The noble Torre del Oro Seville

torre de oro seville

The noble Torre del Oro, Seville

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links

Standing gallantly along the Guadalquivir River in Seville, Southern Spain is a simple-looking twelve sided tower called Torre del Oro. This incredibly deceptive tower once stood watch over the city, ready to defend against enemy invasion by the river. Built in the 13th century by the Almohad rulers, Torre del Oro was recognised as a historic symbol of the city of Seville in 1931. The tower is presently a maritime museum. The panoramic terrace offers great views over the city.

TTS logo | torre de Oro
pin on torre del oro seville

1 | The history of Torre del Oro | Tower of Gold in Seville

torre del oro | tower of gold | seville | Torre del Oro on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River Seville
the noble Torre del Oro on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River Seville

Located on the left bank of the River Guadalquivir, the noble Torre del Oro or the Tower of Gold was constructed between 1220 and 1221 by then rulers of Seville, the Almohad Caliphate. Its purpose was a military watchtower to protect the city of Seville from the Castilian fleet during the Reconquista. As a watchtower, it also served as one of the two anchor points for a large chain that would have blocked any on-coming enemy ships in the River.

While protecting the land from the river entrance, the tower also stood defence by protecting the city area of industrial activities.

The Tower of Gold was built using mortar, lime and hay. The combination of these materials projected a subtle golden shine against the river waters, hence it inherited the name, in Arabic, Borg al-Dsayeb or ‘Tower of Gold’ in English.

torre del oro seville | explore Seville by night | timelesstravelsteps.com
explore Seville by night: the Gold Tower

Interestingly, not all of what we see today of the 36 metres tower was built in the 13th century. The Torre del Oro has three levels.

The first twelve-sided level was built in 1220 – 1221. Added to this dodecagonal structure was a further 8 metres of the same design, built by the King Pedro 1, (‘Peter the Cruel’) in the 14th century. The third and the uppermost circular level were added in 1760. This incredible tower has been honoured with the title of a historic-artistic monument since 1931.

During its very many years, the Gold tower had been a chapel, a noble prison, a gunpowder warehouse and a strategic post of Naval Command.

The Torre del Oro today is home to a small naval museum occupying two floors along with a panoramic terrace.

2 | The Maritime Museum at The Torre del Oro in Seville today

torre del oro | tower of gold seville
Torre del Oro | Tower of Gold | Seville

Opened in 1944, the Tower of Gold is home to the Maritime Museum of the Torre del Oro in Seville. There are a series of exhibitions in this monument, beginning with its history, and view of the tower before the walled enclosure of 1760. A model of ‘Real Fernando‘, the first steamboat built in Spain.

You will also find ancient marine charts and documents along with compasses, nautical mechanisms, and fossilised marine debris.

A visit to the Tower of Gold also affords access to the panoramic terrace, with views of Seville city and the Guadalquivir River.

3 | Practical tips on how to visit the Maritime Museum of Seville

You can find the Tower of Gold located at:

Paseo Cristobal Colon s/n41001, Seville

Visiting times:

Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 7:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 10:30 am to 7:00 pm

A voluntary contribution of €3.00 is recommended.

Free entry on Mondays

Fundación Museo Naval

4 | Sightseeing tips for Seville

Tower of Gold Seville

Accessing and visiting the Tower of Gold is easy and it does not really take too long to enjoy what the Naval Museum of Seville has to offer. We recommend that you combine this quick visit with one of the many popular boat tours of the Guadalquivir River. Enjoy a different view of Seville from the famous waters of Guadalquivir River. Torre del Oro is ideally located and is the departure point for many of the river cruises in Seville.

The Guadalquivir River one-hour city cruise runs regularly from the Torre del Oro and starts from just £12.50 per person (Feb. 2022).


What’s new on TTS


pin on torre del oro sevillepin on torre del oro seville

4 Very Best Tapas Tours in Seville

tapas tours in seville

4 Very Best Tapas Tours in Seville

We may earn acommission from affiliate links

These top rated and the very best guided tapas tours in Seville offer one of the best ways for you to make the best use of your time in enchanting Seville.

pin on tapas tours in SEville

Why would a visitor join tapas tours in Seville?

A guided tour offer you the comfort of knowing that you are in the best places at the best times and places you ought to skip for a non pleasant encounter.

Knowledgeable guide make a tour enjoyable and usually are experts on the local areas that they work in. They have wide knowledge about their neighbourhood and more than happy to share stories on history, people and culture.

Seville is a unique city with over 2000 years of history. Rich in architecture, passionate about their culture and proud of their heritage. This welcoming southern city of Spain has a delightful cuisine that ought to be savoured, with tapas being the most popular. Therefore, joining guided tapas tours in Seville is one activity that a visitor should look forward to experiencing.

4 of the very best tapas tours in Seville for you to select from:

1 | Tapas Crawl in Seville

The tapas crawl guided tour in Seville allows you to discover the hidden side of the city through its tapas. This gastronomical experience takes you on a journey of discovery as you visit hidden bodegas and eat authentic Sevillian tapas.

tapas tours in Seville

Dessert

A knowledgeable guide

Check availability and book your experience on Tapas Crawl Tour in Seville


2 | Guided tour of tapas, taverns and history of Seville

tapas tours in Seville

This small group tapas tours in Seville may be more suitable if you have a busy itinerary or on a short visit to Seville.

The tour is available in the evening which means you can do sightseeing during the day. An all encompassing tour offers an introduction Seville’s history which contributes to understanding Seville’s people and culture. It begins with visiting one of the oldest bodega in Seville serving one of the best Iberian ham and covers the very best of tapas eating.

