The majestic Seville Cathedral | A Visitor’s Guide to the largest Gothic Cathedral in the World

The majestic Seville Cathedral | A Visitor’s Guide to the largest Gothic Cathedral in the World

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What to expect from this guide

Welcome to The majestic Seville Cathedral | A Visitor’s Guide to the largest Gothic Cathedral in the World. This unmissable guide is specially curated for you to provide historical context as well as practical tips so that you can make the most of your visit to this grandiose sanctuary. You could easily spend a few hours discovering this heritage and in this guide, you will find all the best listed.

Learn about the story of the majestic Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla), the highlights of the glorious interior, things to do and places to stay nearby.

majestic Seville Cathedral | timelesstravelsteps.com

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I | Story of the majestic Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla)

Seville Cathedral | timelesstravelsteps.com
Seville Cathedral, Seville City | Image: © TTS photograper

The official name of Seville Cathedral is Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede in Spanish) but is better known as Seville Cathedral or Catedral de Sevilla in Spanish.

Nothing prepares visitors for the monumental and glorious sight of the majestic Seville Cathedral in the heart of Seville city, the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia. This Roman Catholic Cathedral is the world’s largest in Gothic architecture and is registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1987, along with the Alcázar and General Archive of the Indies.

Construction of the majestic Seville Cathedral was long and ardous, about 106 years to complete.

Here is how it all began …

1 | The history — Good to Know before you go

We know from ancient history, temples and places of worship had been adapted to new spiritual purposes to reflect the spirituality and beliefs of new dominant rulers when a region is conquered. For example the Pantheon of Rome was converted into a church when Christianity became the official religion of the Empire. Similarly, the Hagia Sophia was built in 537 as a cathedral and was the largest cathedral during the Byzantine era in the imperial capital of Constantinople. In 1453, following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. A number of minarets were added over the years and is now officially known as The Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque.

2 | When Seville Cathedral was a Mosque

It is generally recorded that the Moors ruled parts of the Iberian Peninsula for 800 years, from early 8th to late 15th centuries. Although they were expelled from Seville in 1248 and finally from the entire Western Europe by 1492, the Moors had left a distinct legacy and a mark on Andalusian culture which are richly noticeable today. One such legacy was the Almohad mosque, construction of which began in 1172 and completed in 1198.

The Almohads were Berber Muslims with origins in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The Almohad Caliph, Abu Yaqub Yusuf who ruled Seville in the 12th century ordered a construction of a new great mosque, aimed at making Seville the capital of Al-Andalus.

The mosque was designed by the well-known Ahmad ben Basso. His design encompassed a rectangular building space of 113 metres by 135 metres. It consisted of 17 prayer halls, a minaret and an ablutions courtyard.

The Moors also brought the distinctive orange trees (bitter oranges!) to Seville and the fragrance of oranges can be experienced in Patio de los Naranjos even today.

3 | When the mosque in Seville became the Cathedral in Seville

With the conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III of Castille in December 1248, the great mosque of the Almohad’s was converted to a cathedral. The spaces were partitioned and chapels created.

After half a century of maintenance and repairs, it was decided that a bigger cathedral was built to reflect the city’s wealth as the city was a major thriving trading centre after the reconquest. Accordingly, it was decided in 1401 by the church elders that they would:

“… build a church so beautiful and so grand that those who see it finished will take us for crazy.”

True to their words, the Seville Cathedral is one of the largest places of worship in Christendom and the largest in Gothic style in the world today built on the very site of the Almohad’s great mosque.

Construction began in 1401 and took over a hundred years to build this landmark in the centre of Seville, when it was completed in 1506. Almost half of the eastern side of the cathedral is occupied by the royal chapel, containing the royal tombs.

Seville Cathedral is also the final resting place for Christopher Columbus and his son Ferdinand (Diego) Columbus.

The belfry that towers over the cathedral and the city has its origin in the 12th century. The origin of base of the Giralda is from the Almohad reign and is the oldest part of this monument.

Recommended read: The Giralda Tower in Seville

With this nutshell history, let’s dive in to the highlights of the majestic Seville Cathedral.

II | Highlights of the glorious interior of the majestic Seville Cathedral

Here are some of the glorious highlights to take note of when visiting the largest Gothic cathedral in the world:

1 | Gothic interior of the majestic Seville Cathedral

Gothic interior of the majestic Seville Cathedral
The towering, massive and slender pillars emphasize the height of the extravagant vaulting, while elegantly arch over to support the ribbed vaults | Image: © georgina_daniel

The astounding sight of this sumptuous Gothic haven is a jaw-dropping experience. With a length of 126 metres by 83 metres wide along with a soaring 37 metres in height at the transept and central nave, this colossal cathedral is extremely spacious, airy and exudes an overall sense of harmony. The towering, massive and slender pillars emphasize the height of the extravagant vaulting, while elegantly arch over to support the ribbed vaults. Much of the vaulting is simple and modest, with some uniquely designed geometrical patterns on the ceiling.

There are five aisles laid out in this rectangular floor plan. Much of the aisles are empty and this adds to the immense space that one feels upon entering this cathedral.

towering columns in the Seville Cathedral
towering columns and beautiful geometrical patterns on the ceiling of Seville Cathedral | © georgina_daniel

The interior is relatively dark but illuminating the interior are the noted 81 stained glass windows which represents the very core of the grandeur of a Gothic cathedral. The oldest stained glass windows dates back to the 13th century, while it is estimated about 75 dates from the 16th to the 19th century.

