Getting ready for spending one day in Seville?
As Seville is the one and only, excessively charming capital of the southern Spain province of Andalusia, the experience of only one day itinerary can be quite massive.
You’ll find a city of centuries-old architectural marvels, fully immersed in lush vegetation, jasmine scents and the passionate rhythms of flamenco. A Moorish-Renaissance palace and a gigantic Gothic cathedral reign over the historical center, the labyrinthic Barrio de Santa Cruz.
For me, Seville has always had the air of a vintage postcard. Tallest palms I have ever seen, Mediterranean wildflowers scattered at their feet, quirky fine art, colorful ceramic tiles and intricate archways of the ancient buildings, plus guitar melodies floating above the cobblestone streets, make Sevilla one the most romantic cities in Europe. Durable through time, though so delicate.
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Planning a Perfect Day Trip to Seville
Every step you will take during your trip to Seville will reveal some extraordinary artefact or the most unexpected work of art or design. The sights will steal your eyes and lure you to the most secluded alleys, to explore fascinating plazas and old mansions.
You will be extremely tempted to not hold on to your planning.
This is why all ordinary things needed for this trip should be well set beforehand:
- If you need, book a private 1-way airport to hotel transfer to spare time;
- get in advance an universal adapter for the European socket from here;
- stay connected with the world with this Pocket WiFi;
- If you’re leaving Seville for another city in Spain, hire a car from MalagaCar. No deposit needed.
Things to Do & See in One Day in Seville
The 24-hour itinerary in Seville covers the main landmarks in the old city center, plus Plaza de España area.
After spending quite a long time wondering the streets of Seville, I found out that some of the most impressive things to see in the Andalusian capital are at its very core. More precisely, the historical center is where Seville’s true splendor and identity lies.
If one day is all you have for visiting Seville, than you should definitely choose the major architectural masterpieces that were shaped by centuries of work. And never hesitate to add in authentic Andalusian experiences, such as stopping for a tasty tapas and a flamenco dance, taking a romantic tour with a fairy-tale carriage or simply staring at unexpected and humor-filled art pieces in some unconventional museums.
⚜️ Crossing Ponte de San Telmo Towards El Torre del Oro
In every city, among all the things to see and do, there is THAT one place which, even if it’s not grand, it speaks greatly about ancient roots. Toro del Oro (Tower of Gold) is such a landmark for the city of Seville.
Once an important trade center with the Americas and the only inland port of Spain, Seville has lived for centuries in a perfect symbiosis with its panoramic Guadalquivir River. And, the Golden Tower was there, on the banks, for centuries, to witness most glorious periods.
Torre del Oro, Sevilla, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
Torre del Oro was built around the 12th century, when the Moors ruled these lands. And, at the time, it was connected to the Alcazar palace through high city walls.
Later, in the 13th century, the city was reconquered by Spaniards. And until the 17th century, following the discovery of Americas by Christopher Columbus, Seville had already become the main connection of the Spanish Empire with the New World and the largest city in Spain.
The tower had its key role in the city flourishing. Its purpose was to control the ships coming in and out on the river. All gold cargos were discharged from the vessels passing the river at the tower.
Nowadays, the Golden Tower of Seville has at the top a tiny museum displaying antiques, old maps and scale models of old world vessels. Plus a wonderful view over the Guadalquivir.
- 📌 Address: P.º de Cristóbal Colón, s/n, 41001 Sevilla, Spain (Google Maps);
- ⏰ Opening hours: Mon. – Fri., 09:30 am – 06:45 pm, Sat. – Sun., 10:30 am – 06:45 pm;
- ⏰ Time to visit: 1h.
⚜️ A Visit to The Moorish Palace: Royal Alcázar of Seville
Right at the top of the architectural landmarks to visit in Andalusia stands the Royal Alcázar of Seville, one of the most spectacular, still in use, Hispanic palaces. It is widely known not only for its magnificent patios and gardens, but also for its original Mudéjar style, a blend of Islamic and Christian decorative motifs and construction techniques.
