Seville (Spain). What to See – and how to do it on a budget

What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget

What to See in Seville – and how to do it on a budget

We’ve been in Seville 8 weeks and have loved it. Seville makes both an excellent “slow” base as well as a great destination for a tourist on vacation.

Related: What is Seville (Spain) like? Observations, experiences and thoughts from a month in Seville


This post covers the “must-see” highlights in the city – it also includes tips on how to save money.

Very important: Check the official websites I’ve included because I’ve information in Seville seems to change a lot. Also: when you get to one of these highlights, ask when they have free times. A local told us a story of a French family with 4 kids that paid full price to get into the Casa de Pilatos. It was 10 minutes to 3 on a Wednesday and if they had waited 10 minutes it would have been totally free. The bureaucrats manning the entrance won’t tell you and many of the websites don’t advertise their free days.


Alcázar of Seville –  10/10

The Alcázar is, in our opinion, the top sight in Seville. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best examples of Moorish architecture in Spain. Built in the 1300’s, it was the royal palace of the Moorish kings and the upper floors are still used today as the official Sevilla residence of the Royal family. Fantastic Islamic architecture, lavish and extensive gardens with ponds and fountains. Exquisite.

The official website
Regular ticket price is 9.50 €/person.
Save: in the summer, there is free admittance on Mondays between 6pm -7pm. In the winter Mondays between 4pm-5pm are free.
Comments: In our case, it was one of the few places where we didn’t take advantage of the free visit. Honestly, you can’t properly see the Alcázar in one hour – the palace covers a lot of ground and there’s a lot of detail. Even at regular price we felt we really got our money’s worth here. If you want to skip the lines and have a guide to the Alcázar, this tour might interest you.

Alcázar of Seville. What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget



Seville Cathedral –  9/10

Another UNESCO site, the Cathedral is another essential “must see” site in Seville. It is the 3rd largest church in the world and the largest Gothic Cathedral anywhere. The tomb of Christopher Columbus resides here, held in dramatic fashion by 4 figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain (at the time). The bell tower (the Giralda) dates back to the Moors and was the bell tower of the Mosque that stood on the site. The tower is easy to ascend, with a series of ramps (not stairs) leading to the top. It was designed this way so that officials could get to the top on donkeys or horses.

The official website
Regular ticket price is 9.00 €/person.
Save: On Mondays, they have a free tour including an audio guide, from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm. But you have to pre-register by writing them here: Do it a couple of weeks in advance. Included in the tour is the bell tower.
Comments: The tour is made up of about 50 people and it’s pretty cool seeing the Cathedral without the hundreds of tourists that are usually in there. We felt that the tour was a bit rushed but you get to see all the highlights – definitely worth it for the savings.

Seville Cathedral. What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget



Plaza de España –  8/10

Plaza de España was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929 (Expo 29). It includes a large, semi-circular brick building, Renaissance/neo-Moorish in style, with a tower at either end. Along the front façade of the building are 48 beautifully tiled alcoves with benches representing each of Spain’s 48 provinces.In front of the building, is a 500-metre canal crossed by four bridges. You can rent small boats to row in the canal.


Comments: The tilework on the building and bridges is exquisite. You can probably spend an hour walking around and looking at the gorgeous tiles on the alcoves. When planning to come here you should also plan to see Maria Louisa park and the Archaeological Museum which border on Plaza de España. Between the 3 sites you can easily spend a half day.




Accommodation in Seville 

A few recommendations: Hotel Fernando III (spiffy hotel with pool, great location, nice views. Good value). Hotel Alminar (superb hotel with fantastic location). Budget options: Hotel Goya (nice little place, great location. Fantastic value for money) and For You Hostel Sevilla (one of the nicest laid out hostels you’ll find anywhere. Really superb).



Maria Luisa Park –  8/10

Really beautiful park right in front of the Plaza de España. Fountains, ponds, huge trees, a viewpoint, even a few sitting places where books are laid out to read (in Spanish). But what amazed us were the parrots – look up, you’ll see wild parrots flying among the trees.


Comments: A gorgeous, peaceful park. You can walk from Plaza de España on one side of the park across to the Archaeological Museum on the other.



