20 Must-Visit Attractions in Seville, Spain

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Seville, Spain

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Seville, Spain
Santa Cruz, Seville | © Irina Sen/Shutterstock
Picture of Mark Nayler
MARK NAYLER

Seville has something for everyone. From its great Moorish and Catholic monuments to its historic bullring, and from great tapas bars to enchanting old neighbourhoods and giant wooden mushrooms, these are the top 20 attractions for you to seek out while you’re in the Andalusian capital.
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Royal Alcazar Palace

The internal courtyard of Seville’s Alcazar palace
The internal courtyard of Seville’s Alcazar palace | © pixabay

Along with the cathedral, Seville’s key architectural attraction is the Royal Alcázar Palace. Work on this great palace complex began in the 10th century, when the Umayyads built a Moorish fortress attached to the Roman city walls, but it was not until the 12th century that the first royal palace was built on the site, by the then-ruling Almohad Dynasty. Additions and renovations continued on and off until the 19th century, resulting in a structure that showcases a mix of Moorish, Renaissance and Mudéjar architecture, with the latter being particularly notable in the Mudéjar Palace. The upper floors of the Alcázar are the Spanish royal family’s Seville residence, making it Europe’s oldest continually used royal palace. Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Patio de Banderas, s/n, Seville, Spain, +34 954 50 23 24

Seville’s greatest Catholic monument amazes with its sheer size: it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Construction of this sprawling Gothic complex, which houses 80 chapels and has the longest central nave in Spain, began in 1401 on the site of the city’s former mosque. Work continued for over 100 years, and in 1507 the cathedral was finally completed, having spectacularly succeeded in fulfilling the design team’s aim to make something ‘so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it will think we are mad’.

Catedral de Sevilla, Av. de la Constitución, Seville, Spain, +34 902 09 96 92

Giralda Bell Tower
All that remains of Seville’s great mosque is part of its minaret, which is now the cathedral’s Giralda bell tower, another of Seville’s key architectural attractions. The minaret, which was built during the Almohad period, was originally topped with giant copper globes, but these fell off in an earthquake in 1365. The ruling conquistadors, perhaps interpreting their removal as a hint from the universe, decided to replace them with a Christian cross and bell tower. Except for the final section, which features stairs, the route to the top (for stunning views) is via ramps – supposedly so it can be reached by horseback, although it’s unclear whether this means you have to buy two tickets or just one.

View from the top of Seville’s iconic Giralda belltower
© AlmudenaCuesta/Pixabay

Casa de Pilatos
This beautiful 15th–16th-century mansion is one of central Seville’s hidden treasures, and its exquisite gardens, though smaller in scale, match anything you’ll see in the Alcázar. Begun by the wealthy conquistador and Mayor of Andalucia, Pedro Enriquez de Quiñones, in the late 1400s, Casa de Pilatos is another of Seville’s classic Mudéjar structures, built around a central courtyard in the traditional Andalusian style. Its name – Pilate’s House – was bestowed (hopefully with a touch of mockery) after Quiñones’ son Fadrique traveled to Jerusalem in 1519 and returned overflowing with enthusiasm for the Holy Land. The palace’s undeniable good looks have earned it a starring role in two films: 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and 2010’s Knight and Day.

Casa de Pilatos, 1 Plaza de Pilatos, Seville, Spain, +34 954 22 52 98

Casa de Pilatos, Seville | © Sandra Vallaure/Flickr
Casa de Pilatos, Seville | © Sandra Vallaure/Flickr

Bullring
Seville’s Real Maestranza bullring is one of the most attractive and important plazas in Spain. Construction began in 1761 on the site of the city’s old rectangular plaza de Toros and was finally completed in 1881. Particularly attractive is the Prince’s Gate (the main entrance), the ornate black iron gates of which are the work of Pedro Roldan, and which were originally the property of a convent. Being carried through these on the shoulders of fellow matadors and the public is a mark of great triumph, and one of the highest honors attainable by a matador in Spain. The Maestranza’s excellent museum explores the history of bullfighting, and daily tours of the arena are available.

Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, 12 Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, Seville, Spain, +34 954 22 45 77

Bullfights
The audience that packs out Seville’s stately 18th-century bullring every time there is a bullfight is known to be the most demanding in Spain – and for good reason. Often, a kind of party atmosphere prevails in the stands during a bullfight: Spaniards turn up in big groups with picnic baskets crammed full of beer and sandwiches and make a social occasion of it, which can make concentrating on events in the ring difficult. In Seville, however, the bullfight is watched in studious silence, with applause and jeering meted out only when truly deserved. This makes for an ambiance of great intensity and drama and, if you choose to experience it for yourself, a truly unforgettable afternoon. The best time to see a bullfight here is during Seville’s annual April fair, more on which below.

Seville’s beautiful bullring
© tpsdave/Pixabay
Torre de Oro
Visible from any of Seville’s central bridges is the 13th-century watchtower known as the Torre de Oro, or the ‘Tower of Gold’. It was built by the Almohad rulers of Seville between 1220 and 1221 and has undergone several restorations over the intervening centuries, the most recent of which was in 2005. Nowadays, it houses Seville’s small but interesting Maritime Museum, which explores the importance of the Guadalquivir River and Atlantic to the Andalusian capital’s history.

Torre do Oro, Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, s/n, Seville, Spain

Torre do Oro, Seville | © Guenther49/Pixabay
Torre do Oro, Seville | © Guenther49/Pixabay

One of Seville’s Mudejar classics is the Plaza de España, a stunning development built-in 1928 in preparation for Seville’s hosting of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The half-moon-shaped building is fronted by a moat and borders on a plaza with a beautiful fountain at its center; it showcases a striking mix of Mudéjar and Renaissance styles, with splashes of Art Deco to be seen on the colorful façades. Boating can be enjoyed on the moat, which is spanned by four bridges representing the ancient kingdoms of Spain.

Plaza de España, Seville
Plaza de España, Seville | © bogitw/Pixabay
In preparation for Seville’s hosting of the Ibero-American Expo of 1929, the southern part of the city received a costly facelift. At the heart of this redevelopment was the Maria Luisa Park, a botanical garden and the Andalusian capital’s largest and most attractive area of greenery. It is a beautiful place to stroll in spring, when the park’s many species of plants and flowers are in bloom and when the local residents – doves, parrots, ducks and swans – are on display. Stretching along the banks of the Guadalquivir, its half-mile of shaded walkways, tiled fountains, ponds and tropical foliage is also home to the Mudéjar Pavillion, in which the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Seville can be found.

Seville’s impressive Archive of the Indies
Seville’s impressive Archive of the Indies | Sandra Vallaure/Flickr

Documenting the Golden Age of the Spanish Empire that followed Christopher Columbus’s exploration of the Americas in 1492 is Seville’s Archive of the Indies, a must-see for history boffins. These UNESCO-protected 16th-century buildings house some 80 million documents relating to the Spanish Empire of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, a period when Seville was the empire’s most important city. If you think that sounds like a little too much reading for one afternoon, fear not: as well as the beautiful old books and the palatial buildings themselves, other sights here include a 17th-century cannon, maps charting the entire Spanish Empire and several paintings by Goya.

Old books on the Spanish Empire in Seville’s Archive of the Indies
Old books on the Spanish Empire in Seville’s Archive of the Indies | © Adam Jones/Flickr

Al Aljibe is one of the best tapas bars on the Alameda de Hercules, Seville’s trendiest and most popular nightspot. The restaurant boasts a romantic and secluded first-floor terrace overlooking the Alameda, as well as an exclusive rooftop patio with just a few tables. Bear in mind that only full plates or “raciones”  are served on the rooftop seating area, although ordering bigger portions of Aljibe’s incredible food won’t be a problem. Customers rave about the ox burger, the fried cod with vegetables and the duck and brandy paté. Inside, there is seating spread over two floors, but it’s always worth reserving a table, especially in the evenings. Aljibe’s location and food have made it one of the most popular high-class tapas places in town.

If a tapas restaurant on the Alameda de Hercules is having to turn customers away of an evening, that’s a sign it’s doing something pretty special. This is the case with La Mata 24, a classy establishment that is often packed to capacity after 9pm. The style is pan-Mediterranean rather than Spanish, and all the dishes are prepared with an inventiveness that can be lacking in Seville’s more traditional tapas restaurants. The wine list and service are highly recommended, and the bar hosts regular exhibitions of work by local and non-local artists, making it a must if you’re hanging out in this lively part of Seville.