Royal Alcázar of Seville Interior Garden, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
Built over a period of 500 years, under the influence of various cultures and religions, the palace has resulted in being a labyrinthic series of intricately decorated rooms and inner courtyards with still-looking water fountains that peacefully mirror the surroundings.
If you want to live the atmosphere found in the dreamy books of the Arabian Nights, this palace is the answer.
The ticket to the Moorish Palace in Seville includes a visit to Casa Fabiola, a fun museum presenting the tumultuous life of old Sevillians through paintings, furniture and architecture. Luckily, the museum can be visited until the evening.
- 📌 Address: Patio de Banderas, 41004 Sevilla, Spain (Google Location);
- 🎟️ Admission fee: starting at €13;
- ⏰ Opening hours: Mon. – Sun., 09:30 am – 05:00 pm (subject to change);
- ⏰ Time to visit: 2 – 2.5 hours.
⚜️ Have Lunch in a 12th-Century Bath: Cerveseria Giralda
For an out of the ordinary lunch, while being only meters away from Seville’s most amazing places to see, take a seat at Cerveseria Giralda.
This place is not only about a good Sicillian beer. Inhere, you can also have a taste of the traditional tapas in a quite unexpected setting. More precise, the entire building used to be, in the ancient times, a one luxurious, public bathhouse of Almohad-origin. And today, it exhibits original decorations.
Cerveseria Giralda, Seville, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
The Food – Open for almost a century, Giralda offers an incredible large selection of tapas, the famous bite-sized delicacies, as well as other Andalusian specialties. All you can think of in matter of traditional cuisine, from the typical Russian salad to the Spanish charcuterie featuring the popular Iberian cured meats.
Considering the particularity of the venue and its prime location, the prices are not so high (around €4-5 / tapas plate). And the food looks exquisite on your plate. That’s a plus!
The architecture – Quite recently, while undergoing renovation, Giralda revealed itself to the world as more than a typical Sicilian restaurant: a beautiful, historical, 12th-century, well-preserved hammam.
Believe it or not, one of the most opulent public baths of its times, dating back to the days of the Almohad Caliphate. The walls of the restaurant were quietly hiding complicated and colorful Islamic motifs, an unparalleled ornamental richness.
⏰ What I recommend:
When choosing a restaurant in the old center of Seville, make sure to check the opening hours. Some close around 04:00 pm in the afternoon and reopen in the evening around 08:00 pm. For me, this was confusing and it messed up a bit the entire day trip planning and eating schedule.
- 📌 Address: C. Mateos Gago, 1, 41004 Sevilla, Spain (Google Location);
- ⏰ Opening hours: Mon.-Sun.: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
⚜️ Climb the Ramps of La Giralda Tower at Sevilla Gothic Cathedral
The cathedral of Seville is one gorgeous Gothic architectural masterpiece that easily integrates Arab-origin elements, having as a result a combination of two, at least 4-centuries-apart, construction styles.
Built in almost 100 years (1401 – 1506) on the site of a 12th century mosque, the Christian cathedral has absorbed, in time, into its structure, also the still-standing Almohad heritage:
- the famous Giralda bell tower, initially a Moorish minaret, covered later on by the Catholics with a Renaissance inspired top. The tower is accessible through a door located just on the left side of the main altar. Be ready to climb 34 ramps up to the top. There, it is often crowded and you need to wait in line to get a good picture. But the windows along the ramps will give you access to some of the most amazing views of the surroundings.
- the beautiful orange tree gardens with river-like fountains where worshippers used to once wash before praying at the mosques. The courtyard is accessible through Puerta de la Conception, on the left side of the cathedral, while looking at the main altar.
Sevilla Gothic Cathedral, Orange Trees Courtyard, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
Seville Cathedral is one of the 3 largest cathedrals in the world.
Once you enter the building, the first impression is that of a frightening height: the central nave has not less than 42 meters from floor to top. And it’s core is surrounded by 80 impressively tall side chapels. Behind them stands the box-like structure of the choir, an exquisitely wooden carved area.
