As the capital of Andalucia, Sevilla has enjoyed a colorful history stretching back over 2,500 years. Whether strolling around the gardens of Casa de Pilatos or looking up in awe at Alcazar, it isn’t hard to believe.
Casa de Pilatos
Located in the ancient Jewish quarter, the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the Casa de Pilatos is one of Sevilla’s most often visited sites. This 16th-century mansion contains royal carriages, Greek and Roman statues, and paintings by Goya. The home is filled with antique furniture and decorated with vases that would be notable even in the finest museums.
Equally stunning are the views of Sevilla from the patios. Standing amid architecture that is an interesting mixture of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance influences, Casa de Pilatos reflects the blend that is Sevilla itself. Stroll around the gardens briefly with the scent of oranges and you’ll never want to leave.
An even more often visited royal residence is Sevilla’s famed Alcazar, a series of palaces that combine elements of the Mudejar, Gothic, Baroque, and many more. Filled with stunning tapestries and equally awe-inspiring carved wooden ceilings, inlaid and featuring gold leaf, it is a highlight of any trip to the Andalucian city. Be sure not to miss the Ceiling Room of Carlos V or Felipe II, done in the Mudejar style.
The exterior is equally impressive, offering peaceful gardens that provide an oasis in this hectic Spanish city. The New Garden section houses a fascinating mixture of English and Moorish styles. The Pool of Mercury is a capstone to any tour that must include the Doña María de Padilla baths.
Like many great cities, Sevilla doesn’t lack buildings that have been public since their beginning. The Catedral de Sevilla is one of the more notable ones on view.
Constructed in the 16th century, it is by no means as old as churches in Europe go. But the style is surpassed by none. With an entrance similar to that of Notre Dame in Paris, it remains a favorite of visitors.
Inside there are over a thousand Biblical scenes around the walls, carved at a time when few churchgoers could read and hence had to learn the stories by seeing images. The High Altar is a masterpiece, gargantuan at 27 meters (88 feet) high and 18 meters (59 feet) wide. Yet the Gothic vault that hovers above is still higher at 37 meters (121 feet).
Not least of the attractions of the cathedral is the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Supported by four figures representing the four former Spanish kingdoms (Castile, Leon, Aragon, and Navarre), it is a highlight of the visit.
Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes
Last, but far from least, one should never leave Sevilla without visiting one of the finest fine arts museums in Europe: the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes de Sevilla.
First opened to the public in 1841, it is housed in a former convent built in the early 17th century, the Convento de la Merced. There are works by the Spanish masters Francisco de Zurbaran and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, along with hundreds of other lesser-known, but equally skilled artists.
The galleries are arranged around three courtyards that alone make the visit worthwhile. Surrounded by art from the 14th through the 18th centuries, visitors in this setting can easily imagine themselves transported back to those eras.
More things to do in Sevilla
Whether strolling around the gardens of Casa de Pilatos or looking up in awe at Alcazar, it isn’t hard to believe. A stroll along the canal will take you to a few of the best wineries in the area. One of the most visited areas of Sevilla is La Cuesta de Sevilla.
La Cuesta de Sevilla is the largest lagoon on the Iberian Peninsula. The lagoon covers an area of 23 miles and is a UNESCO world site. The area contains the beautiful palaces which were built for the rich and famous by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, together with the public buildings, theatres, churches, etc. There is nothing more majestic than admiring these palaces from a boat.
Another must-do while in Iberica is to visit the Gaudi Museum, which houses some of the best examples of Gaudi’s art. The museum also houses the largest collection of his work in Catalonia. It is open all year round.
There are many ways of getting around the city, one of the most preferred is by taking the cable car. Gaudi wanted to build a network of cable cars for the masses, and the first one was built in Sevilla. The cable car rides take you from the courtyard of San Martin del Ris House all the way to the Alcazar. The cable cars then head off to the village of Pedral de Lluc where they head back to Sevilla. This trip takes a total of 90 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to see the beautiful city. The cable car ride also gives you views of the wines of Sevilla.