Seville isn’t somewhere that immediately springs to mind when you think of European city breaks. But if this enchanting city in Southern Spain isn’t on your radar then it really should be.
Think churros, tapas, sunshine… then throw in some beautiful architecture, colourful side-streets and even more tapas and you have Seville – capital of Spain’s stunning Andalusian region.
In just 3 days, Seville charmed the socks off of me and snuck it’s way to the top of my all-time favourite European cities list.
Add in the fact that it’s a surprisingly affordable city and you’ve got yourself the perfect short-break destination. (It cost us just £120pp for return flights, plus 3 nights accommodation in a traditional 3* Spanish hotel!)
Best time to visit:
With 300 days of sunshine a year, Seville really is the ideal year-round destination. Spring is a great time to visit with several cultural festivals taking place throughout the region, including Semana Santa (Easter Week) and Feria de Abril. The autumn and winter months are cool and pleasant, with the added bonus of Seville’s renowned orange season peaking between December – February.
The only time of year to avoid is the peak of summer when temperatures and prices soar (there’s a reason Seville is nicknamed the “frying pan of Europe”!)
Flight time: 2h 45 London to Seville.
There are regular flights from the UK to Seville and cheap fares can be purchased directly through Easyjet and Ryanair or by comparing prices on Skyscanner. We managed to pick up return flights from London Gatwick for just £62pp directly through Easyjet.
Once you arrive into Seville, there are regular buses from the airport into the city (Santa Justa Station) for just €2.50.
There’s really no better way to get around Seville than to walk. Getting lost in the maze of colourful alleyways is all part of the experience! We found the city to be incredibly safe, even at night, and didn’t use any public transport during our 3 days there except to get to and from the airport.
Where to stay:
Barrio Santa Cruz and El Arenal are both popular and attractive locations but can be pricey due to their close proximity to the city centre. We opted for the cheaper alternative of La Alameda and loved the vibe of this lively neighbourhood, which has much more of a local feel. Located just a short 15-20 minute walk from the Cathedral and all the main sights of Seville, the area is packed with excellent restaurants and bars and the main square comes to life at the weekend.
A guide to 3 days in Seville:
3 days allows plenty of time to appreciate the city’s highlights and to experience some of the incredible cuisine and culture on offer. Here’s my tried-and-tested guide to discovering the heart of Seville in just 3 days.
Check in to your hotel by late afternoon and spend some time exploring your local area – for us, this was Alameda de Hércules and its colourful side-streets.
The abundance of trendy bars and boutiques gave us a feel for the real Seville, beyond the usual tourist hot-spots. There are also some stunning buildings to see in the area, including Basilica de Macarena.
The Alameda district is conveniently located just 10-15 minutes walk from one of Seville’s more modern attractions – the Metropol Parasol. This rather bizarre wooden structure is located within La Encarnación Square, which itself is worth a wander to browse the quirky art shops, boutiques and cafes.
The mushroom-shaped monument claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world and is definitely a ‘marmite’ attraction for locals and tourists alike – personally I loved the contrast of the modern architecture against the old city backdrop!
For just €3, you can take a lift up to the balcony for some of the most stunning views of the city. Top tip: Time your visit around sunset to see the city light up before your eyes.
It doesn’t take long to wander around the walkways but included in your ticket price is also a coupon for a free beer, wine or soft drink at the top! Bargain.
Sipping on a cold glass of vino, whilst watching the sun set over the city is truly an unforgettable experience and a highlight of the trip.
Once your feet are back on solid ground, take some time to explore the local tapas scene – a highlight of Seville in itself. The best way to get a taste for the local cuisine is to move from place to place, sampling the variety of dishes – don’t restrict yourself to just one restaurant for dinner!
Alameda 5 is worth a stop to try some of Seville’s famous jamón ibérico, washed down with a glass (or jug, ahem) of sangria, overlooking the square. Next head to Bar Antojo – a modern twist on the classic tapas bar, serving up some of the most delicious ham and cheese croquettes in Seville.
Alternatively, why not try one of the city’s food tours? This is a great way to explore some of the hidden treasures of the city, whilst dining like a local. There are some great companies around including the award-winning Devour Seville who offer day and evening tours from €75 pp.
Head to the historic centre of Seville this morning to explore one of the city’s most famous attractions – Real Alcazar de Sevilla. You’ll want to set aside at least 2-3 hours to explore this beautiful 13th century royal palace, which still serves as the official residence for the royal family (…and as the backdrop for many a Game of Thrones scene, for all you Thronies out there).
