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There is something about Seville, Spain that makes people fall in love with it. Talk to anyone who has traveled through Spain and you’ll hear so many of them rave about the southern region of Andalusia, and it’s capital city, Seville. Seville is a city full of culture, history, incredible food and so much to do. Although there are so many things to do in Seville, simply relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere is one of the best ways to spend your time in Seville. Seville is often visited as part of a larger southern Spain itinerary or even a Spain and Portugal itinerary. So, it many people who visit only have about 3 days in Seville. No worries, if you have a limited amount of time, you can still see many of the top sites in Seville and also fit in plenty of sangria and tapas even if you are only in Seville for 3 days.
Things to know about Seville, Spain
As with any place you visit, it’s important to know a little bit about Seville before you visit. It will not only help you appreciate the city more, but it will make your experience more memorable and more enriched.
Seville is the capital of Andalusia
Seville is the largest city in Andalusia and the capital of the region. With roughly 1.5 million people living in the metropolitan area, it is the fourth largest city in Spain. Despite the large population, we found Seville to be safe and surprisingly clean. Situated on the Guadalquivir River, the city offers fun river activities as well as historical and cultural experiences.
Weather in Seville
Seville is hot! At least in the summer. In fact, Seville is considered one of the warmest places in Europe. That’s great if visiting Seville in winter. Winters are mild and only partially wet. But if you are visiting Seville in summer, just be prepared for the heat. Seville’s summers can be very hot and dry.
History of Seville
Seville is known for flamenco dancing and delicious tapas, but the history is actually much more deep and interesting than that. It was once considered the economic center of the Spanish Empire. It has seen its fair share of wars and has been gone from a once Muslim-ruled city to a predominantly Catholic one.
Everything is closed on Sundays in Seville
Because Seville residents are predominantly of the Catholic faith, Sundays are treated as a holy day in the city. In fact, you will find most stores, museums, and attractions closed on Sundays in Seville. Despite much of the city shutting down on Sundays, it is one of my favorite days to visit. The streets will be quiet and empty, making them perfect for photos. Find a park to relax in or a restaurant in a plaza and enjoy some sangria and delicious tapas. There really is no better way to spend the day!
Afternoons are meant for “siestas” in Seville (a.k.a. naps)
Where we live in the United States, life always seems to move at a fast pace. People are always busy. We eat on the go, get our coffee to go. It’s easy to see why people are stressed and constantly burned out in the United States. We don’t take time to slow down because the never-ending rat race is the way of life. But in Spain, particularly in Seville and the Andalusia region, I came to adore the slower pace at which life seems to move.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of life in Seville is the siesta! From about 2-5 p.m. stores and many businesses in Seville are closed. The siesta is intended to be a time of rest. It keeps work hours lower for businesses and prevents people from having to work in the heat of the day. Ideally, people enjoy a long lunch, some family time, and take a nap. That is exactly what we did in Spain. It was so nice, on a trip that is typically filled with a ton of activities, to allow ourselves to rest, and even sleep during the middle of the day. Although many small businesses will close during the siesta hours in Seville, most of the shops in the tourist areas will remain open.
Spaniards eat late
Our daughter is still young, so we usually eat dinner early, sometimes as early as 5 or 5:30 p.m., and bedtime for our daughter is around 8:30 p.m. If you are like us, you may want to adjust your (or your children’s) schedule a bit when you are in Spain. Spaniards eat late. In fact, during the siesta time is when many people in Spain typically eat lunch. A late lunch also equals a late dinner. After the siesta is over, many restaurants will close for a few hours and not open back up until 8 p.m.
Transportation in Seville
Seville is an easy city to get around on foot, at least in the popular tourist areas. Many of the top things to see in Seville are within walking distance of each other. For those traveling to outlying areas, Seville also is connected by buses, metro rail, trains, and taxis. This makes Seville an ideal location to to position yourself and take day trips to places like Cordoba, Granada, or Ronda.
How to spend 3 days in Seville, Spain
Now that we’ve covered the most important things to know about visiting Seville, Spain, here’s how to spend 3 days in Seville and make the most of your time.
Day 1 in Seville
- Shop along Calle Sierpes
- Tour Iglesia del Salvador
- Visit Archivo de Indias
- Tour Seville Cathedral
- Climb Giralda Tower
Day 2 in Seville
- Relax in Plaza de Espana
- Pedal down the river Isabel Bridge
- Take a tapas food tour
- Watch a flamenco show
Day 3 in Seville
- Explore Real Alcazar
- Wander the streets of Santa Cruz
- Tour Torre del Oro
Top things to do in Seville in 3 days
The itinerary above is basically the itinerary we followed for our 3 days in Seville. While it may seem like a lot each day, this itinerary actually allowed us plenty of time to sit and enjoy sangria, wine, and all the tapas! It also allowed us an afternoon nap during the siesta hour at least two of the 3 days in Seville. Here is a brief description of each of the top things to do in Seville.
Calle Sierpes is the beautiful pedestrian-only area in Seville lined with shops and restaurants and covered with giant shades. This is a great area to hang out in Seville when it is hot and you want to escape the direct sun.
Iglesia del Salvador
Other than the Seville Cathedral, Iglesia del Salvador is perhaps the second most important church in Seville. With a minimal admission charge (roughly $4.25 for adults and free for kids), the church is worth visiting to see the elaborate altar of the former mosque turned Roman Catholic church. Plus, it’s an easy detour if walking from Calle Sierpes to the Seville Cathedral.