2 | Silver Altar at Seville Cathedral – A mastery of Sevillian silversmithing

Silver Altar at the majestic Seville Cathedral
Silver Altar at Seville Cathedral showcasing a mastery of Sevillian silversmithing | © georgina_daniel

At the northern arm of the transept, is the magnificent Silver Altar, named after the abundant use of silver by the famous silversmiths of Seville.

The centrepiece is the statue of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus with the sculptures of San Isidoro and San Leandro on the sides.

Standing testament to the incredible mastery of Sevillian silversmithing are the large, exquisitely crafted sun-like shaped silver monstrance at the rear of the centrepiece which is topped with an intricately designed silver crown.

Just above the Silver Altar is a fine painting of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary. Above this painting, sits a lovely stained-glass window depicting the Ascension of Jesus, by Carlos de Brujas in 1588.

3 | High Altar Main Chapel (Capilla Mayor) at Seville Cathedral

Main Altar Seville Cathedral
The High Altar is a dazzling showpiece-the largest Gothic altar in the world | © georgina_daniel

In the centre of the Cathedral is the magnificent High Altar. A masterpiece.

The High Altar is an opulent showpiece of Gothic woodcarving measuring 20 metre high and 23 metre wide – the largest Gothic altar in the world. Given its height, the sculptures higher up are larger, just so to keep the perspective when viewed from floor level. The centre piece features the Virgen de la Sede and is surrounded by 45 wood panels of carvings depicting the Life of Christ and His Apostles along with the Life of the Virgin.

The design of the High Altar was initiated by Pieter Dancart, a Flemish artist in 1482. The 45 panels of intricate work of art which include over 200 figures of saints took some 80 years to complete.

The exquisite masterpiece is lavishly gilded with 3 tons of pure gold brought back from the Americas during the Age of Discovery, pioneered by Christopher Columbus.

pretty geometrical ceiling in Seville Cathedral | timelesstravelsteps.com
beautiful geometrical patterns cover the vaulted ceiling | Image: © georgina_daniel

The vaulted ceiling above is covered with beautiful, geometrical patterns that are aesthetically pleasing. The vaulted ceiling rests on slender, tall and massive columns that are lined up along the naves. Just below the vaulted ceiling are some stained glass windows.

4 | Tomb of Christopher Columbus at Seville Cathedral

Tomb of Christopher Columbus in Seville Cathedral, Seville

One of the last additions to the majestic Seville Cathedral is the monument to Christopher Columbus in 1899. The tomb of Christopher Columbus is one of the famous attractions at Seville Cathedral. His sarcophagus is held aloft by four life-sized statues who symbolically represent the four kingdoms of Spain during his time — Castile, Aragon, Navara and Leon. The bronze plate rectangular bottom of the coffin is inscribed with the coat-of-arms of Spain along with words in Spanish which reads:

Seville Cathedral
The inscriptions: Aqui jacen los restos de Cristobal Colon desde 1796 los guardo la Habana y este sepulcro por R.D.to de 26 de febrero de 1891 | Seville Cathedral | Image: © georgina_daniel

Aqui jacen los restos de Cristobal Colon desde 1796 los guardo la Habana y este sepulcro por R.D.to de 26 de febrero de 1891

Translated to read in English:

(Here lies the remains of Cristobal Colon kept in Havana since 1796 and this sepulchre by R.D.to of February 26, 1891)

Christopher Columbus Seville Cathedral | timelesstravelsteps.com
viewed from rear of Christopher Columbus’ monument Seville Cathedral | Image: © TTS photographer

The four kingdoms were united into one nation, (modern Spain) by Queen Isabella I and her husband Ferdinand who also funded the explorer’s journey to the New World in 1492.

4.1 | A little about Christopher Columbus

Born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451, Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon in Spanish) was the famous explorer and navigator who completed four voyages across the Atlantic. He believed that he ‘discovered’ the New World of the Americas, although he never really discovered North America. His exploration brought much trade and wealth to Seville. He was revered a local hero. He died in 1506 at Valladolid, Spain.

Columbus was buried in Valladolid but was moved to Seville in 1509. He was subsequently moved to Santa Domingo in 1537 but he was moved again in 1778 to Cuba.

It is believed that following Cuba’s independence, the remains of Christopher Columbus were returned to Seville in 1898 and was finally laid to rest in Seville Cathedral. It is guaranteed, according to a DNA test in 2006, that the bones in the coffin at Seville Cathedral is that of Christopher Columbus. Sadly, the coffin only has a fifth or less of his bones.

His sarcophagus that is seen at the Seville Cathedral today was designed by sculptor Arturo Melida and was initially installed in Havana, Cuba before being moved to Seville.

4.2 | Ferdinand Columbus – Second son of Christopher Columbus

Seville Cathedral Andalusia
Ferdinand Columbus’ tombstone is etched on the floor below the central nave near the west entrance in Seville Cathedral | Image: © georgina_daniel

Ferdinand Columbus also known as Fernando Colón, or Hernando Colon was the second son to Christopher Columbus. Ferdinand was a bibliographer and a cosmographer. He wrote a biography of his father entitled, The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son, Ferdinand.

Ferdinand also started a private collection of books and created a library called, La Bibliotheca Colombina. This library is now located on the north side of Patio de los Naranjos.