Top tip: Tickets are €9.50, or for an extra Euro you can pre-book your ticket online and skip the queues.
What makes this place so unique is its stunning mix of Moorish and European architecture, not to mention the ornate artwork and decor inside the buildings (you’ll find yourself craning your neck to admire those ceilings!)
As a self-confessed photography addict, one of the highlights of the palace for me was Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla (The Baths of Lady Mary of Padilla) – these beautiful illuminated baths are often overlooked by visitors but are absolutely worth a quick photo stop.
The gardens of the palace are an attraction in their own right. Lined with orange, lemon and palm trees and dotted with beautiful fountains and pavilions, it’s easy to feel like a royal wandering around the peaceful grounds and soaking up the ambience of the place.
Once you’re ready to leave the palace grounds behind, stop for a coffee along one of the many cobbled side-streets. We loved the colourful vibes of Alianza – an alfresco cafe, tucked away in a picturesque little square behind Real Alcazar.
Once you’ve had your caffeine fix, head to the nearby Plaza Virgen de los Reyes – a historic square located outside the Cathedral and within steps of most of the city’s main attractions.
From here, head for Seville Cathedral – the largest Gothic cathedral and third largest church in the world. The sheer size of this magnificent building is overwhelming, as are the glittering gold altars and arched ceilings. This is also where the tomb of the great explorer, Christopher Columbus, can be found for all you history buffs out there.
Admission to the Cathedral is €9 and this also gives you access to The Giralda – the Cathedral tower. Climb all the way up to the top for sweeping views of the city.
Grab lunch in one of the classic tapas bars nearby – Bar Cerveceria Giralda is a popular choice, serving up delicious hot and cold dishes and great cappuccinos. Grab a seat outside, but be sure to poke your head in to check out the gorgeous ceramic tiles lining the walls.
After lunch, head to Iglesia del Salvador (Church of the Saviour) – just a short walk away. Admission is included with your Cathedral ticket, so it’s well worth a quick stop to admire this stunning church. If you’ve had your fill of churches for the day, at least stop by to appreciate the colourful exterior – it’s one of the most beautiful buildings in Seville.
And now for another Sevillian tradition – churros! We found a great little place called El Patio near to Iglesia del Salvador that served up freshly made churros with traditional hot chocolate.
If you have time, indulge in some retail therapy around the tree-lined Plaza Nueva. Be sure to check out the side streets to escape the tourists and pick up some local souvenirs.
Start making your way back in time for dinner. Al Aljibe was one of our favourite finds in Seville, offering more of a fine dining experience. The beef carpaccio with green mustard ice cream and the risotto, in particular, were incredible and well worth your pennies.
This morning, make your way across the city to Plaza de España – one of the most famous and photographed spots in Seville. Grab breakfast on the way – we loved Perro Chiko for its healthy range of breakfast foods, smoothies and strong coffee.
Entry to Plaza de España is free and you can easily spend a couple of hours just wandering around, soaking up the atmosphere. If the weather is good, you can hire a row boat along the canal. If you’re lucky, you might even catch some flamenco dancing or traditional Spanish guitar music, adding to the romanticism of this beautiful place.
Be sure to wander through the vast corridors and up the staircase for stunning views across the Plaza.
If you have time, combine your visit with a walk around Maria Luisa Park, located opposite the Plaza. Or else head back towards Barrio Santa Cruz – the bustling former Jewish district.
Barrio Santa Cruz is the Seville you have imagined, with its cobbled streets and white-washed buildings, so take the time to enjoy this charming part of the city.
Stop for lunch in one of the lively tapas bars around the area. Bar Patanchon has a varied menu and outdoor seating, ideal for people-watching. If you’re craving your daily fix of churros and coffee instead, try Salt and Sugar – an incredibly quaint and friendly little place located in the heart of the district.
Next, head to Casa de Pilatos for your final sightseeing stop of the day. This beautifully kept palace is one of Seville’s best kept secrets and has its own unique character and charm. Entrance to the ground floor of the palace is €6 or €8 for the upper floors, including a brilliant audio tour that explains the history of the palace and its grounds.
Top tip: If you’re visiting on a Wednesday afternoon, entry is FREE!
The whole palace is adorned with colourful mosaic tiles, adding to the overall mystique and wonder of the place.
As your final day draws to a close, head over to El Rinconcillo – the oldest restaurant and bar in Seville (est. 1670) before heading to one of the many rooftop bars around the city to celebrate your last night in style.
Have you visited Seville or Andalusia? I’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts and comments below.