By Briana Seftel
The capital of the Andalusia region, Seville is one of Spain's most alluring destinations. With intriguing history and culture at every corner, it's hard to not to be impressed by this city. Go easy on your wallet and discover these free things to do!
1. Seville Cathedral
The largest Gothic building in Europe, Seville Cathedral is hard to miss. Completed in 1506, the cathedral is astounding in its breadth. On your visit, don't miss the monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus and the Capilla Mayor with its mesmerizing gold altarpiece. Entrance to the cathedral is free on Mondays from 4:30 pm to 6 pm.
2. La Giralda Tower
Before Seville Cathedral, there was a mosque. The only remaining part of the 12th-century mosque is La Giralda Tower, which was the mosque's minaret. Climb up a series of ramps to the top, offering outstanding views of the city. Like the cathedral, visiting the tower is free on Mondays from 4:30 pm to 6 pm.
3. Metropol Parasol
Take a break from centuries-old architecture with a visit to this modern gem. Opened in 2011, it is known locally as las setas (the mushrooms) because of its mushroom-like pillars. Snap plenty of photos of this striking sunshade, said to be the world's largest wooden structure.
4. Archivo de Indias
Next to Seville Cathedral is the Archivo de Indias, a 16th-century building housing 80 million pages of documents and maps about the West Indies. Visit the permanent collection and temporary exhibits and discover Spain's long history with colonizing the New World.
5. Plaza de España
Built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, Plaza de España is the bustling heart of Seville and easily one of the most recognizable sights in Spain. The ornate semicircular building curves around a large plaza, along with several canals and fountains. Lining the plaza are brightly painted murals, each representing a province in Spain.
6. Maria Luisa Park
The primary site of the Ibero-American Exposition, Maria Luisa Park is a lovely oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of Seville. Whether you choose to explore the park on foot, by bike or sitting comfortably on a horse-drawn carriage, you'll find the palms, orange trees and calming fountains a delight.
7. Barrio Santa Cruz
The colorful Santa Cruz neighborhood is one of Seville's most-visited areas. Home to top attractions like the cathedral and Alcazar, Santa Cruz also has plenty of narrow lanes that are perfect for wandering through. In-the-know travelers will want to head to Calle Agua and Plaza Alfaro, where a romantic building is said to have inspired the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.
No visit to Seville is complete without seeing a flamenco show. This passionate dance was originated here and is a nightly occurrence at various bars and restaurants. If you're lucky, you might even catch a performance on the Plaza de España or on the street. Just listen for the sounds of Spanish guitar and castanets!
9. Torre del Oro
Named the “gold tower” because it was originally covered in golden tiles, this landmark forms part of the city walls bordering the Guadalquivir river. Dating back to 1220, the tower houses the Naval Museum, where visitors can learn about Seville's naval history. Entrance is free on Mondays.
Across the Guadalquivir river is Triana, the old gypsy quarter of Seville. Cross the Isabel II bridge and discover hidden gems like Plaza Altozano, Triana Market and Calle Castilla, home to several pretty churches and the ceramic workshops. If you're looking to see an authentic flamenco, this neighborhood is a great place to find one.
11. Bullfighting Museum
Built in 1761, the Real Maestranza bullring is one of the most iconic buildings in Seville and the oldest bullring in Spain. While you'll need to purchase a ticket to see a real bullfight, you can visit the museum for free on Mondays from 3 pm to 7 pm. Learn about the city's love affair with bullfighting through costumes, photographs and paintings.
12. Castillo de San Jorge
One of the highlights in Triana is the medieval Castillo de San Jorge, the seat of the notorious Spanish Inquisition that took place from 1481 to 1785. Today, the remains of the castle are home to the Museum of Tolerance, which details life during the Inquisition and imprisonment in the castle.