Seville is a destination that’s at the top of the wish list for many travelers. And why not? The Andalusian capital boasts magnificent architecture, loads of history, and gorgeous gardens. Its top-rated tapas bars will tickle your taste buds and its fiery flamenco shows will set your feet to tapping. Its historic neighborhoods will draw you in with their character and charm. Read on to discover the best things to do in Seville, Spain!
Three days in Seville is barely enough, because there are so many things to see and do in Seville. But that’s all the time we had, and we packed in a lot into our three-day Seville itinerary!
My three-day Seville guide is designed for active travelers that don’t mind clocking up the walking miles, but you’ll find options here to design a more laid-back experience if that’s your preference.
My Seville guide assumes that you will arrive the evening before, so you will have three full days (and four nights) in this magnificent city. On your day of arrival, I suggest just checking in, relaxing over a drink and some tapas, and getting a good night’s sleep. The next three days will be busy in a fun way!
The Best Things to Do in Seville in Three Days
Here is my suggested itinerary for your three days in Seville:
Day 1: The Royal Alcázar of Seville
Start at the Real Alcázar, the royal palace-fortress of Seville. The Alcázar should be at the top of your list of the best things to do in Seville!
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the Real Alcázar is a stunning example of the Mudèjar architectural style and one of Seville’s best sights. Mudèjar is a combination of Moorish and Christian influences. You will see the striking use of brick, metal, wood, plaster, and tile.
You will view room after room of absolutely marvelous detail and workmanship in this beautiful palace complex. The lace-like intricately patterned arches at the Courtyard of the Maidens are gorgeous. Don’t miss the ornate Salon de Embajadores and the beautiful tapestries in the Salon de los Tapices.
After you tour the building, stroll around the lovely formal gardens. Beds of colorful flowers are hemmed in with geometric hedges. Beautiful architectural elements abound in the gardens.
The orangerie is awash with fragrance if you visit when the citrus blossom is in bloom. Jasmine and rose clamber up trellises and pretty sculptures sit amid water features.
Allow at least three hours. There is a cafe within the complex, should you need a break and some refreshment. The tour of the Cuarto Real Alto, the royal apartments, is highly recommended.
Night visits are also offered, but you cannot see the gardens well at night. On the plus side, the night tour has costumed artists recounting the history of the Alcázar through song, dance, and storytelling as you move through the beautifully lit interiors. All in Spanish though! During the summertime, concerts are offered in the evenings.
If you go: Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Patio de Banderas, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Like a structured tour? Book this highly rated 3-hour Skip the Line guided tour of the Alcazar, the Seville Cathedral, and La Giralda! Or pick a tour of just the Alcazar, so you can linger for as long as you like after the tour!
Day 1: The Cathedral of Seville
After lunch, stroll over to the Cathedral of Seville, just a two-minute walk from the Royal Alcázar. This is a Roman Catholic church and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
The cathedral is enormous, and one of the top Seville attractions. It is the largest cathedral in the world, and the third largest church. Exploring the cathedral is definitely one of the best things to do in Seville!
Originally a mosque, the structure was converted into a cathedral after the Christians conquered Seville. In 1401, the city decided to build a new cathedral, the likes of which the world had not seen before. Construction was completed in 1506.
You’ll find the exterior of the cathedral stunning, with imposing entrances and beautiful architectural elements. The interior is cavernous. You’ll be awestruck by the Capilla Mayor with its gold altarpiece.
Stroll around and view the numerous religious art works, including works by Goya and Murrillo, and the tombs of Spanish royalty. Christopher Columbus is said to be buried here, although there is some controversy about where his body lies.
After you view the interior, stroll around the beautiful Patio de los Naranjos, the main courtyard with its 60+ orange trees. If you visit in the spring, the heady scent of citrus blossom will make you want to linger here for a while.
Allow about two to three hours.
If you go: Seville Cathedral, Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
If you want to learn more about what you are seeing, opt for a guided tour of the Cathedral and La Giralda.