Ferdinand Columbus is buried in Seville Cathedral. His tombstone is etched on the floor below the central nave near the west entrance.

5 | Royal Chapel (Capilla Real)

The Royal Chapel is a lavish Renaissance styled chapel and is the final resting place of King Ferdinand III of Castille, who reconquered Seville, his wife and Alfonso the Wise, along with their descendant King Peter the Just. King Ferdinand was canonised in 1671 and his tomb is inscribed in Arabic, Hebrew, Latin and Castilian.

Much of the Royal Chapel was completed during the reign of Charles V, King of Spain (Castile and Aragon) from 1516 1556. The chapel is surrounded by an 18th century grille. Steps lead to the crypt below.

6 | Side Chapels and Art in Seville Cathedral

Along with statues and tombs, Seville Cathedral is host to some exquisite works of art.

The side chapels are home to some opulent tombs – the Gothic monument of Juan de Cervantes in the Capilla de San Hermenegildo and the tomb of Arcbishop Mendoza in the Capilla de la Antigua are worth seeing.

7 | Sacristy and Treasury

majestic Seville Cathedral
The dome is sculpted with the Final Judgement in three rings | Image: © georgina_daniel

The architectural details of the Main Sacristy (Sacristia Mayor) are an exquisite Renaissance style addition to the Gothic Cathedral. The Greek cross-shaped structure is adorned with columns, richly decorated with plateresque details and crowned by a circular dome. The dome is sculpted with the Final Judgement in three rings (the fiery hell is the lowest ring) and a beautiful roof lantern designed to provide daylight to the hall below.

Preserved within these walls of the sacristy are art treasures that highlight the glorious era of when Christianity was core and religious art flourished in Seville. Finely crafted liturgical items, custodias and crosses made of gold and silver are on display, while the walls are adorned with masterpieces by Goya, Murillo, Campaña (1503 – 1586) and Zurbarán (1598 – 1664).

Click the below to watch a sneak preview. Click the replay button if you wish to watch it again:

The Main Sacristy, Seville Cathedral, Seville

8 | La Giralda of the majestic Seville Cathedral (Bell Tower)

Giralda Tower and Seville Cathedral
Giralda Tower and Seville Cathedral | Image: © TTS photographer

The Giralda is the Bell Tower at Seville Cathedral and stands as a symbol of the city of Sevilla’s multicultural heritage. The tower was originally a minaret to the 12th century Almohad mosque but was converted to a church tower after the reconquest. The base of the tower is a testament to the Almohads influence while later additions were made during the Renaissance years. The tower was topped in the 16th century with a four metre high bronze statue, nicknamed Giraldillo, for its function as a weather vane. A full size copy of this weather vane can be seen at the main entrance to the Cathedral (Door of the Prince).

The Giralda Tower is accessible via ramps. Visitors walk up the 35 ramps and there is a short flight of stairs at the top.

Entry to Giralda Tower is included in all ticket types to Seville Cathedral.

Recommended read: The Bell Tower at Seville Cathedral

9 | Patio de los Naranjos

Seville Cathedral, the fountain in Patio de los Naranjos
the fountain in the centre of Patio de los Naranjos, Seville Cathedral | Image: © TTS photographer

Finally, exiting the Seville Cathedral is via Door of the Conception into a pleasant courtyard full of orange trees, Patio de los Naranjos, located on the northern facade of the Catedral de Sevilla.

Patio de los Naranjos has its origins in the Almohad era. There is a fountain in the centre of the courtyard that once was the spot that served as an ablution area for the Almohad mosque.

This nice little courtyard is perfect to relax in, both before and after visiting Seville Cathedral.

II | Seville Cathedral’s Exterior Highlights

seville cathedral exterior
view over the exterior of Seville Cathedral as you climb up the ramps to the bell tower

The majestic Seville Cathedral has an exterior encompassing magnificent Gothic characteristics. With tall structures, flying buttresses and beautifully adorned doors makes this gigantic structure strikingly pleasing.

There are a total of 15 doors (puertas). Most of the these doors are kept inaccessible and only three primary entrances/exits are often in use. Here are some of the Cathedral’s exterior highlights in addition to the Patio de los Naranjos.

1 | The Door of Assumption or Main Door

Door of Assumption Seville Cathedral | timelesstravelsteps.com
The Door of Assumption Seville Cathedral | Image: © TTS photographer

This elaborately decorated entrance is located on the west of the cathedral. This remain closed at most times and is open only during festivals.

2 | Door of the Conception | Puerta de la Concepción, Catedral de Sevilla

Door of Assumption Seville Cathedral | timelesstravelsteps.com

Door of the Conception (Puerta de la Concepción) is a Gothic style door at the entrance to the north facade of the cathedral. This ornate door was crafted by Demetrio de los Rios and the work was completed in 1895 by Fernandez Casanova.

Visitors exit through this door through to Patio de los Naranjos.

3 | Door of the Prince | Puerta del Príncipe

Seville Cathedral
Door of the Prince at Seville Cathedral | Image: ©TTS photographer

Door of the Prince also known as Puerta de San Cristobal and is the entrance to the south of the cathedral. It was built by the same architect, Fernandez Casanova between 1887 and 1895.

Standing in front of Puerta del Príncipe is a bronze statute of a young woman dressed in traditional Roman attire, holding a shield and a cross. She is a symbol of victory of Christian Faith. This sculpture is a replica of El Giraldillo, atop the Giralda Tower. However, this sculpture does not rotate.

