There are many things you learn on a trip to a new city that make you think, ‘if only I had known that before arriving!’ But if you’re coming to Seville, we’re here to help!
Planning a trip to a new destination can be stressful for even the most seasoned traveler, and there are always things that pop up along the way that you wish you had accounted for before. But why wait until you’re here to learn these tricks and tips when you could arrive in Seville already armed with this insider knowledge? These top travel tips for Seville will ensure you come here well prepared and ready to make the most of our beautiful city!
Photo Credit: Malcolm Browne
Don’t waste precious time in queues!
Seville’s stunning monuments, such as the Cathedral and the Real Alcázar Palace, are absolute must-see things in the city. However, given the popularity of these monuments– even more so since Game of Thrones was filmed inside the Alcázar– means that there is often quite a queue to gain entrance.
Cathedral: Visit to the much less popular church at Plaza del Salvador and get a combined ticket (9 euros) which gives you entrance to the amazing El Salvador Church itself, and also to the Cathedral afterward. The cost of the combined ticket is the same as the entrance to the Cathedral!
Alcázar: Tickets can be purchased online for an added cost of just 1 euro, meaning you can stroll past the long queue and enter much quicker.
Be armed with knowledge how to get from the airport
Bus: Seville’s airport is located about 15 km from the center of the city, but thankfully is very well-connected. The airport bus runs approximately every 30 minutes at a flat cost of €4 each way, taking about thirty minutes to reach its final destination, Plaza de Armas.
Taxi: If you do prefer to get a taxi to the city there is a flat rate of €25 for the trip– this price is higher during public holidays, late at night and early in the morning. But remember– much of the historic center is filled with small cobbled streets, so it’s quite possible that your taxi may not be able to drop you at the door of your accommodation! The logistics of how to get to Seville are crucial to relieving stress when you arrive.
Eat when the locals eat
Mealtimes in Spain are a typical source of confusion for visitors, and understandably so! At the times when you may typically be eating lunch or dinner at home, the doors to Seville’s restaurants may not even be open yet.
- Lunch: Bars may be open earlier, but then kitchens generally open for lunch anytime between 12.30-1.30pm, with them remaining open until 4pm or even later.
- Dinner: Don’t expect to find a good restaurant open until about 8:30-– at the earliest! Restaurants start serving food around 8.30 or even 9pm, and locals will often still be seen filing into their favorite local restaurants as late as 10:30 or even 11:00, especially on the weekends!
Order just a couple of tapas at a time
It can be hard to decode the tapas scene in Seville, and the protocols in each place, but there is one golden rule: don’t order too much food at once! Food generally comes as it is ready, and it is expected that you might order more later on, so go with just one (maybe two) tapas per person, then eat, relax, have another drink, and order more food! Tapas size can mean a different thing in every bar, so it’s best to get a feel for the place before ordering too much.
And while we are speaking about tapas…ask for the bill!
Don’t wait for the waiter to put the bill on your table– it will never happen! Like the rest of Spain and much of Europe, you need to ask for the bill when you are ready to leave. A simple “la cuenta, por favor” will do the trick. In Spain waiters won’t generally check up on your table, so it’s not rude to call the waiters attention when you need something– and asking for the bill is no exception!
Have a drink with views of the Cathedral
Sure, you will spend a little bit more money, but there are some things you just HAVE to splurge on in Seville, and having a drink with a birds-eye view of the stunning Cathedral and Giralda bell tower as the night is drawing near is one of them. Head to the trendy hotel EME for unbeatable views of the Cathedral, or head over to a more relaxing atmosphere at Hotel Doña Maria, where the views are nearly as good and the wine is a little cheaper.
Carry cash and photo ID with you for payments
Expect that many places, in particular small bars and stores, will not accept credit card– yes, even if they have the sticker on their window saying they do! Be prepared with cash (and not just 50 euro bills, as many small businesses won’t accept them for a small amount). If you are able to and do want to pay by credit card, remember that in Spain the law states that you must have photo ID to pay by card. That doesn’t mean that you will always be asked, but you should have it handy!
Bring comfortable walking shoes
You will find that you do a lot of walking on your trip to Seville. The historic center (which is where you will spend most of your time) offers little in the way of public transport, and even though taxis are available sometimes the journey takes longer in taxi than walking, due to the abundance of pedestrian and one-way streets. Come prepared to explore the cobblestone streets on foot!
Visit the museums and monuments when they are free of charge
Seeing the many beautiful monuments in Seville is essential but seeing them for free is even better, and there are certain days or times of the week that many of the monuments and museums in Seville do not charge entry.
- Cathedral: Free entrance on Sunday afternoons
- Alcázar: Free entrance during the final opening hour each day (with the only downside being limited time to appreciate the spectacular gardens and buildings!)
- Andalucian Center for Contemporary Art: Free entrance on Tuesday afternoons (Avenida Americo Vespucio, 2) to avoid their entrance fee entirely.
- Casa de Pilatos: Free on Wednesdays
- Hospital de los Venerables: Free on Sunday afternoon
Are you from the EU? You will be pleased to know that entrance into the majority of the museums in Seville is free for EU citizens, and in most cases, just a small cost for those visiting from outside the EU.
Book your onwards train tickets in advance
You’ll notice pretty quickly that the main station of Santa Justa is a bit of a walk from the city center. To be guaranteed a seat, the best thing to do is to buy your tickets before making the journey– especially during high season!
- Ticket Office: Tickets for all train services can be purchased in an office on Calle Zaragoza, just beside Plaza Nueva in the heart of the Seville, which saves wasting time trekking out to the station just to buy tickets in advance.
- Booking Online: We recommend booking your tickets online, as you don’t only save yourself the hassle of visiting the ticket office but you’ll have the opportunity to snag yourself some great advance deals too if you book far ahead!
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After studying in Andalusia, Jaimie made sure he was on the first possible flight back to Seville—the day after graduation! Many years later, he is fully immersed in Spain’s culinary world and has shown thousands of guests the secrets of sherry and tapas.