Archaeological Museum – 7/10

A worthwhile – and not expensive – museum which dates the history in the region. The highlights include Roman artifacts (statues, columns and mosaics) from the ancient town of Itálica. The building itself is impressive, built as part of the 1929 Exhibition (along with Plaza de España)

The Official Website
The regular price is 1.50 € per person BUT if you have proof of EU residency it is FREE

Comments: Some of the signage is in English but most is in Spanish only. Archaeological Museums are not for everyone but if you have an interest in history you might find this museum interesting. It was a really nice walk here through Maria Louisa Park so we didn’t find that getting here took us out of our way – we in fact quite enjoyed this museum.

archaeological-museum. What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget



Metropol Parasol – 8/10

This structure, finished in 2011, opened up in 2011 and claims to be the world’s largest wooden structure. Impressive enough from ground level, you can buy a ticket and walk along the top, enjoying some of the best views in the city.

The official website
Price is 3 € per person – which includes a drink (including beer or wine) at the top.
Comments: We think the Parasol is really worth a visit and with the free drink at the top it’s good value.

metropol-parasol-seville. What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget



Basílica de la Macarena – 8/10

This is Lissette’s favorite church in the city. Seville has some incredible churches but this church is famous for the Virgen de la Esperanza Macarena (Macarena Virgin of Hope) which is a statue adorned with a golden crown and lavish robes. She is the most celebrated Virgin in Spain and kicks off Semana Santa, the Holy week celebrations that have made Seville famous.


Comments: Ask Lissette, she’ll tell you that she’s never felt as moved by a church as much as the Basilica de la Macarena. A local said that we were probably feeling “the people’s love for the Virgen”. They love this church. I like this church because the Macarena song pops into my head every time we go there 🙂  No, seriously, it’s a beautiful church.



Palacio de las Dueñas – 8/10

Built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences. The palace is one of the major historic homes in the city of great architectural and artistic heritage. Courtyards, gardens, and some beautifully furnished rooms.

The official website
Regular ticket price is 8.00 €/person.
Save: Free admittance on Mondays after 4pm.
Comments: We would see a few different Palacios built in Spain’s “Golden Age” when Seville was the richest city in the Kingdom. Of those Palacio de las Dueñas is the most romantic, a palace that symbolizes everything “Sevilla” with its gardens, paintings and warm colors.

palacio-de-las-duenas. What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget


Iglesia Santa María La Blanca – 8/10

If Basílica de la Macarena was Lissette’s favorite church, then Iglesia Santa Maria la Blanca was mine. It’s a small, Baroque-style church with the most incredibly amazing ceilings I’ve ever seen.


Comments: Lissette says this church looks like a wedding cake. There’s something light and airy about it though, a real nice vibe, along with the incredible ceiling and Moorish arches. Love this church.




Casa de Pilatos – 8/10

Another private Palacio, one of Seville’s most popular. Large, with beautiful rooms and gardens – but what really stands out here is the incredible tilework. The most incredible tiles (azulejos) in Seville.

The official website
Regular ticket price is 8.00 €/person for just the ground floor, 10.00€/person if including a guided tour of the upstairs.
Save: Free Wednesdays from 3pm – 7pm but only for those with an EU passport (which we haven’t seen anywhere else).
Comments: This Palacio gets a lot of negative comments. People complain about unfriendly staff, a long-winded audio guide (true!), and the required tours (and extra cost) to see the upstairs. But it is a “must see”, especially for it’s tiles. The most beautiful tiles in the city.



Monasterio de Santa Paula – 7/10

For 5 centuries this monastery has been run by nuns. Even today, a nun will happily show around the Monastery museum which has an impressive collection of religious art. Also within the monastery is a beautiful little church. You can buy cookies and jams made by the nuns themselves.

The official website
Regular ticket price is 3.00 €/person.

Comments: We were greeted by incredibly friendly nuns who seemed happy to guide us around. Not many other visitors, felt very private.

convent-de-santa-paula-sevilla. What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget



Hospital de los Venerables – 7/10

The full name of this building is The Hospital of the Venerable Priests of Seville. Built in the 1600’s, it served as a residence for priests, most of them old, poor or disabled. The highlights are a gorgeous church within the residence as well as a magnificent ceiling above the stairwell.