Mercado de Triana
Mercado de Triana | © Karan Jain/Flickr

Triana is Seville’s former Gypsy quarter and one of the city’s most distinctive attractions. From its pretty, myth-laden streets have come some of the most influential bullfighters of the last couple of centuries, including the legendary Juan Belmonte, one of the greatest matadors in the history of bullfighting. Its colourful, quaint streets are lined with old-style tapas bars, the walls of which are often plastered with faded bullfighting posters, photos of flamenco artists and weeping Virgin Marys. It is also known for its locally made ceramics, which adorn the walls of its old, whitewashed houses, and one of Seville’s best and most lively markets, the Mercado de Triana.

Bar Bodega Santa Cruz
This lively tavern is one of the best in central Seville and is a great place to start your exploration of the romantic, intriguing neighborhood of Santa Cruz. Owing to the scarcity of outside seating, it always seems as if a spontaneous street party is going on outside, with eaters and drinkers taking over the pavement in front of the bar. The food and drink offering is traditional, with a range of wines and sherries available, as well as excellent tapas at about €2 a pop. It’s particularly good for an early evening stop-off when the atmosphere is joyfully chaotic. Bodega Santa Cruz, 1A Calle Rodrigo Caro, Seville, Spain, +34 954 21 16 94

Santa Cruz
Surrounding the central plaza on which Seville’s mighty cathedral squats is the charming old Jewish neighborhood of Santa Cruz, one of Andalusia’s most iconic barrios. This was the neighborhood into which Ferdinand III confined the city’s Jewish population when he took the city from the Moors in 1248; nowadays, it’s the heart of historic Seville and the first place many tourists head to. In this maze of narrow cobbled streets and achingly romantic squares are to be found some of the city’s best tapas bars and flamenco joints, but just to wander around Santa Cruz (almost certainly getting lost, if it’s your first time) is an experience in itself.

A typical street in Seville’s Santa Cruz
© Irina Sen/Shutterstock

Slightly surly service is the price to pay for enjoying sweet wines, sherry and tapas in this local institution. La Bodega is well established on the tourist route in Santa Cruz but Sevillanos love it too, piling in in huge groups from about 2 pm for lunch and about 9pm for dinner. These are the best times to head to La Bodega for a glass of the signature manzanilla (old barrels are scattered around the place) and a plate of their excellent tapas, either crammed in amongst Sevillanos at the bar or, if you’re lucky, at one of the tables.

Romeo and Juliet Balcony
Winding along beside the Alcázar in the heart of Santa Cruz is a narrow, shaded alleyway called Calle Agua, named after a mini-aqueduct that used to run along the top of the Moorish palace’s walls. This mysterious path brings you out onto the absurdly romantic Plaza Alfaro, always busy with tourists pointing their cameras upwards and snapping away at the building said to have inspired the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Whether this tale is apocryphal or not, it’s easy to imagine a latter-day Romeo scaling the beautiful facade to reach the object of his desire.

Plaza Alfaro, Seville, Spain

Seville’s Romeo and Juliet building | © Encarni Novillo
Seville’s Romeo and Juliet building | © Encarni Novillo

Feria de Abril
The Feria de Abril, Seville’s legendary fiesta, takes place two weeks after Easter and is one of Andalusia’s biggest fairs. This week-long party has left its humble 19th -century cattle-market beginnings long behind, and its sanded fairground – or recinto – now hosts over 1,000 individual marquees, or casetas, every year. Run by local charities, businesses and collectives, these casetas are where the locals dance and drink until the small hours of the morning, every night for a week. Although the vast majority of the marquees are private and require an invitation for entry, there are several public casetas which are just as much fun. If you’re planning a visit to Seville in spring, make sure you plan it to coincide with this annual extravaganza.

Las Setas Metropol Parasol
Visitors enjoy the views of Seville from the Metropol Parasol | © Zefrog / Alamy Stock Photo
One of Seville’s most popular – and unusual – attractions is The Metropol Parasol, known locally as Las Setas, or ‘the Mushrooms’, because of the distinctive shape of its vast wooden canopies and supporting pillars. When work started on the Mushrooms in 2005, Roman remains were found underneath Plaza Encarnación, making construction a lengthy and controversial process. To preserve the extensive remains, which can be seen on the lower ground floor, these enormous wooden fungi are supported on just a few elegant white pillars above the square. On the monument’s roof, a winding walkway provides stunning views over the city, especially at sunset.

