Seville is one of those cities that should be part of any tourist itinerary in Spain, even in the middle of summer.
Get ready to discover architectural jewels in which the Arab, Jewish and Christian culture left their legacy, starting with the monumental Cathedral and the Palaces of the Real Alcazar. Stroll through the Barrio de Santa Cruz, taste some delicious tapas or attend a pure flamenco show. This, among all the things to see and do in Seville are waiting for you here!...And with the weather this season, you surely won't have to wait in line.
1. Visit the Cathedral of Seville and its beautiful tower: La Giralda
One of the first things you have to do when you arrive in the city, is to visit its imposing cathedral. Its ample spaces will take you away from the high temperatures on the street for a while, so there is nothing like taking refuge in its singular beauty.
It is not only "the cathedral of the city," I am talking about the Gothic style cathedral and the third largest temple (after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London) in the world. This extraordinary and very ancient architectural work will be your best welcome to the city.
The temple, which also houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus, was built on what was once a Muslim mosque, of which survive elements such as some doors, a courtyard and its unique landmark: the minaret or "La Giralda."
To learn more about the Arab and Christian history behind these architectural works, I recommend a guided tour from 30 euros, which will take you inside the cathedral to the top of the beautiful Giralda. From there, you will have one of the best views of the city!
2. Take refuge in the Santa Cruz neighborhood
In the same sector, in front of the Cathedral, is the famous Barrio de Santa Cruz. This charming neighborhood, with houses immersed among alleys, hideaways and orange trees, reflects the Jewish imprint of the city.
Walking aimlessly through these narrow, quiet streets, guided by whatever catches your eye, is perhaps one of the most interesting ways to discover and get caught up in this neighborhood despite its atrocious history. The narrow and shady streets, with the door of some patio ajar, is a huge advantage to tour the neighborhood this season without sweating excessively, even if you do it in the daytime.
But, references are always necessary. Here are the stops you can not miss in the Barrio de Santa Cruz:
- Plaza del Triunfo. Surrounded by the most emblematic buildings such as the Cathedral of Seville, the Archivo General de Indias and the Reales Alcazares, this square simply cannot be missed.
- Patio de Banderas. This place was the old parade ground of the Alcazar and the old door to access it had flags drawn on it. Today, it is a curious square full of orange trees and surrounded by houses where people like the writer Fernán Caballero and the painter Joaquín Domínguez Bécquer lived
- Plaza de Santa Cruz. Here converge the main streets of the Jewish quarter of Seville. This square is home to the most famous cross in Seville: the Cruz de la Sierpes
- Calle Verde. Its real name is San Bartolomé but, because of the abundant vegetation and freshness it provides during the warm Sevillian afternoons, it has earned this name.
- Church of Santa María la Blanca. With a simple architecture, this small church is one of the most amazing, as it has notorious elements of the three great historical influences of the city: Arab, Jewish and Christian.
3. How about a dip in the attractions of Isla Magica?
Seville has no beach but it has a fabulous water park called Isla Magica, where you can enjoy with the family of multiple attractions, including an aquatic area with wave pool, slides and sand simulating a real beach.
You have many options to visit Seville with children, but this is definitely a great plan. Because Isla Magica, located in the Isla de la Cartuja, very central and well connected by public transport, also offers shows, games, stores and has restaurants inside.
For about 25 or 30 euros, you can enjoy a full day of fun and above all, cool off and enjoy an oasis in the middle of the heat of Seville. Of course, I recommend that you get your tickets online here because the price at the box office is much higher.
Visit the Aquarium of Seville
Another recommendation to escape the Sevillian heat is to go to the Aquarium of Seville. Located very close to the center, next to the Garden of Delights and on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, it is a space with more than 7000 animals with numerous water tanks where you can discover sharks, sea turtles and many other species.
4. Walk through the ancient spaces of La Casa de Pilatos
Perfect to take shelter from the high Sevillian temperatures is the Casa de Pilatos, a unique place to experience first-hand the history of the Andalusian capital.
During the Renaissance, the city of Seville was adorned with splendid architecture. It was a time when wealthy families built residences, inspired by...yes, the Reales Alcazares.
A ground floor with a main courtyard and several halls around it, and an upper floor where all the rooms would be, was the basic design of these houses, which alluded to the Mudejar Palace.
The Casa Pilatos is an excellent example of these designs. It clearly incorporated Mudejar plasterwork , along with elements of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and sculpture. A setting worthy of being seen live and even in the movies ("Kingdom of Heaven" by Ridley Scott).
La Casa Pilatos is located in the Plaza de Pilatos, near Calle Águilas and the Jewish Quarter. The entrance fee is around 10 euros.
5. Attend a very Sevillian festival: the Velá de Santa Ana
If there is a popular Sevillian festival par excellence is the Velá de Santa Ana. It is celebrated at the end of July in the famous neighborhood of Triana. A must if you are visiting the city on those dates.
About its origin, we must go back to the middle of the thirteenth century. It is said that when King Alfonso X was cured of an eye disease after being touched by the hand of the Virgin of Santa Ana, in gratitude, the king ordered to build a temple: the Temple of Santa Ana.
