The Spanish latin pop duo “Los del Río” (Them of the River) formed in the 1960’s in Dos Hermanas, Seville. Being their hometown, Los del Rio would often write songs about their experience of growing up in Seville. In a song they once described Seville as having “a special colour”. And it’s true, Seville does have a “special colour”, you can feel it permanente throughout the city; from the golden Andalusian sun rays bouncing off shop windows and narrow alleyways, to the clear blue skylines that can’t help but invite a smile.
Still today is has an abundante vibrant allure and just simple meandering around the streets, you sense it’s bursting with spirit. So lets us tell you what some of the main attractions of the capital so you don’t leave anything to chance and get the real sense of this capital city steeped in culture and history and full of heart and life.
And for those of you reading this blog post thinking “I have no idea who Los del Rio, are” do you remember the catchy smash hit song “The Macarena”? Well that will be them, shooting them to late international fame in the 1990’s!
What to do and see in Seville?
Being the capital city of Andalusia, Seville has many a rich story to tell. Its hidden secrets and treasures are neatly tucked away behind buildings and sheltered by its far stretching corners.
Seeing as there is so much to see in Seville it’s quite a task for us here at Inn Hostel to give you a brief overall of Seville in one blog post. However we have done our best at creating a fun compact itinerary, full of the most unmissable sights to help equip you to squeeze the most out of you stay. So let’s take a look.
La Catedral de Sevilla y la Giralda
Seville Cathedral fascinates the thousands of tourists who pass its door each year. The Giralda Bell Tower, is one of the most visited towers in the city probably due to its advantage point has become a well established characteristic of the city. Offering amazing views of over the skyline of Seville. Incredibly it is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world and the third most important Church behind St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Built on the birthplace of The Old Mosque of Aljama, the building has managed to conserve part of the Almohad period. Still remaining true to its original construction, two thirds of the interior building corresponds with the Almohad period. In the upper third, there is a notable change of style, the Renaissance, by the work of Hernán Ruiz. The impressive architecture aside, there is also a large number of paintings by Murillo that further embellish the interior of the Cathedral. Being of religious interest the Cathedral remains is a place of rest for many, including the burial site of both Christopher Columbus and the members of Castilian-Leonese royalty as Alfonso X the Wise .
You will also find the Patio de Los Naranjos “The Orange Tree Patio”. In its beginnings this enclave was the Almohade Mosque’s patio of ablutions, whereby people would cleanse and purify themselves. However after its reform in 1248, its served as a cloisters and cemetery. Three of its original doors have been preserved on its eastern facade and two on the north. One of its most famous doors is that of the “Lagarto” (Lizard) of which you can see why it gets its name as a a stuffed crocodile hangs from the roof: Next to this is an elephant tusk. Legend has it that both items were given to King Alfonso X by the Sultan of Egypt.
As we mentioned before Seville Cathedral has one of the most renowned landmarks in the world, The Giralda, so you’re going to have to make you way up if you want to appreciate it in all its beauty. The tower was built during the 12th century, in Muslim times and overtime the bronze sculpture that served as weathervane became responsible for the bell tower changing its name, finally receiving the name Giraldillo from the Crown. It is one of the tallest monuments in Spain and the second in Seville. The Moroccan Mosque Koutoubia in Marrakech served as inspiration for the Sevillian building, so you have visited to Morocco, you might have recognise the similarity between the two buildings. Although its construction was so popular that there are replicas in various parts of the world including New York and Kansas City.
La Giralda has 35 ramps, not stairs as indicated by Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, as a means for the Sultan to move up the Tower on horseback on to admire the views of Hispalis de Cabello. Whilst we’re not able to climb it on horseback, once on top we will still have the same impressive views.
- Monday: 11:00 to 15:30
- Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00 to 17:00
- Sundays: from 04:30 to 18:00
- General Admission: 9 euros
- Senior Citizens: 4 euros
- Students up to 25 years old: 3 euros
- Residents and minors up to 14 years of age accompanied by an adult: free
- Unemployed: free
Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Another monument declared as a World Heritage Site, which is next to of Seville Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies, is the Real Alcázar of Seville. This fort was first built on a Roman settlement and later on a Visigothic. The Arabs used it as the residence of their rulers and after the Reconquest, the monument was occupied by Fernando III and his successive monarchs. To this day, the “Reales Alcázares de Sevilla” is used to house members of the Royal Family or other important famous people or celebrities visiting the city. Throughout the year you can visit the Real Alcázar and see various exhibits from the Arab period. During the long summer evenings it becomes a main attraction for concerts and live music.
