 cigarreras. These female cigar makers were the inspiration behind Mérimee’s novella Carmen and the Bizet opera of the same name.
This massive complex is now part of the university and is the largest building in Spain after El Escorial in Madrid.
Plaza de España
Plaza de España is fabulously flamboyant and a major Seville landmark.
Also built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, this semi-circular plaza is fronted by a collonaded building with 48 alcoves decorated with vibrant tiles. Each of these alcoves represents a Spanish province and a moment in history.
A canal, crossed by a series of tiled footbridges, follows the curve of this building. In the centre of this vast plaza is a spectacular fountain designed by Vicente Traver.
It is Instagram hell.
You may recognise Plaza de España from its role in films that include Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and The Dictator (2012).
Parque Maria Luisa
Adjacent to Plaza de España is Parque Maria Luisa, Seville’s green lung.
This leafy retreat from the busy city features gushing fountains, Islamic-style pools, tree-shaded avenues and pavilions and sunbathing birds. Like Plaza de España, its buildings are a mixture of 1920s Art Deco and neo-Mudéjar.
Catch a Flamenco Show
Few things encapsulate the soul of Andalusia than flamenco. The beating rhythms, the yearning songs, the expressive guitar playing: the passion is almost palpable.
When you are visiting this region of Spain you must go to a flamenco show. I went to one in Granada and was blown away by it.
Forget the image of sanitized kitsch flamenco used to promote Spain during the Franco era, all frills and castanets. This is the real deal.
Seville is one of the best places in Spain to catch a flamenco performance. There are countless tablaos (flamenco venues) in the city, but here are two that are highly rated by other travellers.
Casa de la Memoria flamenco show
This one-hour performance is held in an intimate theatre that dates back to the 15th Century.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKET
La Cantaora Flamenco Show with dinner
If you fancy combining a flamenco performance with food and drinks, book a ticket for a show at La Cantaora, which focuses on the purity and roots of gipsy flamenco. Food and drink options range from a glass of wine to a full meal.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKET
DAY 2 IN SEVILLE: CATHEDRAL, CASA DE PILATOS & LA MACARENA DISTRICT
There are a lot of things to see on the second of our 3-Day Seville itinerary.
It starts with the superlative-busting Seville Cathedral before walking north to explore the unmissable Casa de Pilatos and the attractions of La Macarena.
Seville Cathedral and La Giralda
Together with Barcelona’s Sagrada Família, Seville Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in Spain.
Built over the remains of a former mosque, it was a bold statement of the power of the Catholic Kings. This Gothic cathedral is the third-largest church in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Seville Cathedral claims to be the last resting place of Christopher Columbus and is also home to Spain’s third most important collection of artworks after the Prado in Madrid and the nearby Museo de Bellas Artes.
Come armed with a decent guidebook, buy an audio guide at the entrance or book a guided tour of the Cathedral.
Your ticket for Seville Cathedral includes admission to La Giralda, its bell tower. The views from here are nothing short of sensational.
This UNESCO-listed building attracts visitors in their droves. If you won’t want to risk getting stuck in an epic queue, do yourself a massive favour and buy your ticket in advance.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR SKIP-THE-LINE TICKET
READ THIS NEXT: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting Seville Cathedral
Casa de Pilatos
Built for Don Fadrique, the first Marquess of Tarifa, this beautiful palace is a blend of Spanish Mudéjar and Renaissance architecture. It is decorated with superb azulejos throughout.
But how did Casa de Pilatos (Pilate’s House) get its name?
In 1518, Don Fadrique left for a grand tour of Europe and the Holy Land. He named his new home in Seville Casa de Pilatos because the Marquess discovered that it was the same distance from Cruz del Campo as Pontius Pilate’s house was from Calvary.
Casa de Pilatos’s main patio was a filming location for David Lean’s 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
Explore La Macarena
Just north of Seville’s Old Town is the offbeat, arty district of La Macarena.
Its most famous inhabitant is the 17th Century statue of the Virgen de la Esperaza Macarena, housed in the Basilica de la Macarena. During Holy Week each year, this weeping Madonna is paraded through the streets of Seville to a rapturous welcome.
Whilst this district has a clutch of other fine churches, many of these are open for Mass only.
On Calle Gerona is one of Seville’s institutions, El Riconcillo. Founded in 1670, this is thought to be the city’s oldest bar.