4 | The Door of Forgiveness (Puerta del Perdón)

Door of Forgiveness Seville Cathedral | timelesstravelsteps.com
Door of Forgiveness Sevile Cathedral Spain | Image: ©TTS photographer

The Door of Forgiveness or Puerta del Perdón in Spanish was the main entrance to the Almohad mosque during their reign. These days, the Door of Forgiveness acts as one of the visitors’ entrance to the Cathedral. The name originates from the believe of the faithfuls that only sinners entered through this door to seek forgiveness.

door of forgiveness Seville | timelesstravelsteps.comCathedral
a closer look at the fusion of architecture on the Door of Forgiveness at the majestic Seville Cathedral | Image: ©TTS photographer

The Door of Forgiveness at the majestic Seville Cathedral tells the story of fusion of Christian and Islamic art. The horseshoe shaped arch is the heritage of the Almohad era while the surrounding plasterwork is from the 16th century. Flanking the arch are four beautiful statues. On the left are Archangels Gabriel and St Peter and on the right are Virgin Mary and St Paul. Above the arch is a depiction of Jesus expelling merchants from the temple.


Recommended read: The Complete Guides to two popular neighbourhoods in Seville – Santa Cruz and Bohemian Seville.

III | Practical tips to support your visit to Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral is located in Barrio Santa Cruz, the heart of the historic city of Seville. The neighbourhood’s maze of winding streets and hidden corners offer a multitude of varied dining options, vibrant nightlife and widest range of accommodations ranging from 5-star to budget. You may also wish to stay a little out of the city and take the inexpensive tram, metro or taxis to and from your accommodation.

The heart of Seville is compact and easily walkable. Many of the city’s attractions are close together and only minutes away on foot. It is perfectly feasible to explore several attractions in a day and explore the tapas bars and the night scene, feeling perfectly refreshed!

1 | Where to Stay near Seville Cathedral for Sightseeing

Anywhere in the vicinity and/or within a short walk of Catedral de Sevilla is ideal for visitors to stay.

Luxury Hotels

1 | Hotel Alfonso XIII

One of the most prestigious hotels in Spain, Hotel Alfonso XIII is located within minutes of the Reales Alcazares of Seville and the Catedral de Sevilla. Elegantly designed and include Arabic style arches and beautiful colourful ceramic tiles. Guests also enjoy casual al fresco dining as well as breakfast, lunch or dinner.

2 | Eurostars Sevilla Boutique

Within a short walking distance of Seville Cathedral is the Eurostars Sevilla Boutique. This accommodation provides amazing overview from its rooftop terrace and features an outdoor swimming pool and cafe. Includes complimentary breakfast buffet.

3 | Hotel Palacio De Villapanés

Hotel Palacio De Villapanés is a converted 18th century palace and is located just outside of Bario Santa Cruz. Spacious rooms and modern furniture along with rooftop sun terrace and a small plunge pool makes this accommodation ideal for two travellers.

Other luxury hotels to checkout are:

Hotel Colón Gran Meliá – A Travel Sustainable Property

Radisson Collection Hotel, Magdalena Plaza Sevilla


Mid-range Hotels

1 | Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla

Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla is a charming boutique hotel located just steps away from the majestic Seville Cathedral and the Royal Alcazar. The property is a renovated 19th century mansion with a traditional Andalusian central courtyard. Features spacious rooms where some are ideal for 3 person family stay, rooftop terrace and breakfast buffet.

2 | Hotel Amadeus Sevilla

Located within yards of Seville Cathedral in the heart of Barrio Santa Cruz, Hotel Amadeus Sevilla features a roof terrace with views over the city and the Giralda Tower. The property is based on a classical music theme and instruments are available if guests wish to have a go. Guests are welcomed with a complimentary drink in the 18th century interior patio.

3 | Petit Palace Marques Santa Ana – Travel Sustainable Property

A restored 19th century building, Petit Palace Marques Santa Ana is a boutique hotel with wooden floors and stylish modern furnishings. The property features a rooftop terrace with views over the city. Located less than two minutes walk to Seville Cathedral! Continental breakfast is served every day.

**Georgina: We stayed here on our recent visit in November 2021 and couldn’t have been more pleased with its location, cleanliness and helpful staff.

Other mid-range properties to peruse:

Casa 95 Sevilla

Puerta del Principe


4 | Budget Accommodation

1 | La Bella Sevilla

La Bella Sevilla is a small hotel of only 11 rooms located in a quiet pedestrian street within close proximity of Seville Cathedral, Giralda Tower and the Royal Alcazar. Highly rated for its location as guests can visit all the monuments, landmarks and cultural centres without the need for public transport.

2 | Itaca Sevilla

Hotel Itaca Sevilla is a converted mansion house and is located just 800 metres from the Catedral de Sevilla. Features a seasonal swimming pool and free WiFi. Rooms are soundproofed, air-conditioned and has a minibar and flat screen TV.


Recommended: The rich Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar


2 | Tips and Tours: How to make the best of your visit to Seville Cathedral

1 | Best time to Visit:

Early morning is best as soon as the Cathedral doors open to beat the crowds.

Monday through to Friday: 10:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sunday: 2:30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.

** The ticket office closes one hour before the Cathedral and sometimes earlier.

2 | Experience a Mass:

Mass is said daily throughout the day and is free to attend. Check schedule on the official website here.