The Official website
Regular ticket price is 5.50 €/person.
Save: Free Sundays between 2 pm – 6 pm.
Comments: Worth a visit, the church is exquisite. Located near the Alcazar and Cathedral.

hopital-de-los-venerables. Seville



Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija – 7/10

Build in the 15th century, this Palacio was bought in 1901 by Regla Manjón Mergelina (the Countess of Lebrija) who restored and reconstructed it to house her valuable collection of antiquities. She had a passion for archaeology and decided to adorn the palace with artifacts found during her excavations, as well as those bought from other archaeologists. The palace is particularly noteworthy for it’s collection of floor and wall mosaics.

The official website
Regular ticket price is 5.00 €/person for just the ground floor, 8.00€/person if including a guided tour of the upstairs.
Save: 2 free tours on Sundays at 6pm and 6:30 pm.
Comments: A gorgeously tiled staircase is a highlight along with all the mosaics. The sun room is also gorgeous. Needs some restoration as the floors are coming undone and the paint peeling…in the worst shape of any of the palacios mentioned here. Sad, it is still a beautiful building but must have been magnificent at it’s height.

palacio-de-la-condesa-de-lebrija. Seville


Capilla de San José – 7/10

A small but stunning church right off Sierpes Street (the main shopping street in Seville). Magnificent baroque art.


Comments: We stumbled across this church when walking around. It looks old and needs restoration – but it only adds to the charm. Overwhelming.

capilla-de-san-jose-seville. What to See in Seville - and how to do it on a budget


Iglesia del Salvador – 6/10

The 2nd largest church in Seville after the Cathedral. Built in 1647 over what was previously a mosque. Has 3 naves, all heavily decorated in Baroque Style.

Official Website
Price: 4.00 €/person BUT many buy a combination ticket here which includes this church as well the the Cathedral and Giralda (for 9.00 €)
Save: Buy the combination ticket mentioned above.
Comments: Very large, impressive church. But to us didn’t have the impact of some of the smaller churches mentioned above.

salvador-church. Seville


Torre del Oro – 3/10

Torre del Oro (Golden Tower). Built in 1220, it protected the river with a thick chain that extended to another tower on the other side of the river. It now houses a small maritime museum and you can also climb to the top for views of the city and river.

Price: 3.50 €/person
Save: Free on Mondays
Comments: The museum is very small but has some impressive replica models of old ships. The views from the top are not very impressive. Honestly, don’t go unless on the free Monday. The whole thing will take you about 15 minutes.

golden-tower-sevilla. Seville


Palacio Marqueses de la Algaba – 3/10

A palace that today houses a small museum dedicated to Moorish artifacts (pottery, vases, the remains of statues and columns).


Comments: I wouldn’t put it high on your list. But it is free and the building and courtyard are pretty. If you like historical artifacts you’ll enjoy the small museum.

palacio-marqueses-de-la-algaba. Seville.

Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza – N/A

Seville’s bullring, still used today for bullfighting festivals.

Official Website
Price: 8.00 €/person for a tour (you cannot visit on your own)
Save: Free Mondays 3pm – 7 pm (but see my note below)
Comments: Note about the “Free” Mondays: done by tours and numbers are limited. If you show up you may be told that the “next available tour is at 7pm” (which you have to pay for). We never ended up seeing it and felt we were handed a load of bullcrap. Their tip: show up around 12:30 on Monday if you want to get that free tour (which I’m told by locals is not worth it – they herd you through there pretty quickly and barely see the actual bullring).



Also worth a visit

General Archive of the Indies. Archives the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and Philipines. Always Free.
Museo de Bellas Artes. Fine art, including that of the best Spanish painters.  1.50 € per person but free if you have proof of EU residency.

And that’s not even including all the other beautiful churches or incredible buildings we saw during our time in Seville….



Organized Tours

For those who prefer the organization of a guided tour, the tours below are all excellent.



One last compilation with a bunch of photos that sums up our 8 week stay here.

