What you will cover in 1 day in Seville
Your day in Seville will bring you through historic Moorish-Catholic constructions, and the revival of those periods in modern day buildings. You will visit neighborhoods from Roman times, and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in just 1 day. You will spend most of your time the historic city and then in the evening you could cross the bridge over to Triana district for Flamenco or Tapas.
First priority to visit in 1 day:
Alcazar of Seville
This palace is still in use by the royal family today. The Alcazar was designed and built by the Muslim Moors in the 14th century. There are more modern additions to the palace but the real focus of your visit is the original design created by artisans, some of who worked on the Alhambra.
Enjoy wandering around this UNESCO site and spend most of your time at the Palace of Don Pedro which is the best example of Moorish-Christian collaboration.
Exit via the beautiful gardens and stop to admire the porticoes of Galeria de Grutesco. Unfortunately on a 1 day trip to Seville, you will not have enough time to go on the stunning Royal Apartments tour in the Alcazar.
Seville Cathedral and Giralda Bell Tower
Here’s your second UNESCO World Heritage Site, just across from the Alcazar, the Seville cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Originally the site of a Almohad mosque only the minaret remains, now the Giralda bell tower, also very much worth your time and included in the 9 euro entry fee.
The cathedral was built over the mosque that was partly destroyed by an earthquake but also to show Christian domination. The Cathedral is massive in scale, houses the tomb of Columbus and is covered in art work. Tickets can be tricky, but there are ways to make sure you don't stand in long lines.
Next priority to visit:
Plaza de España
A 20th century structure built for a 1929 world’s fair it is situated in Parque de Maria Luisa. Though more modern the Plaza de España does an excellent job of fitting in with a combination of Renaissance and Moorish revival architecture.
There is also a canal out front where you can paddle around in Venetian style before wandering through the encompassing park.
Barrio Santa Cruz
Though very touristy the Santa Cruz neighborhood is well worth visiting. Full of nooks and crannies you just might find a spot of peace and quiet. This neighborhood is also home to the old Jewish Quarter of Seville.
How to spend your 1 evening in Seville
Check out a Flamenco show. Seville is where Flamenco hails from and the best shows are performed here. There are two main types of venues to see a flamenco show, a tablao or a pena. Head for a pena, it’s a bit more authentic and less touristy.
A tapas evening is also a great option if you are not a fan of flamenco. There are simple routes you can follow to sample the best tapas in Spain. Or should you combine flamenco and tapas in one evening?
What you cannot do in a day in Seville
Spend enough time in Triana
The Guadalquivir river divides Seville into the historic city with the major attractions, and working class Triana district which has enough for an entire day in Seville.
Triana is famous for ceramics, riverside tapas bars, food markets, flamenco bars and penas, and local churches. It also has the site of the Spanish Inquisition.
Renaissance Italian and Mudéjar Spanish architecture comes together in Casa Pilatos and it may be worth a look over a longer visit to Seville.
Seville has both Mercado Lonja del Barranco and Triana Market. They are near to one another but set apart from downtown. If you get a longer stay in Seville head over for some fresh tapas or just to experience shopping like a local.
Plaza de Toros Maestranza
You will not have time to visit one of the most beautiful bullrings in Spain. But you could try and see its vibrant exterior on your way to the riverside.
The main attractions in Seville have longer tours available. For example the Seville Alcazar has a Cuarto Real Alto royal apartments visit, and also a night visit. The Cathedral has the Giralda climb, or an option to go on a Cubiertas roof tour.
You can decide what to do in 1 day based on your interest. I suggest that you think about this before you go or else you will be stretched very thin on your quick 1 day visit to Seville.
Tips to visit Seville in a day
Do I need advance booking of Attractions?
Book your Alcazar visit in advance; it is not worth risking your time on a short day visit. The Cathedral visit online booking is tricky; follow this tried and tested hack in case you see long lines at the door.
How to travel within Seville?
Walking is easy and the best way around Seville historic sights. Seville also has bus, tram and metro lines. As well as a city bike share program and taxis, though these can get a bit more expensive.
Should I buy a Sevilla card?
No. Not on a 1 day trip. The Seville city card will get you into the cathedral and get you a guided tour at the plaza de España but it starts at €50.00 for 24 hours. Whereas the ticket to the cathedral is only €9.00. We’d suggest skipping the pass unless you end up in Seville without advance tickets, then the pass will get you in past the lines.
Should I take the city sightseeing bus?
Not recommended! The Seville hop on hop off bus runs a 75-minute route every 30 minutes and the tickets are €20.00 for one adult. However, the staff are regarded as not very friendly and often don’t speak any English. The information given is often seen as irrelevant to most tourists. All in all, the bus tour isn’t highly recommended.
Recommendation on Seville walking tours
The good news is you can find a walking tour that takes less than two hours, which means if you fit it in the morning you can still have much of the day to complete the rest of your itinerary. For history buffs, it’s definitely recommended. For others, with only a day, you could go either way.
Seville in One Day
To visit Seville just for a day is not a great idea. Seville is a perfect gateway for all of Andalucia and hence most tourists end up staying for a week. However, if you have just one day in Seville, then let's plan to maximize the most of your one day in Seville.
What to see and do in Seville
Luckily Seville is a compact city with most of the attractions concentrated around the historic center. The two biggest attractions of Seville are the Cathedral and the next door Alcazar.
After visiting the two monuments in the historic centre, visit Barrio Santa cruz. Barrio Santa Cruz was once one of the most famous Jewish district. Then cross the Guadalquivir river to the lively neighborhood of Triana. You must not leave Seville without attending a flamenco performance. Reserve your evening for a flamenco show.
If you are an energetic person and can compress a lot in a day, add a visit to Metropol Parasol to the above itinerary. If you have more time, then you can take in other churches and convents.
Time of year is important
You must be aware that high summer is extremely hot in Seville. If you are visiting Seville in summer, keep your itinerary short and pick attractions that can be visited by night or those open till late in the evening. For instance, opt for night visit of Alcazar over day visit.
If your visit coincides with the holy week, avoid visiting attractions and just savour the atmosphere. Semana Santa in Seville is an experience in itself..
Planning your day in Seville
You must start your day with the Cathedral. Queues at the Cathedral can get pretty long, purchase your ticket at the nearby Iglesia del Salvador.
Seville Cathedral, once a symbol of Spanish power, is the third largest church in the world. Do pick the audio guide at the Cathedral and listen to narrations about this historic church and the numerous stories associated with the cathedral. The Seville cathedral rooftop tour is a definite must-do and recommended even for those visiting Seville just for a day.
Next to Cathedral is the Giralda Tower. The cathedral ticket includes entry to Giralda and the climb to the top of the bell tower. The climb is easy as they are accessible by 35 ramps designed to for horses to climb. Though the views from the Giralda tower are excellent, you can give it a miss in the interest of time, especially if you have taken the cathedral rooftop tour.
Clsoe to cathedral is the Alcazar, a UNESCO heritage monument. Alcazar was a Moorish palace that was later seized by Christian kings. Interestingly, much of the palace was expanded by a Christian king, Pedro the cruel. However, he retained the Moorish flavor as he hired Moorish architects and craftsmen. He also used remnants from other Moorish buildings in Seville and Cordoba that had fallen into the hands of Christian kings. The end result is a set of beautiful buildings and gardens that was featured in an episode of Game of Thrones.
For long, Seville Alcazar was the seat of Spanish empire. It was in the Admiral’s hall of the palace that Spanish rulers were debriefed about the new world by Columbus. The Spanish royals do use the palace even today. You can pay extra and tour the section of the palace still in use by the royal family (recommended).
The lines at Alcazar are long. It is better to buy your tickets online at the official site well in advance.
Maria Lusia Park and Plaza Espana
After the tiring tour of the cathedral and the palaces, take a horse carriage tour around Maria Lusia park. The carriage ride will also take you thru the adjacent Plaza Espana. Plaza Espana on the eastern end of María Luisa Park was built to host Ibero-American Exibition in 1929. Over the years, the remarkable complex has been featured in many movies. Since you have only a day, you can make do with the horse carriage tour of Maria Lusia Park and Plaza Espana.
Even on a short one day trip to Seville, you cannot afford not to go to Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter. The Santa Cruz neighborhood is located behind the Royal Alcazar Palace. To understand the Jewish culture and history visit Centro de Interpretación de la Juderia. This museum located within the Santa Cruz district showcases trials and tribulations of Jews in Spain.
Do not miss Triana
Most one day visitors to Seville drop Triana from their itinerary. As a local, insist that you must visit Triana. There are many local bodegas sprinkled all over Triana offering the best of Andalucian cuisine. Also, you can pick ceramics as a souvenir from one of the many shops in the Triana market.
By the night, head to Calle Betis, an iconic street by the river Guadalquivir. The street is noisy as it is full of bars and restaurants. Have a traditional fried fish and some lovely Rioja wine in one of the atmospheric bars of the Calle Betis. You will be treated to an amazing view of Cathedral, Torre de Oro and the river.
Flamenco shows in Seville
Even though you are in Seville for a day, do include a flamenco show. Flamenco is the cultural mascot of Andalucia. It has been recognized as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Flamenco originated in Andalusia when the region was under the Moorish rule. In my opinion, Triana hosts more authentic and real flamenco shows.
Seville and Tapas
Tapas or small, saucer-sized portions of food, normally accompanied by sherry is now part of culinary scene across Spain. Tapas has its origins in Andalucia.
Seville houses some of the most traditional tapas bars. You will find them all across the city, especially in barrio Santa Cruz, Plaza del Salvador and over the river on Calle Betis, Triana. You will find a good selection over here.
While we are on food, it is good to know about the meal timings at Seville. Breakfast is generally had late. You should have your breakfast after visiting the Cathedral and before going onto visit the Alcazar. Horno San Buenaventura Alfalfa, opposite Cathedral is an excellent option for breakfast. Lunch is normally at around 1pm and dinner is very late. Evenings are reserved for tapas bar hopping.