The southern region of Andalusia in my opinion is Spain’s beating heart and its capital Sevilla or Seville is a wonderful example of this. The city is famous for flamenco dancing, the ornate Alcazar castle and its gothic cathedral. I spent 2 days in Seville and really enjoyed exploring the sites and sounds of the city. Here are all the places you can visit if you have 2 days in Seville.
Instead of dividing the attractions by day, I am going to list them out by order of must see places. This way you can go down the list and see the more important attractions first.
The Real Alcázar of Seville
The Royal Alcázar is still part of one of the official residences of the Spanish Royal family. This castle became extremely popular after the TV series Game of Thrones where it was the filming location for Dorne. Having been inhabited for nearly a thousand years, the Alcázar remains the oldest occupied royal residence in Europe.
I was not a fan of GOT when I visited (I am a massive fan now after finally joining the bandwagon!) so for me the biggest attraction was the beautiful moorish architecture. Originally built in the 10th century as a palace for the governor of the Moorish state, the building was rebuilt after the reconquista and occupied by king Pedro I in the 14th century. The ornate mudejar architecture and extensive gardens is an absolute must see when in Seville.
Click HERE for ticket information. Highly recommend buying tickets in advance and getting there early. Security is tight since the Alcazar is still occupied by the Spanish Royal family and you will have to go through a security desk where you and your bags will go through an x-ray machine before proceeding to the palace. Lines are long to buy tickets in person and with only 2 days in Seville, standing in line will be a waste of time.
Admission is free on Mondays. However, it is advisable to reserve a ticket in advance online paying the €1 processing fee.
Ticket prices vary depending on what you want to do. At the most basic level is a general visit to the palace. You can then add on an audio guide and/or a visit to the high rooms. The high room option is to see the upper apartments of the Royal residence. I cannot recommend this experience more!!
A visit to the High Rooms
If you purchase this option, you will be given a set time and you have to show up a couple of minutes early to the designated place. I almost missed this because I didn’t realize where the designated place was. When you are standing at the Courtyard of the Hunt (Patio del la Monteria) and facing the grand entryway, you will see a staircase to the right of the entryway. Take those stairs and at the top, turn to your right. I didn’t realize this was the spot because there was no one there at that time. This is because tickets are so limited that you won’t find a lot of people . If you see another x-ray machine for bags, you are at the right spot. Wait there until a guard shows up.
Once the guard arrives, you will have to scan your belongings again and then you will be given a key to a locker to keep all your things. Nothing and I really mean nothing is allowed inside other than you and your locker key. You will be given an audio guide and the guard will follow you closely from room to room. At the end of the tour are the rooms still occupied by the Royal family. The room where the present King’s desk is at is a site that will be forever etched in my mind. I remember standing there with my mouth open gazing at the most intricate mujedar carvings I had ever seen. If you peep in a bit more, you will see a grand piano and more lavish and modern decor.
Plaza De España
Probably one of my favorite things to see in Seville and a definite must if you have 2 days in Seville. This magnificent complex embodies the essence of Spanish architecture. There is a canal around the complex that you ride a hired boat in. I absolutely enjoyed all the colorful tiles depicting the different provinces and regions of Spain. I spent about 2 hours here but definitely could have spent much more time.
Cathedral and Giralda
The Catedral de Sevilla is the third-largest church in Europe and the largest gothic church in the world. The church was built during the reconquista in the 15th century after tearing down the existing mosque. Today, it is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus.
The Giralda or tower was the minaret of the mosque back in the day. Climb the Giralda for commanding views of the city. The climb consists of 33 ramps and a few steps at the top. The ramp accommodated the donkey that the Imam rode 5 times a day to the top of th tower to call the faithful to pray back in the day.
I recommend buying tickets online HERE as there was a line wrapped around the Cathedral to buy tickets on that day. The Cathedral is closed for visits during mass times so check before you buy. If you purchase a ticket online, simply walk up to the gate and show your ticket to get in.
Flamboyant, soulful, rhythmic, and full of energy, a good flamenco show will keep you at the edge of your seat. Out of all the places in Spain to see flamenco, Seville is perhaps the best and most famous city for this dance form. There are many ways to see flamenco in Seville. Most often, you will see dancers out on the streets. However, to guarantee an amazing experience, book yourself a show in advance. Being the centerpoint of flamenco, there are many option to choose from in Seville. After much research I went with Casa del a Memoria. HERE is the link to book tickets. The seats are first comes first served so be sure to get there early to grab a good seat.
Cross the Bridge to Triana
This colorful and spirited neighborhood on the west bank of the river is well worth the walk. Cross the river via the Puente de Isabel II bridge and walk along the streets to really see the working men and women Seville minus the hordes of tourists.