Las Setas de Sevilla, Pl de la Encarnación, s/n, Seville, Spain, 0034 954 56 15 12

Situated underneath the vast canopies of Seville’s Setas on the popular Plaza de la Encarnación is Los Alcazares, one of the best tapas joints in central Seville. From its small, traditional bar room or outside terrace you can watch life unfold on the busy plaza while sipping on a cold beer or sweet manzanilla. Alcazares is popular with tourists, but the old-fashioned décor (think bullfighting and fiesta posters) and its popularity with nearby office workers who stop in for a quick tapas and beer at lunchtime mean it doesn’t feel touristy.

Book an Experience in Seville

The rise of Al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula

The rise of Al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania)

In the year 711 Muslim forces, following the orders of the governor of Africa, Musa ibn Nusayr, and under the command of Tariq ibn Ziyad, crossed the straits of Gibraltar and defeated the army of the Visigothic king Roderic somewhere inland from Tarifa. In the following year, Musa himself led an army across the straits and took over command of the conquest.

The rapid advance of the Muslims throughout the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain & Portugal) was impressive. By 720 almost all the territory was under their control, with the exception of a thin strip along the north coast, roughly equivalent to Asturias and Cantabria.

Whether the Muslims intended to stay is not clear, but undoubtedly the large fertile areas they saw were a significant factor in their decision to remain.  In addition, the invasion was a useful means of channeling the energies of the recently conquered and converted Berbers of the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) with the promise of booty, slaves and lands.

Run by governors acting for the Umayyad Caliph in Damascus (Syria), the peninsula’s fortunes were initially tied to the interests of the Middle East. . After the conquest of the peninsula, governors followed thick and fast, the first being Musa’s son, Abd al-Aziz,  soon decapitated in Seville  accused of trying  to usurp power and declare himself ruler.

 

The Arabs brought with them tribal quarrels inherited from the Middle East while the Berbers felt treated as second-class citizens by the Arabs. The Berber grievances were not without cause. When land was confiscated from those who had opposed the invading armies, the Arabs amassed the best property, e.g. along the Guadalquivir, Guadiana and Ebro river valleys, and the fertile coastal areas. The Berbers had to make do with the rest, mainly mountainous areas around Granada, the hostile Duero valley and damp Galicia in the north west, and the Pyrenees in the north east.

A Berber rebellion in 740 resulted in a civil war.

At this moment, the history of Al-Andalus or Muslim Spain witnessed an important event, the arrival of Abd al-Rahman

 

by 750, a rival dynasty, the Abbasids (who claimed descent from the Prophet via his daughter Fátima and his murdered son-in-law Ali), succeeded in overthrowing the Umayyads and shortly after removed the caliphate to Baghdad. The whole process was a bloody affair and the Umayyad royal family decimated in the purge. Only one member, 20-year old Abd al-Rahman, escaped. He made his way across North Africa, eventually arriving in Spain in 756.

Quickly he gathered support from among the pro-Umayyad factions there, and within a few months had deposed the governor of al-Andalus, entrenched himself in Córdoba and declared himself emir. The Umayyads may have lost everything in the Middle East, but under Abd al-Rahman, a new Umayyad dynasty was born in Spain that would largely set its own political independence of the Caliphate of Baghdad.

 

Abd al-Rahman I: Emir of Al-Andalus 756-788

Abd al-Rahman ruled for 32 years, spending much of the time putting down revolts within his realm and consolidating his power. When he arrived in 756, Muslim control had already contracted from the heady days of the invasion, especially in the northwest, thanks to Christian resistance.

Abd al-Rahman’s determination to impose his rule was constantly challenged by these local rulers, and also by Abbasid support from Baghdad. However, he gradually put down revolts one by one, and when the occasion merited it was not above coming to terms with Christian opposition.  By the early 770s, Abd al-Rahman controlled all but the Ebro valley.

In 785 Abd al-Rahman build a great Masjid in Cordoba. It was a large and striking house of worship befitting both his illustrious heritage and his authority in al-Andalus.

The great Cordoba Mosque was a powerful statement to the still considerable Christian community -called the Mozarabs-, that Islam was there to stay. As a tribute to his lost home in Siria, Abd al-Rahman ordered to orientate the qibla wall -that always directs the faithful towards Mecca when praying- facing Damascus. This way when praying, he would symbolically be paying homage to his Umayyad heritage.