The Real Alcázar of Seville is located in the characteristic neighborhood of Santa Cruz, where you will also find our hostel. Inside you will also find the Mudéjar Palace (also known as the Pedro I Palace), the Patio de las Doncellas, the Patio de las Muñecas, the Carlos V Pavilion and various other rooms, and not forgetting the oldest gardens in the city, full of landscaped fountains and ponds.
The Real Alcázar of Seville has enchanted many, including film producers who been charmed by its cinemagraphic beauty, worthy of great productions like Game of Thrones (in its fifth season it turned the Real Alcázar of Seville into the Gardens of the Water Dorne). This claim to fame has seen hundreds of tourists flock to there, seeing an average of 750 a day. Therefore, it’s essential to book in advance, especially during busy holiday seasons.
- October to March: Monday to Sunday, access from 09:30 to 17:00. Final call 17:45. Doors close 18:00.
- April to September: Monday to Sunday, access from 09:30 to 19:00. Final call 19:45. Doors close at 20:00.
- General admission: 11.50 euros
- Special entry to the Royal High Room: 4.50 euros
- Senior Citizens and students from 17 to 25 years old: 3 euros
- Residents and children under 16 years of age accompanied by an adult: free
Barrio de Santa Cruz
The neighborhood of Santa Cruz de Sevilla was traditionally the Jewish quarter of the city until the fifteenth century, when the Reconquista came (Reconquestors) the Catholic Kings forced out all the Jews who lived there. The area is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city; where the Cathedral, the Reales Alcázares and the Archivo de Indias, among others reside. Mansions and palaces become quaint getaways for tiled wells surrounded by geraniums and orange blossom.
The windy narrow streets that provide haven from the scorching Sevillian sun during the summer months, also lead to the Jardines de Murillo, the Patio de Banderas, the Plaza de Venerables, the church of Santa María la Blanca, the Andalusian patio of Ximénez de Enciso and the romantic Callejón del Agua.
With everything its right place, Santa Cruz has a distinct romantic feeling in the air, reflected by nineteenth-century literature.
Torre del Oro “The Golden Tower”
The Golden Tower is a fantastic example of Islamic construction and one of the last buildings that the Almohads built in Isbiliya. The tower was formed by three stone slabs with a height of 36 meters and a width of 15 meters. Legend has it that the Golden Tower was where King Pedro I kept his valuables and treasures, whilst others claim its name came from the color the tiles reflect when the sunlight hits. Personally we are staking our bets on the second option.
Its original use was as the defense of the city and port although it was later used as an office, chapel and even prison. In 1944, the Marina Museum was opened, whereby 400 artefacts were relocated from the Naval Museum Madrid to Seville. On the rooftops we can gaze at the magnificent and panoramic view of the Guadalquivir river and the historical city centre. Without a doubt, its an ideal place to snap up a shot or two, so remember to take your camera with you and captures some photos of that might cause a stir of envy when you return home.
- Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00
- Sundays and holidays 11:00 to 14:00
- General: 3 euros
- Students, Senior Citizens and children from 6 years old: 1 euro 50 cents
Barrio de Triana “The Triana Neighbordhood”
Triana considers itself a town within Seville. On the very tiled walls of the El monumento de los Alfareros (Potters Monument) read the words of those who agree with this notion. Reflected is the phrase:
“Look, if I’m from Triana, I consider myself a foreigner in the (street) Calle Sierpes”
This neighborhood is full of charisma and traditions. It has been the cradle of singers, artists, comedians, sailors and bullfighters. However, if there is a true champion in Triana, it is the Guadalquivir river. This whole neighborhood tradition has been based around the river. Establishing seafaring traditions as far as long as one can remember.