Archivo de Indias
Also on the way to the Seville Cathedral from Calle Sierpes, Archivo de Indias is one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Seville. The building contains documents related to the exploration and discovery of the New World, like the voyages of Christopher Columbus.
Although not super exciting, it’s an important historical site and admission is free.
The Seville Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, is the largest gothic church in the world. This incredible church is not only architecturally beautiful inside and out, but it houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus, an important historical figure that Americans learn about as children, and a man who is often credited with discovering the Americas.
Attached to the Seville Cathedral, the Giralda Bell Tower offers panoramic views of the city and neighboring Real Alcazar. Its roughly 25 floors up a spiraling series of ramps and worth the climb for the exceptional views.
BOOK SKIP-THE-LINE TICKETS TO THE SEVILLE CATHEDRAL AND GIRALDA TOWER NOW.
Plaza de Espana
Plaza de Espana is an iconic landmark in Seville. The large plaza and the surrounding park is a great place to relax and spend an afternoon, particularly during the siesta hours. You can rent a paddle boat and take a boat ride through the canal or spend some time people-watching. The plaza is a popular place to find street performers working for tips.
The Guadalquivir River runs through the center of Seville. It is a great place for a relaxing stroll, or you can enjoy the river from the water by taking a river cruise or renting a paddle boat.
BOOK A RIVER CRUISE IN SEVILLE HERE.
Tapas food tour
If you love food, you are planning a trip to the right place! Seville is known for its incredible tapas, which are “small bites”. What is so great about tapas, besides the fact that everyone of them that we tried was delicious, is that you do not have to commit to just one dish. Order 3-4 tapas to make a meal or take a tapas food tour where you will hit up several tapas restaurants or bars and enjoy a variety of tapas at each. I swear, you will want to spend your entire time in Seville eating all the food. And if you do, don’t worry. How much weight can you really gain in just 3 days in Seville. So go ahead, eat all the food and don’t feel guilty! 🙂
Watch a flamenco show
Flamenco is as equally famous in Seville as tapas. Watching one of these elegant Spanish dance performances is a must in Seville. You can take in a show and learn the history of the artistic dance at the Flamenco Museum or if you’re lucky, you can find free performance at a local bar, restaurant, or even on the street.
BOOK A TAPAS TOUR WITH A FLAMENCO SHOW HERE.
Real Alcazar was our favorite place to explore in Seville. The well-preserved and restored interior is jaw-drawing while the gardens and fountains are breathtaking. Give yourself a couple hours at least to explore the alcazar. It is much larger than it looks from the outside. There are so many photo-perfect spots that will make you want to wander around awestruck.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR THE SEVILLE ALCAZAR AND SKIP THE LINE HERE.
Santa Cruz neighborhood
After wandering around the Real Alcazar for awhile, have lunch and spend some time wandering around the Santa Cruz neighborhood. Santa Cruz is the tourist heart of the city. It can be crowded, but for good reason. The neighborhood is beautiful and is a great place to let yourself get lost.
FIND A WALKING TOUR OF THE SANTA CRUZ BARRIO HERE.
Torre del Oro
Torre del Oro is a 13th century military watchtower right on the river and only about a block away from the Seville Cathedral. It’s free to visit on Mondays, so if your 3 days in Seville happens to fall on a Monday, go ahead and take the self-guided tour and climb the watchtower.
Best things to do in Seville for kids
While all of the things on this 3-day Seville itinerary can be done with children in tow. There are a few things that will be more memorable for kids than others on this list.
Children will enjoy climbing the Giralda Tower. Although I did have to carry my 4-year-old up part of it. (It was a workout, thank God for my favorite child carrier!) Once we got down my daughter immediately wanted to do it again. (But we didn’t; once was enough.) There is something about climbing an old bell tower that will always intrigue kids. So if you are wondering if your kids will be up for the challenge, give it a go, make it a race to the top, and have a blast together!
Little ones will also love exploring the alcazar and its gardens. There are plenty of maze-like places at the alcazar to explore as well as fountains with fish and ducks that will keep your kids attention.
Of course Plaza de Espana and Maria Luisa Park are both great places for kids to run around and burn off some energy. The plaza can be quite hot during summer, so duck into the park for some shaded areas for little ones to run free.
Our little one was also fascinated by the flamenco dancers and was completely entertained and quiet during the entire show watching the fancy footwork, despite being at least an hour after her bedtime.
But if you are searching for more kid-centric things to do in Seville with kids, the Seville Aquarium and Isla Magica theme park and water park are both great options that will entertain children for hours.
Museums in Seville
Because we were visiting Seville with kids, we decided to pass on most of the museums in Seville. Although if museums are more your speed, here are some of the top museum choices in Seville.
- The Museum of Flamenco Dance
- Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes)
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Archeological Museum of Seville
Is 3 days in Seville enough?
There are plenty of things to do in Seville for three days, whether you prefer to stay busy or take things slow and enjoy the city at a slower pace. We visited Spain as part of a 2 week itinerary that took us from Lisbon, Portugal, to southern Spain, and across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco. After 3 days in Seville, we moved on to Cordoba, Ronda and other parts of southern Spain, but the city was one of the highlights of our trip. If you are planning a trip to southern Spain and you’re wondering if 3 days in Seville is enough, it’s hard to say. I felt like I could have spent weeks in Seville and not tired of it. But if you are more interested in just seeing the sites, you can see most if not all of the top attractions in Seville in three days.
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