3 | Tickets to Seville Cathedral and Giralda Tower

If its just the Seville Cathedral you wish to visit, and you do not wish to be in a guided tour, buy the fast-track ticket which gives you access to Catedral de Sevilla and the Giralda Tower. This ticket is valid for the whole day, you do not have to wait in queue and you can explore at your own pace. Peruse and buy your ticket to Seville Cathedral >>

4 | Timing

Allow ample time to explore, at least a couple of hours and a little more if climbing up to the top of the Giralda Tower. Last entry to the Giralda tour is one hour before closing time.

5 | Experience a Journey through Time – A Guided tour of the Roofs of the Cathedral

A tour of the Roofs of Seville Cathedral is offered by the Cathedral at specific times of day. The tour is a journey through time, between 15th and 16 centuries when the Cathedral was built. Tickets for this tour are available directly from the Cathedral’s ticket office. It is not included in the Seville Cathedral and Giralda Tower admission ticket.

6 | Guided Tours

Guided tours of the Cathedral and Giralda Tower are available throughout the week. There are several options to suit visitors’ preferred language also.

Giralda Tower

This tour gives you skip-the-line access with a guided tour of the Cathedral and Giralda. Check availability >>

Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

A perfect option if you wish to explore more in a day. Visit Seville Cathedral along with the iconic Real Alcazar with a tour guide who will ensure you know all there is about these two monuments. Check availability >>


3 | What’s Nearby / Nearby attractions

1 | Visit the Royal Alcazar

Visit one of the most important palace complexes in the world for an experience you will never forget.

The Royal Alcazar has captivated one and all with its Mudejar architecture spanning hundreds of years across civilisation, cultures and dynasties. Walk in the footsteps of the Spanish kings and be transported to a different era. Truly an unmissable experience.

Read >> The Real Alcázar of Seville | A Guide to the BEST 22 Unmissable Highlights in the Alcázar Complex

2 | Shopping at Calle de las Sierpes

Take a break from sightseeing and visit one of the best and fun places for shopping in Seville.

Calle de las Sierpes is lined with quaint shops, inviting little boutiques and atmospheric cafes.

3 | Stop for a snack or lunch

Stop-by at Confiteria La Campana for a little treat of candied oranges or figs. Try some Spanish pastries and fuel up to explore more of the city. La Campana has been serving sweet toothed’s since 1885.

On the other hand, if you are peckish and wish to try some delicious tapas, Restaurante Baco is a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious selection of tapas. Great service and friendly staff.

Baco Restaurante Seville
Georgina: “great experience – food was amazing so was the setting and service”

Address: C. Francos, 42, 41004 Sevilla, Spain


Finally … the lasting legacy of the majestic Seville Cathedral

An iconic landmark of Seville the majestic Seville Cathedral is exquisite, immense and a sight to behold. It stands robust after 600 years with a legacy that continues to draw millions of visitors each year. You can gaze from the outside, be blown away when viewing from the top and absolutely marvel at the grandiose and opulence inside from the moment you step in. This is one majestic cathedral not to miss.

Watch this youtube video, a sneak peek into the majestic Seville Cathedral.

the awesomeness of the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world just as you step in …

Our trip to Seville was undertaken in late November, 2021. All travel and safety protocols were adhered to. It was fully self-funded and no part of our trip was sponsored in any way.

xoxo


SEVILLE TRAVEL

Spain Travel Advice

Seville Spain 37.3891° N, 5.9845° W
Seville Spain
37.3891° N, 5.9845° W

UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Royal Alcazar along with Seville Cathedral, & General Archive of the Indies.


Essential Information:

Seville Cathedral

Add: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

Hours: 10:45 – 5:00 pm


TRAVEL ADVICE

Due to recent global health and safety issues, please adhere to travel guidelines in the country you are travelling to. While we at TTS work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out, as some attractions may be closed due to local restrictions.

For the latest on Travel Guidelines, please go to the following Official portals:

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The majestic Seville CathedralThe majestic Seville Cathedral

Responsible Tourism in Amsterdam – 12 Eco-friendly Initiatives That Comes Naturally

responsible tourism in Amsterdam | timelesstravelsteps.com

Responsible Tourism in Amsterdam – A City Where Responsible Tourism Comes Naturally

Visiting Amsterdam is a breath of fresh air — a haven for eco-tourists! There’s a lot more to the beautiful and whimsical city of Amsterdam than freedom, coffee shops and world renowned museums. With a deeply ingrained eco-conscious attitude amongst Amsterdammers, the never ending bike-paths, the array of sustainable hotels and quirky vintage shops, together with a comprehensive green transport system, responsible tourism in Amsterdam makes it a city where responsible tourism comes naturally.

TTS logo

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Ranked fifth as the most eco-friendly city in the world for workers following London, Frankfurt, Oslo and Cambridge in Massachusetts, Amsterdam boasts fascinating facts and sustainable eco-friendly activities as regards responsible tourism.

This article takes a look at what ‘responsible tourism’ means, and aims to give an overview of the 12 eco-friendly initiatives that comes naturally in the Dutch capital along with ways on how visitors can enjoy their visit whilst contributing to the green city.

Responsible Tourism in Amsterdam | timelesstravelsteps.com

This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. This means that we may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce.


BEST TIPS: Book tours and tickets in advance: Best tours in Amsterdam. Select the I Amsterdam City Card for free entrance to 60 museums, one free canal cruise, discounts and unlimited use of Amsterdam’s public transport. Discover what’s more is included.