The tour includes the following:

Visiting a 100 year old tapas bar;

Discover Spanish wines and sherries – 4 different specials;

A minimum of eight delicious tapas;

Lots on history and local tips.

The tour is scheduled for 3.5 hours. Prices start from £74.31 per person (Jan. 2022)

This top rated guided tour of tapas, taverns and history of Seville is a popular activity. You may wish to book this activity ahead of time.


3 | Flamenco and Tapas Night – Typically a half day event

flamenco dance in Seville | food tours in Seville
tapas tours in Seville

Get into the rhythm, wine and dance of the Sevillian culture for a memorable, timeless experience of the historic city. In this walking tapas tours in Seville, you will experience the passion of flamenco, delicious food and wine. The walking tour covers some of the best hidden streets of Seville and you will learn about its exquisite architecture along with the city’s 2000 years of history – Romans, Arabs, Christians and the Gypsies.

Flamenco and Tapas Night experience includes:

A local walking tour;

Flamenco Show

Three tapas and three drinks

Lots of insider tips.

Duration of the Flamenco and Tapas Night experience is 4 hours and prices start from £105.62 per person.

Plan ahead, check availability and have a smashing time in Seville!


4 | Tapas and Flamenco Experience in Triana, Seville

Triana Bridge also known as Bridge of Isabel II | tapas tours in Seville
Triana Bridge also known as Bridge of Isabel II | tapas tours in Seville

Set off on a walking tour from Calle Betis, in the passionate barrio of Triana, located across the River Guadalquivir. On this tour you shall visit bars and charming old taverns that embodies the culture and spirit of Trianeros in this part of Seville. Learn about the historic Triana, the birthplace of flamenco and a place once home to pottery and the tile industries.

Tapas and Flamenco experience in Triana includes:

Professional guide who knows the ins and outs of this eloquent barrio;

4 tapas and 3 drinks;

Tickets for the flamenco show.

This is a small group tour and the duration is 3.5 hours.

Check availability and book your Tapas and Flamenco experience in Triana.


What’s new on TTS


pin on tapas tours in Sevillepin on tapas tours in Seville

The remarkable Antiquarium Room in Old Seville

The remarkable Antiquarium Room in Old Seville

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links

The remarkable Antiquarium Room in Old Seville is an important archaeological site. It represents Seville’s ancient Roman roots going back to the 1st century and the later influences of the Almohads on the Iberian peninsula of Southern Spain.


This post gives an overview of the historic context of the Antiquarium Room in Old Seville along with what visitors’ can expect and the highlights to look out for.

The discovery of the archaeological remains in Old Seville are quite recent. They were discovered when a wider project to regenerate the area of the Plaza de la Encarnación was undertaken in 2005, with the construction of Metropol Parasol. The Antiquarium Room sits in the basement of the iconic Metropol Parasol.

1 | A HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE INTO SEVILLE’S OLD TOWN & METROPOL PARASOL

The area in general was a square at which the town came together since Roman times. In ancient Roman cities, the axis was known as ‘cardo’, the north-south streets and ‘Decumanus”, the east-west street which served as the primary street in the town. This area developed over the centuries into an important market and commercial centre.

In the 1830s, a fresh food market was established, the first of its kind in Seville. The square grew over the years into a thriving area, but its prominence declined in the 1970s. With a view to breathe life back into the area, the local council decided on an urban redevelopment project. The project was assigned to Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, a German architect.

Plaza de la Encarnación | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com
Plaza de la Encarnación Seville

Mayer-Hermann designed a five-storey building incorporating a colossal undulated honeycombed parasol made of a wood called Kerto. The parasol were designed and constructed in mushroom-shaped timber lattice. This is the largest timber construction in the world ever built. This construction was aptly named Metropol Parasol but more affectionately known locally as Las Setas de Sevilla or just, Las Setas.

Recommended read: Metropol Parasol Seville | A Gigantic Cosy Oasis

2 | THE COOL ANTIQUARIUM ROOM IN OLD SEVILLE AT THE METROPOL PARASOL

antiquarium room in old seville
Antiquarium Room in old Seville | cool and calming lighting

The Antiquarium Room located at the basement of the Metropol Parasol is outstanding. The cool museum was designed by the Felipe Palomino Architects. The primary purpose was to create a sensational space where visitors can enjoy the remarkable archaeological discoveries made during the excavations for the construction of the iconic Metropol Parasol in Seville’s old town.

2.1 | What to experience at the Antiquarium Room in Old Seville

Antiquarium Room in old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com
clear designated walkways

The Antiquarium Room in Old Seville at the Metropol Parasol is located at 5.45 metres below ground level. The archaeological museum has no natural light but visitors will not feel that they are in a ‘dungeon’. The museum is astutely designed to encompass a giant open-space floor area of about 5,000 square metres with no visible boundaries. However, as you walk along the clearly marked dedicated walkways, and as you approach each excavation site, the boundaries become visible.

Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com

Each excavation site is wrapped by a set of membrane, made of glass. These glass panels permit transparency, and visibility, creating a sense of space with no enclosures. The design also allows a visitor to gauge the whole spectrum of what was unearthed, thus an idea of a market place, shops and houses that once existed in this ancient square.

Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com

The Antiquarium Room has two artificial lighting installed. The lights create a slightly dim, but a cool sensation for visitors while also allowing for sufficient illumination of the excavation site.

2.2 | Highlights of the Antiquarium Room in Old Seville

It is hard to pinpoint the highlights of the Antiquarium Room as the entire museum is a highlight! The Room showcases an exclusive contemporary design with no walls while creating a unique sensation for visitors to experience. Not for a moment will you feel that you are in a basement!

