How to spend one day in Seville, Spain
One day itinerary for Seville
Seville is often referred to as the ‘frying pan of Europe’ as a result of the extremely high temperatures during the summer months and speaking from experience, this is an accurate description. But aside from the virtually endless sunshine, Seville is home to breathtaking architecture, infinite orange trees, mouth watering food and of course the fiery dance that is Flamenco.
Vividly coloured tiles adorn many of the city’s buildings and picturesque alleyways lead you past one of the world’s largest cathedrals all the way down to the glittering Guadalquivir river. Seville is the perfect place to take a slower pace and explore the city, and with everything so close together it’s definitely possible to get a great deal done in just one day.
My trip to Seville was an autumnal escape with three friends in mid September. We stayed in Santa Catalina, it’s mostly quiet and residential, but there are a few bars and restaurants around. Most importantly, it’s only a 15 minute walk from the cathedral (and the center of Seville in general too). We were lucky enough to enjoy a (tiny) rooftop pool. If it’s within your power, find a place with a pool too, because it really is that hot.
Start the day right
With a day of walking and sightseeing ahead of us, we did some research to find the best place to grab breakfast. A quick check on Tripadvisor quickly highlighted Jester as the place to go. The cafe is tiny and there a few seats outside on the street, get there first thing to make the most of your day and if there are no tables, just wait around for a little bit. When it comes to ordering food, I can recommend the Acai bowl for a fresh and healthy breakfast and the coffee was great too. In a city filled with more oranges than you can count, you absolutely have to order fresh orange juice at every single opportunity and breakfast at Jester is no exception.
1. Real Alcázar
If you do head to Jester, you’ll now find yourself a stone’s throw from Jardin de Murillo. At this point the temptation to explore could be overwhelming, but I’d suggest you skirt around the edge and head straight to the Real Alcázar.
Be warned, the wait time is real. If you haven’t bought a ticket in advance, it’s best to get there super early and get in the queue. I definitely advise booking in advance to save about 45 minutes of your time.
Once inside, you’ll find the place steeped in both history and ceramic tiles. Wander through the different rooms, check out the courtyards and gardens and get lost in the maze. Everything is stunning and the photos and the memories will be just as spectacular.
2. Plaza de España
From the Real Alcázar it’s about a 15 minute walk to Plaza de España. Now’s your chance to walk through the Jardines de Murillo properly (and I’d definitely recommend that you take this route). If you’re really stretched for time, you’ll be pleased to know that once you arrive at Plaza de España you can take a quick look with a short walk around and still get a great sense of the place.
Try to take some time to admire the tiled alcoves which each represent a different province of Spain. I was surprised to learn that the Plaza was only constructed in 1928, but it’s truly remarkable and once you see it for yourself you’ll quickly understand why it’s referred to as ‘the Venice of Seville.’
3. Parque Maria Luisa
I’ve already mentioned the intense heat in Seville, and here more than anywhere I’d suggest keeping a bottle of water with you. There aren’t a huge amount of places to buy drinks and with poor planning we became hangry and thirsty pretty quickly. Luckily, the Parque Maria Luisa offers peace, tranquility and most importantly some shade. We stumbled across a little outdoor bar called Librano Sound Garden and if you order a gin and tonic, be prepared for the most generous measure of gin you’ve ever seen (garnished with a Seville orange of course).
Once you’re happy you’ve soaked up the atmosphere here, take a walk through the park and head towards the river. You’ll walk past a few more bars down here, but it’s relatively quiet so keep on walking if you want to get back into the thick of it.
You’ll soon approach the Torre del Oro (which is a beautiful military watchtower – seriously) so just before this, turn back in towards the city centre and walk along the Avenida de la Constitución. Although you’ll have caught sight of the behemoth Catedral de Sevilla from the queue for the Real Alcázar, nothing prepares you for seeing the cathedral in all its glory. We didn’t take a look inside, but if you have extra time you could definitely add this to your list.
After you’ve passed the cathedral, it’s time to get lost in the smaller streets of Seville to explore the cafes, bars and shops at your own leisure. Within the area called Alfalfa, you’ll also find smaller plazas and squares if you’re ready for a rest or a coffee.
4. Metropol Parasol
The next and final landmark to check off your list is the Metropol Parasol. If you do explore Alfalfa and the surrounding area, you’ll already be really close. Why not buy an ice cream and take a good look around this gigantic wooden structure. Architecturally, the Metropol Parasol is absolutely stunning and it’s impossible to miss it. We didn’t get a chance to walk around on the top, so make sure you allow a bit of time here.
5. Tapas in El Rinconcillo
After a long and hard day exploring this incredible city, a well deserved drink and meal are a must. As a vibrant city, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants but one you absolutely have to try is El Rinconcillo, the oldest bar in Seville. Dating back to 1670 this quirky venue is the perfect place to enjoy a beer and sample some delicious tapa. As a party of four we ordered a wide variety of things, making sure to ask the waiter for all of his recommendations. We also let the waiter choose a wine pairing and we were not disappointed (in fact, we ordered another couple of bottles).
A word to the wise
We departed from London Luton and landed in Seville just under three hours later. Getting from the airport to our Airbnb was easy. Our Airbnb host helped to arrange a taxi so we enjoyed a short 20 minute drive into the centre of Seville for around €20.
Seville is beautiful, there’s no denying it and a visit to this incredible city should be near the top of your bucket list. During our stay, the sky remained a vivid shade of blue and the brick walls we walked past absorbed so much of the sunshine that they stayed warm well into the evening.
Orange trees really do line almost every street adding a touch of class, romance and orange to everything you look at. Take my advice though, don’t try to eat the oranges that grow on the streets. The locals use them to make marmalade – they are probably the only thing you could experience in Seville that could leave a bitter taste.
I had some of the best tapas of my life at Bar Alfafa in Seville after a day of wandering this beautiful city.
My biggest tip for Seville is to have a water bottle on you as there are loads of places to refill and you’ll need it because man does it get hot.
Seville is also a great stopping point on a longer journey with lots of bus and train connections, so look into it as a stopover or entry point into the rest of Spain or Portugal – it’s great place to spend a day if you can.