Did you know you can go on a cruise to Seville, the capital of Andalusia, despite its location far inland from the Atlantic Ocean?
Thanks to the Guadalquivir River, which runs through the city, Seville has a port that can accommodate small and medium-sized cruise ships. This means you can enjoy the benefits of a cruise vacation and explore one of the most fascinating cities in Spain.
Seville has a long and varied history, dating back to Roman times when it was known as Hispalis. The Muslims later conquered it, named it Ishbiliya and made it a centre of art, science and commerce. The Alcazar palace, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies are some monuments that reflect the Islamic influence and the importance of Seville in the discovery and colonization of the Americas. Seville was also the birthplace of flamenco, the passionate dance and music that expresses the soul of Andalusia.
If you are planning to cruise to Seville, here are some of the must-sees and dos that you should not miss:
Admire the architecture of Alcazar.
Photo by Pixabay and Mike Chrisemer
Visit the Alcazar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest royal palaces in Europe. Admire the stunning architecture, gardens and courtyards that blend Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. The Alcazar is in the city's heart, next to the Cathedral. You can buy tickets online or at the entrance, but be prepared to queue long, especially during peak season. The Alcazar is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Sunday. The admission fee is 11.50 euros for adults and 4 euros for children. You can also book a guided tour or an audio guide for an extra fee. For more information, visit the official website.
Marvel at the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic church in the world and the third-largest church in Christendom. See the tomb of Christopher Columbus, the Giralda Tower and the impressive altarpiece. The Cathedral is also in the city's centre, next to the Alcazar. You can buy tickets online or at the entrance, but online tickets are recommended to avoid the queues. The Cathedral is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The admission fee is 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children. You can also book a guided tour or an audio guide for an extra fee. For more information, visit the official website.
Hang out on Plaza de España
Stroll along the Plaza de España, a magnificent square built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. Admire the tiled alcoves that represent the provinces of Spain, the fountains, bridges and pavilions. The Plaza de España is open 24 hours a day and is free to enter. You can also rent a boat to row around the canal or a horse-drawn carriage to ride around the park.
Experience the thrill of a flamenco show in one of the city's many tablaos (venues). Watch the dancers, singers, and guitarists perform with passion and emotion. There are many options, depending on your budget, preference and location. Some of the most famous tablaos are Los Gallos, El Arenal, Casa de la Memoria and La Carbonería. You can book your tickets online or at the door, but online tickets are advised to secure your seat. The prices vary depending on the show but usually range from 20 to 40 euros per person, including a drink.
Enjoy the views of the city from the Metropol Parasol, a modern wooden structure that resembles a giant mushroom. It has a panoramic terrace, a museum and a market. The Metropol Parasol is located in the Plaza de la Encarnación
Go across the river.
Photo by Lothar Boris Piltz (Top) and Taisia Karaseva
Cross the Guadalquivir River to the Triana district, a traditional neighbourhood known for its pottery, ceramics and flamenco. Visit the Triana market, the Santa Ana church and the Castillo de San Jorge. The Triana district is opposite the city centre on the river's west bank. The Triana market is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. You can buy fresh produce, fish, meat, cheese and bread, souvenirs and handicrafts.
Stroll through the Jewish quarter.
Discover the Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Seville. Wander through the narrow streets, alleys and squares, and admire the whitewashed houses, flowered balconies and hidden patios. The Barrio Santa Cruz is around the Cathedral and the Alcazar.
Check out Seville and Spanish naval history.
See the Torre del Oro, a 13th-century tower once part of the city's defensive walls. It now houses a naval museum that displays models, maps and instruments related to Seville's maritime history.
Check out fine arts.
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the best art galleries in Spain. It has a collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics from the medieval to the modern period, focusing on the Sevillian school. The Museum of Fine Arts is located in the Plaza del Museo.
Learn the history of bullfighting.
Learn about the history and culture of bullfighting at the Bullfighting Museum, located in the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, the oldest bullring in Spain. See the costumes, posters and trophies of famous bullfighters.
Shop for souvenirs and handicrafts in the Calle Sierpes, the main shopping street in Seville. You can find leather goods, fans, shawls, ceramics, jewellery and more. The Calle Sierpes is located north of the city centre, near the Metropol Parasol.
Take a boat trip on the Guadalquivir River and enjoy a different city perspective. You can see the bridges, monuments and buildings that line the riverbanks and learn about their history and significance. Several companies, such as Cruceros Torre del Oro, Guadaluxe and Sevilla Cruises, offer boat trips.
When to visit
The best time to visit Seville is in spring or autumn when the weather is pleasant and the city is full of colour and festivities. In spring, you can witness the Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the Feria de Abril (April Fair), two of Seville's most essential and popular events.
To get to Seville
If you're not coming here on a cruise, you can take a train to the Santa Justa Station, connected to other major cities in Spain by high-speed trains.
You can also take a bus to the Plaza de Armas or the Prado de San Sebastian bus stations, which have services from other Spanish and Portuguese cities.
Fly to the Seville Airport, about 9 kilometres (5.6 miles) east of the city centre. You can take a bus, a taxi or a private transfer to reach your final destination.