La Macarena is also home to a 15th Century Mudéjar Palace, Palacio de las Duenas, which is the official residence of the Dukes of Alba.
El Jeuves flea market
Aim to visit La Macarena on Thursday for El Jeuves, Seville’s oldest market.
Trash or treasures? You decide.
El Jeuves takes place on Calle de la Feria.
Iglesia San Luis de los Franceses
Skip this Baroque masterpiece at your peril.
Iglesia San Luis de los Franceses was built for the Jesuits between 1699 and 1731 by the architect Leonardo de Figuero. Following the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain in 1835, the building was eventually deconsecrated.
It is an extraordinary circular space, more a temple than a church. Packed with symbolism, its magnificently decorated and carved main altar shimmers in the sunlight.
For me, the star of this show was the central dome and its richly painted murals. But these are not just pretty paintings to crane your neck towards. They were intended to educate trainee Jesuit monks and to defend the religious order against growing criticisms.
Don’t leave before visiting the Domestic Chapel and Crypt.
The Metropol Parasol, known locally as Las Setas (The Mushrooms), is a newer addition to Seville’s landscape. This Gaudí-esque creation, constructed from 3,500 pieces of Finnish pine, is the largest wooden structure in the world.
One of the most popular things to do in Seville is to take the lift to the serpentine pathway across the top of the structure. I say manage your expectations.
Although it’s arguably worth the price of the ticket to have a close-up view of the structure itself, the views of Seville are nothing special.
Beneath Las Setas is a food market and The Antiquarium that houses the Roman, Visigoth and Islamic remains unearthed during its construction.
DAY 3 IN SEVILLE: ALONG THE RIVER TO TRIANA & MUSEO DE BELLAS ARTES
Your final day in Seville is a little more relaxed.
After stopping at a former home for elderly priests, you will walk south along the riverfront. You will pass the city’s bullring and the historic Torre del Oro, before crossing the river to explore Triana. The day ends with cultural immersion at the Museo de Bellas Artes.
Hospital de los Venerables
Located in the heart of Barrio de Santa Cruz, this former home for priests put out to pasture is built around a central, sunken patio with an upstairs gallery. But the highlight of the Hospital de los Venerables is its Baroque, barrel-vaulted chapel that features frescoes by Juan de Valdés Leal and Pedro Roldán.
The building is now a cultural centre and has a permanent collection of artworks by Velázquez and Murillo amongst others. Its super friendly staff will be very happy to give you more information.
Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza
Bullfighting is one of the things that Spain is famous for.
Whatever you think about bullfighting, Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is one of the country’s finest bullrings. Built between 1761 and 1881, this massive arena can accommodate a staggering 12,500 spectators.
You don’t need to attend a bullfight to take a peek inside. Guided tours start from its main entrance on Paseo de Colon which flanks the Guadalquivir River.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TOUR
Torre del Oro
From Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, it is a five-minute walk along the riverfront to the twelve-sided Torre del Oro.
A vestige of Seville’s Moorish past, the 13th Century Tower of Gold formed part of the city’s defences. It is thought that it takes its name from the gilded azulejos that once clad its walls.
Torre del Oro now houses the Museo Marítimo and its collection of maps and antiques.
Walk in Triana
Triana feels a world away from the more visited districts of Seville across the river.
Named after the Roman emperor Trajan, this was once the city’s Romani quarter and spawned great bullfighters and flamenco artists. It is most famous for tiles and ceramics and there are still plenty of active workshops.
Cross the river at Puenta de San Telmo and walk northwest through its narrow streets before crossing back via Puenta de Triana.
Museo de Bellas Artes
Your three days in Seville finishes with a visit to one of its top cultural attractions: Museo de Bellas Artes.
Housed in a beautiful former convent, its collection of Spanish art and sculpture ranks second only to the Prado in Madrid. Once inside, signs lead you on a chronological tour from the Middle Ages through to the 20th century.
As you might expect, works are mainly by Spanish artists, including Murillo, El Greco, Pedro Millán, Velázquez and Francisco Zurbarán. But there are also works from foreign artists such as Jan Brueghel l’Ancien, Pieter Aertsen and Pierto Torregiano.
A 2-Day Seville Itinerary
What are the best things to see if you have two days in Seville? Or perhaps you are looking for a more relaxed Seville itinerary?
Don’t worry. If your time is limited to two days, or you want to explore its sights at a slower pace, simply follow the first two days of this itinerary.
In my opinion, the best things to do in Seville are included in days one and two of this itinerary.