Another building was a more personal and nostalgic reminder of Abd al-Rahman’s Syrian past. It was the beautiful palace of Rusafa, built on the hillside overlooking the city (where today stands the Parador of Arruzafa).

T the palace was surrounded by a beautiful garden.  Here Abd al-Rahman spent most of his last years tending his plants and especially his palm trees, planted so it is believed by the emir himself. A short poem, written by Abd al-Rahman is a poignant summary of his nostalgia:

A palm tree stands in the middle of Rusafa,/ Born in the West, far from the land of palms./ I said to it: How like me you are, far away and in exile,/ In long separation from family and friends./ You have sprung from the soil in which you are a stranger;/ And I, like you, am far from home.

Abd al-Rahman died in Cordoba in 788, passing the reins of power to his designated heir, a younger son, Hisham.

Mosques to visit in Spain

Mosques to visit in Spain

Mosques to visit in Spain

By Sakina Kamrudeen | 15, Nov, 2017

Magnificent Mosques of Spain
Spain has a long and colourful history, having first been conquered by the Roman Empire until the Middle Ages, when in the 8th century, Spain became a part of the ever-expanding Umayyad Caliphate. Although later, in the 15th century, Imperialism invaded Spain, followed by the wars for liberalization in the 18th century, leading to the Spanish civil war and finally establishing Spain as a Democracy.
This Islamic reign by the Muslim Moors in the Iberian Peninsula indelibly left its mark on modern-day Spain, resulting in the Spanish kingdom being dotted with some of the most beautiful mosques with an awe-inspiring architecture of that era. Thus, for the Muslim traveller on a holiday in Spain, some of the world’s most amazing Mosques await you. In fact, visiting these wonderous Spanish Mosques must be on the ‘to-do’ list for any Halal trip to Spain.
So, review these renowned Mosques, and locate them on your mobile, to experience a prayer place which has been standing for over a thousand years!

The Great Mosque of Córdoba

The Great Mosque of Córdoba located in the Spanish region of Andalusia was originally a small Christian Visigoth church. When the Moor Muslim’s came to rule Spain, Abd al-Rahman I ordered the construction of the Great Mosque in 784. This Mosque was further expanded by later Muslim rulers. This Mosque of Córdoba was important to the Islamic community of al-Andalus for three centuries. In 1236, Córdoba was converted to a Roman Catholic church. Since the early 21st century the Spanish Muslims have been lobbying the Roman Catholic church to allow them to pray at this site, but have however to date been denied permission.
In its heyday, the Great Mosque of Córdoba was used as the main place for prayer, it was also a hall for teaching Islam and the site for Sharia Law cases.

Architecture and Design

The architectural design of the Great Mosque of Córdoba is inspired by the Great Mosque of Damascus, the Dome of the Rock and the Aachen Cathedral. Architects also incorporate Roman columns of Gothic structure and others sent from different regions of Iberia as gifts. The Columns, arches and other decorative aspects of the Mosque were incorporated with ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass. Mosaics and azulejos were also incorporated in the design of the Mosque. The walls were also decorated with Quranic inscriptions. The mihrab of the Mosque was considered an architectural masterpiece with its geometric and flowing designs of plants.
However, when Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, the centre of the Great Mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. As time passed other Christian features were added such chapels and a nave. The minaret of the Mosque was also converted to the bell tower.

Interesting Facts

 

  • It is reported that Abd al-Rahman I is buried under the site of the Mosque.
  • Abd al-Rahman I initially named the Mosque ‘Aljama Mosque’ in honour of his wife.

MOSQUE Status

The Great Mosque of Córdoba was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a part of the Historic Center of Córdoba in 1984.
Although Muslims are not allowed to pray at this Mosque, it is a must visit with its amazing architecture and remarkable historical significance.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 10:00 am to 06:00 pm | Sunday and Religious Festive Days – 9:00 am to 10:30 am and 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm.
Tickets: Guided Tours – 40 € per person and free for children under 8 years old | Tours without a Guide – 10 € per person, 5 € for children between 10-14 years old and free for children under 10 years old.
Click here for more information about The Mosque of Córdoba

Mosque of Cristo de la Luz

The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz has remained nearly unchanged since its construction in 999 and is the only remaining former Moorish Mosque in the city of Toledo, Spain. Originally named the Mezquita Bab-al-Mardum, it is located near the Puerta del Sol, a city gate of Toledo, Spain, built in the late 14th century.

