Seville, the magnificent capital of Andalusia, definitely deserves a place in your itinerary for Spain. With amazing architecture, fabulous flamenco, and more types of tapas than you’ve ever seen, Seville will wow you. Here’s what to do in one day in Seville, for a visit you will never forget!
Seville is an old city. It was settled by the Romans, and then the Moors, before it became part of the Christian Castile kingdom in the mid 13th century.
Seville came into its own after the Spanish discovery of the Americas. Its position as the sole port for Spanish trade with the Americas, via the Guadalquivir River, created a period of economic and cultural boom.
Today Seville is a vibrant city, one of the most sought-after destinations in southern Spain for travelers from across the world. With a warm climate, plazas perfect for strolling, spectacular sights, and tempting tapas bars, Seville makes for a fun Spanish holiday.
What to DO IN Seville IN ONE DAY
One day is a short period of time for a city with as much to see and do as Seville, but if you are up for an active day of walking and doing, you can cover the major sights, wander the historic center, enjoy some tasty tapas, and even take in a flamenco show.
Visiting Seville for longer? Check out my detailed itinerary for 3 days in Seville!
My 1-day itinerary for Seville is geared towards first-time visitors. We’ll cover the most iconic sights and the quintessential Seville experiences that are a must for the first-timer. But these sights are so fabulous that I would be happy doing the itinerary all over again if I were to pop into Seville for another quick visit.
So here’s the ultimate itinerary for your one day in Seville!
Admire the beautiful Plaza de España
A stunning semi-circular brick structure with tall towers on each end dominates the massive plaza, one of the largest in Europe. Built for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929, the building is a mix of architectural styles.
If you’re a movie buff, the plaza was featured in Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars! A moat runs across the front of the building.
Walk around the plaza, to view the architecture from every angle. Admire the beautiful bridges across the moat, with their decorative tile. Take a boat ride on the water.
People watch at the huge fountain in the middle of the plaza. Tour the tile displays along the wall of the building, one for each province of Spain. Created with decorative azulejo tiles and bursting with color and intricate detail, every display will have you snapping a photo!
Allow about 60 to 90 minutes
Walk around the Parque de María Luisa
Seville’s largest green space is a gorgeous oasis of mature trees, plantings, architectural elements and water features. The space used to be the grounds of the Palace of San Telmo. The facade of the palace is beautiful, so stop to admire the detail.
You’ll see other lovely buildings along the periphery, built for the Ibero-American exposition of 1929. They are now home to various museums.
The park is a botanical garden, with species from around the world. The many palms and citrus trees, characteristic of many Andalusian gardens, add a touch of the exotic.
Allow about 30-45 minutes
Stroll the riverfront to the Torre del Oro
After your exploration of the park, make your way to the river, and then walk along the riverfront promenade to the Torre del Oro. The walk is beautiful, and you can see across the Guadalquivir to the districts across the water.
Allow about 20 minutes
Explore Barrio Santa Cruz
Now it’s time to explore Seville’s historic Jewish Quarter, a picturesque labyrinth of narrow cobblestone alleys and lovely white facades accentuated with bright yellow. It’s easy to get lost here, and you might want to allow yourself some time to go where the alleys take you.
Linger in the little plazas, where, in season, the scent of citrus and jasmine will intoxicate you. The Plaza Santa Cruz is especially picturesque. Browse the little souvenir shops.
Allow about 60 minutes
Visit the Casa de Pilatos…
Seville has lots of palaces and museums that are worth visiting, so with just a day in Seville, you’ll have to make some choices. The Casa de Pilatos, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Archivo General de Indias are all just a short walk away, so you can pick the one that appeals to you the most.
La Casa de Pilatos is a gorgeous Renaissance palace with Mudejar embellishments and lovely gardens. Built in the 16th century, the palace features stunning azulejos, frescoes, arched courtyards, and the lacy intricate architecture that is the hallmark of Mudejar buildings.
While Seville’s secondary palaces, like the Casa de Pilatos, the Palace of the Countess of Lebrija, and the Casa de las Dueñas are all spectacular, you’ll be touring the Royal Alcazar, the most magnificent of Seville’s palaces, so if you’d like to try something different, pick a museum!
…or The Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla
The Museum of Fine Arts houses a fine collection of Spanish art from medieval times until the early 20th century. Here you can see works by the likes of Murillo, Goya, and Zurbarán. The building was originally a convent, and the entrance is gorgeous.
Many of Seville’s other museums are along the outside of the Maria Luisa Park, so if you want to visit one of them, head there before getting back to the Barrio Santa Cruz. We enjoyed our visit to the Archaeological Museum of Sevilla.
…or the Archivo General de Indias
If you enjoy history, you can visit the Archivo General de Indias, which is part of Seville’s UNESCO site, along with the Alcazar and the Cathedral. It houses documents that describe the history of the Spanish empire in the Americas and the Philippines.
