Though it commonly gets overlooked in favor of the larger Spanish destinations, Barcelona and Madrid, Sevilla is a must-see city, bustling with vibrant cultural energy, and a plethora of awe-inspiring, UNESCO World Heritage sites. Like many of Spain's larger cities, Sevilla was originally founded as a Roman encampment, and as such, has been constantly developing throughout history, with architectural monuments of each era evident around every corner. Whether you only tour through Sevilla for a day, and want to add some stops on your itinerary, or plan to visit Sevilla for a multi-week trip, use our comprehensive guide of the top spots in the city as a foundation to craft the perfect vacation in Spain.
Easily one of Sevilla's proudest monuments, the Cathedral of Seville boasts an impressive number of historically relevant and culturally representative traits. The Cathedral of Seville is the largest of its kind in the world, having overthrown the thousand year title reign of the Hagia Sofia; it is also a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the burial ground of Christopher Columbus. Originally built as an extravagant display of the cities wealth in 1402, the cathedral has been maintained incredibly well, and still stands as a pristine, intricate example of Gothic-era architecture. Travelers visiting Sevilla, aught not miss this epic icon of cultural wealth, as its hallowed grounds are like no others on the planet.
Originally built as a minaret in 1184 by the famed architect and mathematician team, Ben Baso and Jabir ibn Aflah, Sevilla's iconic La Giralda now operates as a bell-tower for the Cathedral of Seville. La Giralda's highly-detailed, and geometrically precise design can be seen throughout the city, serving as a stoic reminder of Sevilla's role as a cultural epicenter from the earliest Roman times, through the dark ages, renaissance, and into our modern era. When traveling in Sevilla, a stop at La Giralda is an absolute must, especially because of its proximity to the Cathedral of Seville, making it the perfect candidate for a "two birds, one stone" site-seeing adventure.
Real Alcazar is a royal palace located in the heart of Sevilla, and one of the worlds most well-preserved remaining examples of Moorish architecture. Standing in stark contrast to much of Europe's Gothic, Byzantine, and Baroque design styling, Real Alcazar provides visitors to Sevilla with an unbridled glimpse into the region's history of Arabic cultural influence, through its highly detailed and patterned interior architecture, marked by gold flourishings. No vacation in Sevilla is complete without paying a visit to Real Alcazar, as its incredible architecture, palace gardens, and surrounding grounds, radiate breathtaking beauty and unmatched cultural history.
The Torre de Oro (translated as "Gold Tower"), built in the 13th century from a combination of mortar, limestone and pressed hay, gets its name from the golden shine it projects onto the nearby Guadalquivir River, creating a glowing aura steeped in warmth. Originally used as a medieval watchtower and prison, the Torre de Oro has undergone myriad reconstructions following periods of conflict, though much of the historic legacy and architecture has been restored to its original glory. Visitors to the Gold Tower are free to explore its interior, and for a small fee of €3.00 EUR, can ascend the staircase to the top for incredible panoramic views of the city below.
In anticipation for the 1929 World Fair, much of Sevilla was redeveloped with expansive gardens, fountains, and boulevards, as an attempt to showcase Spain's burgeoning industrial and technological feats. The Plaza de Espana is the epicenter of Sevilla's 1929 redesign, a grand display of the city's culturally diverse history through a combination of architectural styles, ranging from Art Deco and Neo-Renaissance, to Gothic and Neo-Mudejar. The plaza complex is a massive half-circle of epic buildings, centered around the famed Vicente Traver fountain and moat. Today the Plaza de Espana is primarily used to house government offices, though the outside grounds are open to the public, and provide a relaxing venue for picnics and site-seeing, with the light pitter-patter of the fountain as a tranquil backdrop.
For those travelers eager for a comprehensive experience of southern Spain's Andalusian culture, a visit to the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Museum of Arts and Traditions) is an absolute must. No other museum offers such a complete display of the regions cultural artifacts and traditions, from embroidery and gold-smithing, to weaponry and furniture crafting. In addition to the many artifact exhibits at the Museum of Arts and Traditions, massive collections of paintings, ceramics, and sculptures are also housed there. All in all, the Museum of Arts and Traditions provides an all-inclusive journey though Spanish history and culture, making it the perfect destination for travelers of all types.