Seville is a culturally rich city in the south of Spain that is full of beauty and light. From the moment I walked its streets, I knew that it had lodged itself in my heart, never to be removed. From the wonderful sights, to the stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and placid Guadalquivir river, I was hooked on Seville.
So what are the places that made me fall so in love with this city? Here are our top tips for traveling to Seville, and how to really enjoy it on a budget!
Plaza de España (Spanish Plaza) and Parque de María Luisa (María Luisa Park)
This is a great free thing to do in Seville, and something to really enjoy! The beautiful construction and adjoining park were commissioned for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929, and feature the varied styles of past and modern Spain. In the center of the plaza is a lovely fountain, with a quaint, man-made river flowing in a circle around it. Traversing the river and lovely bridge with ornate decoration.
Visiting the plaza, you will likely be embraced by the sound of typical Spanish flamenco music, and as you approach the sound you will probably find street vendors selling all kinds of touristic goodies, such as beautiful decorated abanicos (handheld fans), hats, key chains, and more. You can also take a boat around the river for about 5 Euro.
The María Luisa Park, located right next door to the plaza, is an incredible creation that features thick, almost forest-like gardens that stretch on forever! Inside, you will see different beautiful structures, along with lovely native flowers. Since the weather is so nice here, you can see beautiful blooms and greenery almost all year round!
Cathedral of Seville and Tower of Giralda
Standing as one of the grandest Christian churches in the entire world, this incredible Gothic style building will absolutely blow you away. From the outside it is absolutely immense, with gorgeous and intricate detailing worked into the exterior walls. But upon entering you’ll feel a bit like you’ve walked into the Tardis; it seems so much bigger on the inside!
It is hard to describe the ornate beauty and incredible Gothic architecture that permeates this grand edifice. When it was originally built in the 12th century, this was a mosque. However, from the mid 1200’s it was converted to Christianity when Seville was taken from the Moors. Even so, the minaret still stands, now known as the incredible Tower of Giralda.
This incredibly beautiful tower stands tall at 100 meters. For a stunning view of the city, the top of the Cathedral, and the Patio de los Naranjos (the Patio of the Orange Trees) from above, you can walk up to the top of Giralda, following the uphill path that spirals to the top and includes no stairs whatsoever. (The walk can be a bit difficult, as the path is pretty steep in parts. Make sure you’re wearing good shoes and stick close to the wall for something to hang on to.)
Entrance tickets are 9 Euros for anyone over 14. For more information on the different sections of the Cathedral and the tower, check out this article on LonelyPlanet.com.
This is another absolutely beautiful site in Seville, one that I have visited more than once and will see again the next time I’m in Seville. The incredibly intricate architecture brings in so much light and color, making the whole experience very vibrant and filled with life. It was originally constructed by the Muslims in the 11th century, but has been continuously added on to by Muslims and Christians alike, with each new addition adding its own flair and style to this stunning building. Drawing from both Moorish and Gothic styles, this incredible mixture is extremely pleasing to the eye, and creates an absolutely gorgeous view.
Outside the Alcazar, you will find more of the fantastic gardens that Seville is known for. When wandering through its many passageways, lush paths, and even in the hedge maze, you will forget that you are in the middle of one of the biggest cities in southern Spain. It seems more like you are in a tropical forest, with towering palm trees, lush greenery, and effervescent flowers. Visit the calming waters in the pool of the Patio del Crucero, and the many fountains interspersed in the gardens. And see if you can find the lovely peacock that calls this place home!
Entrance to the Real Alcazar is 9.50 Euro, and worth every penny.
I’ve saved my favorite for last. The smooth Guadalquivir River has a small appendage that runs through the middle of Seville, and is a fantastic place to see. Along the river you’ll find the Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), and other interesting sites. Cross the bridge called Puente de Isabel II, and walk along the tranquil street that follows the river downwards, taking in the colorful buildings and maybe stopping to get some tapas at one of the bars along the river. (This area has some very nice places to eat that are cheap.)
You can also get a river cruise to see the Guadalquivir and have the view explained. They range in price depending on what you want, and are a nice option to spend some time relaxing.
Budget Travel Tips for Seville:
Eat Tapas– Tapas are small plates of food, meant for mixing and sharing between friends. Try the local jamón (cured ham) for a real treat. Normally in southern Spain, your order of a drink will come with a small tapa, and the total for both will be around 2 Euro. Get two or three tapas, and you’ve had a delicious and varied meal! Look for places that are nestled into small streets, or tiny plazas, which will almost always be the best.
Travel on Foot– Seville is an extremely walk-able city, and the sights are completely worth the extra time that you spend wandering her streets.
Stay Cheaply in the City Center– There are some lovely hostels and quaint 1 star hotels right in the city center, near all of the sights we’ve mentioned above that are clean and friendly.
So when are you coming to Seville? Have any experiences you’d like to share, or more budget travel tips? Please let us know in the comments!