To get to Triana, it is best to cross the bridge known throughout the area as Isabel II. Being the the oldest iron bridge preserved in Spain, it is declared a National Heritage Site. Once over the bridge we can do little more sightseeing, visiting the Mudejar chapel of the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of the sailors. It was designed by architect Aníbal González, who also was commissioned to design the Plaza de España.
You’ll also find other places of interest such as The Royal Parish of Santa Ana and the Mercado de Abastos (Market of Provisions). But if you’re looking for great tapas and a bit of a chillex with an an ice-cold Cruzcampo bee instead of, we recommend taking a trip to Betis Street. This street runs parallel to the Guadalquivir River and offers stunning views of Seville and a chance to have a chat with the the local people.
Plaza de España “The Spanish Square”
As just mentioned, the Plaza de España was designed by the Sevillian architect Aníbal González. The semi elliptical shape is a symbolic embracement of the old metropolis and its colonies. Sitting at the northeast end of the spectacular Maria Luisa Park, Plaza Espana is also Located in front of the Guadalquivir river, the place from which the long journeys to the Americas was undertaken. Along the entire perimeter of the square extends a channel of 515 meters in length that can be fully appreciated by a rowing boat.
Wandering around the architectural complex of the Plaza de España in Seville, is to take a walk through the geography of the country. It consists of 48 stone benches and ceramic murals which represent the 48 provinces (built at a time when The Canary Islands was only represented as one). A scene that has almost become ritual, it is very common to see national tourists photographing themselves next to stone benches that represent their province.
The Plaza de Sevilla was not only an emblematic place during the Iberoamerica Exhibition of 1921, but since its beginnings it has become one of the most important sightseeing attractions of the city, captivating thousands of tourists and film producers. One of the most historical scenes on the big screen being that of the beginning of Star Wars: Attack of the clones.
Metropol Parador o las Setas “The Mushroom”
The Metropol Parador, popularly known as the Mushroom Incarnation, is the largest wooden structure in the world. At a height of 26 meters and composed of six mushroom-shaped parasols, you can climb to the top and enjoy the fantastic views of the capital.
Underground there is a beautiful Antiquarian Archaeological Museum, which showcases the remains of what was once the Roman era. The Mushroom also houses this a food market with 40 stalls and a Plaza (Square) where various events are held.
- Tuesday to Saturday: from 10:00 to 19:30
- Sundays and holidays: from 10:00 to 13:30
- General admission for the Antiquarium: 2 euros
Alameda de Hércules “Hercules Avenue”
As we have seen, each neighborhood in Seville has its own distinct identity and the Alameda de Hércules (Hercules Avenue) isn’t any different. Getting its name from the Hercules statues that are located at both ends of the square and placed on columns that were brought in from an ancient Roman temple.
The Alameda de Hércules is one of most frequented places for both Sevillians and tourists, often spending the whole day there. Its an area where you can easy spend the transition from day to night; from having stroll in the morning for breakfast to spending the evening having a meal. The Alameda de Hércules has become become one of the busiest public spaces in the city with numerous concerts, shows and exhibitions. There are so many cocktail bars at nightfall, that you’ll spoilt for choice. Why not let your hair down Spanish Andalusian style by hanging out at a late night bar or nightclub and chatting and dancing to the early hours and rounding everything off by having an early breakfast snack of churros with chocolate so keep you fueled up (churros are sweet Spanish “long” donuts which you dunk long in thick creamy hot chocolate).
Feria de Abril “The April Fair”
If there is ever a date for your diary, then there is none better than the La Feria (The April fair). It’s a must have cultural event of the Seville capital city. It’s a breathtaking experience which truly encapsulates the essence of the Sevillian life.
It’s a great excuse for people to spend time with loved ones and work colleagues whilst doing what the Spanish are excellent at; socialising and throwing a great party. Playful and fun filled, people elegantly parade the pathways enjoying the fine weather and atmosphere. The April Fair has been a cultural event that has been held in Seville for centuries. In the beginning, the fair was the point of purchase and sale of livestock but, like many traditions, it has evolved into what it is today, a cultural festival where lanterns, flamenco dresses, dancing, bulls, pescaito (fried fish) and rebujito (a local Fair tradition of lemonade and dry white sherry wine) are all the protagonists.