Like many festivities, this origin and religious motif, over time was added the more festive tone with music, dance and food, which can not miss. Flamenco dancing, painting exhibitions, concerts, theater cycles, good gastronomy and even cucaña competitions in front of the river, is some of what you will find in these long summer nights.
Betis Street, on the banks of the Guadalquivir River is the star venue.
6. Book a dinner at the summer terraces
During the summer season, one of the most "practiced" and enjoyed activities in Seville is dining on the summer terraces.
For tapas, the Santa Cruz neighborhood. This is the best place to take shelter from the heat and enjoy these dishes and refreshing drinks in a very Sevillian atmosphere in every way. I show you here what to see and do in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz.
The area of the Plaza de El Salvador is not far behind either, the bars here are very popular among young people mainly, keeping alive the old Alfalfa neighborhood.
If you feel like tasting these dishes and do not know which bar to start with, I recommend you to take a gastronomic tapas tour. With a price starting at 65 euros, you will have the opportunity to visit different bars and try several options from their menu. A tour of between three and four hours to spend in the company of a small group with the same interest: enjoy the food and have a good time.
7. Escape to an excursion full of nature: Doñana National Park
A great activity to do in this hot season is to escape for a day at the beach. Doñana National Park is a convenient option, as it is a short distance away, the climate is milder and, best of all, you can discover one of the most famous natural areas for bird watching in this part of the continent.
The park maintains a very diverse mosaic of ecosystems that serve as home to unique species. And as I said, it has great importance as a passage, breeding and wintering place for thousands of species of birds from the European and African continent.
During the last weeks of summer it is more possible to see birds. But, if you go at other times, don't worry, getting to know this arrangement of landscapes and swimming in its beaches is still a very worthwhile experience.
There are some tours from Seville to the park that I recommend. The price starts at 72 euros, they last all day and the transportation is aboard 4x4 vehicles. In addition to the park, you will visit other places on the way, such as the Ermita de El Rocio and Matalascañas beach.
8. Enjoy the nightly open-air music shows
In these months, the night is the scene of music shows in different parts of the city.
A must, are the gardens of the Alcazar. Here, concerts have been held daily for decades and full houses have become customary. Performances of early music, classical and obviously flamenco, are some of the shows. You can see the program at the following link. The Patio de la Monteria, is another venue on the Alcazar grounds where outdoor concerts are occasionally presented.
Outside the palace, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo is also very popular for concerts on summer evenings.
9. Take a cruise on the Guadalquivir
Seville and the Guadalquivir have a lot of history. It is the best gift the city could have from the beginning, it placed it in the world as a commercial center with America, route of conquistadors, source of fishing and water, recreation and, today, as a very important tourist navigation space.
Discovering Seville by boat will give you a different perspective of the city. There are daily tours starting at 19 euros that will take you through the waters of this river. If you do it in summer, you will have the advantage of calm waters, but I recommend that you do it better at night. The heat will be less and the lights of the city will adorn the scene.
10. Take a stroll through the Triana Market
It is said that one of the best ways to get to know and soak up the culture of a place is to visit one of its markets and, in Seville, the opportunity to do so is the Triana Market. In addition, it is another good option to hide from the summer rays.
The most interesting thing about this market is that it is a functional museum at the same time, since under its foundations are the remains of an Almohad cemetery, as well as those of the Castillo de San Jorge, the seat of the old court of the Inquisition.
The passage of time and the floods of the Guadalquivir River, led it to abandonment for a long time, until a Plaza de Abastos was installed, very conveniently located in this strategic point of the river.
Here you will find the typical of a market: fruits and vegetables, meat, cheese and sausages ... but also a cultural space with a theater, remains of historic buildings around and a walk with art exhibitions on the river bank. Are you up for it?
Weather in Seville during the summer
As I have been telling you, the summer in Seville is very hot, being among the first Spanish cities where the thermometer points higher. The hottest month of the year in this city is July, when the average maximum temperature is around 35°C (although it can exceed 40°C).
Fortunately, the summer "feels" short, there are few days with notorious maximum temperatures, but you should still be prepared to drink plenty of fluids, wear light clothes and light colors, use sunscreen and, as I said, adjust the activities you have in your visit plan so that direct sun exposure is reduced to a minimum.
Tourist influx in Seville in summer
Precisely this "caló" is what prevents many visitors (and even locals) from not being present in its streets during the day. The heat had to have an advantage (don't you think?).
That's why in summer the city, although not completely empty of tourists, does have less people in general in its streets. The locals take advantage of the vacations to escape the heat and flock to the nearby beaches.
As for prices, these do not vary too much with respect to the rest of the year.
What to take in your suitcase to Seville in summer
Of course, the most comfortable for traveling to Seville in summer is light clothing, shorts, T-shirts and sneakers to walk the cobbled streets of the historic center.
It rarely gets cooler at night, but just in case, pack a shirt or long sleeve top in case the humidity of the river brings a breeze at night. On the banks of the Guadalquivir River you can sunbathe with your swimsuit, so it is a good idea to pack some in your suitcase. Along with your sunscreen, of course, the sun presses and ultraviolet rays are powerful in the summer months.