Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain and the most populated in Andalusia. Its Old Town is one of the largest in Spain and is where most of its monuments, churches, museums and oldest squares are located. In the Old Town are the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz, San Gil, Museo, San Bartolomé, Arenal and Feria.
In the neighborhoods of San Jerónimo and Santa Cruz, there are still traces of the spirit of the Jewish quarter that inhabited those places. And the neighborhood of Triana is one of the most charming on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. If you are wondering what to see and do in Seville, a tour of its emblematic neighborhoods will take you into the heart of this Andalusian city.
1. Santa Cruz Neighborhood
The Santa Cruz neighborhood is undoubtedly one of the most interesting neighborhoods to visit in Seville. It is inside the Old Town, where you can see buildings from before the Industrial Revolution.
The Casco Antiguo, for its size, occupies the sixth place in Europe. There you can see buildings declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 as the Cathedral of Seville, the Royal Alcazar and the Archivo de Indias.
This is a neighborhood formerly inhabited by the Jews until their expulsion in 1481, whose traces have been very impregnated in the neighborhood. Some points of interest that you can find in Santa Cruz are Aqua Street and the Murillo Gardens. History buffs should not miss the Archivo de Indias, which is housed in a building constructed between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The Cathedral and the Giralda
The Cathedral Santa María de la Sede y de la Asunción in Seville is one of the largest and most incredible Gothic cathedrals in the world.
Its construction began in 1401 on the site of a demolished aljama mosque, and was completed in 1593. The Patio de los Naranjos and the lower part of the Giralda, one of the most famous bell towers of the church, which is almost 100 meters high, remain from the old mosque.
In this Cathedral, besides the Gothic style, different styles such as Almohad, Mudejar, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Gothic converge. It also stands out for the paintings of Murillo, Goya, Alfonso Cano, sculptures and goldsmith pieces that you can see inside.
The Royal Alcazar of Seville
The Real Alcazar of Se ville is a walled palace complex of Mudejar and Gothic style that began to be built in the early Middle Ages. In other words, there are several palaces in the same building.
Many kings and reigns have walked through its rooms and left the mark of each era. It is truly impressive in all its magnificent details: its palaces, tiles, gardens, Mary's bath, ponds and galleries. Not for nothing has it been the setting for many films and series, such as Game of Thrones.
2. Triana Neighborhood
Opposite the Arenal neighborhood is the Triana neighborhood, on the other bank of the Guadalquivir River. It is known as the birthplace of artists, especially flamenco artists such as Isabel Pantoja and Antonio Canales. It is also recognized as a neighborhood of potters and artisans. In the Plaza del Altozano, next to the Triana Bridge, is where potters converge to show their arts.
If you like ceramics, you can not miss the Triana Ceramics Center, which will leave you amazed. The Triana Bridge, which is actually called Isabel II Bridge, is the oldest bridge in the city and was built in the same place where there used to be an Almohad bridge.
Betis Street is one of the most traditional and beautiful in the neighborhood, and offers the best views of the city and the river. If what you are looking for are the gastronomic offers, the indicated one is San Jacinto street. There are also typical foods and products in the Triana Market, where the remains of the old Moorish castle San Jorge, from the 12th century, are exhibited.
3. Museum Quarter
The neighborhood of the Museum is named after the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, which was inaugurated in 1841. The neighborhood is on the banks of the Guadalquivir River and is located in the Old Town.
The building of the Museum of Fine Arts was a former convent of the Order of Mercy. The Museum is dedicated to preserving Baroque works of art from Seville, such as those of Murillo, Zurbarán and Valdés Leal, as well as Andalusian paintings from the 19th century.
It is located in the Plaza del Museo, where there is a sculpture dedicated to Murillo, inaugurated in 1874. Sabino de Medina, its sculptor, made a second reproduction that is on one of the facades of the Prado Museum in Madrid.
4. Arenal Neighborhood
The Arenal neighborhood is located in the Casco Antiguo district of Seville, on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, on its left bank. It borders the neighborhoods of Museo, Santa Cruz and Alfalfa. The neighborhood has a cosmopolitan stamp, since for a long time it had an important port activity.
Walking at sunset along the tree-lined promenade Marqués de Contaderos on the banks of the Guadalquivir and coming across the Torre del Oro, is really a postcard of a movie. In the Arenal can be seen vestiges of an ancient wall that was linked to the wall of the Alcazar and other buildings, such as the Torre del Oro, the Torre de la Plata and the Torre Abd el Aziz, which served to defend the port.
Other attractions of the neighborhood are the Maestranza Bullring, the Maestranza Theater, the Hospital de la Caridad (Baroque style), the Arenal Food Market and the Seville Shipyards, considered Historical Heritage of Spain.
The Golden Tower
The Torre del Oro is a dazzling 12-sided tower on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. It was built in different stages: its base in 1220, the second body in the 15th century and the third in 1760.
It was used as a chapel, gunpowder store and even as a prison. Today it houses the Naval Museum of the Navy where you can see a 16th century cannon, compasses, nautical charts, engravings and all kinds of documents, among others.
The Cabildo Square
The Plaza del Cabildo is a beautiful semicircular square with 3 floors. On the first floor there is a gallery framed with arches and columns, and decorated with paintings by José Palomar.
The straight part of the square, where the semicircle is closed, is a part of an old wall of Seville. In front of it there is a water fountain. In the square there are several antique, philatelic and restoration stores, and even a candy store. If you are passionate about collecting, you must visit the square on a Sunday morning, where you will find stamps, philately, coins, minerals and other curiosities.