Architecture and Design

This Mosque was built over a Visigoth church measuring approximately 8m X 8m with four columns dividing the interior into nine parts. The designs in each of these nine parts are unique and follow Islamic design concepts. This Mosque, which was converted to a chapel in 1186, is constructed of brick and small stones. The overall architectural design and formation is a blend of Moorish style and local building techniques. However, much of its influence can be attributed to the caliphate in Córdoba and the Great Mosque of Córdoba.
After the conversion of the Mosque to a church, the qibla wall and mihrab were lost when an apse was built in the Mudejar architecture style. Today, this building also features many Christian themed decorations and murals of Christ and other figures.

MOSQUE Status

Today, this building functions as a church. However, Muslim travellers will get a feel the Mosque that it was, especially with the inscription in Kufic script on the facade of the building that reveals the details of the Mosque’s origin.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00 am – 06:45 pm (March 1st to October 15th) | 10:00 – 05:45 pm (October 16th to February 28th).
Tickets: General – 2.80 € | Accredited Groups – 2.40 € | Free for under the age of 11.

Click here for more information about The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz

The Mosque of Almonaster la Real

This Mosque was built in the 10th century from the origins of a Visigoth basilica of the 5th century. Hailed as one of the few surviving Spanish rural Mosques, it is an oddly shaped building made of brick and stone. This Mosque sits on top of a hill within the castle overlooking the village of Almonaster la Real in the province of Huelva, Spain. This beautifully preserved Mosque was converted to a church as Islamic rule changed to Christian rule. Over the centuries this Mosque has gone through numerous changes, but its Islamic features have been retained while new Christian elements were added on.

Architecture and Design

This Mosque was built during the reign of Abd al-Rahman III. It is trapezoidal in shape and has three parts – the prayer hall, the courtyard of ablutions, and the minaret tower. The prayer hall has five small naves. The central nave is covered by a half-sphere dome and brick arches. The courtyard of ablutions is built-into the facade of the rock. Most of the minaret has been built over due to the additions made over the years. The Mihrab, however, still stands, but has over the years lost its paint, and only the brick and stone remain today.

Interesting Facts

  • 16 undated tombs were found in the oration room of the Mosque.
  • The Mosque of Almonaster la Real is the focus of the annual ‘Jornadas de Cultura Islamica’ which takes place in the town of in Almonaster la Real in the month of October.

MOSQUE Status

Despite the changes over the years, the building retains its ‘Moorish character’ to date. It was declared a National Monument in 1931 and was further renovated between 1970 and 1973. The Mosque of Almonaster la Real is a must-visit place while on your Halal trip to Spain.
Opening Hours: Every day from 09.00 am to 08.30 pm.
Tickets: Entrance is free.

Click here for more information about The Mosque of Mezquita de Almonaster La Real

MOSQUE at Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera

Picture Credit – www.flickriver.com

The Mosque within the Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera in the is the Cadiz province of Spain is the only remaining one in the region from the original 18 Mosques. It was built in the 11th century but was converted to a church in the 13th century when the Christians conquered the region. The entire Fortress was designated as a world heritage site in 1931.

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 09:30 am – 02:30 pm (October 1st to June 30th) | Monday to Friday 09:30 am – 05:30 pm (July 1st to September 30th) | Saturday and Sunday 09:30 am – 02:30 pm
Tickets: General – 5 € | Groups – 4 €
Click here for more information about Mezquita de Jerez

Other Former MOSQUES of Spain

Apart from the above famous historic Mosques of Spain, there are much more Mosques or Mezquita (as known in Spanish) which can be visited. While many have been converted to churches or put to other uses today, the architecture and splendour still remain. So, while holidaying in Spain and visiting these regions/cities, take the time to visit these magnificent mosques in Spain.
  • Mezquita de las Tornerías | Toledo, Spain
  • Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral (also known as Seville Cathedral) | Seville, Spain

Modern Mosques in Spain

For those Muslim travellers are looking for Mosques with the express purpose of prayer, these modern Mosques of Spain are your answer. A quick search on Google Maps should give you its location.