Walk Around Barrio Santa Cruz
Seville’s oldest quarters with its narrow lanes, small squares and wrought-iron decorated houses was once Seville’s thriving and bubbling Jewish quarters. Today, it is a great way to escape all the tourists flocking to some of the other attractions around Seville. Start your walk from Patio de Banderas and follow the narrow streets in to the Barrio to experience the real soul of Seville.
Iglesia del Salvador
The church of the Savior is Seville’s second-largest church after the Cathedral. This baroque styled church was built on the site of a 9th century mosque. Today, the church is home to beautiful ornate statues that parade through Seville’s streets during religious festivals like Easter.
Cost – €4 or you can buy a combo ticket with the Cathedral ticket. HERE is the link again.
Explore the Architecture
If you have read my previous posts, you know how much I love architecture and Seville didn’t disappoint here at all. The following are some of the most beautiful buildings that you are sure to pass during your 2 days in Seville.
Plaza Jesus De La Pasion
Small square with this beautiful building as the main attraction. A street over from Iglesia del El Salvador.
Hotel Alfonso XIII
One of the most famous hotels in Seville and an iconic landmark of the city.
Plaza Virgen de los Reyes
This plaza with its ornate lamp post is right next to the Cathedral is a great place to sit and take it all in.
This beautiful tower is a tribute to Christopher Columbus. Do you see the iron ship in the center?
San Telmo Palace
Formally a university, it now is the seat of the presidency of the Andalusian Autonomous Government.
El balcón de Rosina
This beautiful balcony is in Barrio Santa Cruz and very close to the Columbus Monument.
Avenida de la Constitucion
This most famous street in Seville was deemed a pedestrian zone with the exception of the tram line which cuts through the streets. It’s amazing to see the way people go about their business even when there is an incoming tram and only move off the path at the very last minute.
The paseo culture is strong in Seville, especially along the Avenida de la Constitucion. Paseo is the spanish word for leisurely stroll and you will see this in the evening in most Spanish cities. Members of families, old and young come out to stroll before dinner time.
La Plaza Nueva & Plaza de San Francisco
These two squares are at the start of Avenida de la Constitucion and straddle the City Hall of Seville. Plaza Nueva plays homage to King Ferdinand III who captured Seville from the Moors in the 13th century while Plaza de San Francisco is lined with beautiful buildings with colorful facades, a big contrast from the days when it used to be a site for executions and bullfights.
Torre del Oro
This tower was named for the gold tiles which once adorned its facade. Built by the Moors in the 13th century, this tower famously sits on the river bank of Seville’s historic river. It now houses a naval museum which can be skipped. For the best view cross the bridge to the otherside or visit during sunset.
How to get to Seville
Seville is accessible by plane, train or bus.
By Plane – San Pablo Airport is about six miles from downtown. The cheapest way to get to the city center is via the Especial Aeropuerto bus (€4 )
By Train – Spain’s high speed trains or AVE bullet trains connect Seville to the rest of Spain. For reference, it takes about 2.5 hour to get to Seville from Madrid.
By Bus – I got to Seville via bus from Granada. Seville has two main bus stations El Prado and Plaza de Armas. You can get to Seville via bus from the rest of andalusia or even from long distance destinations like Barcelona and Lisbon.
I usually use Trainline to find the best possible way to travel within a country in Europe.
Getting Around Seville
Most of Seville is walkable. You certainly wouldn’t need any public transportation to visit any of the sites on this list (especially if you are staying in the town center). However if you need to use public transport you have the options of taxis, buses, trams or the metro.
Buses, trams and the metro all cost the same amount for a single trip (€1.40). You can also get a tourist card (Tarjeta Turistica) for 1-3 days and is significantly cheaper if you will be riding these modes a lot. A one day card is €5 and while the three day card is €10. There is a €1.5 deposit on these.
You can buy these cards at the airport, TUSSAM kiosks, El Prado bus station or Santa Justa train station.
Where to Stay
The city center of Seville is compact and your best bet is to find accomodation around the center so that you don’t spend time and money commuting back and forth.
I stayed at Las Casas de los Mercaderes. It was in a perfect location, super close to all the main attractions on this 2 days in Seville list. My room opened out to a beautiful central courtyard.
Seville has some amazing food options! Two of my most memorable food experiences were trying out this paella from a hole in the wall in the Triana area. I was walking by when I saw them cooking paella in a massive pot and dishing out plates to customer. It was only €5 for a plate but honestly the best paella I had on the trip. You can definitely find these more authentic and less touristy places in the Triana area across the bridge.
My other favorite was ordering an entire cheese and jamon platter for myself at Mama Bistro. The sangria was amazing but the atmosphere around the restaurant was even more special.
When to Visit
Spain, especially the south in Andalusia can get really hot in the summer. I visited Seville in December and found the temperature mild and tolerable. Seville was extravagantly decorated for Christmas which is definitely an added bonus for visiting during this time.
See my post about spending Christmas in Spain HERE.
Want to check out more towns in Andalusia? Check out my post on Cordoba HERE.
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