5. San Gil Neighborhood
It is located in the Casco Antiguo district and is one of the neighborhoods with the strongest Arab imprint in Seville, especially for the Puerta de la Macarena, which was built by Sultan Ali Ibn Yusuf in the twelfth century.
The Puerta de la Macarena is one of the three gates of the old Almohad wall that remain in the city, along with the Puerta de Córdoba and the Postigo del Aceite, and a stretch of wall that connects with the Puerta de Córdoba. Because of their historical importance, they have been declared of Cultural Interest in 1985.
Next to the Barqueta bridge, there is the Torre de los Perdigones, 45 meters high, which was part of an old factory built in 1885. Around it is a beautiful park with gardens, fountains and playgrounds.
You can visit its viewpoint and its Camera Obscura, which offers a kind of "photography in motion" of what happens in monuments, the river, churches and other places in the city. Nearby there is also a restaurant serving typical Andalusian food.
6. Neighborhood of San Jeronimo
The San Jeronimo neighborhood is located in the northern district of Seville, on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. It is named after the Monastery of San Jerónimo de Buenavista, which was founded in 1414. The location of the neighborhood is related to the construction of the railroad between 1850 and 1860.
In the Monastery of San Jeronimo used to stay the kings of Spain, which surely was a reason for greatness for the neighborhood. However, today the Monastery is almost in ruins, except for a part that functions as a cultural center and a baroque bell tower. Many artistic works that were recovered were taken to the Museum of Fine Arts.
On the banks of the river is the Paseo de la Ribera, which is connected by a walkway to the Alamillo Park. A sculpture of interest in this walk is the Monument to Christopher Columbus, by Zurab Tsereteli, 30 meters high, which, because of its shape, is known as El Huevo de Colón (Columbus' Egg).
Another very striking sculpture and building with history can be seen in the north of the neighborhood, known as Templete de San Jerónimo or humilladero de San Onofre, which is of Mudejar style of the fifteenth century.
7. San Bartolomé Neighborhood
It is a neighborhood in the center of Seville that belongs to the district of Casco Antiguo. It is north of the Barrio Santa Cruz and, like this, the Jewish quarter that inhabited their land has given it a very particular identity.
Its origins date back to the Andalusian period. Two of the churches in the neighborhood were first mosques, then synagogues and finally Christian churches. They are the churches of San Bartolomé and Santa María la Blanca.
The San Bartolomé church was built between 1780 and 1796, and is baroque in style. The Santa María la Blanca church, originally built in 1391, was restored in the 17th century. It is a baroque style church with interesting plaster ornamentation on its ceilings.
You can also see in this neighborhood the Casa de Pilatos, built in the 15th century, where Renaissance and Mudejar styles are combined. It is also called Palacio de Medinaceli, since it is where the dukes of that family currently reside. You cannot miss its beautiful tiles and interior gardens.
Other places of interest are the Mañara Palace, the Altamira Palace and the Maria de Dios and Santa Maria de Jesus convents.
8. Feria Neighborhood
The Feria neighborhood is located in the Old Town and its name has a curious history. It is named after the emblematic Feria Street, where a fair has been held since the 13th century.
This fair is the oldest in the city and today is dedicated to the sale of antiques, vintage clothing, objects for one euro, and there are even artists who create their art right there. It is also called Thursday market, as it is held on Thursday mornings. Feria Street is also a street known for its varied gastronomic offerings.
In the neighborhood of Feria is one of the oldest squares in Europe, the Alameda de Hércules. Its origins date back to 1570, although it was transformed in 1781. It is the largest in the Old Town and its surroundings are considered bohemian. The Alameda is a rectangular square and is known for its two columns with sculptures of Hercules and Julius Caesar at the ends. There are also other columns in another part of the square with lions that were added at the end of the 18th century.
Another point of interest is the Palace of the Marquises of La Algaba, of Mudejar style and considered of Cultural Interest. Construction of the Palace began in 1474. Today it houses the Mudejar Art Center where you can find various pieces of this style of art.
9. Neighborhood of San Lorenzo
The neighborhood of San Lorenzo is also located in the Casco Antiguo district, on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River. It is a neighborhood with a lot of history, whose most representative place is the Plaza de San Lorenzo, of Gothic-Mudejar style, which was founded in the thirteenth century.
In the square is the church of San Lorenzo, also from the thirteenth century, the Basilica of Jesus del Gran Poder, inspired by the Roman Pantheon of Agrippa, and the Monument to Juan Mesa, made by Sebastián Santos Calero.
10. Macarena Neighborhood
La Macarena is not properly a neighborhood but a district composed of 23 small neighborhoods, although it is commonly known as a single neighborhood. There you can see buildings with history such as the Basilica de la Macarena, the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas, the Puerta de Córdoba and the church San Luis de los Franceses.
It is a neighborhood that offers many options for tasting typical dishes, and is also crossed by Feria Street.
The Cordoba Gate
It is part of the building of the San Hermenegildo Church and belonged to the wall that surrounded the city of Seville. It is the oldest preserved gate of that wall. Its keys are in custody of the brotherhood of the church, who watch over its conservation, and it is not open to the public every day.
Hospital de las Cinco Llagas
The Hospital de las Cinco Llagas began to be built in 1546 and was inaugurated in 1556. It functioned as a hospital until 1972 and in 1992 became the seat of the Parliament of Andalusia. It was also known by the name of Hospital de la sangre.
It is of Renaissance style and has about 8 courtyards (although it was planned to build 10), since natural lighting was essential for that architectural style. Its former church now serves as a plenary hall.
It can be visited 2 days a week in the afternoon, with previous reservation, from mid-September to the first week of June. In the case of groups, visiting hours are Monday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, except in July and August. As it is an official building, be sure to contact them to make a reservation by entering this website.