If you’re pushed for time, Torre del Oro and Triana are not essential. Unless you are an art lover you could – dare I say it? – skip the Museo de Bellas Artes.
On day two, you could omit the flea market (this only operates on Thursdays) and the Hospital de los Venerables on day 3 (although this would be a shame).
But however you tweak your itinerary, don’t omit Seville Cathedral or the Royal Alcázar.
Day Trips from Seville
Seville is more than just a show-stopping destination in its own right. It is also a great base for day trips to other towns and cities. These range from other historic cities to quintessential Andalusian pueblos blancos (white towns).
To reach some of these destinations, particularly the pueblos blancos, a car or organised tour is your best bet. Although these are served by bus, the journey time is too long or the service too infrequent to make them feasible independent day trips from Seville.
But there are other fabulous destinations that you reach from Seville by train or bus. Here are a few suggestions.
JOURNEY TIME BY TRAIN: FROM 45 MINUTES
As Córdoba is an easy journey from Seville, many people visit it as a day trip from Seville. I did so on my first visit.
Córdoba is an awe-inspiring city with a rich history, flower-filled patios and is home to one of the most sensational churches on the planet: The Mezquita.
If possible, stay the night in Córdoba. But if that’s not possible, you can cover the most important some of the essential sights during one day in Córdoba.
JOURNEY TIME BY BUS: 40 MINUTES
With its dense concentration of Mudéjar and Renaissance churches, mansions, plazas and cobbled streets, Carmona is a charming town to visit. There are also fine Roman mosaics to see and a necropolis on the outskirts of the town.
Why not visit both Carmon and Córdoba on an organised excursion from Seville? Click here for further information and to book.
Jerez de la Frontera
JOURNEY TIME BY TRAIN: FROM 50 MINUTES
Sherry is the main reason to visit Jerez. It is the world capital of sherry production and home to some of the greatest bodegas. I did a bodega tour on my first visit to Andalusia which was terrific fun.
Arcos de la Frontera
JOURNEY TIME BY TRAIN & BUS: 2 HOURS (NOT INCLUDING TIME TO CHANGE)
Perched high on a cliff, Arcos de la Frontera is one of Spain’s prettiest pueblos blancos. Its maze-like Moorish quarter winds its way up to a ruined castle and it is home to the magnificent Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asunción.
Whilst the lovely town of Ronda is too far to visit independently as a day trip from Seville, you can visit it along combine with a few of Andalusia’s other lovely white towns on an organised excursion. Click here for further information and to book.
JOURNEY TIME BY TRAIN: FROM 90 MINUTES
Surrounded by the roaring Atlantic Ocean on three sides, Cádiz is one of Europe’s oldest cities. Shaped by the cultures that have occupied it over the millennia, it has an Old Town with a network of narrow alleys and small squares and a lovely waterfront.
Planning Your 3 Days in Seville
When is the best time to visit Seville, Spain?
The high season in Seville is between February and June when temperatures are balmy and the days are long.
I last visited Seville in February. Although it was chilly in the mornings, the thermometer hit the low 20s in the afternoon and the skies were clear and blue.
The city’s orange trees are also groaning with fruit in February, with March being the best time of year for orange blossom.
In the shoulder season (October – January), prices are lower and visitors are fewer. Although temperatures are mild, it can rain.
Avoid visiting Seville between July and September. I was there in August / September and it was brutally hot with temperatures hitting the high 30s. Learn from my mistake.
How long do you need in Seville?
At a bare minimum, you should spend at least two days in Seville, preferably three days. This will allow you to see its major landmarks, graze on tapas to your heart’s content and catch a flamenco show.
If you want to explore Seville at a more relaxed pace or take a few day trips, spend 4 – 7 days there.
How to get to Seville
Seville is well served by train bus and air routes.
Getting to Seville by train
Thanks to Spain’s AVE high-speed trains, arriving in Seville by rail is a breeze.
The cheapest way of booking train tickets in Spain is through Renfe, the national rail operator. However, the Renfe website doesn’t always play nice (on more than one occasion it refused to recognise major destinations for me).
If this happens, book via Omio. There’s a small booking fee attached but it’s a clear booking engine and hassle-free.
Seville’s main Santa Justa station, located northeast of the city centre, serves most of the main routes. There is also a second station – San Bernardo – located southeast of the city centre.