If you plan on visiting this remarkable Antiquarium in Old Seville, here are some exhibits to look out for:

2.2.1 | An early 6th century house at the Antiquarium Room in Metropol Parasol

Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com
the foundation of Sigma house, Antiquarium Room in old Seville

One of the excavations that stood out was the foundation of a house from the 6th century, called the Sigma House.

The Sigma House was a great hall where banquets were held by the ‘dominus’ (the leader or head). This was also a centre where the social hierarchy was boasted, and well received. The excavated site clearly shows the stucture of a ‘stibadium’, a semicircular shape where guests were reclined in the apse.

2.2.2 | Exquisite mosaic work exhibited at the Antiquarium Room in old Seville

Following are some of the skilled mosaic work discovered during the excavations, suspected to originate from the 12th century during the Almohad reign of Seville.

Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com
Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com
Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com

2.2.3 | Pottery of a bygone era

On exhibit are a small collection of pottery of a bygone era.

Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com

There are just a few of beautifully sculpted jars with handles, and painted decorations which were once used to store water.

Antiquarium Room in Old Seville | ©,timelesstravelsteps.com
defective oil lamps carefully restored and on display at the Antiquarium Room in old Seville

Oil lamps must have been popular back then as there were several on display here. Some were shrewdly designed with a sign of a pigeon. Most of the oil lamps discovered were discarded by its owners because of defects.

On a final note

The Antiquarium Room in Old Seville has a different persona to a traditional museum. It is cool, contemporary and provides a small insight into what life was like all those many years ago in Old Seville. Worth visiting if you are at the Plaza de la Encarnación, Seville.


** all photos  © timelesstravelsteps.com

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ON THE ANTIQUARIUM IN OLD SEVILLE

Add: Pl. de la Encarnación, 37, 41003 Sevilla, Spain

Hours: Tue to Sat > 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sun > 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Closed on Moday

Web: Sala Antiquarium

Entry: €2


ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ON METROPOL PARASOL/LAS SETAS SEVILLE

Add: Plaza de la Encarnación, s/n 41003 Seville.

Tel:  954 561 512

Web: https://setasdesevilla.com/

Entry price: From €10

Visiting hours:

Winter hours (November to March):

Monday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Summer timetable (from April to October):

Monday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

*Last entry: half an hour before closing.


Tickets & Tours

Tickets for a Virtual Tour of Metropol Parasol Seville

Andalusia and Barcelona 7-day package tour


What’s new on TTS


pin THE ANTIQUARIUM ROOM in SEVILLE (2)pin THE ANTIQUARIUM ROOM in SEVILLE (2)

Metropol Parasol Seville | A Gigantic Cosy Oasis

Metropol Parasol Seville | A Gigantic Cosy Oasis

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission through affiliate links

An undulating honeycombed canopy, Metropol Parasol Seville is a gigantic cosy oasis of sunshade, offering stunning panoramic views over the city and a glimpse into the city’s ancient history through its archaeological discoveries.

TTS logo

Metropole Parasol Seville is an expansive wooden structure and an iconic landmark in the old town of Seville, on the northern side of the Andalusian capital city. The structure is more popularly known locally as Las Setas de Sevilla ( “the Mushrooms of Seville” or simply as Las Setas ( “The Mushrooms”) for its unusual shaped structure. Las Setas is located at Plaza de la Encarnación and is one of the city’s most visited attraction.

This post entails an overview to the Metropol Parasol, what to experience on the five levels of this immense structure along with essential information to support your visit for an immersive experience.

pin on las setas seville

PLANNING A TRIP TO SEVILLE?

You may find the following articles helpful to make the best of your vacation:

1 | Seville’s Barrio Santa Cruz — The Best Guide to Where to Stay, Eat and Things to do.

2 | The Real Alcazar of Seville

3 | The Majestic Seville Cathedral

ABOUT THE METROPOL PARASOL/LAS SETAS IN SEVILLE

metropol parasol Seville | ©timelesstravelsteps.com
Las Setas de Seville | © georgina_daniel

The largest bonded wooden construction in the world was built in 2011. The structure is made-up of six mushroom-shaped lattice parasols. Measuring 150 x 70 and approximately 28.5 metres in height, this exemplary “mushroom” is the brainchild of a German architect, Jürgen Mayer.

Mayer won the international competition to regenerate the Plaza de la Encarnación by putting forward a design inspired by the centennial Ficus of the Plaza de San Pedro and the vaults of Seville Cathedral. His design incorporated the space needed for Seville’s historic Market which had been trading here since the 1830s. Along with the Market, was the much needed shade in the sultry summers, while also respecting the ancient heritage of the city. Above all, his idea incorporated an area where the life, splendour and joy Sevillanos once enjoyed would return.

WHAT TO EXPERIENCE AT THE METROPOL PARASOL/LAS SETAS SEVILLE

metropol parasol Seville | timelesstravelsteps.com
Plaza de la Encarnación Seville | © georgina_daniel

Metropol Parasol is an alluring colossal sight with a ripple of sunshade alongside gigantic support trunks. The structure offer access to five levels:

1 | The Basement at Plaza de la Encarnación

The basement of the Metropol Parasol, at 5 metres below street level is accessed via escalators. It houses the ticket office, lifts to the upper floors and the Antiquarium Room.

Lifts from the basement run up to the to the meandering walkway above, El Mirador for stunning views over the city. Tickets can be purchased for the Mirador and for the Antiquarium at the ticket office here.

1.1 | The Antiquarium Room at Metropol Parasol

Antiquarium Room Metropol Parasol Seville |
Antiquarium Room Plaza de la Encarnación Seville © georgina_daniel

When works for the Metropol Parasol were undertaken, excavations led to the archaeological discovery of Roman remains from the 1st century and further discovery of an Islamic house built during the Almohad era, between 12th and 13th centuries.

