Seville (pronounced se-vee-ya in Spanish) is the capital of the Spanish region Andalusia—and its largest city. Nestled right along the Guadalquivir River, it’s the birthplace of flamenco, a setting for all kinds of famous movies—and the city that created tapas.
It also happens to be one of Spain’s most expensive cities. But no need to fret! Our Go Ahead staffers have researched the best things to do in Seville on a budget. So, without further ado, here are some of the top free Seville attractions to visit during your free time on any of our tours of Spain.
Visit the Giralda bell tower at the Catedral de Sevilla
Designed to inspire worshippers in the 15th century, the Catedral de Sevilla (Seville Cathedral) is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. It might even be one of the best places to visit in Seville. It’s home to a gigantic gold carved alter, Columbus’ tomb, and the Giralda bell tower—one of the most popular Seville attractions and a notable part of the city’s skyline. Entry is free on Mondays between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., but you need to book tickets online in advance. Be sure to book early because they go fast!
Check out the tiled alcoves at Plaza de España
If you’re looking for trip ideas for Seville, visiting this magnificent square is a must. Standing inside, you’ll see a fountain, moat, and four arched bridges surrounded by a massive, curved, Andalusian-style building. Beautiful tiled alcoves around the plaza depict each of Spain’s provinces, making for great selfie backdrops. The “shelves” in the alcoves have recently turned into a kind of “Little Free Library,” too, with books about each province and even some novels travelers drop off for others to enjoy. It’s completely free, and by far one of the most authentic and immersive Seville attractions.
Fun fact: This site is also on every movie lover’s guide to Seville because it’s been featured in Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and The Dictator.
Wander the alleys in the Santa Cruz district
No guide to Seville’s free attractions would be complete without mentioning this stunning city district. Wandering along the tiny streets past lime-washed houses and winding alleys is like walking back in time. It even provides some much-needed shade on sunny summer days!
Admire artwork throughout Triana
Visiting this neighborhood is on our list of Seville travel tips because Triana is lesser-known to tourists, but seeing it is one of the top things to do in Seville, Spain, for anyone who’s into art. It’s one of only a few neighborhoods found on the east side of the river, and is full of color, personality, pottery, tile-making, and music. It’s completely free to explore, and worth every unspent penny.
Dive into the history at the Spanish Inquisition Museum
While you’re in the Triana neighborhood, be sure to visit the Free Museo Del Castillo San Jose. This medieval fortress was used as a headquarters and a prison during the Spanish Inquisition. Inside the museum, you can walk through the ruins as you learn about Spain’s dark past.
Tip: The museum is very easy to miss. The actual fortress was demolished and replaced with a supermarket, and the museum is actually inside the underground ruins. The entrance is on the right-hand side of the market.
See some of the greats at the Museum of Fine Art
The Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Art) has the second-most remarkable collection of fine art in all of Spain. It’s home to paintings from artists like Murillo, Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco, along with some lovely local Andalusian paintings from the 19th century. And just as impressively, it offers free admission Tuesdays through Fridays between 12:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., as well as on weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
See some parakeets at the Maria Luisa Park
This is one of the best things to do in Seville, Spain, on a budget because it’s exciting and unique. It’s less of a park, and more of a magical botanical garden full of ponds, fountains, lush palm forests, orange trees, and so many different flowers. There are even parakeets living inside! This park was initially created for the Ibero-American World Fair in 1929. Today, it’s home to the famous Metropol Parasol, a mushroom-like geometric sculpture and the world’s largest wooden structure. The tree canopies provide refreshing shade on hot days, too.
Get lost in hedge mazes at the Courtyard at the Royal Alcázar
Initially a Moorish fortress, the Real Alcázar (Royal Palace) was re-developed by King Pedro of Castille in the 14th century and turned into a palace. While you have to pay 14.5 euro to enter the well-preserved palace, seeing its famous courtyard is one of the top things to do in Seville, Spain—and it’s completely free. We could spend forever staring up at the arched entryways and walking among the palm trees and hedge mazes.
Fun fact: This is the oldest royal palace in Europe that is still in use today.
Shop at the El Jueves flea market
Every Thursday morning on Calle Feria, more than 120 stalls appear, piled high with all sorts of fun items, from books and magazines, to artwork, to old military uniforms and flamenco dresses. If you’re looking for a unique souvenir to bring home from your guided tour of Spain, this is the perfect spot.
See Mudéjar relics up close at the Palacio de los Marqueses de la Algaba
This 15th century palace behind the Calle Feria market is a small museum where you can learn more about the unique style of architecture and take a close look at all kinds of Mudéjar relics on display for free. It’s open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. from June to October.
Last but not least, visit local bars for free flamenco shows
Flamenco is a UNESCO-declared gypsy art based on traditional folkloric music that’s said to have begun right in Seville. Seeing a performance is on every guide to Seville, but these shows can get pretty expensive. One of the most secretive Seville travel tips, however, is that certain local bars and restaurants have performances there while you eat! So, as you research what to eat in Seville or where to go out at night, check out these places with free flamenco:
- T de Triana: free shows on Tuesday and Thursday nights around 10:30 p.m.
- La Carbonería: free shows every night at 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m.
- La Anselma: free shows nearly every night around 11:30 p.m.
- Gallo Rojo: times vary, but there’s always a cultural event going on here
Tip: La Carbonería gets very busy because it’s the best-known place for free flamenco, so get there early if that’s your pick. No matter where you go, you will likely be expected to purchase a drink or snack, so plan your meals or nighttime activities accordingly!