This blog post was originally posted on April 1, 2015, and was updated on February 14, 2017.
Seville is made of legends, adventure, and times long ago. It makes for an incredible story for children of all ages.
Seville is a city with lots of history. It’s been around since the time of the Phoenicians and has been influenced by the Romans, Moors, and even the Americas. Seville was the place where ships set sail for the New World in the 16th century. Explorers left in search of spices and new lands and returned with gold and silver. This makes for an incredible story for children of all ages. So where should you begin your family trip to Seville? What are the best things to do in Seville with kids? We suggest heading up to the Torre del Oro and imagining those ships returning centuries ago laden with treasure. If you listen closely, you might even hear them arriving.
1. The Cathedral & Giralda
Seville’s Cathedral is pretty impressive in and of itself. It is the third largest Gothic style church in the world, and it combines Moorish and Christian architecture. The first thing you should do is head up the Giralda, the tower than was once the minaret of the Mosque that was on the same site. Kids and grown-ups alike will be interested in knowing that the ramps inside that you climb to get to the top were made so that back when it was a mosque, someone could ride a horse up to the top and ring the bell as a call to prayer. Can you imagine a horse riding up those tight turns?
This is one of the best things to do in Seville with kids because you get a bird’s eye view of the city and can point out landmarks such as the bull ring, the river, and even the Torre de Oro. You’ll notice how different the houses are, many with terraces or even pools on the roof!
Inside the cathedral, you will find the mausoleum of Christopher Columbus. There is some debate over whether or not Columbus is actually buried there, but kids are fascinated by the story and the idea that he might just be there!
As you leave, make sure to check out the orange trees on the patio, and the Moorish keyhole doorway. Again, depending on where you live, kids might not be expecting to see an orange tree. We love them, and the smell of their flowers (azahar) in spring time is something people identify with Seville. Also near the cathedral, you will find a lot of carriages ready to take you for a ride. This is a fun idea to try with kids in Seville. They will enjoy the clip-clopping of the horses’ hooves, as well as the scenery in the historic center.
2. Barrio Santa Cruz
Now that you have seen the Cathedral and Seville from up above. One of the most interesting things to do in Seville with kids is to take a winding walk through the old neighborhood of Santa Cruz. This is the old Jewish quarter and is perhaps the area of town that many people like the best. You will find narrow streets, hidden plazas and whitewashed homes that make you feel like you stumbled into another time. In the summer the streets tend to be cooler since the buildings offer some shade.
3. See a flamenco show
One of the best known traditions in Andalusia is flamenco dance. While there are some more touristic shows, it can be a great way to introduce kids to the traditional Spanish music and dance. If you head to the Flamenco Museum, you can buy a combined ticket for the flamenco show and also to see the museum. The museum itself has lots of videos and visuals, so it’s a good option for kids in Seville, especially if they love music or dance. Also check out our article for where to see flamenco in Seville for other options.
4. Plaza de España and Maria Luisa Park
If you have any Star Wars fans in the family, this is a great place to come. The Plaza de España has been featured in a lot of movies, however Star Wars is by far the most famous. Our tip is to show the kids in your family a clip or two that feature the plaza before you head out. That way they will immediately see how the historic place was used as a backdrop.
Another fun thing for kids is to look for the different provinces of Spain on the benches surrounding the plaza. Each one has a different tiled bench and they are all unique with a map on the ground showing the important cities. If you have any young soccer fans in your family, they might recognize a few of the places from their favorite teams!
After you’ve enjoyed exploring the plaza, it’s a perfect time to visit the surrounding Maria Luisa Park, one of the most popular parks in Seville. Kids can feed the white pigeons, play on the climbing structures at the playground, go on a carriage or enjoy exploring among the green plants and trees. It is beautiful in the spring and early summer, as there is a lot of shade and it almost resembles a jungle.
5. Enjoy a sweet treat!
One of the best things to do in Seville with kids is enjoy a sweet treat! We suggest you head to La Campana (Calle Sierpes, 1) for a traditional pastry shop experience, although there are several other pastry shops that we love. You can even buy cookies from the nuns, which is an experience kids will love! The nuns are cloistered, so in most convents never see them and they never see you – it’s all about the sweets! If it is summer and you need a cooler option, Seville has some delicious ice cream as well, and we have some particular favorites where to find it. Now that you mention it, we’re in the mood for something sweet already!
6. Visit the Aquarium
At the Seville Aquarium you can see different sea animals including sea turtles, rays, tropical fish, sharks and octopus. It might not be the world’s biggest aquarium, but there is a cool exhibit where kids in Seville can follow the route that the explorer Magellan took starting his journey from the Guadalquivir River, right here in Seville.
7. Enjoy the Guadalquivir River
Another great activity for kids in Seville is renting a pedal boat and heading down the Guadalquivir River. You can ride underneath the Isabel II bridge that leads from the center of Seville to the neighborhood of Triana and enjoy looking at the brightly painted buildings along the Calle Betis in Triana. Another option if you have younger kids or if the weather isn’t so great, is taking a boat cruise down the river. You get to enjoy the sights and being out on the water without all the effort of pedaling – the best of both worlds!
8. Visit a palace: the Royal Alcazar
The Royal Alcazar is found close to the Cathedral. We suggest that you tell kids about the history of the palace before they go inside, as you are looking at the huge red painted wall with a lion’s crest. It looks quite official, and it is! The Alcazar is a royal palace that the Moorish king of Seville, Al-Mutamid, started construction on over 1,000 years ago. When the Christians took over Seville in the year 1248, they continued the building work, so you can see the influence and the architectural style from the Moorish beginnings until as recent as the 19th century.
Part of the grounds include a beautiful garden where kids can wander and even see peacocks if they are lucky! There is a café on site, so you can take a rest and have something cold to drink when the small feet get weary. Of the things to do in Seville with kids, we like this one for the young and the young at heart!
9. Isla Mágica
You may not have heard of it, but Seville actually has a theme park, Isla Mágica! It is located in the area called La Cartuja and it is culturally themed. Here you can explore a Spanish galleon, ride the train to Potosi, as well as ride coasters and cool off on the water rides. There are also family friendly shows that the whole family can enjoy.
10. Try new foods with your kids in Seville!
Last, but certainly not least – eating! We couldn’t write this list without including food, and thankfully there are a whole host of kid-friendly dishes available! We think that one of the best things to do in Seville with kids is expose them to some of the local flavors.
If you have a budding chef at home, or just a family who loves delicious food and is willing to try some different flavors, join us on our family friendly Tastes, Tapas & Traditions of Seville tour! It is a cultural and culinary walk through Seville with a local guide who speaks English. What could be better than an authentic Spanish food experience?