Day 1: La Giralda, the Bell Tower
Next on your Seville sightseeing itinerary is La Giralda, the bell tower of the Seville Cathedral, and one of Seville’s most iconic sights. The Giralda is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. It rises close to 350 feet into the sky.
You can climb to the top of the tower for magnificent 360-degree views over the city. The bell tower used to be the minaret of the mosque that was here before the cathedral.
Walking to the top of the Giralda was one of my most favorite experiences in our three days in Seville. You walk up a series of ramps and then a short flight of stairs to get to the top.
The ramps were designed for horses carrying the muezzins, who had to go to the top and call the faithful to prayer. The views are simply spectacular. And it’s really cool to see parts of the buttresses of the cathedral from up close!
Allow about one hour.
If you go: La Giralda, Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Day 1: Barrio Santa Cruz
It’s worth dedicating some time from your three days in Seville to wandering the narrow streets and alleyways of Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter.
When Ferdinand III conquered Sevilla, he confined the Jewish population to this quarter, and eventually, in 1492, Jews were expelled from Spain. The quarter fell into disrepair in the centuries that followed, until it was restored in the 1900s.
The narrow streets, lined with colored houses, are beautiful. You’ll come upon old churches and little squares with statues or fountains.
Flowers dress up patios and walls, and cobblestones complete the medieval ambiance. A stroll here is a lovely way to wrap up your first day in Sevilla!
Allow about one to two hours.
Check out this highly-rated 90-minute guided walking tour of Barrio Santa Cruz! You’ll learn about the history of this fascinating historic Jewish Quarter and have the opportunity to ask questions as you tour!
Day 2: Mercado de Triana
Start Day 2 of your three days in Seville by crossing Puente Isabel II, for an exploration of the Triana neighborhood across the Guadalquivir river.
With a totally different vibe than the city center, Triana is famous for its azulejos (decorative tiles). As you get off the bridge, take a photo of the famous statue of the flamenco dancer.
Stop first at the Mercado de Triana and stroll the stalls of fresh produce, meats, cheeses and prepared foods. Try a fresh fruit smoothie or some fresh-squeezed juice.
Then pop into the Centro Ceramica for a quick education on the ceramics industry of Triana, and to see some historical tile exhibits. In Triana, you’ll find small stores selling ceramics, so this would be a good time to shop if you plan to take home some beautiful ceramics! You can also shop for ceramics and fans in the city center.
Stroll some of the streets of Triana before making your way back across the river. Exploring Triana will give you a feel for the Seville of old.
Allow about two to three hours.
If you go: Mercado de Triana, Plaza del Altozano, 14, 41010 Sevilla, Spain
If you go: Centro Ceramica, Calle Callao, 16, 41010 Sevilla, Spain
Day 2: Casa de Pilatos
Even though you’ve seen the Alcázar, it’s still worth visiting the Casa de Pilatos, a beautiful palace built in a mix of Renaissance and Mudèjar architectural styles and one of Seville’s top attractions.
The palace contains a large collection of azulejos, with vivid colors and lovely designs. You will also see paintings, including some by Goya, and some frescoes.
There is a magnificent bougainvillea that provides a riotous display of color on the courtyard wall when in bloom, and the gardens are gorgeous. Sculptures from the Roman ruins at Italica adorn the courtyard.
All in all, a beautiful Andalusian palace and a must-see when you are in Seville!
Allow one to two hours.
If you go: Casa de Pilatos, Pl. de Pilatos, 1, 41003 Sevilla, Spain
Day 2: Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija
The Palace of the Countess of Lebrija is another treasure that you must not miss when in Seville. An eclectic mix of architectural and design elements from different eras and styles, the palace is very pleasing to view.
The Countess loved collecting Roman mosaics, which are tastefully incorporated all through the house. There are beautiful ceramic tiles on the walls, and the courtyards feature the arches characteristic of Moorish architecture.
The bottom floor can be viewed on your own, but you can only view the apartments on the top floor on a guided tour. It is worth the additional couple of Euros to be able to see the private apartments and learn about the history of the place.
Allow about one to two hours.
