Seville, Sevilla in Spanish, is one of Spain’s most popular cities. It is known for its arts, culture, monuments, and for being the origin of the Flamenco dance.
Aside from Seville’s incredible arts and culture, it is also famous for a variety of other interesting activities. It hosts some of the most exciting Spanish fiestas. Seville also produces the bitter Seville orange which is the key ingredient in marmalade. And, Seville has been a haven for the movie industry for decades – including being the backdrop for Game of Thrones (more on this later).
With so much on offer from this city, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the things to do and places to see. Keep reading to find out the best things to do in Seville. The bonus is that they are all free. And we can agree that everything is better when we don’t have to pay!
Cultural places to visit in Seville, Spain
Seville holds three renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site titles. Apart from these three sites, there is a long list of cultural attractions to visit. Here are the top free things to do in Sevilla.
1. Seville Cathedral
The first of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Seville Cathedral is a glorious place to start on your list of places to visit. Cathedral de Sevilla is the world’s largest gothic cathedral, stretching over 124000 square feet. It is breath-taking in its sheer magnitude and majesty. It’s easy to understand why this is one of the top things to do in Seville.
The Seville Cathedral is noted for its long history and for being the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. It was built between the 1400s and 1500s over the city’s main mosque, which can still be seen in the mosque’s original minaret (The Giralda). Other things to see and marvel over include the bell tower and the gold altarpiece.
Visitors can simply walk around the massive grounds and soak up the gothic architecture. The admission fee is €10 ($11) but visitors can get a free audio tour on Mondays between 16h30 and 18h00 if you book online beforehand. Spaces are first-come, first-serve and are limited to bookings for five people.
2. Real Alcázar
The next on the World Heritage Site list comes Real Alcázar. Real Alcázar is an awe-inspiring royal palace that amalgamates the Iberian peninsula’s Muslim/Christian history perfectly in its architecture and atmosphere.
Game of Thrones fans will be excited to know that the Real Alcázar is the set of Dorne. It is rare for this historical site to allow camera crews and actors into its grounds but Game of Thrones managed to do just that. And by doing so, captivated the world with shots of the lavish Water Gardens, intricate tile work, and opulent details.
Entry to this luxurious palace is free on Monday evenings. During winter off-season (October-March) the times are between 16h00-17h00. During summer high-season (April-September) the times are 18h00-19h00.
3. Museum of Fine Arts
Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla is a rewarding and captivating cultural visit. The building itself dates back to 1594 and is an art piece in its own right. It was converted from a convent into a museum in 1835 and has been displaying art ever since.
The museum holds exhibitions predominantly consisting of fine art pieces from the medieval period. Collections also include sculptures, ceramics, furniture, and a single incredible piece of goldsmith’s work.
The museum is free to EU citizens, while the rest of its visitors pay a mere €1,50 ($1,65).
4. Museum of Contemporary Art
The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC) is an interesting combination of architecture, modern art, and the lush gardens bordered by the river La Cartuja. The grounds of the CAAC have a history rooted in a Christian monastery. This creates a fascinating backdrop for the contemporary art its walls hold.
The museum is free from Tuesdays to Fridays from 19h00-21h00 and Saturdays from 11h00-21h00.
5. Torre del Oro
Located along the Guadalquivir River, the Torre del Oro was first built in the 13th-century as a military watchtower. It’s 36 meters tall and gives visitors amazing views of the city as well as the river.
Admission fees are free on Mondays with the rest of the week costing the low €1,50 ($1,65).
6. Archive de Indias
The General Archives of the Indies is the third and final UNESCO World Heritage Site in Seville and it holds as much intrigue and history as the previous two. The building dates back to 1572 and is a shining example of Spanish Renaissance architecture.
The building holds and exhibits fascinating documents describing Spain’s colonisation of the Philippines and the Americas. These unique documents were made public in order to educate and help move past Spain’s colonial history.
7. Las Setas De Sevilla
Dubbed the “mushroom” by locals, this extraordinary wooden architectural feat is a sight to behold. It was designed by architects Sacyr and Jürgen Mayer and stands at the proud height of 26 meters. Walking around and admiring the building from the outside is free, but entering it and exploring its museum and incredible views of Seville is not.
However, at an entry fee of €1 ($1,1), it is an excellent idea to put it on the list of the top things to do in Seville (and believe us when we say it’s worth it). A small price to pay in comparison to over €86 million it cost to build.
8. Royal Tobacco Factory
Now forming part of the Seville University, The Royal Tobacco Factory is an old historic building which, as the name suggests, used to be a tobacco factory. The building is situated inside a moat which makes it feel like it belongs in a period when horsemen rode the streets.
The building is made up of many courtyards and notable architecture in its grand design.
9. Parque de María Luisa
The Parque de María Luisa is a lush romantic public garden situated along the Guadalquivir River. It is a sweet escape from the city and is considered the ‘green lung’ of Seville.
The gardens were previously the gardens of the Palace of San Telma and are now a part of Plaza Espana. Roaming these thriving gardens and appreciating its foliage, water features, and sculptures is a fantastic free thing to do in Seville.
Best city areas to explore in Sevilla, Spain
Seville has so many points of interest and a sure way to discover them is by foot. Walking around the city allows you to stumble upon authentic gems you otherwise wouldn’t have. These are some of the best areas to explore in Seville.
10. Wander Santa Cruz district
Santa Cruz is Seville’s most famous quarter. It’s full of winding cobbled roads, Spanish tapas bars, and quaint shops. This area of Seville is packed with history and an electric atmosphere. It brings to life the Spanish way, which is one of festivity and celebration.
11. Explore Triana district
The Triana quarter brings as much merriment as Santa Cruz. Here you can find street food, markets, and plenty of live music and Flamenco dancing. Making all your Spanish dreams come true, these lively streets will get anyone who passes through them sipping on cava and swinging their hips.
12. Plaza de Espana
Seville’s most famous square is a must-see for all. With dramatic architecture, breath-taking water features, and bursts of colour with artistically laid tiling, it is a place to mozy around or have a seat and take in.
Most exciting restaurants in Sevilla, Spain
The Spanish are famous for creating amazing energy around food. Their restaurants are a direct reflection of their love for food, wine, and being merry. Although the bill is technically not free, all travellers need to stop and rest their weary feet after hours of exploring. Why not grab a coffee or beer at one of our recommendations.
Here is a list of our favourite restaurants and bars which are electrified by their uniqueness.
- Gallo Rojo
- La Carbonería (free Flamenco shows)
- Lo Nuestro (free Flamenco shows)
- El Viajero Sedentario
Closing thoughts on Sevilla, Spain
Sevilla, like many other Spanish cities, is spirited and energetic. It boasts all things the Spanish are so well-known for. Seville is a culmination of history, art, beauty, food, music, and dance. It epitomises the vivacious Spanish way.
It’s easy to see how Seville should be on the top of all bucket lists with its captivating and intriguing activities and monuments. So, as the Spanish say ‘A beber y a tragar, que el mundo se va a acabar’. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.