Responsible tourism in Amsterdam

WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE TOURISM?

The widely accepted definition of Responsible Tourism (Cape Town Declaration) is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” Responsible Tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists take responsibility, take action to make tourism more sustainable. Responsible tourism comes in a variety of forms and includes:

1 | Maintenance of the world’s diversity by making positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage;

2 | Opportunities for tourists to enjoy more meaningful experiences, connections with local people, and understanding of local culture, social and environmental issues.

One’s behaviour can be more or less responsible and what is responsible depends upon environment and culture.


RESPONSIBLE TOURISM IN AMSTERDAM

With these being said, Amsterdam takes its responsibilities seriously. Amsterdam leads the way on responsible tourism on many fronts. From a complete commitment to achieving Zero CO2 emission by 2050 to actively exploring ways to lead in creating an eco-friendly environment for Amsterdammers to live in, and making Amsterdam a better place for visitors — a city for everyone to enjoy.

AMSTERDAM’S COMMITMENT TO ZERO CO2 EMISSION — AN OVERVIEW

Amsterdam. responsible tourism

With our planet on a ‘climate emergency‘ and in line with the European Parliament’s resolution passed in November 2019, Amsterdam is committed to tackling the global warming situation. The Dutch capital aims to be the first European city to achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2050. It has implemented a number of strategies focusing on sustainable mobility, in particular, eliminating CO2 emissions from public transportation.

A picture of the future Amsterdam is succinctly laid out in the city’s Roadmap to Climate Neutral in 2050, appended below. You could read the document in its entirety by clicking on the citation link.

By 2030, Amsterdam’s streets will be free of exhaust-emitting cars.
By around 2040, every home will have switched from natural gas to sustainable heating.
And by 2050, we will have ended our dependence on coal, gas and oil. We will instead
get all of our energy from the sun, wind, plants and the heat of the earth itself. For some,
this is future talk or even an alarming prospect; for others, it is already daily practice.
In any case, the transition to clean energy has begun and can no longer be stopped.

Roadmap Amsterdam Climate Neutral Roadmap 2050

12 BEST INITIATIVES WHERE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM IN AMSTERDAM COMES NATURALLY

With a clear roadmap aimed at climate neutral, Amsterdam has pioneered several initiatives on the tourism front in support to achieve their goal. Among these are the following 12 initiatives where responsible tourism comes naturally:

1 | A ‘green’ Airport

The first ‘taste’ of eco-friendliness awaits a visitor at Schiphol Airport. Schiphol Airport has been making the airport more sustainable each year for years. It takes a lot of energy to keep Schiphol running 24-hours a day and measures are continually adapted to ensure energy is used as efficiently as possible.

As from January 1, 2018, Schiphol Airport has been running on 100% wind power generated by local Dutch company, Eneco. The airport had also installed solar panels, with some on the airport’s roofs, parking areas and along the runways. This means energy saving wherever possible and using the cleanest possible electricity. Thus, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol runs solely on renewable energy generated in the Netherlands.


Along with the initiatives on renewable energy usage at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Dutch capital has so many cool things that contribute to the enjoyment of tourists as well as being one of the greenest and environmentally friendly cities in the world.

Responsible tourism in Amsterdam

2 | Getting about Amsterdam by bike

The capital city of Netherlands boasts the never ending 500 kilometres of bike lanes, covering every corner and every canal of the city. Getting about Amsterdam on a two-wheeler is popular and a way of life for the Amsterdammers. As a visitor to the Dutch capital, you could get around Amsterdam by bike and keep your carbon footprint to the minimal as possible.

Recommended read: Cycling in Amsterdam – 19 Useful Tips

Bike rentals are dotted all over the city to encourage cycling. Hire one, and explore the main landmarks of the city or venture a little further along River Amstel onto the city’s outlaying cycle network to nearby quaint and picturesque villages.

The unmissable quaint 12th century village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is worth exploring and so is the picturesque Broek in Waterland, once a haven for the high-status city-dwellers.

Plan ahead, pre-book your ride — rent a bike in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam.responsible tourism

The generous bike paths around the city means you can explore Amsterdam very quickly. While some paths have specialised traffic lights with illuminated green cycle sign to support safety of cyclists, just be aware of some daring cyclists who weave in and out of bike paths. Some even run red lights! Always wear a cycle-helmet even if most Amsterdammers don’t.

However, if you are not confident to explore Amsterdam by bike independently, then perhaps joining a guided bike tour of Amsterdam is best. You will be led by an experienced tour guide and your fellow cyclists may not be as daring as Amsterdammers are!

Recommended read > Explore Amsterdam by bike in 2 best rewarding ways.

3 | Explore Amsterdam on Foot

Responsible tourism in Amsterdam

Amsterdam.responsible tourism

4 | Canals, boat cruises and paddleboats | Responsible tourism in Amsterdam

Amsterdam.canal.cruise.responsible.tourism

There is one bridge in the central canal belt that offers visitors the beautiful sight of fifteen bridges across its canals. This particular spot is viewed from the corner of Reguliersgracht and the Herengracht and best seen from the water level on a boat. Day time views are lovely but it is a spectacular sight in the evening/night when the bridges are lit up.