The Antiquarium Room is well-designed. With clearly defined walkways and each excavated area is separated with a glass membrane, giving a sense of space and light to reflect. Among many of the artefacts discovered on display are mosaics, foundation of a house and oil lamps. There are information on display here that cover the middle and modern ages.

2 | The Ground Floor at Plaza de la Encarnación

Merkado el Carnacion Las Setas Seville | ©timelesstravelsteps.com
Plaza de la Encarnación Seville | © georgina_daniel

On the ground floor of Las Setas, is the renovated modern Mercado de la Encarnación and catering spaces. The historic market that began in the 1830s was the first fresh food market in Seville. The Encarnación Market now still retains its reputation as an important source of fresh food frequented by the locals and tourists. The Mercado has about 40 stalls of fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, meat, grocery and cheeses along with pickles and bars.

3 | The Lower Level at Plaza de la Encarnación

Las Setas Seville | timelesstravelsteps.com
Plaza Mayor at Las Setas de Sevilla | © georgina_daniel

The lower level encompasses the area below the parasol, a shady elevated space known as Plaza Mayor. This space is designed to host all kinds of entertainment and music events. A popular space for the local teens to hangout as well.

4 | Central Parasol at Plaza de la Encarnación

At the height of 22 metres, in the central parasol of the Las Setas de Sevilla is a tapas restaurant

5 | El Mirador Metropol Parasol Seville

The lifts from the basement run up to the celebrated winding walkway (Mirador) that offer spectacular views over Seville. The views are spellbinding in the evening!

metropol parasol Seville | sunset

The Mirador consists of 250 metres of footbridges, offering various nostalgic views over the colourful city from several view-points. Visitors can enjoy an immersive experience at daytime or at night Both occasions are worthwhile experiences.

FINALLY …

The Metropol Parasol is an impressive, mind-blowing gigantic wooden structure that attests to Seville’s cultural and historic importance. Despite its vast size, it creates a huge never-ending oasis of a playground offering sunshade from Seville’s scorching summer sun, while the coziness of gentle breeze and the rolling hues of the evening sunlight makes an unforgettable experience. A visit is highly encouraged.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ON METROPOL PARASOL/LAS SETAS SEVILLE

Add: Plaza de la Encarnación, s/n 41003 Seville.

Tel:  954 561 512

Web: https://setasdesevilla.com/

Entry price: From €10

Visiting hours:

Winter hours (November to March):

Monday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Summer timetable (from April to October):

Monday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

*Last entry: half an hour before closing.


Tickets & Tours

Tickets for a Virtual Tour of Metropol Parasol Seville

Andalusia and Barcelona 7-day package tour

pin 3 on las setas

What’s New on TTS


Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville | Best Guide to Where to Stay Eat and Things to do

Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville | Best Guide to Where to Stay Eat and Things to do

Stunning Seville, the rhythm of Andalusia celebrate a myriad of local customs, traditions, boundless energy and the marriage of spices in their salivating dishes. There is no better place to experience the Sevillanos passion than in the heartbeat of Seville, Barrio Santa Cruz.

TTS logo

What to expect from this guide on Barrio Santa Cruz

Having wandered and wondered around the city for three days, exploring the thrills of the many labyrinth of alleys in the Old Jewish Quarter, in the backdrop of the flamenco dancing and the strumming of the guitar, amidst the chatter, laughter and the friendly neighbourhood vibe, I share the highly rated places to stay at Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville including the one I stayed in.

Also included in this best guide are 14 highlights of the very best things to do in this barrio Santa Cruz so you do not miss anything on the history, vibrancy and culture of this colourful city.

As the Santa Cruz neighbourhood is highly touristy, this guide offers suggestions on where to eat along with tips for enhanced experiences so you do not fall into the tourist traps.

Whether your visit is for one day, three days, a week or even longer, this best guide will help you choose where to stay at Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville, select places and things to do along with where to eat that best suits you like a breeze.

barrio santa cruz seville | timelesstravelsteps.com

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


Timeless Travel Steps BEST SIGHTSEEING TIPS FOR SEVILLE TRAVEL

1 | For an all-round experience of the sultry city, opt for a food walking tour

2 | Go for the best deal – Buy a combo ticket to visit the Royal Alcazar, Seville Cathedral + Giralda.

3 | Enjoy timeless experiences on the Guadalquivir River.

4 | Experience the culture of the Sevillanos – Tapas hopping tours

5 | Experience the passion and vibrancy of the time honoured Flamenco – Flamenco & Tapas Experience in Triana


Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville – Seville City Centre / Old Town / Old Jewish Quarter

Welcome to my guide on Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville, the best guide to where to stay, eat and the very best things to do.

Barrio Santa Cruz was the Parish of the Holy Cross and is the oldest part of the city of Seville. Located within the perimeter of the Roman city walls, the first settlement dates back to the 1st century , with a large Jewish community settling here after the Reconquista in late 1248. Thereafter, followed a period of dark history encapsulating deceit, destruction and the loss of many Jewish lives.

Today, Seville City Centre or Seville’s Old Town, also known as Barrio Santa Cruz was the old Jewish Quarter of Seville. This area is the heartbeat of Seville, ideally located to public transportation (not that you will need it) and is home to the most popular tourist attractions. Seville City Centre is the area around Seville’s Gothic wonder, the breathtaking spectacle of Mudejar palace, Plaza Nueva and El Arenal.

Santa Cruz is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods, in Seville. Encompassing white-washed houses, a labyrinth of narrow alleys of cobblestone, and charming Andalusian balconies. This is an area where you can wander for hours trying to decide which bar or restaurants to go to as each has its own appeal and warmth.