If you go: Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija, Calle Cuna, 8, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Day 2: Metropol Parasol
The Metropol Parasol is a huge wooden structure designed by Jurgen Mayer, a German architect. You’ll either find it cool, or incongruous in the historic center. Either way, it’s worthwhile including the Metropol Parasol in your Seville 3-day itinerary.
The structures look like giant mushrooms, hence their popular name: Las Setas de la Encarnación. From the upper levels of the mushrooms, you can get great views of the city center. When the site was being prepped for construction, workers unearthed ruins from the Roman and Al-Andalus times. The artifacts discovered are displayed in a museum at the underground level.
We thought it was a fun place to stop briefly and take some pictures.
Allow about 30 minutes to one hour.
If you go: Metropol Parasol, Pl. de la Encarnación, s/n, 41003 Sevilla, Spain
Day 2: Flamenco Performance
A flamenco show is an absolute must-do when you are in Seville, as is a tapas crawl. You can combine the two by opting for an organized tour. You can also do dinner and a flamenco show, take in a performance at a tapas bar, or choose to watch a performance after dinner.
A good flamenco show is an unforgettable experience. The flamboyant dancers command the stage with their footwork and flounces, and their rapid energetic footwork will leave you feeling exhilarated. You will love the lilt of the plaintive music that accompanies the dancing, and the rhythmic hand-clapping is just mesmerizing.
If you prefer to watch a show as a dedicated activity (as I did, and highly recommend you do!), then pick one of the theaters that offers quality performances.
Casa del Flamenco in Barrio Santa Cruz offers their shows in a small courtyard. The shows at Casa de la Memoria take place in the patio of a historical palace, and you can buy tickets in advance. Casa de la Guitarra offers two shows each night, with special focus on the flamenco guitar, and the venue in Barrio Santa Cruz also houses a museum of guitars.
Whichever venue you choose, buy your tickets in advance, especially if your time in Seville is short. The settings tend to be intimate, with limited seating, and advance booking will ensure you are able to watch a performance on the evening of your choice.
Shows generally last from one to two hours.
Day 3: Archaeological Museum
Start off your sightseeing on the last of your three days in Seville with a museum visit. Located on the perimeter of the Parco de Maria Luisa, the Archaeological Museum is housed in one of the beautiful buildings constructed for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929.
The museum houses precious relics uncovered at the Roman ruins of Italica, located just a few miles north of Seville. Don’t miss the sculptures of Trajan and Hadrian in the upstairs galleries. Also upstairs are Moorish exhibits salvaged from the ruins at Medina Azahara, just outside the city of Cordoba.
Make sure to see the Carambolo exhibit in the Phoenician section, which includes lots of gold jewelry with Oriental design elements.
If the Archaeological Museum doesn’t sound appealing, try the Museum of Arts and Traditions located in the Mudejar Pavilion across the road.
The museum has a stunning exterior that I photographed from the Archaeological Museum, but if you walk inside you can capture it reflected in the large water feature outside.
The museum houses various collections related to traditional arts such as embroidery, lace making and ceramics.
Allow about one to two hours.
Day 3: Parque de Maria Luisa
It’s time to take a green break at the beautiful Parque de Maria Luisa, Seville’s largest green space that sits by the Guadalquivir river. The park was built on grounds that housed the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo. It covers about 100 acres!
I love interspersing historical sights and museums with a walk through a park or a garden, and exploring this beautiful park is one of my favorite memories from our three days in Seville.
The park is stunning, with numerous plantings of diverse flora, lovely tiles water features and shaded paths. If you are lucky, you may see some of the green parrots that call this park home.
There are lots of benches to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, if you need a break.
Along the perimeter of the park are beautiful buildings, built for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929. Many of them now serve as museums.
Allow at least two hours for exploring the park.
If you go: Parque de Maria Luisa, Paseo de las Delicias, s/n, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
Day 3: The Plaza de España
Next on your agenda for Day 3 in Seville is the Plaza de España, one of the most magnificent plazas in Europe. Along with the Alcázar, it should be at the top of your list of the best things to do in Seville.
