Choose from 29 Fun Things to Do in Seville
The building itself dates back to the 16th century, when it was constructed as a mansion by a viceroy from the Indies. Since then, the structure has been transformed into a hammam – the type of Arab bath once so common in Spain's south -- transporting you to another time with its tranquil pools, hypnotic music, and historical setting of brick-vaulted ceilings dimly lit by Moroccan-style lanterns.
During your two-hour visit, you'll be able to alternate between Aire de Sevilla's pools, of which there are several. Wash away the day's heat and wallow in relaxation while taking dips in the cool-, warm- and hot-water baths. Then, you can find bliss in the sauna, or while relaxing in other baths too, such as the jacuzzi jet-filled hydrotherapy pool or the buoyancy-boosting salt-water one. At some point during your visit, you'll be whisked away for your massage (the length and type of which is based on the package you purchase), before returning to the pools for more time to unwind.
Most of its transformation came about during preparation for the 1929 World's Fair: expansive boulevards were created, fountains erected, gardens planted. Today’s park is so robust in flora and fauna that it is actually considered a proper botanical garden. And expect not only diverse plants, but also birds too, including ducks and swans that float in the fountains and lakes, and even green parrots that live in the center of the park.
It's not all just grassy knolls, ponds and paths, either: Maria Luisa Park is also home to numerous monuments and sights. Don't miss the Fountain of the Lions, with its four stone felines spouting water into an octagonal pond, or the Mudejar Pavilion, which houses the Museum of Arts and Traditions. And most notably, be sure to spend some time wandering the colorfully tiled Plaza de España, which is crisscrossed by several bridges and lined by painted scenes of provinces around Spain.
These days, the neighborhood, which sits within the city's historic quarter, is especially known for its residents' passion for bullfighting and also religion. Their faithfulness is evident in the abundance of Arenal brotherhoods, whose devotion can be seen during Holy Week each year, when Seville’s Catholicism comes to life in colorful processions that take over the city streets.
Within El Arenal you’ll also find some of the Seville's most notable sights, such as the 13th-century Torre del Oro, erected as a watch tower under Muslim rule; the royal shipyards of the Real Atarazanas; and the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, the second-most important bullring in Spain after the one located in Madrid.
The neighborhood dates back to when Ferdinand III of Castile took Seville from Muslim rule, and the city's Jewish residents began to live in what is now El Barrio de Santa Cruz (making it the second-largest Jewish Quarter in population behind that of Toledo). After the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, however, the district fell into disrepair, until it was finally revived in the 18th century.
Apart from appreciating the district's history and seeing the main sights, perhaps the best thing you can do during a visit to Santa Cruz is to simply get lost in the barrio's streets. Walk along Callejon de Agua, which follows the Alcázar garden walls, and is named after an aqueduct of water that used to run atop the wall itself. Or hopscotch from plaza to plaza, with a special stop in the neighborhood's namesake Plaza de Santa Cruz. This square sits on the site of a preexisting church of the same name, which itself was constructed in place of even older ruins from a former synagogue.
The chief attraction of the Basilica Macarena is La Macarena, or "the Virgin of Hope," a 17th century wooden sculpture of Christ's mother mourning his death (complete with tears). She's the patron saint of bullfighters, friend to gypsies and star of the Semana Santa parade held in Seville every Easter.
When she passes by in the parade, songs are sung to her beauty and rose petals strewn in her path. In a small museum adjoining the basilica, you can see some of the Virgin's parade array, along with bullfighting relics.
The Basilica Macarena can be reached by taking Line 3 to the Macarena stop, or taking the C2 or C3 bus.
- Ronda is a must-see for history buffs, photographers, and couples.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.
- Shade is hard to find in Ronda; don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- Day trips to Ronda from other destinations in Andalusia and the Costa del Sol last between six and 11 hours.
- The Giralda Tower is a must-see for photographers and first-time visitors to Seville.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, and be prepared to climb up fairly steep ramps.
- Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat for enjoying the sunny observation platform.
- While parts of the cathedral of Seville are accessible to wheelchair users, the tower is not.
- Magic Island Park is a must for families with kids and thrill-seekers.
- Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of water—Seville is one of the hottest cities in Spain. Expect temperatures around 95°F (35°C) in July and August.
- Opening hours vary considerably throughout the year, so be sure to check ahead.
- Much of the park is accessible to wheelchair users.
- Itálica is a must-visit for history buffs and those with an interest in archaeology.
- The archaeological site is free for European Union residents; there’s a small entrance fee for everyone else.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Remember to protect yourself from the sun and drink plenty of water.
- The Alcazar is a must-see for first-time visitors to Andalucia.
- Remember to bring water and sunscreen, as some areas of the palace have very little shade.
- Wear comfortable shoes, and dress in layers, as conditions within the palace can vary.
- Give yourself two to three hours to explore the palace complex.
To look up - and up - at the Real Fábrica de Tabacos is to get a sense of the scale of Seville's tobacco industry in the 18th century. This is one of the largest buildings in Spain (only El Escorial tops it in terms of surface area). It's used as a university building now, but you can still walk around it.
The reason most people visit is to get a vision of Bizet's doomed heroine, Carmen. This building is where she worked and these doors are where she lounged, fresh from rolling cigars on her thighs, to ensnare her lovers.
Carmen's wraith may be compelling, but the wraiths of the real cigar workers - nearly all of them women - also clamor for attention, as do the colonially themed bas-reliefs on the outside of the building.
The Real Fabrica de Tabacos lies to the south of the Alcázar's gardens.
Following the Reconquest in the 1480s, the palace was presented to Isabella and Ferdinand, and today its appearance is largely a hybrid of architectural styles. However, in places there are original Moorish mosaics and beautifully carved wooden ceilings plus a well-restored Mudéjar courtyard, complete with tiled, tinkling fountains and views of the gorge. Other courtyards were less lucky and were clumsily restored under Franco’s regime with lashings of concrete. The palace entrance is flanked by two squat reconstructed Mudéjar towers but is now primarily ornately Baroque.
The small Museum of Ronda and the Serrania on the second floor showcases local history and archaeology – going right back to prehistory – alongside a display dedicated to Megalithic and Moorish tombstones and burial traditions.