Besides the mind blowing architecture with stunning arches, vaulted ceilings, this is a place for any art lover: Goya, Velasquez, Murillo. All great painters left a touch on the walls of the church.
And what surpasses them all is the altar piece with its fine gothic carvings, a mix of wood and gold, representing no less than 45 scenes from the life of Christ.
If darkness seems to be at its ease inside the Cathedral, light and colors slightly tend to invade the sacred space through a series of well-preserved stained glass windows.
Buying your tickets for Seville Cathedral:
- From the main gate, on the South façade of the Cathedral known as Puerta del Principe. A square garden with a huge sculpture in the middle and open to one side. Here you can get into very long queues. I was waiting for around 20 minutes before I got in. The official visiting plan of the cathedral is available online (©Catedral de Sevilla).
- Skip the line – a very good and highly rated solution which I previously was not aware of. You can buy your skip the line ticket here . Prices are a bit higher and with an audio guide included, the entry price can even get double. But you save time a lot of time and the audio guide which is really well made, it will allow you to fully appreciate the Cathedral and its history. For these tickets, the entry is done through Puerta de San Miguel.
- Using the official online app. In this case the entrance, will be, again, through another gate, on the right side of Giralda tower, Puerta del Lagarto. For me, all these entrances were confusing. So, I preferred the first option: waiting at the long cue. But I honestly think, the most appropriate is skip the line.
- Guided tours which will definitely save you from all the fuss described above. There are some quite good and popular, extremely well rated by thousands of people, like the ones below.
🎟️ The ticket to the Seville Cathedral and La Giralda includes:
A visit to the Roman-Catholic Iglesia de El Salvador, a red-brick, baroque style church built on the site of a former Roman basilica and a Moorish mosque. Always check the opening hours, because when I visited, the church closed before 03:00 pm.
- 📌 Address: C. Fray Ceferino González, 41004 Sevilla, Spain (Google Maps);
- 🎟️ Admission fee: starting at €11;
- ⏰ Opening hours: Mon.-Sat.: 10:45 am – 05:00 pm, except Sunday (subject to change);
- ⏰ Time to visit: 1.5 – 2 hours.
⚜️ Have a Coffee & Delicious Pastry on Mateos Gago
Calle Mateos Gago is one of the oldest streets in Seville and a passage to Santa Cruz district. Its presence in the urban network goes back before the Almohad times, being built during the Roman occupancy. The more recent history depicts Calle Mateos Gago as a place of homes and shops for the guild of shoe and boot manufacturers, which resided here until the 18th century.
Nowadays, Mateos Gago is the very lively, semi-pedestrian, stone-paved alley, filled with restaurants and bars. Soul of the Sevillian cultural interaction.
De Nata, Portuguese Bakery Entrance, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
Right in the middle of Calle Mateos Gago, there is this tiny pastry shop, serving sweet Portuguese treats and coffee. And it’s really worth a stop if you are going from the Cathedral towards Casa Fabiola. Which is actually the next stop on our one day itinerary in Seville.
It is called De Nata – Fábrica de Pasteles. And even if Pastéis de Nata / custard tarts are not a typical Andalusian desert, the setting is just the right place to feel the vibe of Santa Cruz Bario and enjoy traditional architecture.
Plus the custard tarts are as delicious as in Portugal!
- 📌 Address: De Nata – Fábrica de Pasteles, C. Mateos Gago, 29, Sevilla, Spain (Google Location);
- ⏰ Opening hours: Wed. – Sun., 09:30 am – 08:00 pm; Mon. – Tue., 09:30 am – 02:30 pm.
⚜️ Immerse Yourself in Peculiar Art Humor at Casa Fabiola
Seville does have a Museum of Fine Arts, but my favorite tiny and fun-filled museum is Casa Fabiola. A one-day trip to Seville means trying to compress the best of what city has to offer. And Casa Fabiola has a bit of everything that defines Southern Spain, in matters of architecture, culture and history.