You’ll find documents on historic Spanish expeditions that led to the discovery of new worlds. When we visited, we saw a stellar exhibit on Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. This is a fascinating repository!
Allow about 60 minutes
Have lunch at La Azotea
Barrio Santa Cruz is full of amazing options for lunch, from hole-in-the-wall tapas bars to full-fledged smart restaurants. We ate at La Azotea more than once during our stay in Seville. Everything we ate was so good!
We had a regular meal here once with starters and mains, and enjoyed tapas a couple of times during our stay in Seville. Their small plates are amazing!
Along the same street, Calle Mateos Gago, you’ll find any number of other restaurants if you are unable to find a table at La Azotea, or you prefer to eat somewhere else.
Tour the Royal Alcazar of Seville
The Real Alcázar de Sevilla is without a doubt the top sight to visit in the city, especially if you love history and architecture. Still the place where the royals of Spain stay when they visit the city, the palace is a splendid example of the Mudéjar style.
A Game of Thrones location, the Royal Alcazar was initially just a fortress. Over time, the rulers of Spain converted it into a palatial royal residence, with ornate rooms, gracious courtyards, and gorgeous gardens.
Don’t miss the Patio de las Doncellas, framed with lacy arches and a sunken garden in the middle. Gaze in awe at the Salón de Embajadores, with its beautiful wood ceiling.
Admire the enormous tapestries in the Salón de los Tapices. Visit the Baños de Doña María de Padilla for that iconic photo of the baths.
Finish your visit with a wander through the gardens, which feature lovely architectural elements, tall palm trees, fragrant climbing vines, arbors and fountains, and formal beds of plants hemmed in with box hedges.
Together with the Catedral de Sevilla and the Archivo General de Indias, the Royal Alcazar of Seville is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s one of the must-see monuments in all of Andalusia!
Reserve tickets or a tour in advance!
A limited number of visitors are permitted inside the Alcazar each day. Since you have limited time in the city, I suggest investing in a guided tour of the Alcazar, so you see everything in an efficient manner and don’t miss anything of import. Plus, you’ll learn an incredible amount about the history and the architecture while you tour.
Consider this highly rated 3-hour small group tour of the Alcazar, the Cathedral, and La Giralda, with skip-the-line access and English commentary. Reserve ahead of time to be assured of an afternoon slot on the date of your visit.
If you’d rather explore on your own, get your skip-the-line Alcazar tickets in advance to avoid the long lines at the popular Seville sight, especially if you visit in season.
Allow about 90 minutes
Be awed by the Seville Cathedral
The Seville Cathedral was built at the site of the Great Mosque of Seville built by the Moors. The mandate for the new church was: “Let’s build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are mad.”
When finished, the Seville Cathedral became the largest cathedral in the world! Officially the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, the structure features a gorgeous Gothic exterior.
The interior will have you gaping at its sheer size and grandeur. It features no less than 80 chapels, and the tombs of royals and cardinals as well as the explorer Christopher Columbus.
One of the few features of the mosque that is still standing today is the lovely Patio de los Naranjos, with its rows of orange trees and fountain.
Get your skip-the-line entrance to the Cathedral and La Giralda in advance, unless you opt for a guided tour.
Allow about 45 to 60 minutes
Take in the views from La Giralda
One of the few elements from the Moorish mosque that survived is La Giralda. The bell tower of the cathedral used to be the minaret of the mosque.
Rising gracefully into the sky, the tower stands 342 feet tall. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the Andalusian capital.
Inside, walk up the ramp to the top, from where you can get panoramic views of the city of Seville and the spires of the Seville Cathedral.
The ramp was designed for the horses or donkeys on which the muezzin rode to the top of the minaret to summon the faithful to prayer. It makes for a gentler climb than steps.
Allow about 45 minutes
Visit Plaza Nueva and Las Setas de Sevilla
Take a short walk to Plaza Nueva, one of Seville’s beautiful squares, where you can sit for a bit with a drink and people watch, or look around and then walk to another must-see Seville monument, this one a more recent addition to the city.
Las Setas de Sevilla, also called the Metropol Parasol or the Mushrooms of the Incarnation, is a wooden structure designed by Jürgen Mayer, a German architect. The structure is made up of half a dozen large parasols with a viewing gallery on the top level.
There is a small fee to enter.
Allow about 45 minutes
That concludes your sightseeing activities for the day. Here’s a map that shows all the spots on this Seville one-day itinerary:
If you are not interested in the flamenco, but would love an in-depth exploration of the food scene, I suggest joining a food tour led by a local. This highly-rated 3-hour tour takes you to 3 different restaurants for tapas and wine tastings.
Enjoy some tapas
If you would like to try Seville’s tapas on your own prior to taking in a flamenco show, pick one place where you can sample a variety of plates. Service tends to be leisurely, with meals lasting hours, so making your selections in one go is your best shot at saving time.
Try Mechela, which features traditional ingredients but serves them with modern flair. They have a few vegetarian options as well as a wide variety of meat and fish choices. Make reservations ahead of time!
