My family recently traveled to Sanlúcar de Barrameda for a visit and we decided to take a day trip to Seville. We had a great time, but I wouldn’t recommend going to Seville during the months of July and August if possible – it’s known for being unbearably hot in summer (all the locals go to Sanlúcar and other nearby beach towns to escape the heat!). Luckily while we were there it was only about 33 °C degrees (92°F) – usually the temperature is around 40 °C (104°F) in August. Once you’re in the center (near Barrio Santa Cruz), all of the main attractions are within walking distance – I would recommend visiting the Plaza de España in the morning and save the Cathedral and Alcázar for the hottest parts of the day. The best time to visit the Metropol Parasol (or “seta” as the locals call it – meaning “mushroom”) is in the evening at sunset.
If you still have your student card from university bring it! Most of the attractions offer a student discount– I’ve been out of school for about 5 years now and was able to use my old student ID from college, if you’re under 26 years old you can qualify for other discounts too. Check out this post for more ideas + hourly itinerary you can reference for your next visit to Seville.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See – Seville Cathedral
The cathedral in Seville is definitely a sight to behold! It’s the largest cathedral in the world and burial location of Christopher Columbus. If you don’t feel like paying to get in there are sections of the church that are open to the public sometimes – on the side facing Avenida de la Consitución particularly – but in my opinion paying the entrance fee is worth it! Once you’re in the cathedral you can also climb the tower (La Giralda) which was originally part of the Mosque built by the Moors in 1198 A.D. When the Spanish re-conquered the city they built the cathedral and converted the mosque’s minaret into the church’s bell tower.
Cathedral’s hours of operation:
Winter (September to June):
Mondays – 11am to 3.30pm
Tuesdays to Saturdays – 11am to 5pm
Sundays – 2.30pm to 6.30pm
Summer (July & August):
Mondays – 9.30am to 2.30pm
Tuesdays to Saturdays – 9.30am to 4.30pm
Sundays – 2.30pm to 6.30pm
General entrance fee is 8€, students and seniors tickets are 3€.
Bonus – Best rooftop bars in Seville!
For a beautiful view of the cathedral at night you should stop by Hotel Eme or Hotel Doña Maria and go to their rooftop bars (Hotel Eme is the more pricey of the two but it offers more seating options – if you’re on a tight budget stick to beer or wine…mojitos cost €17 here!).
Alcázar of Seville – Royal Palace
I love exploring the Alcazar! It was built by the Moors in the 10th century and is currently the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. I’ve been several times and each time I go I still can’t believe how beautiful it is. It reminds me of the Alhambra in Granada – filled with amazing Mudejar architecture, intricate geometrical designs everywhere you look, impressive furnishings, and tons of history! There are also beautiful gardens with peacocks and fountains – not to mention a hedge maze! Also, for all you Game of Thrones fans out there – you may recognize the Alcázar palace and gardens in scenes of Dorne from season 5!
Alcazar’s hours of operation:
Mondays to Sundays – 9.30am to 5pm
Mondays to Sundays – 9.30am to 7pm
General tickets cost 8.75€, seniors and students (ages 17 – 25) tickets cost 2€. Also individuals under the age of 16 can enter for free!
Metropol Parasol – The “Seta”
Locals refer to the Metropol Parasol as the seta (mushroom) because of the structures mushroom-like form. The seta is the world’s largest wooden structure and was recently completed in 2011. During the construction of the seta roman artifacts were discovered so a museum was also built in the base of the structure to house the artifacts that were found. There is a ticket booth underneath the seta where you can purchase tickets to see the museum and to take an elevator to the top – if you want to go to the top of the seta plan your visit around sunset for some great photo ops!
Seta’s hours of operation:
Sundays to Thursdays – 10:30am to 11:45pm
Fridays and Saturdays – 10:30am to 12:45am
Tickets to go to the top of the structure cost 3€.
Plaza de España
The Plaza de España is a must-see! It’s located in Maria Luisa Park (right next to El Prado bus station) and was built for the 1929 World’s Fair which was held in Seville. I’d recommend strolling around the plaza and viewing each of the Province Alcoves which line the plaza – it’s also fun to take the little rowboats around (last time I rented a boat it cost 5€ for 30 minutes). The plaza is open to the public and there is no entrance fee – it’s open all day! 😉
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