Most visitors assume that you need a guided tour for a building that has the scale and history of the Seville Cathedral. But no, you do not need a guided tour because the audio guide that comes free with the entry ticket is actually pretty good for you to see Seville Cathedral on your own pace. You will need 2 hours at most.
While there is no official guided tour offered by Seville Cathedral, there are 2 exceptions:
- Commercial tour operators in Seville do offer guided tours of Cathedral and Giralda for a fee, and some of them can be quite interesting. You should decide if this is worth it for you based on their description.
- The excellent Cubiertas (roof) tour of the Cathedral is only offered as an official tour by the Cathedral. You should seriously consider this tour which is priced at 12 euros compared to the 9 euro fee for the regular visit. In this case you will add another 90 minutes to your Cathedral visit but you will get a very unique experience. But note that this tour does not include Giralda access.
If you decide to visit the Cathedral on your own, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Do not rush. Seville Cathedral is huge but each little part of it is breathtaking. Take your time and plan to spend even half a day if you can. Despite the free audio guide that comes with the entrance, pick up a pamphlet at the entrance. It is very useful to know where you are going and what you are looking at.
- Look for the only remaining Moorish parts, many visitors miss them despite knowing the Islamic history of the Cathedral.
A: Puerta del Perdon (on Calle Alemanes) is the Moorish entrance marked
with an ornate fountain which was used for washing before prayers and
the Giralda Bell Tower.
B: The Orange Courtyard is a remnant from Moorish times.
C: The Giralda architecture has clear Islamic influences along the middle.
- The best Renaissance influences are in the Royal Chapel, the Main Sacristy, and the Chapter House.
- Walk outside and view the Cathedral from Avenida de la Constitución, to truly appreciate its size! And before you leave, make sure to walk amongst the courtyard with orange trees.
- Notice the stuffed crocodile hung above the gate by the same name. There is a story to it dating back to when it was gifted by an Egyptian Sultan in love with the local princess.
- Wear comfortable shoes for the Giralda climb, and watch out for high traffic up and down the ramps, especially in the spring and summer.
- Sunday morning entry is free, but Giralda access and many other interesting parts are closed during mass.