Casa Fabiola, Seville, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
This chic, artistic micro-cosmos is a 14th century renovated building, hiding in plan view in Barrio de Santa Cruz. It exhibits some of the most unique art pieces of 16th to 20th century, that once belonged to Mariano Bellver. The famous Spanish collector and patron donated them to the Seville City Council so this wonderful place could come to life and enchant us with unthinkable, silent Andalusian stories.
Spectacular, antique sculptures and furniture along with extremely surprising paintings are all encapsulated in an absolutely charming, Hispanic domestic architecture. The heart of the strong Moorish influence building is an interior courtyard surrounded by small, intimate, exhibiting rooms.
Casa Fabiola, Seville, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
The most captivating part of Casa Fabiola is comprised by paintings of well known Spanish artists of the Romantic era: Jose Garcia Y Ramos, Salvador Sanchez Barbudo or Gonzalo Bilbao Martinez. And forget Louvre! Art fatigue has no room in here.
Their works of art depict aspects of Andalusian lifestyle and culture of the 19h century, often moralizing and humorous. A painting style also known as Costumbrismo.
The images represent everyday life scenes at their highest levels of authenticity, sometimes covered in satire: flamenco performers holding their guitar and dancing on the tables, absurd fights between working class people, scenes from the bull ring that have nothing to do with the actual bull fighting, the atmosphere on the Andalusian streets, people experiencing technological advancement such as the electric fan miracle, private concerts held for the cardinal, seductive women covered in fine lace mantillas, trying to get hitched. And the list can go on.
It is the essence of the lifestyle of the Sevillannos and a homage to Spain.
🖼️ Visiting Casa Fabiola, Seville:
The ticket to Royal Alcázar of Seville includes a visit to Casa Fabiola. So, you can go in for free! The same day or the next day (if you’re still in Seville). Inside, search for Jose Garcia Y Ramos ‘s paintings.
- 📌 Address: C. Fabiola, 5, 41004 Sevilla, Spain (Google Location);
- 🎟️ Admission fee: free to visit, when buying a ticket for Royal Alcazar;
- ⏰ Opening hours: Tue. – Sun., 11:00 am – 7:00 pm; Time to visit: 1 – 1.5 hours.
⚜️ Stop & Stare at the Fantastic Architecture in Plaza de Espana
Plaza de Espana is a public, semi-elliptical space, of indescribable charm. A must MUST visit, dreamy place in Seville and one of the most romantic tourist spots in the world. Moreover, it is just a 19-minute, filled-with-little-surprises walk away from the Giralda Restaurant.
Plaza de Espana, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
The history of the magnificent Plaza De Espana starts with Guadalquivir: the only navigable river in Spain and main maritime route for Atlantic product exchange for over 200 years. Seville was not only the starting point for Magellan’s dream of sailing around the earth. But, in the 16th century, due to its uniqueness of being an inland maritime port, Seville became the heart of the western world and bloomed from its monopole of trade with America.
The strong economical character of the city was the starting point for the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, an international event where partner countries were invited to build exhibition pavilions in Seville in order to exchange typical products from their regions. Something similar to Dubai Global Village, nowadays. In order to show the social and economic progress of Spain as well as expressing its culture, Plaza de Espana with its pavilions was the building designed for local merchants.
Its grandeur is hard to be explained. Especially, in the afternoon to evening when the sun stays to set. An architecture that combines its all history: Baroque, Renaissance and Moorish, incredible and colorful ceramic details that withstand the passage of time, a huge canal built along its perimeter which can be crossed boat romantically, Its walls are decorated with medallions with faces of distinguished Spaniards; a gallery that separates the open space of the Plaza from the closed pavilions.
Flamenco Dance in Plaza de Espana, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
On the water, rowing boats float romantically while in the first open air pavilion someone plays Spanish Balads on a guitar. People are taking pictures everywhere and still without disturbing the serene atmopshere of the sunt setting down.