Images of Seville, Spain


Have you been to Seville? What impressed you the most?


Related: 7 things to See and Do when visiting Granada


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What to See in Seville – and how to do it on a budget
What to See in Seville – and how to do it on a budget

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  1. Yes another high quality piece from you 2. A point of view without being opinionated based on solid experience – and none of the ghastly influencer type chuff! I am considering replanning my early retirement to spain or portugal (rather than asia) hence my keen interest in all your hard work.

  2. Hi guys, I just want to say this is the most useful post I have come across since starting planning my week in Andalucia in August. Well done and thank you!

  3. it certainly is very similar to places in sth america, yet even more grand and OTT. love the big waffle/wood structure. did you dance the macarena in the basilica? It had to be asked!

  4. Wow! You have me totally revved to return to Sevilla with your suggestions in hand! (Just sorry we couldn’t make it there during your visit. 🙁 ) The Alcazar still remain our favorite place in Sevilla and was an unexpected highlight during our first visit to the city. Next time, we’ll take the audio tour and plan to spend the whole day if necessary to see it all. Luckily there’s a cafe on the grounds if we become faint! We also loved the Cathedral – once was probably enough although, if our grandson visits, we’ll have to take him to see where Columbus is enshrined/entombed. During our visit, a service was in progress and hearing the music reverberate throughout the Cathedral was truly awesome!
    Hope you’re having fun in Japan and we’ll look forward to your next visit to Europe. We’ll definitely have our traveling shoes on by then and will make a meet-up a priority!

  5. We were only there for a couple of days enroute to Marrakech via Ryan Air. It was in Spring 2012 and there was a huge heatwave happening which spoiled our time there. Being Spring we didn’t think A/c was necessary and our Airbnb room was extremely hot. I remember walking around in a heat induced daze lol. The gardens were wilting and dry also. We could however see that it was a lovely city. We would love to return one day and with your comprehensive post to refer to it will be a breeze.

    1. Yes, I think we were taken aback as well by how hot Sevilla gets – like it has a touch of the tropics.
      Thanks for the comment Jan!

  6. What a Wonderful detailed post Frank ..! Looks like so much more to add to Seville itinerary …
    As usual i am always torn between destinations and this makes my task tougher ! ..:-)

  7. I did not realise how much there is to see in Seville? Sounds like you made the most of your time there? Your pictures are beautiful and it showcases well this amazing Spanish beauty.
    I don’t know if my comment will be accepted this time, recently I have had no luck….fingers crossed

    1. Hey Gilda!
      Thanks for the comment and sorry if you’ve had issues…no idea why.
      Sevilla is great, I hope you make it there one day. Lovely city and we will be back one day for sure.

  8. Oh what incredible photos. We spent a few months in Seville and loved it… your photographs transported me back into the streets of magnificence everywhere around every corner. Terrific. Thanks,

  9. Thanks for making the ratings highly visible. I was thinking, “Wow, what does it take to get a 10/10 with you guys?” I guess I’m gonna have to go to the Alcazar. By the way, have an amazing time in Japan!

  10. Nice one. Sums up things to do here, some of which we haven’t even done. We need to explore more of our own backyard. Amazing that 8 weeks have come by and gone. It seems like you just got here! Glad to see and hear you were kept busy 🙂 .

    1. Time flew here and we got really busy just living life and also preparing for Japan. Yeah, doesn’t seem long ago that we arrived in Sevilla and we’re actually sad to leave. For sure we’ll be back. Was nice seeing the two of you at the Food Festival!

  11. Sevilla and Spain in general still loiter on my bucket list… thanks for the added inspiration. such an incredible place, you certainly both spent enough time there to really get the most from it. Japan next huh, close to Australia, you should pop down under too!

    1. Lots to see in Southern Spain Jane – there’s also Granada, Ronda, Cadiz, Arcos de la Frontera…I really recommend the area and we’ve already decided we’d be back.
      I’m sure we’ll get to Australia one day! 🙂

  12. We will be in Spain during the months of January and February, not sure that we will be in Sevilla but if we are your tips will be helpful. Thanks!


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