El Rinconcillo is just a short walk from Las Setas de Sevilla. Founded in 1670, this is the place to go if you’re seeking traditional Seville tapas served in an old-school atmosphere. They have lots of choices for both cold and hot plates. Their salmorejo is delicious!
Take in a flamenco show
End your day in Seville with a flamenco show, where flamboyant dancers put on a scintillating display of footwork and flounces that will get your feet tapping. Soulful singing, a guitar, and rhythmic clapping accompany the dancing.
We loved the show we saw at the Museo del Baile Flamenco. You can get your tickets in advance here. You have the option to include a tour of the museum. The venue is small and intimate.
The seating is all on a flat floor, so arrive early to get seats right in front, or sit right at the back so you can stand to observe the footwork if you like. The show lasts for 60 minutes.
Or consider this highly-rated show in the Triana district, which will also give you the opportunity to check out the district across the river.
Allow 60 minutes
Getting into Seville
Seville has an international airport, and you can fly in from many destinations in Europe or other places in the world. The airport is located about 7 miles from the city center. Take a bus, or a taxi, into the center.
You can drive to Seville if you are planning a road trip through Spain or through Andalusia. Choose a hotel that offers parking, and reserve your rental car well ahead of your planned trip, especially if you are looking for automatic transmission.
Looking for a car rental for your Spain (or Europe) road trip? We’ve had great experience booking with Rentalcars: they offer deals across several different providers and have a wide selection on offer.
Compare prices and find your car at RentalCars.com!
High speed train is a very efficient way of getting around Spain if you do not plan on driving. You can get from Madrid to Sevilla in about 2 hours and 20 minutes, or from Malaga María Zambrano to Sevilla in about 1 hour and 55 minutes.
You’ll get the best deals on fares if you book well in advance. While the premium class is super comfy, the regular tourist class is very good as well. Trains are clean, and we found that they generally run on time.
We booked our Spain train tickets on Omio. Their website is in English, and booking is easy and hassle-free for most destinations in Europe. They may charge a nominal booking fee. It’s one fee per booking, so plan out your itinerary and book all your tickets in one go.
Check availability and buy your train or bus tickets on Omio!
Renfe is the company that operates Spain’s trains. You can book tickets on Renfe’s website as well, but it can be notoriously difficult to navigate and get credit card transactions to go through without issues, especially if you are using US cards.
Getting around in Seville
You can walk everywhere in the historical center: most of the major sights are not too far from one another. Taxis are available as well.
Even if you arrived by car, it is best to leave it parked while you explore the city on foot, because driving within the center, with its narrow alleys and numerous one-way streets, can prove challenging.
The local bus is another good option if you don’t want to walk. The circular routes are especially useful: C3 and C4 run along the loop road just outside the city, while C5 runs in a loop inside the center. You can buy a single-use ticket or the daily pass.
Seville also has trams and a metro, and you can rent bikes as well.
Where to stay in Seville
You will want to stay in the Barrio Santa Cruz or the Centro, to be close to all the action. If you plan to visit in April, book rooms well ahead of time: Semana Santa and the Feria de Abril, two popular Seville events, lead to a big influx of visitors.
Another tip: opt for the hotel breakfast, if one is offered. All the Andalusian hotels we stayed at featured huge buffet spreads and made-to-order items at breakfast that enabled us to fill up at the start of the day. Many days we skipped lunch and just snacked on small plates at some point in the day when we felt hungry.
We stayed in the Gran Melia Colon and loved it. The hotel is centrally located, within walking distance of most major sights. Furnishings are contemporary, beds super comfy, and bathrooms modern and well-appointed. There’s parking, and free wifi. What we loved most about it was the excellence of the service!
Book a stay here
For a special occasion splurge, especially if you are visiting outside of high season, consider the Hotel Alfonso XIII. Housed in a historic palace, the hotel features luxuriously appointed rooms and large bathrooms. It is located in Barrio Santa Cruz, in the heart of the historic center.
Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Book a stay here
So there you have it: my suggestions for how to spend a perfect day in Seville. Have you visited? I would love to hear your thoughts on Seville: comment below to respond!
And if you haven’t yet visited the Andalusian capital, I hope I have inspired you to add it to your itinerary for Spain! You will love it as a destination unto itself, but also check out the amazing day trips from Seville you can add to your Andalusia itinerary!
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More Information for Your Trip to Andalusia
Seville: 3 Days in Seville – The Ultimate Itinerary!
Granada: What to Do in 3 Days in Granada
Cordoba: The Best Things to Do in Cordoba
Real Alcazar: Visiting the Real Alcazar of Seville
Day Trips: The Best Day Trips from Seville
Ronda: Things to Do in Ronda
Andalusia: The 5 Must-See Monuments in Andalusia
Day Trips: The Best Day Trips from Malaga
Itinerary: The Ultimate Andalusia Itinerary
Malaga: The Best Day Trips from Malaga
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