Seville is one of Europe’s most significant cultural hubs, and evidence of its turbulent past can be found in everything from its buildings to its food to its dance. Two days in this city offers plenty to see and do. Walking down the broad Avenida de Constitutión, you’ll find yourself awestruck by the city’s architectural brilliance and you will question how such opulence could be created without the aid of the technological luxuries we enjoy today. A stroll down the narrow streets of Santa Cruz will transport you to an entirely different era—even here, in the quarter with the darkest history, the city’s riches are reflected in the delicate marble and iron window casings that cling to pastel walls. You’ll notice that Seville truly comes to life just before nightfall, when its shaded alleyways are illuminated by the sinking Mediterranean sun and rooftop mosaics begin to glisten. Don’t be afraid to set down your map and get walking—in the event you really do get lost, we’ll be here to guide you back. If you have 48 hours to spend in Seville, this itinerary can help you get the most out of your stay.
Feel cultured at a museum or two and dine on some classic Spanish dishes.
Morning: Stop by the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC)
Located on the west side of the Guadalquivir north of Triana, it is one of the Seville’s furthest attractions, but don’t let the distance deter you. Housed in a refurbished monastery, CAAC’s permanent collection pays special attention to the history of contemporary Andalusian creativity in the context of the international artistic environment through media including (but not limited to) painting, sculpture, photography, and video. The museum includes a small restaurant and bar, which hosts local performance artists most weekend afternoons.
Lunchtime: Whip up some homemade tapas
Nothing screams Spanish-style lunch like a bunch of tapas. Take it a step further and make your own in a chef-led cooking class. This hands-on experience includes a guided tour of Seville’s local market, plus all-you-can-drink sangria (yes, please).
Afternoon: Visit el Museo del Baile Flamenco to learn about Spain’s famous dance
It’s a one-stop shop for all things flamenco, offering a digestible take on the history, practice, and allure of this unique dance form. It is a performance venue, museum, and gallery all in one, and upon entering, you’ll be handed a card with summaries of the contents of each room, making it easy to prioritize what you’d like to see. We recommend visiting the museum, attending a performance, then meandering through the gallery (in that order). Arrive at least 15 minutes before the show starts to snag a seat in the front row and experience the athleticism and grace first hand.
If you’re not feeling another museum, head to Plaza de España for a little breather. Upon stepping foot in the square, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a different era—a different world even. Soaring towers flank both ends of the semicircular complex, serving as visual counterpoints to the Vicente Traver fountain and primary entryway that stands behind it. Separating the paved plaza from the buildings that surround it is a shallow moat upon which ducks paddle and rowboats glide. The building’s tiled alcoves, decorated in the Art Deco style, bring life and color to the plaza and are great places to put your feet up. Although much of the compound is occupied by the Spanish government, you can explore the marvelous interior by climbing the grand staircase on the southern rim.
Dinner: Grab a bite in San Bartolomé
This hip and artistic neighborhood is a great area of the city to grab dinner. Find a spot with outdoor seating and settle in to nosh on some chorizo and local cheese, washed down with a glass of red wine or a pint of beer. Come for dinner, stay for a night on the town. Cheers!
Explore Seville’s royal compound and soak in the scenery at a local park.
Morning: Take in the Alcázar
The Alcázar is, without a doubt, Seville’s biggest tourist attraction, and consists of a maze of tiled courtyards, soaring archways, and lush gardens. Built on the remains of an Abbasid Muslim residential fortress for Peter of Castile, the compound has been deemed by experts “the preeminent example” of Mudéjar architecture on the Iberian peninsula. The Alcázar’s age can be seen in its slight imperfections—here an archway is a bit off center, there a window tilts slightly to the left. It was, along with the Catedral de Seville and General Archive of the Indies, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and remains Europe’s oldest palace still in use (the royal family lives upstairs!). Buy tickets in advance so you can spend more time exploring and less time waiting in line.
Lunchtime: Have a picnic in Plaza de la Pescadería
All that exploring is bound to work up an appetite. Stock up on some picnic essentials (fresh fruit, bread, and cheese are our go-to) and settle in at an umbrella-topped table in this picturesque square. If you’re in the mood for a hot meal, several restaurants in the area also serve up piping hot tapas and ice cold beer.
Afternoon: Get some fresh air in Parque de María Luísa
Although this expansive, lush plot of greenery, fountains, paved boulevards, monuments, and exedras has existed since the seventeenth century, it wasn’t until 1911, under the skilled eye of landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier (who also designed the gardens of Champ-de-Mars in Paris), that it assumed its present shape. Between stops, take a breather in the shade of an orange tree, or, perhaps, go for a quick bike ride—a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
Another option is to stop by Plaza de Toros. This magnificent yellow and white stadium, still in use today, was constructed in 1761 and holds up to 12,000 spectators each Sunday between April and September. It is considered one of the world’s most challenging environments for matadors not only because of its lofty history, but also because of the viewing public, which is considered one of the most unforgiving in all of bullfighting fandom. Each chaperoned tour begins with a trek through a succinct historical exhibit that traces bullfighting’s evolution from a horseback sport to the performance art that it is today, as well as a trip through the holding pens on the ground floor. When you exit, be sure to stop by Museo Naval Torre del Oro, where you’ll get a second dose of Seville’s bloody history.
Evening: Take a tapas and culture tour
What better way to end your stay in Seville then with a guided tapas and history tour? You’ll start your evening off at the city’s oldest bar with a glass of vermouth (Seville’s classic apertif). A local expert will take you to some of the area’s best hidden gems, where you’ll sample Iberian ham, Manchego cheese, Spanish olive oil, and plenty of wine.