The are a number of sustainable ways to experience Amsterdam from the waters. You could do a canal cruise in one of the 200 electric boats offering canal tours, hire a kayak or a pedal boat (pedalos, water bikes). If you elect to hire a kayak or a boat, you can explore the city by waters at your own pace.

You could hire a pedal boat using your I Amsterdam City Card but you need to book a time-slot for your activity. Ensure that your City Card is valid at the time of your activity.

Recommended read > Fun Canal biking in Amsterdam | 7 reasons to explore Amsterdam’s sustainable highlight

5 | A comprehensive Green Transport system

Public transport in Amsterdam is already highly sustainable. Trains, buses, trams, metros and ferries make up the city’s comprehensive public transport network that transport lots of people at the same time. Use of public transport is much encouraged and this is evident from the frequent and timely services as well as the generous bicycle storage at stations. All electric passenger trains have been powered using green energy since 2017 and it is mandatory for all new buses to use renewable energy.

The public transport system in Amsterdam is easy to navigate although the ticketing system can be confusing. A comprehensive guide is available on the best tickets to purchase to navigate around the city, and a regional pass if venturing out to the surrounding areas of Amsterdam.

The I Amsterdam City Card is an all encompassing pass of great value as it includes public transportation operated by GVB in Amsterdam city only, along with free access to attractions. Take a look at what it includes and does not include before purchasing one to suit the duration of your visit.

6 | Extensive Green spaces in Amsterdam

Amsterdam.Bos.forest.responsible tourism

Amsterdam city is not all urban. It is surrounded by an abundance of lush and open green spaces – parks, gardens and a forest!

Amsterdam’s parks and gardens are beautiful, has its own charm and interesting history. These green spaces are all located within a stone’s throw of the city centre and offer a great space to relax, unwind with lots of activities for kids.

Walk to the east of the city to De Plantage in the Jewish Quarter, a district where history, nature and culture intertwine or take a short ride to Vondelpark to experience all genres of music. Whichever green spaces you decide to visit, Amsterdam Bos, should firmly top your ‘to visit’ list for timeless experience.

Check trains to/from Amsterdam to any destinations in and around Amsterdam


7 | Amsterdam’s Green Places to Eat | Responsible Tourism in Amsterdam

Green eating is quite a buzz in Amsterdam and you can easily find restaurants and cafés offering organic products. Walk along De Negen Straatjes (the Nine Little Streets) and the Jordaan district where cafes are aplenty serving organic food. Head to the farmers market at Noordermarkt Square to shop for some fresh, locally grown produce if you are planning a picnic in the park.

For a unique experience, head to De Kas, a prime example of Amsterdam’s sustainability culture. A high-end restaurant located inside of a former greenhouse, built in 1926. With vast magnificent windows and airy high ceilings, De Kas spoil their clients with ingredients tendered and cared for from their very own vegetable garden, with no-fuss Mediterranean cuisines that often changes to the seasons harvest.

De Kas, Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3 1097 DE Amsterdam | E: info@restaurantdekas.nl

Noorderlicht Cafe is a simplistically beautiful dining destination housed inside a two-storey greenhouse with a large riverside terrace. The cafe hosts regular musical and cultural events which are often free of charge. It’s menu offers plenty of organic based dishes with a lean towards vegetarian and vegan dietary needs. This cultural and sustainable cafe is located on the NDSM yard along River IJ.

Noorderlicht Cafe, NDSM plein 102
1033 WB Amsterdam

8 | Meat-free restaurants in Amsterdam city

The Amsterdam restaurant scene these days certainly seems a world away from its once popular Brockwurst on mash potatoes smothered with rich gravy! Plant-based dining is the trendy option now with so many eateries popping up across the city.

Mr & Mrs Watson in Oost, Amsterdam is a “plant based food bar for vegan food lovers and cheese addicts”. Although there are some options on all vegan menu, the Watson Cheese Platter, featuring cashew fondue is the one to go for.

Besides enjoying the best comfort food, you would also be contributing towards Mr & Mrs Watson’s commitment to give back – a tree is planted for every dish they serve.

Mr & Mrs Watson, Linnaeuskade 3H, Amsterdam.

Dine in style at Restaurant Vermeer, the creative culinary lab of 1* Michelin Chef Chris Naylor who experiments on the daily fresh produce brought to him by the local farmers. Beetroot, and white asparagus feature liberally on his menu. A prettily laid out plate of robust, pure, and clean flavours awaits anyone on an evening of high-end fine dining.

Restaurant Vermeer | Prins Hendrikkade 59-72, 1021 AD Amsterdam


Recommended read – Best places to eat stroopwafel in Amsterdam


9 | Amsterdam’s initiative on food surplus | Responsible tourism in Amsterdam

With 1.3 billion tonnes of food wastage per year across the world, Amsterdam is no stranger to food surplus. Food waste has a high impact on the environment and Instock Restaurant in Amsterdam rescues food from being wasted. They collect food from growers/farmers, fishmongers, packaging companies and producers. Instock then runs a final quality check and prepares them for restaurants and caterers. These ingredients are turned into culinary delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner by their creative chefs. Instock is open seven days a week, serving-up anything from a cup of coffee to a four-course-meal.

Restaurant Instock | Czaar Peterstraat 21, Amsterdam.

Visit Persijn, on the ground floor of QO hotel for a hearty brunch. Fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs are sourced daily from their rooftop greenhouse and features in their innovative dishes of salads with blossoms and wholesome vegetable soups. Hence, with their ‘farm-to-table’ creative approach, there’s hardly any food wastage.