Originally the fairground was located in the Prado de San Sebastián however since 1973 it has been held in the neighborhood of Los Remedios. It is divided into the Real de la Feria, Calle del Infierno (where the attractions are) and the parking area. Celebrated for a whole week during the month of April, This is must have event in your calendar if you are a Sevillians, it’s really not to be missed and there is nothing that Sevillians look forward to more than organizing their own Casetas (cabin style booths that they decorate to hold their individual party). Whilst there are more than 1,000 Casetas, most are private so would would need to know somebody or a friend of a friend to get in, having a dance off whilst sipping on a rebujito is generally the order of the day. Having said that, the Feria is immense in side, so just having a perusal around with your camera whilst the thousands of colourful flamenco dresses pass you by or stopping off for some fairground snacks whilst having a go on the attractions would be astonishing enough.
Holy Week in Seville (Easter)
For an outsider, at first glance, the presence of Holy Week in Seville, or Easter, can be intimidating. As a religious and cultural festival, the outfits worn are respectable to the varying brotherhoods, distinguished by colour. The processions are organized by the brotherhoods of Seville and differ in many ways from marching brass bands to slow steady sliences.
The religious brotherhoods see Sevillians united in the streets, flocking in their thousands to get a glimpse of the processions. With an amalgamation of smells, sounds and emotions, Holy Week can be very a intense experience.
Each procession has a designated day, time and itinerary and consists of Nazarenes and Los Pasos (adorned religious scenes and statues that are placed on structures and are carried on the backs by people, the bearers, through the streets of Seville) .
Although the processions travel through most of the city centre streets, we actually would advise the more inexperienced visitor to stay away from the main areas as it can get rather cramped and claustrophobic. Hence it might be better to hang about in the side avenues to escape the crowds. Holy Week is to be respected, there is an air of dignity and honour. Finally there if you want to know more about the story behind each procession, just kindly ask a Sevillian or the so-called “Capillitas”. Full of knowledge they will happy to share with you one of the most important festivals.
Where shall I stay in Seville?
To visit the city, we recommend forgetting about the car and staying in the city center. Most of the sightseeing and areas of interest are located in the historic center of the city and the best way to see everything is on foot. Seville also has a very efficient public transport service including bus, bicycle (it has more than 160 kilometers of fully integrated bi-directional bike path in the city), metro and tram.
In Innhostel we have shared rooms, single rooms and apartments located in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, very close to the Cathedral and other areas of interest. You can choose between sharing experiences with other travelers, staying with friends in an apartment or sleeping soundly in a private room. It’s up to you.
Inn Hostels Sevilla
If you want to share experiences, stay in a prime location and stay overnight at a reasonable price then don’t hesitate to book with us in our shared accommodation and rooms. Our staff is available whenever you need to help and advise you on how to move around the city, sightseeing musts and where to eat. Also, sometimes we organize events such as dinners, pub crawls and free tours, to name just a few.
On the other hand, if you want more privacy, we have private rooms with either two beds or a double bed.
Another of our services available to our travelers are free lockers, towel rental, commune kitchen and a laundry service; everything you need to make sure you feel at home. And if anything is for sure is that you won’t be disappointed by our hostels location; right in the midst of the busy neighborhood of the Santa Cruz, allowing you to lap up the beautiful and authentic Sevillian atmosphere.
Apartments en Sevilla
Why not try one of our apartments with a terrace? Located in one of the most emblematic streets of Seville and 200 meters from the Cathedral, our apartments are spoilt with views of the Giraldillo. Surrounded by tapas bars, how about treating yourself to fresh ice-cold Cruzcampo beer on a terrace whilst having a dish of mantecado (a typical loin steak served with whiskey sauce and chips).
Our apartments are modern and airy with free Wifi, air conditioning and kitchen. Our entire team lives in Seville, so they know all about the best places to visit and the most exciting activities in the city. Just ask us where abouts to eat or what to do during the day, so you can max out on your time here.
Our philosophy here at InnHostel Sevilla is to share experience, so it is our pleasure to help you to squeeze the most out of your stay 100%. We promise to give you the best possible experience whenever you book with us.