(Updated: January 2, 2019.)

Are 2 days in Seville enough? The short answer is “no”. But if 2 days in Seville are all you’ve got, you can definitely see the highlights if you follow the itinerary below.

Plaza next to the Cathedral (2 days in Seville)

Plaza next to the Cathedral

My friend and I had initially given ourselves 3 days, but the first day was spent travelling from Cadiz and then dealing with two unpleasant discoveries.

First, the AirBnB apartment “with WiFi” that we had booked had no WiFi (very bad news for a blogger)! Second, soon after settling into the apartment, I realized that I had left my precious Tilley hat on the train from Cadiz!

I felt too tired and stressed out to venture out into the city that afternoon, so we did laundry and had dinner at a restaurant called Puerto Osario located 50 metres from our front door, which had WiFi. We ended up eating two breakfasts and three dinners there. The place was never full (not even close) but we found the food – mostly tapas – and wine quite good, and the service attentive. It was also quiet, which is rather rare in an Andalusian restaurant.

But I digress. Here then is how to spend 2 days in Seville in the most efficient and fun way possible.

Seville itinerary 2 days

Day 1 – Morning: Go on a guided bike tour

To get a good overview of the city, we joined a 3-hour guided bike tour offered by Sevilla Bike Tour. The air was still a little cool at 10:30 AM when we started, but the sun shone brightly. After handing out €20 each, the staff outfitted us with a bicycle and a helmet, and soon we were on our way.

Spanish Pavillion from the 1992 exhibition on Plaza de España (2 days in Seville)

Spanish Pavilion from the 1992 exhibition on Plaza de España

The tour was fast paced and covered a lot of ground. Our guide provided plenty of historical background peppered with fun anecdotes on Seville and Sevillanos. We pedalled down narrow alleys, across wide plazas, and up and down curbs into the occasional traffic. Every few minutes, we climbed down our bikes to admire statues, peek into churches, and have our photos taken against various vistas.

We started by crossing the bridge into Triana, the working-class area that thinks of itself as a separate city. Back on the other shore, we visited the Plaza de España and adjacent park, and the narrow streets of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood. We rode by the Cathedral and the modern observation platform called Metropol Parasol, which looks like the love child of a giant waffle and an equally gigantic deformed mushroom.

Metropol Parasol (2 days in Seville)

Metropol Parasol

Day 1 – Afternoon: Wander the streets

By the time we had had lunch, it was passing 3:00 PM. Relishing our freedom after a highly structured morning, we wandered around the downtown area (centro) to the east of the river. This included Avenida de la Constitución, Plaza del Salvador, and some pedestrian shopping streets like Sierpes.

The streets of Seville are a tangle of short road segments that change names at almost every intersection. We spent quite a bit of time finding our way around (and getting lost) which often lead to the discovery of new squares and buildings.

Avenida de la Constitución (2 days in Seville)

Avenida de la Constitución

If you’re walking and need to be somewhere by a certain time, give yourself extra time to navigate through the labyrinth that is Seville!

Also keep in mind that lunch time in Andalusia ends at 4:00 PM and it’s almost impossible to find any food between 4:00 and 8:00 PM, when the restaurants reopen for dinner. Keep some snacks with you to refuel.

We had a quiet dinner at Puerto Osario that night and went to bed early because we were exhausted, and well, we’re not so young anymore. If you’re into nightlife though, Seville has plenty of places to party.

Day 2 – Morning : Visit the Alcázar

Some guidebooks recommend not visiting the Alcázar and Cathedral on the same day, as there is “way too much to take in”. However that is exactly what we did. It is perfectly feasible, although with a few breaks thrown it, it will use up the whole day.

Alcazar's Patio de las Doncellas (2 days in Seville)

Alcazar’s Patio de las Doncellas

The doors of the Alcázar open at 9:30 AM, but you should arrive earlier, as early as 9:00 AM when a line-up already starts to form at the door. Only a certain number of people are allowed inside at a given time, and you may wait in the line a very long time otherwise. Alternatively, reserve your Alcázar of Seville tickets online and skip the queue. The cost is €9.50  (or €10.50  if reserved online) and includes the Gardens. Unfortunately the Gardens were closed when we visited because “Game of Thrones” was filming!