Staying anywhere in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood means you are only minutes away from the city’s historic attractions, the famous Bull Ring in Seville and dangerously close to Calle Sierpes, the heart of small business and a place where you can get anything you want. If you are looking to stay in Seville at the heart of the city, barrio Santa Cruz is the place to be.

While the Santa Cruz neighbourhood is splendid for a stay, the barrio is also one of Seville’s busiest and touristy neighbourhoods. Hence, the streets can be noisy at night if you are visiting Seville during the high season such as the summer months.

I | WHERE TO STAY IN BARRIO SANTA CRUZ

Barrio Santa Cruz boasts a splendid collection of hotels and boutique accommodations, ranging from high-end to budget finds.

i | Luxury Hotels in Barrio Santa Cruz

1 | The historic and much desired Hotel Alfonso XIII

hotel Alfonso XIII Seville  | barrio santa cruz
Where to Stay in Seville | Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville
Hotel Alfonso XIII | Image: ©TTS photographer

2 | For luxury and a modern feel, stay at EME Catedral Mercer Hotel, Seville

3 | Hotel Colón Gran Meliá

Other luxury hotels to stay in Seville at Barrio Santa Cruz

Hotel Palacio De Villapanés

Radisson Collection Hotel, Magdalena Plaza Sevilla

ii | Mid-range hotels in Barrio Santa Cruz

1 | Hotel Casa 1800 Seville

2 | Petit Palace Marques Santa Ana

where to stay in Seville

Georgina: “We stayed at Petit Palace Marques Santa Ana in Seville. Ideally located to all attractions that were on our list, and a few blocks away from the tram station. It was quiet.”

3 | Hotel Las Casas de la Judería

Other mid-range accommodations in Barrio Santa Cruz

Puerta del Principe

Casa del Rey Sabio

iii | Budget accommodation at the edge of Barrio Santa Cruz

1 | Basic Hotel Puerta de Sevilla

2 | Hotel Murillo

II | WHAT TO DO IN BARRIO SANTA CRUZ

Primary attractions and places to visit in Barrio Santa Cruz are:

1 | The Royal Palace Alcázar  — a palace complex and home to the most beautiful gardens, colourful ceramics and mind-blowing architecture.

Maidens Courtyard The Alcazar | Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville
Courtyard of the Maidens | The Royal Alcazar Seville | Image: ©TTS photographer

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

3 | Iglesia Colegial del Salvador — Church of the Divine Saviour at Plaza del Salvador is the second most important church in Seville following Seville Cathedral. Built on the site of a former mosque, the Salvador Church is filled with remarkable altarpieces in solid gold. Definitely worth a visit.

Church of the Divine Saviour at Plaza del Salvador | Barrio Santa Cruz | timelesstravelsteps
Church of the Divine Saviour at Plaza del Salvador Seville | Image: ©TTS photographer

Tip: Join a guided tour of Seville Cathedral and /or the Royal Alcazar.

Giralda Tower tours
Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

4 | Casa de Pilatos — besides the Alcázar, there is more insanely beautiful architecture in this well-preserved 16th century palace.

Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville | Casa de Pilatos
gardens of Casa de Pilatos

5 | Archivo de Indias — the General Archive of the Indies along with the Alcázar and Seville Cathedral are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1987.

6 | Plaza Nueva  this is the central square in Seville and has a statue of King Ferdinand III of Castile. Everyone goes here! 🙂

7 | Jardines de Murillo — a serene park with a monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus.


8 | Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes —  this building was a hospital for the priests in the 17th century. The most attractive part is the church with exquisite frescoes.

barrio Santa Cruz in Seville
Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes | Barrio Santa Cruz Seville

9 | Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija — Palace of Lebrija is another architecturally fascinating palace. Home to a beautiful collection of colourful mosaics ranging from ancient Greece to Roman times. An unmissable experience.

10 | Plaza del Cabildo — a lovely quiet semi-circular square to just enjoy… except on a Sunday when it is not so quiet. Stamp Collectors market takes place from very early in the morning till about lunchtime.

Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville

11 | Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza

Plaza de Toros de Sevilla is an emblematic monument of Seville. Built in the 18th century, the bullfighting arena is the most important in Spain and can accommodate 13,000 spectators. Bullfighting takes place throughout the year but there are some days when the arena is open to the public for a visit. There is a museum that tells the story of the arena’s evolution and the bullfighting scene.

Bull Ring skip-the-line ticket

Bull Ring in Seville | Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville

Georgina: I do not support bullfighting and would never pay to watch a live bullfighting event. I respect those who do as each is to our own. As many of you may already know, I love history and I always visit monuments and landmarks that tells a story of a nation’s culture. I visited this monument to learn of its story and to see for myself what an incredible arena it is. It is an incredible arena indeed!


12 | Experience the spirit and passion of Flamenco

flamenco.street.Santa Cruz Seville
street performance of flamenco in Santa Cruz neighbourhood Seville | Image: ©TTS photographer

When walking around Santa Cruz, you are sure to bump into an impromptu flamenco performance. These are pretty good to watch, in return for a small tip. Watch a short video below:

Flamenco street performance in Santa Cruz, Seville

Do Subscribe to TTS’ Youtube Channel

13 | Walk around Barrio Santa Cruz

Barrio Santa Cruz  at night
Santa Cruz at night ©TTS photographer
Santa Cruz Neighbourhood Al Arenal | timelesstravelsteps
Al Arenal Seville | Image: ©TTS photographer

… explore the winding and narrow alleyways unhurriedly – the mysterious cobblestone paths are both romantic and intoxicating with its bright, bold colours along with the white-washed walls. The architecture is delightful showcasing a varied of cultures with a unifying trait – conquest, and so many conquests! You can see that the Romans were here, the Visigoths, the Moors, the Castilians and the Spanish Empire.

kissing street Santa Cruz neighbourhood Seville

While exploring the labyrinth of barrio Santa Cruz, go also in search of Calle de los Besos (Street of Kisses) – the narrowest street in the city.

Georgina: We were out late on both nights and it was kinda nice to see the Cathedral glow against the night skies, with not many people around.

14 | Horse-drawn carriage ride

This appeared to be a popular activity among tourists but we did not participate in this activity. If you wish to, learn more about a horse-drawn carriage ride and what it entails here.


III | WHERE & WHAT TO EAT IN BARRIO SANTA CRUZ

Santa Cruz neighbourhood is a great place to try any and all of Seville authentic food — seafood, tapas and drinks.

While Vineria San Telmo is highly recommended and rightly so for their exquisite dishes, Lobo López is a restaurant I would return to in a hearbeat for its natural and relaxed feel. Both were excellent.

Vineria San Telmo —  Paseo Catalina de Ribera, 4 41004 Sevilla

Lobo López — C. Rosario, 15, 41001 Seville, Spain

For traditional tapas, try Casa Morales > Garcia Vinuesa 11, Seville. Two minutes from Seville Cathedral.

While Seville’s most popular eating spots serve tapas and cañas, you must not leave town without trying Seville’s Spanish ham! This is no ordinary lunch meat ham bought off the shelf, for sure. Once you try, you will want to try again.

Jamón ibérico - Iberian ham | Seville
Jamón Ibérico — Iberian ham

The traditional ham is the celebrated Jamón Ibérico — Iberian ham, cured to perfection over years at a time. For the best in Central Seville, go to Flores Gourmet.

Flores Gourmet: Calle San Pablo 24 | Centro, 41001 Seville, Spain

Experience an Evening of Tapas in Seville – Avoid the tourist traps and join a guided tour of the most emblematic of the tapas bars.



IV | HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR VISIT TO SANTA CRUZ, SEVILLE

Seville is a small city and compact. The best way to explore the city is by foot. I can assure you, public transport is not needed at all when visiting the barrio Santa Cruz and all you need is a good pair of walking shoes.

However, if you do wish to experience the public transport in Seville, the Tram (Metro Centro) is the best option. It is a 1.4 kilometre line that runs through the centre of Seville. The Centro Tram line connects Plaza Nueva to Seville Cathedral, with stops at Archivo de Indias, Puerta de Jerez, San Sebastian and San Bernardo.

While exploring the city centre independently is encouraged and easily done, your visit to Seville is significantly enhanced if you join a guided tour. A knowledgeable guide who knows exactly where to take you for the best tapas, best dining, best bodegas, best Jamón Ibérico and for the best stories ever told.


WHAT’S NEW


Barrio Santa Cruz SevilleBarrio Santa Cruz Seville

A Fun Evening of Tapas in Seville

A Fun Evening of Tapas in Seville

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links

Here is an overview of what the Andalusian eating culture is about, how it began and how you could have an immersive, fun experience of the Sevillian culture.

tapas in seville | timelesstravelsteps.com

What is Tapa or Tapas?

an evening of tapas in Seville

Tapa (singular) or Tapas (plural) is a derivative of the verb “tapar” in Spanish which means “to cover” or “top.” However, when you visit Spain, this term is used to describe a style of food or a style of dining where you are served with small portions of dishes. An appetizer of sorts. Though it is meant as an appetizer, tapas can also be a complete meal given the wide selection it offers and when eaten combined.

You are likely to find “tapas” in Central American countries and in Mexico. In Central America, these snacks are known as “bocas” and in Mexico, they are referred to as “botanas.”

Origin of Tapas

spanish tavern or tapas bar

In Andalusia, tapas were traditionally served in bodegas, a tavern like business that offered meals and rooms to travellers. The innkeepers would serve a thin slice of bread or meat with the Andalusian sweet sherry. The sliced meat or bread was used to cover the glasses of sherry to prevent fruit flies flutter over the glass. The meat used was usually ham or chorizo which were salty. Over the years, business owners throughout Spain created a variety of tapas to go with their sherry as well as wine.

There are also other tales with a royal twist associated with tapas tradition in Spain.

One tale goes that King Alfonso X of Castile, after recovering from illness by eating small portions of food with wine, ordered that the taverns should serve wine along with a small portion of food. A more popular tale is one associated with King Alfonso XIII. The king is said to have stopped by a tavern in an Andalusian city, Cadiz. He ordered a cup of wine. The waiter brought the wine with a cover of thinly sliced ham. The king ate the ham, drank the wine and ordered for more ‘tapa.’

…. and “tapa” became part of Spanish dining culture.

Tapas in Seville

An evening of Tapas in Seville | patatas bravas - patatas bravas:  a dish of sautéed potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce, often served as tapas
patatas bravas:  a dish of sautéed potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce, often served as tapas

Tapas in Seville is best experienced with red wine, Caña (beer, a little less than half a pint) or manzanilla sherry, an Andalusian speciality. The small portions of dishes are eaten with more of a nibbling attitude, in relaxed and unhurried way along with lots of chatter and laughter – like a true Spaniard!

Very much like the passeggiata in Italy, tapas eating is an important social ritual with unwritten rules and dining etiquette. Tapas eating is more like a social meeting of friends and family. They gather, glasses clink and clank amidst laughter and eating.

tapas in seville

Tapas dining may go into hours as you are on the move from one bar to another. Dishes can be ordered several times to suit. You try one or two dishes in your first bar, then you go to another and order a few more.

Lunchtime tapas eating typically starts at about 1:30 pm till 3:00 pm while evening tapas dining starts from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. However, times may vary as Seville caters for tourists and you are highly likely to find spaces at whatever time you choose to tapas in Seville.

Baco Restaurante Seville | tapas in Seville | lunch tapas at Baco - red wine, deep fried crispy calamari, salmon croquettes, patatas in a mild garlic sauce with herbs
lunch tapas eating at Baco – red wine, deep fried crispy calamari, salmon croquettes, patatas in a mild garlic sauce with herbs

The assortment of dishes can be anything from marinated olives, to pieces of meat, served with or without cheese. Dishes could also include roasted peppers and few nuts in a dish. For a few Euros, you get to taste some of the tastiest foods in Europe such as fresh seafood and delightful deep-fried options. Popular tapa dishes are croquettes and patata brava. The Sevillanos make great croquettes! The best ones to try are salmon croquettes and croquettes de jamon.

How to experience Tapas in Seville

Tapas bars are dotted everywhere throughout Seville but barrio Santa Cruz is highly recommended for some of the very best ones if you are staying in the historic core of Seville. If you wish to venture a little out of the historic centre, then head to Triana for an authentic experience.

Recommended read: Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville | Best Guide to Where to Stay Eat and Things to do

1 | Tapas in Seville: Exploring independently

The best tapas bars are usually surrounded by other tapas bars, making “tapas hopping” fun. The key to selecting a good tapas in Seville is to look for a bar that has a lot of people, even at low season. With a high turnover of people, means a high turnover of food and you get to taste fresher tapas. Prior booking at a tapas bar is not always necessary as people are always coming and going, unless you are dining at the high-end restaurants such as Baco or SEIS in Seville.

Once you’ve found your tapas bar, find yourself a cosy spot. Order a glass of wine, Caña or manzanilla sherry while you peruse the menu. You could try different drinks in each bar as you “tapas hop.”

2 | Join a Guided Tour: Fun evening of Tapas in Seville

There are several guided tours that focus on tapas eating or food in Seville generally. You may want to experience the top rated guided tour on tapas, taverns and history of Seville or the flamenco and tapas night. Both make for timeless experiences.

For more tours on tapas in Seville, look up these recommended four.


Guided tours of historic Seville

Giralda Tower

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

Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

A perfect choice 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 >>

TTS logo
pin on fun evening of tapas in Sevillepin on fun evening of tapas in Seville

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

TTS logo

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

We may earn a commission from affiliate links at no cost to you at all.


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:

Travel abroad from England Advise

Travel abroad from Scotland Advise

Travel abroad from Wales Advise

USA Travel Advisories

Travel between European Countries

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



The majestic Seville CathedralThe majestic Seville Cathedral

The Giralda Tower in Seville | 5 master features across civilisations to look out for

The Giralda Tower in Seville | 5 master features across civilisations to look out for when you visit

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links

Presiding over the city of Seville for almost a millennium is the Giralda, a monument that stands as testament to the fusion of architecture, reflecting the cultures and civilisations that has enriched this historic city.

TTS logo

Many define it as special while some say it is just built of stone. The Giralda Tower in Seville is indeed unique. It gives a sense of permanence, and perspective on the passage of time across civilisations as well as the union of cultures that is emblematic of the passionate and mysterious Andalusian capital in Southern Spain. Perhaps also, because the iconic Giralda Tower in Seville was born of the Almohad dynasty, a minaret to the then famous mosque and now, is a Renaissance style bell tower for Cathedral Santa Maria de la Sede (simply known as Seville Cathedral) today. The Giralda Tower remain as one of the most iconic symbols of Seville since the Middle Ages.

The Tower offer charming views over the bijou city — Patio de los Naranjos, sounds of guitar music, close-up of the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world and the exotic flamenco rhythms that never fail to seduce and charm you.

Giralda’ means “one that turns” in Spanish and takes its name from the weather vane at the top of the tower (the bronze sculpture).

The Giralda Tower or La Giralda (in Spanish) of Seville Cathedral is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1987, along with the Real Alcázar and the General Archive of the Indies. It is a popular attraction, accessed from within Seville Cathedral. We highly recommend that you go. La Giralda will not disappoint. Access to Giralda Tower is included in the Tour to the Seville Cathedral.

This guide shares a brief history of the Giralda Tower, features on what makes the tower unique and ways on how to explore the monument.

Planning a short trip to Seville?

The following resources may be helpful also:

Best Guide to Barrio Santa Cruz – Stay, Eat & Explore

Explore more of this historic city – the Bohemian Seville

The Giralda Tower in Spain

I | History of the Giralda Tower in Seville

The Giralda Tower was born in 1184 as a minaret to the mosque that was built in 1176. The base of the minaret was in cut stone and the main body of the minaret was built in brick, with a later addition of a small secondary shaft at the top of the tower. Crowning the minaret were four golden balls and metal spheres to top the tower. In addition to bricks sourced locally, recycled marble were used from old Umayyad masterpieces. It was the biggest mosque in the Andalusian territory and the pride of the Almohads during their reign.

1 | The design of the minaret

The mosque had a rectangular floor measuring 113 by 135 metres decorated in Cordoban style with stucco and wood, embellished with sandalwood, ivory, ebony, gold and silver. Its base was a square at street level. The foundation was built with solid stones and the tower consisted of two sections, the main shaft and a smaller shaft with a series of ramps so a horse or donkey could carry the Islamic leader to the top of the tower five times a day so he could call for prayers.