Persijn | Amstelvlietstraat 4, Amsterdam

10 | Amsterdam Eco-hotels | Responsible tourism in Amsterdam

Stylish, and sustainable accommodations with energy efficient amenities, organic towels, and recycled furniture are all part of the Dutch capital’s initiatives on responsible tourism in Amsterdam. Some of the environmentally-friendly accommodations throw in bike rental as part of their service as well.

Stay at the cozy eco-conscious hotel around the corner from Vondelpark. Conscious Hotel Vondelpark has 81 rooms and is completely sustainable – from furniture to green roof! Food is 100% organic and the building is powered by renewable energy.

For budget hostels that combines conscious living with simplicity, look no further than Ecomama although it may not be for everyone. Ecomama is designed with sustainability and “just enough” of the basic amenities while being committed to re-purposing everything it can.

More classic choice could be NH Amsterdam Schiller , a Green Key Certified accommodation.

Alternatively, grab yourself one of the following last minute best deals:

Booking.com

11 | Sustainable shopping in Amsterdam

Shopping in Amsterdam takes you to a whole new level! From excellent luxury shops, designer outlets, unique boutiques, and sustainable stores, the city is a shopper’s dream come true. However, more and more people are adopting a sustainable lifestyle and this is showcased in their eco-friendly fashion choices.

In Amsterdam, there are so many choices and varieties if you choose to shop green. De Negen Straatjes is a famous shopping district and you will find most of the shops here are vintage stores.

Episode is a popular store and pioneers a serious concept as a sustainable alternative to fast fashion. They take clothing that is donated to charity, washed them in their warehouse, repair if necessary and distribute to the vintage stores.

Episode, Waterlooplein 1, 1011 NV Amsterdam

LENA Fashion library is another interesting concept where it allows you to shop differently. You could borrow vintage styles to suit and you could return them at the end of the borrowed time.

Lena Library, Westerstraat 174h
1015 MP Amsterdam

12 | Alternative to traditional tourism – Explore Amsterdam with a difference

Amsterdam is a popular touristic city and it may present problems of sustainability. The Untourist Guide to Amsterdam suggests alternative ways for tourists to explore the city with a difference.

Among its suggestions are ways to explore the streets, the street markets, gardens, flea markets and spaces away from the usual tourist trails. You are also invited to plant vegetables, participate in cookery classes and have fun wedding ceremonies with the locals.

The Untourist Guide to Amsterdam, @IAmsterdam Store, De Ruijterkade 28 A t/m D (Behind Amsterdam CS), 1012 AA Amsterdam


A final note on responsible tourism in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is green to its very core! This is evident from the many initiatives highlighted above, which by no means is an exhaustive list. The city’s affinity with cycling, the array of pleasant green spaces, green eating, sustainable shopping and low waste dining are all reflective of a city that is so much more than the whimsical city of freedom, coffee shops and museums that Amsterdam is often associated with. The laid-back and progressive values of green culture showcases the Dutch capital as a natural ‘living’ hub of sustainability combined with social consciousness. Amsterdam really is a great green city to visit in Europe, a city where responsible tourism is taken seriously and comes naturally.


What do you think?

Was this article helpful to you in your search on sustainability and responsible tourism in relation to Amsterdam? Is there an initiative that should have made the list on this article but did not? If so, share your thoughts in comments below, we would love to hear from you.


You may like to read the following related articles on Amsterdam:

Ultimate Travel Guide to the Best of Amsterdam

10 Important practical travel information for Amsterdam

Beautiful places to stay in Amsterdam

Explore Amsterdam with the superb value I Amsterdam City Card

Best Food Walking Tour in Amsterdam

Rent a bike in Amsterdam green city

Best places to eat stroopwafels in Amsterdam

10 best typical Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam

Best 29 inspiring travel quotes and sayings on Amsterdam

Unmissable 28 best things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam in a nutshell – 18 experiences in 48 hours

Ouderkerk aan de Amstel – A picturesque village on the edge of Amsterdam

Amsterdam Bos – 10 things to do in this glorious forest of wonderland

Uithoorn – A serene haven where nature, wildlife and history comes together

Amsterdam City and Regional public transport travel pass

Best Value Public Transport ticket for Amsterdam

Return trip ticket on Amsterdam Airport Express Bus #397

Best Public Transport from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City


Finally…

Sincerely wish that this article has been helpful to you in planning your visit to Amsterdam. Plan ahead and book your accommodations, buy your I Amsterdam City Card, sign-up to guided tours and activities using the links in this article and related articles on Amsterdam. TTS earns a commission on qualifying purchases, or you could support TTS in other ways also. As always your continued support is much appreciated.

Have a splendid time in Amsterdam 🙂

xoxo

Quick facts on Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam on world map
52° 22′ 40.6416” N and 4° 53′ 49.4520” E
Amsterdam flag
Amsterdam flag
Amsterdam Coat of Arms
Amsterdam Coat of Arms

City: Capital of Netherlands

Population: 1,149,000

Mayor: Femke Halsema (since 2018)

Zone: Central European Time Zone | Central European Summer Time

Elevation: -2m (-7ft) – Dam Square

Nearest Airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)

Train Station: Amsterdam Centraal Station

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Responsible Tourism in Amsterdam – 12 eco-friendly Initiatives that comes naturally first published at timelesstravelsteps.com Updated May 15, 2022

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