We took our time and spent about two and a half hours at the Alcázar, the 11th century old Moorish palace that hosted both Muslim and Catholic kings. Most of the architecture is Arabic, with crenelated arches, pools, painted tiles, intricately carved plasterwork covering the walls, and equally stunning ceilings.

Alcazar - arch detail (2 days in Seville)

Alcazar – arch detail

Day 2 – Afternoon : Visit the Cathedral and Giralda

We took a short break and ordered a drink and a couple of tapas to re-energize ourselves at a nearby tapa bar. We didn’t expect much from the food in such a touristed area, and that’s pretty much what we got.

The second part of the day was dedicated to the Cathedral and the Giralda, a 104 metre high decorative brick tower. Here is a good tip: instead of lining up in the hot sun to buy your ticket inside the Cathedral, walk five minutes to the pink Church of the Savior on Plaza del Salvador and buy the ticket there. It’s the same €8 combined ticket you would get at the Cathedral, letting you visit this smaller church as well.

Cathedral and Giralda (2 days in Seville)

Cathedral and Giralda

The Cathedral is an immense space with very high vaulted ceilings. It is officially the biggest cathedral in the world (by volume) – yes, bigger than Saint Peter’s in Rome (or so the guidebook says). The mausoleum of Christopher Columbus is here, as well as many paintings, carvings, and a big silver altar. An intimate church it is not.

The Giralda used to be the minaret attached to the mosque that occupied the site of the Cathedral when Seville belonged to the Moors. The ascent is on a series of ramps rather than steps (so horses could ride up) and provides sweeping views of the city from the top.

Also included in the ticket is the adjacent garden, planted with 66 orange trees, that provides different views of the cathedral’s exterior walls.

Orange tree garden (2 days in Seville)

Orange tree garden

Day 2 – Evening: See a flamenco show

On our last night, we attended a Flamenco show. Flamenco was born in this area of Andalucia, so it made sense to experience it here. We chose a performance of duende flamenco at Casa de la Memoria. The duende is supposed to be the oldest and most authentic style of flamenco. The show was only an hour long and featured a guitarist and singer who opened the show as a duet, followed by a male dancer, a guitar solo, and then a female dancer.

Flamenco at Casa del la Memoria (2 days in Seville)

Lining up for the flamenco show at Casa de la Memoria

I read that the dancers lead the guitarist and not the other way around. The singer was crying his heart out as if his lover had betrayed him and then launched a deadly plague upon humanity. Yes, it was this heart-wrenching!

When the male dancer entered, I uttered a silent “OMG!”. Tall, slim, with curly dark hair and a square jaw, he wore red pants, boots, and vest over a dark shirt. After coming on stage, he stared at the wall behind us with total murderous intensity. He then erupted into a series of quick staccato steps, and sharp arm movements, occasionally snapping his fingers. Imagine the lower body of a tap dancer and the upper body of a toreador merged into one! It was mesmerizing, but painfully loud when his heels hit the floor.

The woman dancer moved more gracefully but with just as much energy. Flamenco originated as the spontaneous entertainment of gypsy servants in the back rooms, during their masters’ parties. So it’s no surprise that it looks like the dancers are letting out steam.

Photos were only permitted at the end, when both the male and female dancers performed together for a few minutes.

Flamenco performers (2 days in Seville)

Flamenco performers. (He’s changed his clothes!)

(Another popular show is Tablao Flamenco Los Gallos, which allows you to buy your tickets online in advance. It takes place in a more spacious room and lasts an hour and a half.)

And there you have it. A busy itinerary covering the highlights of Seville in two days. There is a lot more to the city than what we had time to do.

What are other things to do in Seville?

With more time, we could have gone back to the areas we passed through really quickly on our bike tour, such as Plaza de España, the Maria Luisa Park the neighbourhood of Triana, and the riverside promenade.

We could also have checked out a few museums: the Archeological Museum, the Museum of Arts and Traditions, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

We could easily have spent four days here and not run out of things to do. Relaxing on the terrace of a café with a glass of tinto de verano and some tapas could easily fill out entire afternoons.

Outdoor seating on one of the many squares (2 days in Seville)

Outdoor seating on one of the many squares

Next destination: Granada here we come!

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