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A Cadiz port of call is often a highlight for travelers on Mediterranean cruises sailing along the southern coast of Spain. From Cadiz, cruisers can easily make their way to Seville, the 4th largest city in Spain and capital of Spain’s Andalusia region.
Seville has a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million people and inhabitants of the city are often called Sevillanos or Hispalenses after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. A major geographic aspect that defines Seville is its location on the plain of the Guadalquivir River.
Seville’s beautifully designed Old Town contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it a favorite for cruisers visiting Seville from the port of Cadiz, Spain. The UNESCO sites include the Alcázar palace complex, the Seville Cathedral, and the General Archive of the Indies. Its architecture marvels expand to baroque churches, Mudéjar palaces, gothic cathedrals, aristocratic mansions, and medieval buildings. The array of design makes it an enchanting city to walk around, giving travelers the perfect opportunity to explore its past as a Moorish capital and New World trade city.
This gorgeous square is one of the most popular sights to see in Seville, due to its Renaissance and neo-Moorish towers situated at both ends of the Plaza and its brick and tile fountains, canals, and foot bridges within the plaza. Plaza de España was originally designed for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929, and today it’s a popular place for a relaxing stroll.
Much of what you can see in the south of Spain has been shaped by the Moorish and Catholic influence in the region of centuries past. This is especially the case at the Alcazar of Seville. While visiting Seville, don’t miss seeing the Patio de las Doncellas and the mudéjar plasterwork.
Near the Alcázar is the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), a dodecagonal military watchtower that has become an iconic landmark. The tower was built in the 13th century to watch over Guadalquivir River and help defend the city from attacks.
If you’re interested in seeing a former building that housed Seville’s tobacco industry in the 18th century, look no further than the Real Fábrica de Tabacos, also referred to as the Royal Tobacco Factory. It is one of the largest buildings in Spain and today operates as a university building.
Thanks to its Gothic architecture, the Seville Cathedral is an impressive sight to behold. Considered one of the top things to see when taking a cruise to Seville, the cathedral is famous for its massive gold altar that depicts 36 scenes from the life of Christ. Within the Seville Cathedral, you can see the tomb of Christopher Columbus, works by Goya and Murillo, and the Giralda Tower.
While exploring the Seville Cathedral, visitors have the opportunity to see one of Seville’s highlights, the Giralda Tower. This 322-foot bell tower offers stunning views of the city and a glimpse of the many cultures of Seville’s past, as this is what remains from the mosque that once stood here.
Seville's bullring—or the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza de Cabellería de Sevilla—is located in a yellow and white 18th century baroque building, rich with history. The Seville bullring is the oldest in Spain. It is also where the traditions of bullfighting evolved, moving the matador from horseback to foot and changing up some of its theatrical traditions.
Learn about the ancient history of Andalusia all the way back to when it was inhabited by the Romans at this interesting museum, whose official name is Museo de la Necropolis Romana.
Seville is one of the hottest cities in Europe and temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months. People who live in Seville know to get out of the heat and escape indoors somewhere cooler during the hottest time of day, but you might not have the luxury of taking it easy in air conditioning if you’re trying to explore the city. In that case, head to a beach. Some popular beaches close to Seville are: Matalascañas and Punta Umbría in Huelva, and La Fontanilla, Cala de Aceite, Caños de Meca, and Bolonia in Cadiz.
You can’t miss trying the cuisine during a cruise to Seville, and you can easily find somewhere that fits your budget and aesthetic as the city is home to a multitude of bars, cafes, restaurants, and markets than range from traditional to trendy. If you are visiting Seville in August, keep in mind that some restaurants close for part of August.
Some suggestions for places to eat in Seville are Bar-Restaurante Eslava, La Brunilda, conTenedor, Mamarracha, Manu Jara Dulcería, and La Azotea.
Cafes and bars are a fundamental part of life in Seville. If you’ll be in Seville into the evening hours, head to one of the popular nightlife areas of Calle Betis, Plaza de Salvador, Barrio de Santa Cruz, and the Alameda de Hércules, the latter of which is home to the city's gay nightlife. When visiting in summer, it’s also fun to visit one of the many terrazas de verano (open-air bars) that pop up on the banks of the river.
Seville first made a prominent name for itself in the late 11th century when it was under the rule of the Abbadid dynasty followed by the Almohads dynasty. It became a thriving cultural center under these rulers and the city was built up with structures that included a great mosque where the cathedral now stands.
After the city was conquered by King Fernando III of Castile in 1248, Seville floundered for a couple centuries until 1503 when it became the center for Spanish trade with the newly discovered American continent. Seville quickly turned into one of the world’s richest cities. The prosperity was not to last due to disease and increased difficulty navigating the Río Guadalquivir. It once again went into decline until the mid-1800s when the city began to be built up again.
Today, Seville is once again a cultural center that attracts visitors who marvel at its architecture and history as well as the art and dance culture that can be found within its buildings and streets.
When visiting Seville on a cruise, you won’t actually dock right in the city of Seville. Instead, your ship will pull into port in the city of Cadiz, which is located about 80 miles south of Seville. Cruises to Cadiz, Spain, have many shore excursions offered for Seville. There are also buses that are available to take passengers into the heart of Seville.
Seville’s bus system runs from early morning until late at night. Maps are readily available in the tourist office or online and the several lines that are in operation around the city make it easy to find a route that works best for you.
If traveling between Plaza Nueva and the Prado de San Sebastian bus station, Seville’s tramline can be a good transportation option. It operates similar to the bus system in terms of tickets and timetables.
Though not as extensive as the bus system, Seville also has a metro system that operates on three lines around the city and can be a fast mode for getting around.
For a scenic way to explore Seville, take a boat ride up and down the Guadalquivir River.
When looking for a taxi in Seville, keep your eyes peeled for a white car with a yellow stripe and Seville’s city crest emblazoned on it. You’ll also want to make sure the taxi has a green light before you hail it down as that means the driver is available for hire. For an easy way to get a taxi, simply line up at one of the taxi stations located around the city center.
Many of Seville’s top sites are within walking distance of each other. Before you figure out the bus or metro system, check a map and make sure it’s not just as fast to take a scenic amble to the next site.
If you love to shop, you can’t miss Seville’s main shopping district on Calle Cierpes near Plaza Nueva. Another shopping district is Soho Benitas near Calle Pérez Galdós and Calle Regina, which often has more of an eclectic range of fashion and goods. Some other shop options to stop in for souvenirs to remember your cruise to Seville by are Tarico, Cerámica Santa Ana, Libelula Shop, and Padilla Crespo.
People on cruises to Cadiz, Spain, should have euros on hand since that is the currency accepted in Seville and all of Spain. ATMs in Seville are located all over the city. In addition to cash, credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops.
Many credit and debit cards can be used for withdrawing money from ATMS, called cajeros automáticos in Seville. There's usually a withdrawal charge of around 1.5% to 2%. Check with your bank or credit card provider before departing on your vacation to learn more about what fees you’ll be charged when taking out money overseas.
Most banks and building societies will exchange major foreign currencies and typically offer the best rates, though do your research beforehand of what the going rate is. Take your passport with you if you need to exchange cash.
Credit & Debit Cards
Credit cards are accepted at most places. If in doubt, ask before you shop or eat if you need to use a credit or debit card. You may be asked for a form of identification or to put in your pin number if applicable, so have those handy if needed. In Seville, keep in mind that American Express cards are much less widely accepted than Visa and MasterCard.
A service charge is often included in the bill at restaurants, but most people leave a bit extra, of which 5% is usually plenty. For taxi service, tipping isn't necessary, but a little rounding up is appreciated.