Getting to Seville by bus
When travelling in Spain, using a bus is sometimes quicker than taking a train, and it can pay to examine your options.
Bus leave Seville’s Plaza de Armas Bus Station bound for Huelva and Costa de la Luz in Andalucia, and to other destinations in Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Mérida, Asturias and Galicia. There are also services to Portugal and France
Prado de San Sebastian Bus Station serves long-distance routes to Barcelona, Murcia and Cartagena, as well as other destinations in Andalusia.
Find more information about bus services to Seville here.
How to get to Seville by air
Seville Airport is located six miles east of the city centre airport is served by a handful of airlines, including British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair from the UK.
A local bus connects Seville Airport with the city’s bus station centre. Purchase the €4 ticket on the bus.
In 2022, a taxi from the airport to Seville’s city centre will set you back between €20 and €31 (flat rates)
How to get around Seville
If you stick with this Seville itinerary, you shouldn’t need to use public transport. The city’s main attractions are scattered across a very walkable area.
But if you do need to give your overworked feet a rest, there is no shortage of taxis or you can rent a bike through SEVici, the city’s bike-hire scheme. There is a reported 120 km of cycle lanes in Seville.
There is also the inevitable hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) bus service.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR HOHO TICKET
Where to stay in Seville
If it’s your first time in Seville, base yourself in the Old Town area around the Cathedral and El Arenal district. This lively area is close to the city’s main attractions, has plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets and there are lots of restaurants and bars from which to choose.
Here are my recommendations:
Apartment – Céntriko Apartments, Quintero 40
I stayed in this fabulous and affordable rooftop apartment tucked in a quiet side street a stone’s throw from the cathedral. It was great value for what it offered which included a private terrace with Giralda views and laundry facilities.
Address: 40 C/ Álvarez Quintero
>>> CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES & BOOK
Mid-range hotel – Hotel Simon
This was where I rested my head on my first visit to Seville.
This modest hotel is in an 18th-Century mansion, a 3-minute walk from the cathedral and features a beautiful central courtyard. Some of the rooms are decorated with ornate azelujos.
Address: C/ García de Vinuesa
>>> CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES & BOOK
Luxury hotel – Radisson Collection Hotel, Magdalena Plaza
This new 5-star hotel is a 10-minute walk north of Seville Cathedral and features a rooftop swimming pool.
Address: Plaza de la Magdalena
>>> CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES & BOOK
>>> None of these places take your fancy? Find other great accommodation choices in Seville here.
Where to eat in Seville
I’m almost reluctant to recommend places to eat in Seville as I am sure that I missed out on many great places. One thing that this city is not short of is places to fill your face.
That said, here are a few places that I tried and liked.
This traditional bodega opposite Hotel Simon serves an extensive range of wines and sherries, and possibly the largest potato tortilla in the world.
Address: C/ García de Vinuesa 20
Grab a seat on the outside terrace of this friendly restaurant near the cathedral and Alcázar and tuck into plates of fried fish accompanied by roasted vegetables with goat’s cheese.
Address: C/ Francos, 42
I’d go back here solely for the sublime langoustines wrapped in bacon.
Address: C/ Adriano, 20
Another friendly Seville dining option, located close to Iglesia del Salvador. Try the hake and prawn fritters.
Address: C/ Alvarez Quintero 3 Salvador Square
Is Seville Safe for Solo Travellers?
As a whole, Spain is one of the best places for solo travellers in Europe, especially if you are travelling alone for the first time. I will go as far as to say that it is one of the best global solo travel destinations.
Spain has a rich history, a vibrant cultural scene, buzzing nightlife and well-developed travel infrastructure. This is never so true when it comes to Seville.
Keeping safe when travelling alone is a key consideration of female solo travellers. Seville’s Old Town is relaxed and full of people of all ages, locals and visitors alike, enjoying its attractions, bars and restaurants. Even after dark on weekdays, it felt safe.
That said, like some other major cities, Seville has gained an unwelcome reputation for pickpockets, especially in popular tourist areas and transport hubs. Remain vigilant, keep your belongings close to you and use your hotel safe to store valuables.
Is Seville Worth Visiting?
Seville is one of the must-see destinations in Spain.
Its Old Town is endlessly bewitching, its UNESCO-listed buildings are a testament to its fascinating history and there are plenty of opportunities for tapas tasting and cultural activities, including Flamenco. Whilst it doesn’t have a coastline, it more than makes up for this with its charm and vibrancy.