It’s a gigantic plaza, a marvel in brick, stone and tile. It was built in 1928, a mix of Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival architecture.
Along its perimeter are buildings, set in a half-circle. As you walk along this half-circle perimeter, you will see gorgeous tile displays celebrating each province of Spain. The colors and detail in the tile work are amazing.
There’s a huge fountain occupying pride of place in the center of the plaza, and tall towers rise up at either end. A moat runs along the perimeter, punctuated with colorful bridges. You can actually enjoy a boat ride on the moat.
Allow about two to three hours. We spent a whole afternoon here!
If you go: Plaza de España, Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Day 3: Walking around Seville
Spend your final evening just walking around, taking in the sights and sounds of Seville. Walk to the river for beautiful views of the Triana neighborhood across the Guadalquivir, and then walk to the historic Torre del Oro. You can climb to the top of this tower as well.
Then walk back to the city center, where you can stroll around, gawking at the beautiful architecture: Seville has lovely buildings everywhere you look. You may come across street flamenco artists or musicians.
Allow about two hours, or longer!
With more time…
If you have more time in Seville, there are many other things to keep you occupied! If you love history, visit the ruins at Italica, just a few miles outside the city.
You can take a bus from the bus station at the Plaza de Armas and wander the ruins on your own, but a guided tour will enhance the experience exponentially. This is a Games of Thrones filming location!
If you haven’t tired of art and museums, visit the Museo de Bellas Artes, for a wonderful collection of religious art. As a bonus, the Baroque-style building, courtyards, and gardens are gorgeous.
A couple of beautiful churches to explore: the Basilica de la Macarena with its stunning yellow-and-white facade and lovely interior, and the Iglesia Colegia del Salvador, with its lovely dusty pink facade and ornate interior.
If you want to view Seville from the water, try a cruise on the Guadalquivir River. Guadalquivir translates to “Big River.” It is the only navigable river in Spain. From the water, you’ll see the beautiful buildings of Seville on either side. The cruise is about 90 minutes long.
Day Trips from Seville
Seville is not just a fabulous destination in its own right. It also makes the ideal base for day trips to explore Andalusia. Day trips from Seville range from little white villages to historic cities and natural parks.
For a look at one of Spain’s cute white villages, take a part-day trip to Arcos de la Frontera. It is located on a steep cliff. A car is your best option for getting here. There is a bus, but the journey takes two hours each way…a little too long for one village.
If you want to use public transportation, combine it with a trip to Jerez and make it a full day. Jerez is beautiful as well. It is known for its sherry bodegas. The train to Jerez takes about one hour and the bus from Jerez to Arcos de la Frontera takes about 30 minutes. There are frequent trains and buses.
You can also do a day trip to Jerez and Cadiz. We did this trip as a guided tour, but you can do it on your own as well, taking a train from Sevilla to Jerez and another one from Jerez to Cadiz. You can return to Seville by train directly from Cadiz.
Cadiz has a gorgeous mosque-cathedral and a beautiful seaside location. In Jerez, you can enjoy sherry tasting. Jerez also has some stunning buildings.
Many visitors do a day trip to Cordoba from Seville: it is just an hour away by high speed train. I recommend at least two days in Cordoba, but if you are short on time, it is better to do a day trip than not to visit Cordoba at all. You can still take in some of the must-not miss sights in this stunning Andalusian city in one day.
Seville has an international airport so perhaps you are flying into Seville. If you are coming south from Madrid, just take the high speed train. You can take a bus or taxi from the Barajas International Airport in Madrid to the Atocha Train Station. The journey is about 2.5 hours and there are frequent departures.
If you are flying into Malaga, again head to the train station and catch a high speed train to Seville. The journey takes just under two hours.
We bought our train tickets in advance from Omio. You can buy them directly from Renfe as well, but their website is not always cooperative. Omio tacks on a small service fee but I found the buying experience quick and hassle-free.
If you stay in the historic center, you can walk to most of the major sights. Taxis are plentiful and you can also rent bikes through SEVici, Seville’s public bike rental service.
