How to Spend 3 Days in Seville, Spain
While on my whirlwind tour of Europe back in 2009, Seville was always listed as one of the top places to visit by other travelers. They always said there was just something about the atmosphere in the city. Now, having been, I understand. Between the sweet and intoxicating aroma of orange trees in blossom and the feeling that you were walking among more locals that other travelers, Seville just has something about it.
- Cathedral & Iglesia del Salvador
- Plaza d’Espana & Maria Luisa Park
- Metropol Parasol
- Torre del Oro
- Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla
Arriving in Seville
We arrived in Seville in the evening via train, at Santa Justa Station, from Madrid. It had been a long trek from Vancouver and once in our AirBnB apartment, we crawled into bed early.
*Side note, Madrid – Seville is a popular train route. We had to purchase a “preferential” class ticket for the train. Fortunately for us because these tickets came with drinks and snacks, since we were famished from being on the go.
Seville can also be reached via airplane and bus. We did consider flying into Seville, instead of Madrid, but we were unlucky with connections from Paris or London.
Our apartment was located in the El Centro neighbourhood. Full of narrow zig-zag streets (alleys), we got a little lost before we oriented ourselves. Once we found where our apartment was situated in relation to the Cathedral, we had no further directional issues. The main tourist area of Seville is actually quite small, with the Cathedral and Alcazar in close proximity.
Iglesia del Salvador
Stop number one was Iglesia del Salvador. We had an insider tip that you can purchase a combination ticket for Iglesia del Salvador and for the Seville Cathedral. Having a ticket ahead of time for the Cathedral means we were able to skip the line. That is not the only reason to visit Iglesia del Salvador though, it is a sight in itself. The church is a combination of other sacred buildings before it: a Roman temple, a Palaeochristian, Visigothic and Mozarab basilica, and, in the 11th century, the great mosque of Seville. It is also a good preparation for the Cathedral.
The style in the Seville Cathedral is stunning, but I found it overwhelming. I have been in a lot of churches throughout Europe, and the Cathedrals in Seville (and Granada) were something else. Not only was there so much to see inside the individual chapels, but the main altar piece was floor to ceiling gold with relief sculptures, sculptures of the various saints and other ornate, but symbolic, decorations. So much to take in!
While in the Cathedral, make sure you go up La Giralda tower. It offers wonderful views of Seville, and a close up of the bells that toll every hour.
The evening entailed a walk up Seville’s Metropol Parasol, a large wooden structure located in Plaza de la Encarnación, in fact the largest wooden structure in the world. Atop the Parasol, you have a 360 degree view of Seville’s skyline and an awesome view of the sunset. Your elevator ticket up to the top gives you a discount on drinks and tapas at the cafe. Underneath the Parasol is a museum housing the Roman and Moorish remains.
Time for the Alcazar of Seville! The Royal Palace is a highlight for the senses. For the eyes, ornate carvings, arches, intricate ceilings and colourful tiles. The smell of orange trees, jasmine and other flowers throughout the 7 hectare gardens was a delight for the nose. Finally, for the ears, the gentle trickle of water from fountains and ponds. We took our time wandering the palace and the gardens. Even during the off-season, it was crowded with tour groups.
After the Alcazar, we headed to Plaza d’Espana and Maria Luisa Park. Both were built for the Exposition World’s Fair of 1928. Maria Luisa Park is built-in the “Moorish paradisaical style,” boasting many pools and fountains. The walls of the Plaza’s semicircular buildings are tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain.
Potential Day Trips
Originally on day 3, we had planned to take a day trip to Cadiz via the train, but felt that there was still more to soak in of Seville. My recommendation would be to spend 5 nights in Seville, with 4 full days available for exploring, using 1 of the 4 to day-trip.
We did really want to see Cadiz, as it is one of Europe’s oldest port cities. I am a big coast person. It may be a little irrational for me to feel trapped or claustrophobic when traveling inland, but often I do, even at home. I am always happier on the coast. It also makes for more dynamic photos.
Enjoying being on vacation, we had a slow morning. We made no concrete plans, enjoying just wandering the winding streets of Seville, encountering adorable and unexpected plazas. People watching, especially while enjoying an espresso at a cafe in a square, is a hobby of mine. If we had stopped to have an espresso at every plaza, we would have never made any progress, and would have been vibrating from all the caffeine. Nothing beats coffee, in any shape or form, in Europe, Spain being no exception.
We bought some souvenirs in local shops and indulged in European fashions. The afternoon brought us past Seville’s Bullring, we planned to explore Ronda’s Bullring instead. . Strolling along the river, gave us great views of Torre del Oro. Looping back toward Fuente de Híspalis and a bustling plaza along the tram line. Also located here is the beautiful and luxurious Hotel Alfonso XIII. The exterior is gorgeous, I can only imagine what the interior looks like – definitely a place to stay if you are looking to splurge… perhaps a honeymoon.
Antigua Taberna de Las Escobas Restaurante
Bar El Comercio
More Spain Posts: