This blog post was originally posted on May 5, 2015, and was updated on April 25, 2017.
We are the first to admit that travel (especially when it is international travel) can be expensive—but it doesn’t have to be!
You don’t have to limit your visit to one or two museums and eat only cheap fast food. In fact, Seville is famous for its tapas which are often incredible value for money. However, there is so much more to our beautiful city than tapas (even though the tapas are one of our favorite parts!), so we’ve put together a list of five free things to do in Seville. We even threw in a bonus for good measure!
Photo Credit: CameliaTWU
1. Visit the Cathedral
While not everyone is religious, Seville’s churches and chapels show a lot of the city’s history. Some of them have extremely ornate decorations and really are works of art in themselves. The most impressive of them all, which is Seville’s Cathedral, normally charges an entrance fee but is free on Sundays if you show up for mass!
Alternatively, with some planning ahead, you can visit during the cathedral’s free hours on Monday evenings. From 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. you can take advantage of the free entry and audioguide. This is the perfect time to get a bird’s eye view from the top of the Giralda (the church tower), explore the inside this popular tourist attraction and even find out which famous figures are buried inside. Online reservations open up between four to six weeks in advance and fill up quickly, so make sure to snag your spot! (Scroll down to where it says “Horario gratuito”)
2. Forget your map and get lost
One of the most beautiful parts of Seville is the neighborhood of Santa Cruz. It is full of narrow, winding streets with hidden plazas and interior patios that you might be lucky enough to see through an open door. And the best bit of all? Walking around this beautiful neighborhood costs absolutely nothing – although we can’t guarantee that you won’t be tempted to stop and have a coffee or even a glass of local wine in one of the squares.
Spend your time wandering the cobblestone streets, snapping photos and enjoying the afternoon. It might be free, but this neighborhood is effectively a monument in itself which will steal your heart – it did ours!
3. Visit the Park
If you are looking for things to do for free in Seville, you can’t look past Parque Maria Luisa, with its beautiful park containing the stunning (and very famous) Plaza de España. During the hot spring and summer months, all the beautiful greenery and plants provide welcome relief from the strong Andalusian sun, and during the winter, it makes a beautiful spot to bask in the beautiful winter sun that we often are so lucky to have. This is a place that the whole family can enjoy, as there are also lots of places for kids to play and get some energy out!
4. Step into the world of Carmen
Did you know that Bizet’s “Carmen” was set in the Tobacco Factory in Seville? The Real Fabrica de Tabacos is now the main building for the University of Seville, but in the 18th century, it was one of the largest industrial buildings in Europe. It has moats, fountains, a chapel and a prison inside! It’s a pretty amazing building (or at least we think so!) and the best thing is that you can just wander in among the students and professors, and have a look inside!
5. Mondays are Golden!
On Mondays you can visit one of Seville’s most well-known towers for free, the Torre del Oro – literally translated, it is the Tower of Gold. The tower is currently a little naval museum, but we think it’s fun to go inside, check out the views, and imagine what it was like when the Moors were looking out trying to keep watch for the Christian invaders, or thinking back to when the explorers returned from the Americas bringing with them all kinds of stories and treasures from far away. This monument really is a little piece of history in Seville, and worth seeing even just from the outside!
6. And a bonus with a view
Okay, we admit that this last one is not free, but it is quite cheap! It only costs a few euros to take a lift to the top of the Metropol Parasol (commonly known as the Mushrooms or “Las Setas”). You get a great view and you can appreciate the unique architecture of this interesting building.
While many Sevillanos criticized the structure as it was being built, it really has turned into a landmark in Seville and the city’s most modern one at that. Now it’s just simply a part of our city’s landscape, so it’s up to you to decide if you love or loathe the design. If you are traveling with the whole family, don’t forget that for kids under the age of 12, it is free!
Cyra, my wife and I are “moving” to Seville for the months of October and November this year from the US. We are staying in an Airbnb a few blocks from the cathedral. Maybe we can sit down with you over dinner (our treat) and you can tell us all about your city. I give walking tours in Portland Oregon during Portland’s summer. I have loved reading your website. Scott and a Judy Carlson. [email protected]
Thanks for your comment Scott! We’ve passed it on to Cyra