2 | From a minaret to a bell tower

However, when Seville was reconquered in 1248 by the Castillian Christians, the mosque was converted to a cathedral. In doing so, some exits and archways were closed off and a number of small chapels were created. The minaret was used as a bell tower.

3 | Rebuilding of the mosque/cathedral

 Giralda Tower and Seville Cathedral Seville
Giralda Tower and Seville Cathedral, Seville as it is today, 2021 | Image: © TTS photographer

Following the earthquake, rebuilding of the Cathedral commenced. The construction project brought together the best artisans in the trade from all over the Castilian empire, as far as the Netherlands and Germany. Work was entrusted to the famous architect of the time, Hernan Ruiz II. The Cathedral was completed in 1506, after some 106 years.

Known simply as Seville Cathedral, it is the largest Catholic Cathedral of Gothic style in the world.

Recommended read: Seville Cathedral

II | What makes the Giralda Tower in Seville unique | 5 features to lookout for when you visit

The Giralda Tower in Seville
the Renaissance belfry tower at the La Giralda in Seville

There are no great ornaments that adorn La Giralda but its uniqueness lies in its marriage of architecture between a fine example of Arab design of the time and the 16th century Renaissance additions, along with its famous bells in the belfry.

Here are some features across civilisations to look out for when you visit:

1 | Design of the Giralda Tower in Seville

Giralda Tower Seville
The Giralda Tower in Seville, Andalusia, Spain | Imaga: © TTS photographer
the Giralda Tower in Seville
close view of the Giralda Tower in Seville, Andalusia, Spain

When Seville Cathedral was constructed in the 16th century, the architect, Hernan Ruiz II also constructed an extension to the solid stone tower of two shafts and winding ramps. The Christian Renaissance style belfry was added to the top of the tower to house the bells. The belfry was constructed between 1458 and 1568. With the addition of the belfry, the tower stood at 96 metres.

La Giralda Seville

2 | The Bells at the Giralda Tower in Seville

3 | Giraldillo Seville — a symbol of victory

The Giraldillo was originally called the Triumph of the Victorious Faith, to symbolise the victory of Christianity over the Muslim world. It was regarded as the largest sculpture of European Renaissance, weighing at more than 1000 kilograms. It embodies a sculpture of a woman about 4 metres high and 4 metres wide carrying a flag pole and a cross, symbolising the victory of Faith. She is made of bronze and is held together with metal bars, while being supported on a vertical metal axis. The vertical axis allows the statue to rotate around like a weather vane.

The unique design of the Giralda Tower in Seville appears to have inspired some countries or states to replicate their very own towers. More on this, below.

4 | The 35 ramps at the Giralda in Seville

Visitors can visit the belfry and reach the top of the tower via a series of ramps and a short flight of stairs.

ramps at the Giralda Tower in Seville | timelesstravelsteps.com
information on the three sections of the architecture visitors shall encounter | © TTS photographer
ramps at the Giralda Tower in Seville | timeless travel steps
ramps wide enough to walk up | © TTS photographer
ramps at the Giralda Tower in Seville | TTS
windows for light & views | © TTS photographer

There are 35 ramps, wide enough and gently inclining, winding around the perimeter of its core to the top of the tower. You get to walk in the footsteps of history as these are the very same ramps that were placed instead of stairs to ease the journey of a horse that carried the Islamic leader to the top of the tower five times a day so he could call for prayers back in the 12th century.

There is a short flight of stairs to reach the top for spectacular vistas over the historic city of Seville.

5 | The Views over Seville from the Giralda Tower

For a 360 view of the historic city of Seville, you need to reach the belfry. As you climb to the belfry, up the 35 ramps, you can stop at each ramp and look out the windows to view the surroundings. At the belfry, you can walk around the four sides for spectacular views of Seville.

panoramic view from belfry of the Giralda Tower Seville eastern end of Saville Cathedral
panoramic view from the belfry of the Giralda Tower Seville eastern end of Saville Cathedral
View of Patio de los Naranjos-Courtyard of the Orange Trees
View of Patio de los Naranjos-Courtyard of the Orange Trees from the belfry of the Giralda Tower Seville. Image shows the garden of orange trees, enclosed by buildings of the Seville Cathedral complex.

III | The Giralda Tower in Seville has inspired other buildings

There are some towers across the world that appear to have borrowed their design from the La Giralda. Here are just a few as examples.


IV | How to visit the Giralda Tower

There are so many ways with a good selection of ticket options to visit the Giralda Tower for best experience. You could select from either to visit on your own by pre purchasing your ticket online or select to join a guided tour. Both options are available by pre purchasing your ticket online and both include priority access. Your experience will be significantly enhanced if you opt for a guided tour as you will learn of the history from a knowledgeable guide.

TTS recommends the following three best ways to experience the La Giralda to suit your interests:

Giralda Tower

1 | Explore independently by pre purchasing a ticket online that gives you skip-the-line access.

Check availability here >>

Giralda Tower tours

2 | Join a small group guided tour with priority access to Seville Cathedral and La Giralda.

Learn more about this option and check availability here >>

Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

3 | Explore all three monuments in half a day with a guide and priority access. Learn all there is to know about these iconic landmarks from your expert guide.

Learn more about this option and check availability >>

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




OUR BEST SELLING ACTIVITIES FOR SEVILLE

1 | For an all-round experience of the sultry city, opt for a food walking tour

2 | Buy a combo ticket to visit the Royal Alcazar, Seville Cathedral + Giralda.

3 | Enjoy timeless experiences on the Guadalquivir River.

4 | Tapas hopping tours

5 | Flamenco & Tapas Experience in Triana


What’s new on TTS


The Giralda Tower in SpainThe Giralda Tower in Spain
error: