The first thing that strikes me is the blue sky, blinding in its Southern, brilliant light. Then it’s the soft perfume of orange blossoms teasing my nose and the clattering of cutlery from the tapas bar behind me and its mouth watering appeal. Finally, it’s the heat of the sun on my skin and the holiday bliss is complete: I am in wonderful Seville and my five senses are loving every minute of it.
I have been to Seville a few times and it is one of those places that seems to always call me back. It is a beautiful city with amazing architecture, weather, and food and has the perfect size for a weekend gateway: it is small enough to be visited in a couple of days but so rich of attractions you can go back many times and still discover new corners and restaurants.
Seville is a very family friendly place and there are many reasons why I highly recommend it for a family trip. In this post, I am going to share:
- Seville at a glance: what is the best time to visit Seville as a family
- Top 10 things to so in Seville with kids
- Where to stay: family friendly hotels and apartments in Seville, Spain
- Seville at a glance
- Top 10 things to do in Seville with children: Seville attractions
- Spain for kids: best hotels and apartment in Seville for families
Seville at a glance
Best time to go to Seville. The best time to visit Seville is the spring (March to May ) closely followed by the autumn (September, October), seasons when the weather is sunny and dry but not excessively hot.
Especially with children, the months of July and August should be avoided as the temperature reaches easily over 40 degrees celsius. Winters are mild but they can be rainy and they would make you miss out one of the most pleasant experiences in Seville, which is its gorgeous terraces.
Festivities and what you need to know: if you are lucky enough to go to Seville in spring, do check what dates the city’s famous Feria de Abril is on. La Feria is a fun event where you can admire flamenco costumes and enjoy a truly buzzing atmosphere, but it is also a time when tourists flock to the city and prices sky rocket.
Another important yearly event in Seville is the Semana Santa, the week of festivities around easter: this is an interesting cultural event during which the city streets are filled with processions with beautiful floats carrying religious statues adorned with flowers.
How to get to Seville: Seville has an international airport and an excellent train station served by the AVE, Spain’s high-speed trains. The AVE connects Seville andMadridd and it’s a fantastic option if you are travelling with kids: fast, efficient, clean and with food on board, it is my transport of choice in Spain: tickets can be bought in advance on www.renfe.es
Top 10 things to do in Seville with children: Seville attractions
Visit Seville cathedral
Seville city centre is home to one of the largest (if not the largest) gothic cathedrals in the world: Santa Maria de la Sede. Erected between 1401 and 1506, it was built with a specific aim in mind which documents from the time report in the following, remarkable words: ‘Let’s build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are crazy’!
Madness is not what comes to mind when looking at this church, but indeed it is a striking building of indisputable beauty. Its main body is gothic in style but since the cathedral was built over an older mosque, many Moorish elements persist and add to the building fluidity of design and elegance. The most beautiful and remarkable are the ‘patio of oranges’, one of the cathedral main gates and its imposing tower: la Giralda.
What to see in Seville cathedral and what kids will love. Cathedrals can be boring for kids but the one in Seville has at least two elements that are sure to capture the attention of young children: the tomb of Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Colombo or Cristobal Colon as he is known in Spanish) and a crocodile!
1.1 Columbus’ tomb in Seville
‘The’ explorer, the one who sailed the seas with the caravels and ended up in a continent most of Europe had no idea it existed, Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain, but his peregrinations across the oceans didn’t end with his life. History tells us that he was originally buried in Valladolid, which is close to Madrid, but a few years later was moved to Seville by request of his son Diego who is said to be buried there with him. A few decades after this first move, Diego’s wife asked for the two bodies to be moved across the ocean and they received a home in a monastery in Santo Domingo. After the Spaniards had been ousted, however, they moved again to Havana, Cuba. Not satisfied with having toured the Caribbean in life and in death, history tells us that eventually, Columbus moved again to Seville, where DNA test have now confirmed he lies! I guess once an explorer always an explorer…
The tomb is carried by four statues, representing the four kingdoms of Spain at the time conveyed but the symbols carved on each of these gentlemen’ cloaks: Castile (castle), Leon (lion), Navarre (linked chains), Aragon (stripes).
1.2 Seville’s crocodile
Little and not so little kids will love the most unexpected guest of the cathedral, the crocodile that hangs from the ceiling in the Patio of Oranges!
The crocodile, of which I sadly do not have a photo, has a peculiar story, set in the XIII century. At that time Spain was under the government of King Alfonso X who had a beautiful daughter: Berenguela. The Emir of Egypt wished to marry her and sent over to Spain exotic gifts for her, including a large crocodile. Some stories tell us it lived in prosperity in its new home, while others claim it quickly died, away from its environment and in captivity, but what it is sure is that eventually, the crocodile met his fate and, when this happened, his skin was used to cover the crocodile shape wooden sculpture we now see in the church!
Rather than the memory of a beloved pet, the reason for keeping this sculpture seems to have religious reasons: crocodiles were sacred in Egypt and were symbols of prosperity and fertility as well as protectors from evil: in this sense, its presence at the entrance at a gate makes perfect religious sense.
2. The Giralda Tower
The Giralda tower is iconic of the city of Seville and was built at the start of the XI century as the minaret of the then Mosque. Now it operates as the bell tower of Seville cathedral and from its 108 meters offers great views over the city. If you make the trek up the Giralda, you might notice the peculiar shape of the steps: they are wide enough for two muezzins to climb up by horse or donkey.
When I was a child I learn that ‘Cordoba has the Mezquita, Granada the Alhambra and Seville the Alcazar’ and while this is an over simplification of what these cities have to offer, there is no doubt that the Alcazar is one of its most impressive buildings. Located a few minute walk from the cathedral, the Alcazar is a stunning palace notable for its elaborate architecture and beautiful gardens. It was built in 913 to work as a fort the governor of Seville, but it has been modified many times during the course of the years and took the shape we see now largely during the XII century.
It is hard to pinpoint what is the most beautiful element of the Alcazar: maybe the delicate marble carvings that make it look as if made of lace? Or maybe the many fountains or how the indoor and outdoor spaces seem to melt into each other?
What is sure is that for the kids the highlight of a trip to the Alcazar is the garden: while the temptation to pick at the flowers and climbing into fountains will be strong, even restraining from these two activities will give them loads to do. The gardens are big and beautiful, they have many pathways to run on and they host peacocks!
4. Barrio Santa Cruz
Both the cathedral complex and the Alcazar are located in barrio Santa Cruz, probably the most picturesque area of the whole of Seville. An ancient part of the city, it is made of narrow, cobbled streets, hidden gardens and whitewashed houses and it is delightful for a stroll. Tourists flock here but it is still possible to find quiet streets: this is the perfect part of town to let the kids lead the way- getting lost in the maze of alleyways is the best way to experience Seville!
5. Parque Maria Luisa and Plaza de Espana
Parque Maria Luisa is the largest in the city and a great place for kids to run around and get a break from the busy city streets. The Park is in the city centre and close to Placa de Espana, and has a plethora of attractions for little ones including duck ponds and playgrounds with climbing frames and swings. The park has many beautiful buildings and pavilions with fabulous tiles floors, so a stop there will not only make the kids happy but also give the adults the sense of having done some sightseeing!
Plaza de Espana is another majour landmark in Seville and there are at least three reasons I can think of why kids will love it. The first: it is huge (it has the size of 5 football pitches!), it has water and you can rent boats; it appeared in star wars!
The plaza was built as the centrepiece of the Seville Expo 29 and is beautiful for its sheer size, ornate decorations and colourful tiles. It sits inside Maria Luisa Park.
6 Guadalquivir river
Seville is crossed by the wide Guadalquivir river and one of the best ways to enjoy this waterway is either renting a boat of joining a river cruise. If the weather is good, renting a pedal boat is the most fun for kids and it is even possible to get one with a pirate theme! Please note that we haven’t personally taken this cruise (friends recommended it) and we are including this link for information purposes only
I find aquariums always to be a good bet with kids especially if, like this one, they sport tanks wth sharks and a mind-bending 400+ species of aquatic creatures for a total of over 7000 animals! The aquarium is organised so that the visitor follows the itinerary of Magellan in 1519 and recreates 5 natural habitats: Guadalquivir (the river crossing Seville), Atlantic ocean, Amazonian river, Pacífic ocean and Indo-Paci fic ocean. Find more info on their official site here
Sevilla is the home of flamenco and colourful, pint-size flamenco dresses are likely to attract little princesses to the tourists stall like no other thing. Who can resist frills, dots and red shoes? Despite the many tourist variation of flamenco dresses, there is cultural relevance to this dance in Andalucia and it can be interesting an fun for adults and kids to learn ore about it. One option is to visit the Meseum of Flamenco or you can catch both an exhibition and flamenco shot in the Casa de la memoria which also sells reduced tickets to kids aged 6-11
9. Isla Magica
Isla Magica is a pirate theme museum park with loads of water rides, special play area for younger children, restaurants and bars. The park is organised to recreate Seville as it was during its Golden age and in this sense is an interesting site as well as a fun one, but it’s the rollercoasters here that steal the show, so kids who love adrenaline will be in heaven. Because of the many water attractions, Isla Magica is only open April to November.
I travel for food (ok, not only but it definitely plays a big role!) and while my kids can sometimes be fussy about what they like, Andalucian tapas are always met with approval. The selection of food and tapas in Seville in incredible and I must admit I spent my whole first weekend there moving from one place to the next just to taste as many tapas as possible: from jamon, to pork and lamb, meat is exceptionally good here, but if you have a sweet tooth you won’t be disappointed either. In Seville, yo must try Torrijas. They are cubes of bread soaked in beaten egg, deep fried and then covered with maple syrup or honey. They are a little bit like what in America is called French toast and they are likely to date back to the Al Andaluz period, when a Moorish type of brioche covered in honey was popular
Spain for kids: best hotels and apartment in Seville for families
Seville offers a huge array of accommodation options. Here are four addresses for families, chosen on the basis of personal experience and the recommendation of trusted family travellers who shared their best picks with us. Please note: the following are affiliate links and they will redirect you to the accommodation booking engine booking.com
Where to stay in Seville Spain: best Seville apartments for families and kid-friendly hotels
Apartamento Murillo Located in Barrio Santa Cruz and a stone throw aways from Seville cathedral, this apartment is in a perfect location both in terms of ease of access to Seville’s main landmarks and atmosphere. Studios, one and two-bedroom apartments are available, all with kitchen facilities (fridge, microwave, utensils etc).
Apartamento Mariscal Another self-catering option in barrio Santa Cruz, this apartment has the added advantage of having a tour desk. They have one and two-bedroom apartments with kitchen facilities and it is regularly rated as one of the best accommodation options in town on booking.com
NH Sevilla Plaza de Armas Member of the NH chain, this hotel is a great option for families for its handy location, sound proof rooms and rooftop terrace (seasonal). For families that have a good selection of rooms, including twins and triple rooms – one child under 12 stays free of charge when using existing beds; cots and additional beds are available but should be requested in advance
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Have you been to Seville? Is there a special part of the city you’d like to see?
Please note: the inclusion of attractions in this post is unsolicited and unbiased and we received no compensation for it. We included sights and experiences that, in our opinion, will make your family trip to Seville as informative and enjoyable as possible.