🗺️ If you plan your itinerary
passing on Lope de la Rueda and later crossing Jardines de Murillo, you will have also the chance to see some smaller landmarks: Reja del Diablo (a small window fence with a weird structure, said to have been forged by the devil himself) and El Balcon de la Rosina (a charming corner balcony which seems to have inspired The Barber of Seville).
- 📌 Address: Av. Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain (Google Location);
- 🎟️ Admission fee: free to visit;
- ⏰ Opening hours: 08:00 am – 10:00 pm; Time to visit: 1 – 1.5 hours.
⚜️ Take a Stroll Around the Park of Maria Luiza
A cheerful paradise with lush vegetation, cascades and lily ponds, referred to as the lungs of Seville. This is El Parque de Maria Luisa, the central green space that completes the sentimental image of the city in its whole. Statues trapped for eternity in their emotions, fountains colorful ceramic dressed up and pavilions are scattered along the beautiful alleys.
The Park was designed by the French landscape architect Forestier, who put the romantic spirit of the area in all his drawings.
It surrounds Plaza de Espana and some other Pavilions and goes further, stretching along Guadalquivir river. This place used to be the private gardens of Palace of San Telmo until the Maria Luisa, Duchess of Montpensier, decided to donate them to the city for the public.
Nowadays the park bears her name and her spirit.
- 📌 Address: P.º de las Delicias, s/n, 41013 Sevilla, Spain (Google Location);
- 🎟️ Admission fee: free to visit;
- ⏰ Opening hours: 08:00 am – 12:00 am.
⚜️ Try Some of the Best Tapas in Seville
To start with, in Spain, people love socializing. Which is their primary reason for bar-hopping.
For them, this is a traditional way of getting together, having a drink (without getting wasted) and combining that drink with small plates of different savory dishes called tapas. The culture of bars and going out is, in fact, what has made tapas so popular.
Goat Cheese Cooked with Honey at La Sacristia, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
In some way, Spanish “tapas” are small, local appetizers, similar to the Greek “meze”. They range from basic ones such olives to the more elaborated involving cured meats. Most famous tapas include jamón ibérico (a kind of cured leg pork meat) and chorizo, pintxo (goat cheese with caramelized onion), Russian salad (a mix of potatoes and tuna) or patatas bravas (chunks of fried potatoes with sauce). Plus a good wine.
One street where you can try some Andalusian gourmet specialties is Calle Mateos Gago, bursting with vibrant bars and restaurants. Often decorated with rows of hams hanging over the bar and colorful walls dressed up in ceramic tiling, these Sevillian bars serving tapas are simply charming.
Apart from Cerveseria Giralda mentioned earlier, I really liked La Sacristia. This is a place where they do serve some of the best tapas in Seville, ham steaks and cured meats in a unique monastic setting, with vintage décor including Madera wood benches and religious tapestries. (Location)
If you’re a solo traveler and you would enjoy some company or you want to taste more delicacies under local guidance, the two food tours in Seville shown above are among the best rated and most fun.
⚜️ And/Or Close the Day With One of the Best Flamenco Shows in Seville
Flamenco is an Andalusian art performance that will leave you speechless. A combination of rhythmic dance, deep vocals and refined romantic guitar melodies, filled with emotion and energy. A mix capable to bring to life even the most dull theatre scenes. And people’s soul.
With each heel beat the hearts stop for a second. At night, in a candlelight setting, flamenco becomes even more intense. Bars, cellars, theatres, plazas host mesmerizing shows where ruffle skirts roar increasing the drama of a frantic dance.
Flamenco seems to have origins on the other side of Gudalquivir River from Bario de Santa Cruz, in the more wilder neighborhood of Triana. Gypsies who entered Spain in the beginning of the 15th century and settled in this district have had a large part in its creation.
And today, the Gitano Spaniards are continuing the tradition they’ve learned at home.
Such a show is a MUST even for only one day spent in Seville.
Some of the most beautiful shows take place in intimate places such as Baraka Sala Flamenco. It is one of the most searched for flamenco shows in Sevilla. It’s a small cellar decorated with Mudejar elements, making it a special place for art. Other options below.
