Spain Guide


Seville Tourist Attractions Things to Do

You're unlikely to run short of sights to see and places to visit as you stroll the ancient streets of Seville. The place is awash with historic palaces and monuments, fascinating museums, medieval churches and delightful, narrow, winding alleyways where you can shop, people watch or enjoy a morsel or three of traditional tapas.

The impressive Plaza de España is a must a huge, semi circular meeting and relaxation spot originally designed as the centrepiece of the 1929 Exposición Iberoamericana (Spanish Americas Exhibition). Scenes from Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars II were filmed in the plaza which is one of the most glorious in Spain.

It's a film director's dream with its moat, bridges, fountains and intricate ceramic tile work in the cloistered arcade. Tiled pictures depict each of Spain's provinces and it's a popular past time with Spanish tourists to pose for the cameras in front of their native province.

The plaza overlooks the beautiful Maria Luisa Park, another fruit of the 1929 Expo which saw the southern end of Seville transformed into grand boulevards and gardens. The park is one of the loveliest in Europe a one kilometre long haven of palm trees, Mediterranean pines, flower beds, fountains, lawns, ponds and pavilions.

A visit to the city's Gothic cathedral, second only in size to St Peter's Basilica in Rome, is a must. It was built on the site of a 12th century mosque and its lavish interior houses the supposed tomb of the great adventurer Christopher Columbus. Few deny that Columbus was at one time interned here but his ultimate resting place is a matter of hot dispute.

Climb to the top of the adjoining La Giralda tower for wonderful views of the city. The tower was the minaret of the original mosque the conquering Christians hadn't the heart to raze it to the ground and it was allowed to take its place in history as one of Europe's most famous towers.

Near the cathedral you'll find the Alcazar Moorish fortress, parts of which resemble aspects of the spectacular Alhambra Palace in Granada. Thousands of painted tiles and murals are to be found within its 9th century turreted walls.

The building is one of the finest remaining examples of Moorish architecture although it has undergone many additions and refurbishments since its original construction. The relatively modern kitchens, for example, were installed for the benefit of the fascist dictator Franco who stayed in the royal apartments here whenever he visited Seville.

Seville's bullring is one of the most impressive in Spain and is well worth a visit even if you don't fancy joining in the bloodlust. Its bullfighting museum is open every morning from 10am to 1.30pm (except Sundays).

To the south of the city centre you'll find the 18th tobacco factory (the Real Fabrica de Tabacos), made famous by the gypsy temptress Carmen who seductively rolled cigars on her thighs here in Bizet's opera. The neoclassical building, once a cornerstone of the local economy, is now part of the University of Seville but is open to the public.