Are you looking for ways to get off the beaten path in Seville? Let me share the secrets I learned from years of living in this fascinating Andalusian city with this collection of hidden gems in Seville.
Finding Hidden Gems in Seville
When I lived there, friends often asked about the best things to do in Seville. I would answer with the classic parts of any Seville itinerary: La Giralda, the Real Alcázar, the Plaza de Toros and the Torre del Oro.
After that, though, I spilled my true secrets to enjoying Seville off the beaten path. My tips and tricks for soaking up the seduction of Spain’s hottest city and living like a local in the heart of Andalusia.
So here we go: the hidden gems of Seville.
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How to Get Off the Beaten Track in Seville
1) Have a siesta
Only tourists walk around town in the afternoon. In Seville, siestas are not folklore, they’re reality. Shops and businesses close in the afternoon and children head home from school in time to have a snooze.
Visit Seville between April and October, you’ll understand why. It’s simply too hot to even think about the possibility of doing anything else in the afternoons.
2) Watch real flamenco
The polka-dotted posters are for tourists; the real thing takes place in bars across the city from around midnight onwards. One of my favourites is La Carbonería (18 Calle Levíes, tel: +34 95 421 4460) where you can catch both serious foot-stomping flamenco dances and the more light-hearted sevillana performances on most nights. This flamenco show is definitely a non-touristy thing to do in Seville.
However, if you’re nervous about your Spanish, the next best thing involves catching a performance at the Flamenco Museum.
Set in a beautiful 18th century building amid the scent of orange trees, you can easily book a ticket on your mobile phone in your language with Get Your Guide. You can also cancel for free up to 24 hours before the performance, making it a good option if you want to keep your plans flexible.
3) Take a twist on tapas
Tapas is big business in Seville. Unlike the polished and pretty pintxos you’ll find in northern Spain, in Andalusia it’s more of a rustic affair. But don’t let appearances deceive.
Simple does not mean tasteless.
After a few days of Andalusian cured jamon, gazpacho and tortilla omelettes, you may be longing to get off the beaten path in Seville in terms of food.
Follow the locals to find some experimental tapas bars. One of my favourite hidden gems in Seville is Azotea for wasabi-tinged tapas. For more on the subject, check out my guide on finding the best tapas in Seville over here.
If you’re looking to explore the secret side of Seville and you don’t have much time, then I’d highly recommend a walking food tour.
There are two ways to do this.
First, you can work your way through our tapas guide here by yourself.
Or, you can book a food tour. Get Your Guide is my favourite go to place for booking food tours. They’re easy to book on your phone and you you can cancel for free up to 24 hours in advance in case your plans change.
Consider checking out these food tours:
1) Seville Tapas Crawl – limited to 6 people, drinks included, several languages spoken, including English.
2) River Tour with Tapas Tasting – limited to 12 people, one drink included. If you think you’ll struggle with the heat, a river cruise should help because of the breeze!
3) Spanish cooking class with dinner. I am a BIG fan of cooking classes! It’s an unusual thing to do in Seville and it’s such a great way to get to know locals and travellers alike. Plus, you have a tasty meal at the end!
Inside Tip: Don’t miss salmorejo, the local version of gazpacho.
4) Relax in the Arabic Baths
When it comes to getting off the beaten track in Seville, the Baños Arabes or Arabic Baths are a curious entry. You will meet other travellers here but as so many miss it, I decided to add it to the list.
More importantly, it’s a fantastic thing to do in Seville and locals definitely visit.
A steam room, sauna and cold plunge pool all fit beneath the roof of this former viceroy’s mansion, which itself was built over former Roman Baths.
Convince yourself you’re here for the history, admire the mudejar ceilings…and then r-e-l-a-x.
5) Stroll Along Triana
Triana used to be the wrong side of the tracks. To many, it still is. This lively neighbourhood provided the sailors for those Christopher Columbus voyages and their accent matches Latin American Spanish more than Castilian as a result.
Today, you can get off the beaten track in Seville by crossing the bridge and strolling through the neighbourhood, enjoying the unusual pulse of Triana while gazing back at mainstream Seville.
Highlights include the visceral covered market and the ceramic workshops, whose blue and canary yellow hues decorate street names and wall tiles across the Iberian Peninsula.
Sip the local tinto de verano at a riverside cafe and gaze back at some of Seville’s most famous landmarks. It’s an overwhelmingly authentic local thing to do: sit back and watch the world go by by the side of the Guadalquivir River.
More hidden gems in Seville
Now we’ve covered how to live like a local in Seville and get off the beaten path in Seville, it’s time to look at a few more places to visit and aces up my sleeve.
Or in other words, more hidden gems in Seville.
Hidden Gems in Santa Cruz, the Old Jewish Quarter
The Santa Cruz neighbourhood is one of the most popular parts of Seville. So, at first, you think you can’t get off the beaten track here. Think again.
Look out for hidden gems like the Casa de Pilatos, which most tourists miss. This truly gorgeous building used to be a palace for the Dukes of Medinaceli and it brims with Mudejar architecture and beauty. It’s also somewhere to cool off from the crowds in the heat of summer – right in the city centre.
Then, there’s the rooftop terraza at the Hotel Doña María. It stands right opposite the iconic Giralda tower and yet still most people walk right on by. It’s the perfect place to sip a fino sherry at the end of a long day of sightseeing.
Also in the centre is the Plaza de Cabildo, a curved square (yes, really) that’s off the beaten track in Seville because most people miss the tiny entrance from the Avenida de la Constitución.
Join Locals at the Plaza de Alameda
Most local people leave La Giralda for the tourists. An alternative thing to do in Seville of an evening is to head to the huge open pedestrian space called La Alameda de Hércules.
Travel Tips for Seville
- Get ready for a little culture shock. Spanish culture is different to the US and UK.
- People eat late in Spain, especially in the south. Lunch typically starts at 3pm and Dinner at around 10pm. Tourist spots will be open all day, though.
- Bring an international travel adapter with you.
- Don’t add too much to your bucket list in the heat of summer. The heat is exhausting!
Our Seville Travel Guide
I absolutely loved Seville. So much so, I stayed for four years!
Here’s how to plan your perfect trip to Seville.
- The Best Things to do in Seville – start planning here.
- Where to Stay in Seville – your guide to the best places to sleep so as to make the most of your time.
- What to eat in Seville – tapas is not optional, ask any sevillano!
- What to buy in Seville – forget the idea of kitsch tat you’ll throw away as soon as you get home. These Seville souvenirs will last.
Still need inspiration? Get your free Seville checklist here.