One destination that truly surprised me during my travels is undoubtedly the Andalucian city of Sevilla. With its charming squares, picturesque neighbourhoods and impressive historic architecture, Sevilla, or Seville, is one of those cities that will sweep you off your feet within moments. I strolled around in a constant state of awe, and when I parked myself at one of the many tapas bars to feast on delicious tapas and vino (and people-watching), I was instantly drawn by the city’s magnetic vibe. I’d heard a lot about Sevilla’s beauty but seeing it for real just blew me away!

sevilla historic architecture
Plaza de España is a fine example of the Renaissance Revival style.

A (very) brief history of Sevilla

Sevilla was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis in the 8th century A.D. on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. The city was later ruled by the Moors for more than 800 years, signs of which are more than evident till today.

The city became an important trading centre after the discovery of the Americas (Christopher Columbus left for his maiden voyage to the Americas in 1492 from a nearby port whilst Ferdinand Magellan began his voyage to circumnavigate the globe from Sevilla in 1519), ushering in Sevilla’s Golden Age, a period of immense wealth and the city blossomed as a cultural centre. During this period under the Castilians, the city developed rapidly. Many magnificent buildings were constructed, much of it in the Mudéjar (a blend of Moorish/Arabian and Gothic influences) and Gothic styles, such as the Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcázar (Alcázar Palace). More architectural wonders, such as the impressive Plaza de España, were constructed in the 1920’s when the city hosted the Ibero-American Exposition.

The historic architecture of Sevilla

These days, the architecture of Sevilla is a string of historic gems, with styles ranging from Gothic to Baroque, Renaissance and Mudejár. I spent three days (which, by the way, is way too short to truly appreciate this city) strolling around and admiring the many historic monuments. Here’s what I found:

sevilla architecture
My first Sevilla experience was an evening stroll down the grand Avenida Constitucion. The avenue is home to the Sevilla Cathedral as well as this row of gorgeous buildings built in the 1920’s.

Sevilla Cathedral

The Sevilla Cathedral or Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See was built in the 15th century on the site of an ancient mosque. The mosque’s minaret, La Giralda, was kept and converted into a bell-tower. Upon its completion in the early-16th century, it was the largest cathedral in the world, surpassing Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Istanbul). It still holds the title of being the largest Gothic church.

Sevilla Cathedral and La Giralda tower
La Giralda is arguably the city’s most iconic historical monument.
It’s an easy climb to the top of la Giralda and this panoramic view awaits you!
The Sevilla Cathedral is the world’s third-largest church, and the world’s largest cathedral. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Sevilla Cathedral is also home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
Inside the cathedral, look up and be awed!

Enjoy a skip-the-line guided tour of the Sevilla Cathedral and Giralda Tower.

The Sevilla Cathedral is the largest Gothic church in the world


Real Alcázar

The Alcázar Palace is a true architectural gem. With its elaborate Mudejár style, it truly is a sight to behold. The palace was built in the 10th century on the site of an Islamic citadel, and expanded in the 11th and 12th centuries. When the Castilians conquered the city in 1248, they gradually rebuilt parts of the palace complex in the Mudejár style. Numerous scenes from the popular Game of Thrones tv-series were shot here.

Courtyard of the Maidens inside the palace.
The arches and tilework inside the Alcazar palace in Seville.

Book a guided tour (including priority entry) of Real Alcazar or a 3-hour skip-the-line guided tour of the Cathedral, Giralda Tower and Real Alcazar.


Iglesia Del Salvador

Another architectural gem is the Del Salvador Church in the Baroque style.
The interior of the Del Salvador church.

Iglesia de San Ildefonso

sevilla neo-classical church
The Ildefonso church is a striking Neo-Classical example.

Read about things to do in Sevilla.

Casa Pilatos

A visit to one of Sevilla’s historic noble homes, such as the Casa Pilatos, is a must. The Casa Pilatos is a mix of Renaissance and Mudejár styles.

noble homes sevilla architecture
Casa Pilatos

Teatro Lope de Vega

The Teatro Lope de Vega is a Baroque-style theatre in the historic centre’s southern edge.

Hotel Alfonso XIII

Hotel Alfonso XIII was built to house the visiting dignitaries during the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929. With its Mudejár-style arches, columns and tile-work, the hotel is an incredible sight and a must-visit, even if you’re not staying there.

The glorious entrance to Hotel Alfonso XIII.

Read about my stay at Hotel Alfonso XIII. Check rates for Hotel Alfonso XIII.

Plaza de España

The Plaza España is arguably one of the most beautiful city squares I’ve ever visited!
Bridges connect the square with the main buildings. Several scenes from the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, were filmed at Plaza de España.
The Plaza de España now houses government offices and the Seville City Hall.

…and something more contemporary: Las Setas

Las Setas (or the mushrooms) are wooden oyster-mushroom-like structures completed in 2011. The city planned to build an underground parking at this site but during the construction, builders stumbled upon ancient Roman ruins. Construction was halted for some years before a competition was held to decide an alternative purpose for the site. Jürgen Mayer, a German architect won the competition with his mushroom design and the complex was completed in 2011.

top attractions in seville
Las Setas
sevilla modern architecture
The rooftop of Las Setas has a walkway that offers beautiful views of Sevilla.

These are just a few of the many architectural gems in Sevilla. I spent three days there and wished I could’ve stayed longer to discover more of the architecture of Sevilla. I’ll be returning soon for sure!

Note: this post is part of the #BookingEpic campaign, a collaboration between iambassador and Booking.com to initiate discussions on and highlight exceptional accommodations. The views expressed above, including the chosen hotel, are mine and mine only.

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