Where to Stay in Seville
For the ultimate in luxury, stay at the Hotel Alfonso XIII. The building is reminiscent of an Andalusian palace. It is located in the Santa Cruz neighborhood, very close to many major sights in Seville. Beautiful rooms with all the mod cons and lovely Moorish touches to the decor.
Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Book your room here
We stayed at the Gran Melia Colon, also located in the historical center. It was about a 12- to 15-minute walk to the Cathedral and the Alcazar. We loved the quiet neighborhood. The decor is contemporary and we thought the service was outstanding.
I asked the folks manning the concierge desk a zillion questions and they still greeted me with a huge smile every time they saw me approach. We opted for breakfast, and loved the large number of choices.
Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Book your room here
Looking for an intimate luxurious stay? The Boutique Hotel Casa del Poeta has just 18 rooms. Housed in a traditional Sevilla mansion with a central courtyard and a fountain, this lovely hotel features gorgeous furnishings.
Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Book your room here
Where to Eat in Seville
We lived on tapas in Spain, only occasionally opting for a sit-down meal. You will find tons of awesome tapas places in Seville. Set aside one evening for a tapas crawl, where you go from one place to another sampling the best options on each menu.
There are just as many places in Seville serving mediocre tapas as there are gems, so research online or get recommendations from the concierge at your hotel for whichever neighborhoods you plan to visit that day. Or opt for a guided tapas crawl.
You have to try the patatas bravas, of course, and the eggplant chips with honey drizzled over them. If you eat meat, you must try the jamon iberico, the specialty of the region. The Manchego cheese is amazing. You’ll not want for choices at the tapas bars of Sevilla!
Two sit-down meals we really enjoyed:
La Azotea: My most memorable culinary experience in Seville was at La Azotea. They have multiple locations in the city. I am a vegetarian, and they made me a beautiful dish of grilled vegetables and cheese that was absolutely delicious.
My husband loved his meat entree as well. They also have great tapas. Advance reservations are highly recommended: the place got packed within a few minutes of opening and in fact when we arrived right before they opened, there were several groups waiting at the door!
Osteria L’Oca Giuliva: Funnily enough, one of our nicest meals in Seville was at an Italian restaurant! We had lunch here and loved it. Fresh, flavorful, pasta made with great ingredients and fruity olive oil. This eatery tends to get very crowded at lunch, so have your hotel call ahead for a table for you.
Best Time to Visit Seville
Spring is the best time to visit Seville, and, indeed, all of Andalusia, where summer temperatures get uncomfortably high. We visited in April, and found the weather perfect.
Plus, in the spring, citrus blossom and jasmine are in bloom, making streets, patios and gardens scented havens that are an absolute joy to walk through.
During the Holy Week, celebrated in the week leading up to Easter Sunday, the Santa Semana processions are spectacular. They can be completely silent, or be accompanied by music.
A couple of weeks later, Seville hosts the Feria de Abril, its other big festival. The fair runs for six days, and features parades and parties, with participants dressing up in flamboyant costumes.
If you plan to visit in April during these festivities, know that you will be dealing with huge crowds. Book accommodations well ahead of time.
Where to next?
Andalusia, Spain’s beautiful southern region, has lots of beautiful cities and towns to explore. If you are traveling north from Seville, head to Córdoba, with its world-famous Mezquita and historical ruins at Medina Azahara.
High speed trains connect Seville with both Córdoba and Malaga. We took a bus from Seville to Granada, and loved the countryside through which we traveled. The journey takes about three hours, and you can book tickets online on Alsa or Omio. The bus was clean and comfortable, and on time.
Looking for more places to explore in Andalusia? Check out my post on six amazing day trips you can do from Malaga! And if you have just 3 days to spend in Andalusia, click here for the top 5 sights you must not miss!
So there you have it: my suggestions for what to do in Seville over 3 days. Have you been? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you liked best about the Andalusian capital. Comment below to respond!
If you haven’t yet visited, I hope I have inspired you to plan a trip soon!
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