Getting Around Seville
Every place included in the Seville one day itinerary is within walking distance.
If you want to kickstart your day touring the city, learning a bit about its history and skip walking, you can take a Hop-on Hop-off bus. You can choose between Red Bus and Green Bus, both leaving from Torre del Oro and returning to the same place. But for one day trips to Seville, this bus is more of a trap. Most people wait for it for a long time and you might waste your whole day without haven’t seen anything major.
Eurostars Guadalquivir Room Interior, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
For the ones planning to drive a car in Seville, the car I rented was waiting in the hotel parking through our my entire visit. And that cost me around €15 / day.
Truth being said, it was pretty hard to find parking around the central area. Close to impossible. And besides that, everything that needed to be seen was in the immediate reach. By just walking for several minutes from one landmark to another.
If you really need to use public transport in Seville, you have C5 bus that runs in a loop inside the center. This is the one I used. Also, to get from Puente de San Telmo to Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza de Espana, there is bus 03 going towards Bellavista with a stop at Paseo de las Delicias.
But for all routes and timetables, as well as tickets and 1-day travel cards you can check the Seville public transport official website.
And, never forget, that you can always rent a bike!
However, the most charming and romantic way to tour the city is by using as transport around Seville a 19th horse drawn carriage. The fact that it’s a private tour makes the experience an unforgettable and entertaining ride around the city center in good local company and without losing time.
Despite the many carriages in the street, I do recommend booking in advance and based on reviews.
Where to Stay in Seville
When you have only 24 hours in Seville, the location of your accommodation is crucial.
Especially for this Seville one-day itinerary, staying within walking distance of the main landmarks in the city center really helps you spare precious time.
Most people choose their accommodation right in the heart of Seville, in Barrio de Santa Cruz. But during my last trip, I chose Eurostars Guadalquivir, a hotel a bit out of the center, because my budget also was a bit limited.
Still, I did not choose bad at all. It’s international, 4-star, pretty modern hotel. On the other side of the river, a few streets away from Triana, the cradle of Flamenco dance, and just 10-15 minutes distance from the Cathedral.
I just needed to cross Puente de San Telmo to find myself at Torre de Oro.
Eurostars Guadalquivir Room Interior, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
With another budget, I would have probably chosen something more special or more traditional style, right in the heart of the city, inside the Barrio de Santa Cruz.
Most probably one of the hotels hosted in charming mansions and small palaces built between 16th and 18th century such as Casa del Poeta, Vincci La Rabida or Hotel Doña María. Traditional Andalusian courtyards, stone archways, colorful tiles, beamed ceilings and vintage chandeliers, hotels that often come with panoramic terraces overlooking Alcazar and the Cathedral. B E A U T I F U L!
When I visited, I had 3 days in Seville. Staying on the other side of the river, in the newer part of Seville, really helped me to spare some money, enjoy a high standard and still be close to everything. Even if I missed a bit the WOW part that I am usually looking for in the décor of the accommodation.
Image courtesy of Hotel Alfonso XIII
But if your budget has no limits at all, go all in for 5 stars. Go all in for Hotel Alfonso XIII in Santa Cruz district. It’s iconic, it’s pure Andalusian design and heritage, it’s THE dream. I’ve been staying in a few Marriott hotels that have a spark, but this one is gorgeous and has a history going back to 1920’s.
Before Traveling to Seville
Well, I am writing this post based on my recent trip to Seville. But from a cute motel in the far, far away, fairytale countryside of New Zealand, in Rotorua. And looking forward for another day of adventure tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Maori channel on TV is streaming Knight and Day. So one thing is true. World is pretty small! I am writing about the arts and culture of Seville, while Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are having their thrilling spy adventure inside its most famous landmarks.
However, this reminded me of some really good movies and books that would give you a perfect introduction to the city of Seville.
Although a day trip to Seville is far from enough to experience it to the core, I am sure you will have time to enjoy plenty. If you’ve already done this itinerary, I am really curious about your comments and suggestions!