Spain is the one country that I always find myself returning to. Each region has something unique to offer, Seville and the South of Spain is particularly charming. Seville offers warm weather, beautiful Moorish architecture, and delicious orange wine. If that’s not enough to convince you to visit, it is also home to the Palace of Dorne in Game of Thrones. This city is full of wonders and things to do.
Free Walking Tour
I always suggest taking a free walking tour on the first day in a new city, this way you can get the best information and recommendations on what to do and see. My partner and I went with Free Tour Seville, which has a monument tour every day at 10:00 a.m. starting at Plaza Nueva. After meeting at the plaza we were fortunate to be the only two people on the English tour. Our guide took us to Giralda Tower, explained the history of all the sights, and even told us the best way to get tickets to Alcazar. The tour finished off at Plaza de España, where we were free to walk around and enjoy the rest of our day with a new knowledge of Seville.
Reservations for any of their tours should be made here, on their website.
Plaza de España
Also known as the Spanish steps, this monument was built in 1929 for the Ibero-American exhibition. It represents Moorish, Baroque, and Renaissance style architecture. In addition to being a rich spot of beauty and history, it’s also the filming location of one of the Star Wars movies. Which one I don’t know, but I’m sure movie goers will recognize the view.
It’s free to walk around to see the mosaics and design within the plaza. There are even a few museums within the structure, though most of the rooms are used as office spaces.
Hotel Alfonso XIII
Like the Plaza de España, this hotel was built in preparation for the Ibero-American exhibition of 1929. King Alfonso commissioned architect José Espiua y Muñoz to design the structure for foreign dignitaries to stay during the event. Since then, the hotel has hosted many important guests, including the GOT cast during filming. Anyone is free to enter the establishment, so we wandered in to see the artwork and catch a quick break. There is a beautiful restaurant/café passed the lobby, but it is on the pricey side, we just peaked at the exhibits and rested in one of the halls. It should also be noted that the restrooms are extremely clean and free of charge, which can sometimes be hard to find.
I feel that this is absolutely necessary if visiting Southern Spain, Seville has a few different places to see Flamenco shows, even a Flamenco Museum. We decided on the show offered at La Casa del Flamenco, and truly enjoyed the experience. Around 60 chairs are lined around the small stage, giving audience members an intimate look at the performers. Tickets should be purchased online ahead of time, as they sell out quickly.
Admission: €18 adults/€10 children
After the completion of this structure in 1198, it became the tallest tower in the world. Of course, that doesn’t hold true today, but it is still of great significance. Giralda Tower is a piece left behind from the Almohad dynasty of the Moorish empire, originally being a part of the Almohad Mosque. The mosque was later converted to a cathedral after the city was conquered by Christians and Muslims were exiled. Fortunately, it still holds much of the beautiful Moorish architecture of its time.
The tower consists of 35 ramps and a set of 17 steps to the top of the bell tower. Admission to the tower is included with a ticket to Seville Cathedral. Check out their website here for hours and ticket sales.
Admission: €10 General/€5 Discounted
This palace is famous for being the filming location for Dorne in GOT, but there’s so much more to it than that. In my opinion, it’s an immaculate structure and one of the most beautiful places in the city. The palace was constructed during the 12th century with Mudejar architecture. After the Reconquista, it was later reconstructed in Baroque and Renaissance styles Inside the walls are lined with tiled mosaics, the walkways lead to fountains and never-ending gardens, and a tile exhibit is amongst one of the many rooms.
We learned from our guide on the first day that it’s best to plan ahead and buy tickets online the day before, as ticket lines are very long.
Admission: €12.50 general/€4 senior citizens & students/Free admission for children and disabled persons
Mercado Lonja Del Barranco
When in Spain, one must have wine and tapas to get the full experience of Spanish culture. If you want to avoid the touristy restaurants, the markets are a nice change. Mercado Lonja del Barranco is a gourmet food hall in the riverside, with plenty of seating and a bright atmosphere. There are 20 different food stalls featuring cocktails, beer and wine, tapas, and desserts. It also has a little history of it’s own, being the only iron market left in Seville. From the time it was constructed in 1883 until 1970, it served as a wholesale fish market. It wasn’t until 2014 that it was transformed to the market it is today.
Of course, there is so much more to do in Seville, and many reasons to include this city in your visit to Spain. In between sightseeing, take a stroll through Park Maria Luisa, try the orange wine at a local bar, or take a walk through the Royal Tobacco Factory. But most importantly take a moment to enjoy all the riches the city has to offer.