10 reasons to choose the Seville Cathedral Roof Tour
Best way to learn history and construction
1. The only guided tour
The rooftop tour is the only guided tour to know the Seville Cathedral. It is also called the Cubiertas Tour or the Architectural tour. It is organized and run by the Cathedral.
2. Hear the stories
Stories about how the Cathedral was built, and an explanation of its various features, are covered very well on the tour.
3. See the building progress
The progress of construction is fascinating to see, as you climb the stairs, it is marked out in stages. You will also see many figures like Stars of David, carved in the stone. You will never get to see this from the ground level.
4. Understand the construction difficulties
You will learn about how for the first time stone was used for a huge project. Guides will narrate how it was quarried and transported from the San Cristóbal mountains in Cadiz, first by sea and then by river to Seville. They will also explain why the stone is crumbling (porous stone was used for its light weight but with weather it is breaking down)
5. See and discuss the original plan
A copy of the original plan will be shown as discussed to the group. The original is in safekeeping.
Unique and stunning views
6. Best view of Giralda
The Giralda can be seen up close. You can admire the different eras and influences in its construction from the dome of the sacristy, the highest point of the tour.
See the Giralda, up close
Along with the view of the Constitution Avenue, these are the best views from the roof.
7. Views of surrounding historic landmarks
Other important external views are: the gargoyles on the Cathedral exterior, Plaza de Virgen de los Reyes, Archbishop’s Palace, Alcazar and its gardens, Barrio Santa Cruz, the Guadalquivir river, Torre Pelli, Patio de los Naranjos, Archivo de Indias.
8. See stained glass windows, up close
The highlight of the inside views is the stained glass windows by leading artists such as Mateo Martínez, Vicente Menardo and Arnao de Flanders. Do not miss the rosette 'el rosette' over the Assumption Door.
9. Other inside views
You will be able to come up very close to the vaults, transept, organ and choir. You will see the 80 chapels, the 5 naves and 36 pillars of the construction from a perspective that makes you admire the massive building even more.
Great team of guides
10. Knowledgeable, friendly, English speaking
The guides are passionate and they know the stories and history of the building. They make it enjoyable for the group and the 90 minutes seems to go by in a very interesting way. Guides will make sure the group stays together and everyone is comfortable. They speak English and Spanish.
Best roof tour in all of Spain
Lastly, in Spain there are very few cathedrals that will allow you to visit the roof and give you a tour. Sure, Malaga and Santiago de Compostela have this as well but those constructions as tiny compared to Seville. And also compared to Seville you are less likely visit those cities.
Definitely, you must go on the Seville Cathedral Roof Tour! It is in operation all year round except in August.
If you ask which is better, Seville Cathedral Roof Tour or Giralda climb, my answer is always ROOF TOUR. I prefer the roof tour of the cathedral, since climbing to the Giralda is complicated and you end up very tired. I think that climbing to a cathedral roof is much more original, besides that you can appreciate the construction, the gargoyles and buttresses, etc.
How to book Seville Cathedral Roof Tour
Here is the official website for advance booking of the rooftop tour (price is 12 euros), but I think it is not designed very well at all, especially if you do not know Spanish. If you try calling the Cathedral they will also direct you to the site so it is not much help.
Book in person - The only other way to book the roof tour (besides online sign up) is on the spot at the Cathedral ticket office. Of course it is a risk because it will depend on availability, but usually you should be able to get a place on the tour.
Keep in mind - Anyway, some things to keep in mind for the Cathedral Roof Tour:
- Children under 13 years can't do the roof tour and there is accident insurance included for 70 years old people, just in case.
- They recommended me very comfortable shoes.
- Tours are 4 to 5 times a day. Duration is 90 minutes
And for the Cathedral itself (9 euros) , book it in advance. They do have a free audio guided visit on Mondays, in both Spanish and English. They just offer audio guides and some pamphlets. This might be useful:
You can sign up for a walking tour. Check this out:
1. Seville Tour
2. Seville Cathedral walking tour
Important rules – Seville Cathedral Roof Tour
1. Watch your step
As you are on the tour, your group will ascend and descend steep parts of the construction in a short time, especially the ascent via the spiral staircase. And in many areas it will be dark and cramped. If you get left behind the rest of the group, call out for them to slow down instead of speeding up and risking injury.
2. Mind the wires
At many places you will see wires along the walls and even sometme on the floor. Avoid them. These are to shock pigeons and prevent nesting in the Cathedral.
3. Single file
You group will pass through narrow spaces, low ceilings, and balconies. Stay in a single file especially if you are not comfortable in tight spaces.
4. Out on the roof, mind the ground
There are many stone pods on the roof which are used to keep the paintings and other reliquia in the building, in place. Many visitors end up tripping on these. Be careful.
5. Too young, too old, unwell or unfit?
If you are older than 70 you will need to sign a consent form. Children under 13 must be accompanied by adults at all times. And those who are unwell or might not be fit enough for exertion should skip the tour.
Notes about Cathedral Roof Tour Guides
- The guides on the tour are good and they will be able to speak English. Or there will be 2 guides, one in Spanish and one in English. This sounds confusing but it goes well; they speak in turn.
- The wireless radio transmitter is useful but often the sound is just too bad. Near the organs, it is useless. So make your own judgement when to rely on your plain ears.
- The minimum group size is 10 and never more than 25 people.
Before you go:
- Carry a photo ID (for some reason they need it), ideally a passport but sometimes you can be ok with a driving license.
- For tickets, if the line is long, buy a combined ticket at the Salvador church nearby. The price difference of the Roof Tour, 12 euros vs. the 9 Euros for Cathedral alone, is well worth it. No debate!
- The tour doesn’t include a visit to the Giralda.
Yes, the Roof Tour is unique and you should choose this over the Giralda.
Roof tour tickets are available on site. They are reasonably priced at 12 euros. Booking online is complicated so don't waste your time. The guides know English, and the tour lasts 90 minutes. Wait time between tours is acceptable.
Small kids may not enjoy it much though.
Must do - No debate!
Yes, the Cathedral roof tour is worth every minute of it. For me, it is the best of all tours in Seville, and it is the ONLY guided tour of the Cathedral. Choose this instead of climbing the Giralda. I highly recommend it for your Seville itinerary.
- Educational and interesting, about the history and construction of the Cathedral.
- Fantastic views of the detailed architecture (inside and outside). And best possible views of Giralda.
- Good guides, timing of 90 minutes is just right, groups are not too big at all.
Only issue is that advance booking is a mess. But you can book when you are at the Cathedral, the lines are not long at all like Sagrada Familia.
(Make sure to carry a picture ID with you. Also read the excellent posts below by my fellow-experts, for more detail)