Basharat Mosque


Address: Mezquita Basharat, 14630 Pedro Abad, Córdoba, Spain | Opened: 1982
Click here for more information about Basharat Mosque

Madrid Central Mosque


Address: Calle Anastasio Herrero, 5, 28020 Madrid, Spain | Opened: 1988
Click here for more information about Madrid Central Mosque

King Abdul Aziz Mosque

Picture Credit – marbellaazul.com

Address: s 29602, Urb. Lomas Marbella-S, 18, 29602 Marbella, Málaga, Spain | Built: 1981
Click here for more information about King Abdul Aziz Mosque
Sakina has over 10 years of experience in the field of corporate communications; having worked for a leading Annual Report Production House dealing with top corporates of Sri Lanka and overseas, and later as the Group Communications Specialist for a Sri Lankan conglomerate for their overseas plantations business. She is well-versed in the production process of annual reports, sustainability reports, corporate videos and other corporate communication media. She also has experience in Social Media Marketing and works to increase and improve social media presence of corporates and small niche market businesses. Today, she works as a freelance writer and undertakes consultations on corporate communications and social media related projects. She enjoys writing for blogs on topics of interest.

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Marbella

The Costa del Sol’s bastion of bling is, like most towns along this stretch of coast, a two-sided coin. Standing centre stage in the tourist showroom is the ‘Golden Mile’, a conspicuously extravagant collection of star-studded clubs, shiny restaurants and expensive hotels stretching as far as Puerto Banús, the flashiest marina on the coast, where black-tinted Mercs slide along a quay populated by luxury yachts.

But Marbella has other, less ostentatious attractions. Its natural setting is magnificent, sheltered by the beautiful Sierra Blanca mountains, while its surprisingly attractive casco antiguo (old town) is replete with narrow lanes and well-tended flower boxes.

Long before Marbella starting luring golfers, zillionaires and retired Latin American dictators, it was home to Phoenicians, Visigoths, Romans and Moors. One of the joys of a visit to the modern city is trying to root out their legacy.

Formentera: What to see in the Spanish Island

Formentera: What to see in the Spanish Island

If you are looking for tourist attractions in Formentera, in this section we give you a list of places that you cannot miss on the island given its tourist interest. Formentera has options for all tastes: art and culture, nature, sport, tradition, etc.

Below you will find a list of varied tourist attractions, so you can organise your trip by visiting those that interest you most. Let’s go!

1. Faro de la Mola

This lighthouse is located at the highest point of the island, just on the edge of a cliff of more than 150 meters. Thanks to the views it offers it has become one of the most visited places in Formentera, and one of the most photographed by tourists. Here’s some inspiration: Instagram images of the Mola lighthouse.
Follow these directions.

Visitar el Faro de la Mola en Formentera

Ses Salines Natural Park

The Ses Salines Natural Park, located between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera, is the main protected natural space of this island. Walking among its ponds, getting to know the biodiversity of the area, plunging into its crystal-clear waters and snorkelling among its seabed are some of the activities we recommend.

Vista al Parque Natural de Ses Salines

Megalithic tomb of Ca na Costa

This archaeological site has positioned itself as the most spectacular of the Balearic Islands among other similar funerary buildings. In addition, its location makes it one of the most visited tourist attractions, as it lies between the Estany Pudent pond and the town of Es Pujols, two other places that you must visit in Formentera.

The urban nucleus of San Francisco Javier


This town, thanks to its set of historical constructions, is undoubtedly the most interesting in Formentera, also it is a quick town to visit so you can combine it with other routes. During your visit you cannot miss the church of San Francisco Javier (Sant Francesc Xavier) and the historical complex we mentioned, called ‘Sa Raval’.

Núcleo Urbano de San Francisco Javier en Formentera

Museum of Ethnography of Formentera

Formentera culture fans will not be disappointed. Despite its small size, the island has an ethnographic museum to learn in detail about what traditional life was like among the island’s inhabitants. In addition to this museum, you can find an interpretation centre of the Ses Salines Natural Park and many other cultural activities.

 

Visitar el Museo de Etnografía en Formentera

WHAT TO DO IN FORMENTERA?

If you are looking for activities to do in Formentera during your stay, below we offer some ideas:

1. Shopping at artisan markets

The island has preserved its hippie essence and demonstrates it in the different markets that attract tourists to buy handicrafts and walk around their stalls. We recommend that you visit the La Mola hippie market, which you can do every Wednesday and Sunday from May to October in the heart of La Mola lighthouse.
Find out how to get there.

Ir al Mercadillo de La Mola en Formentera

2. Discover Formentera by bike

Formentera is ideal for cycling because of its small size and the amount of flat surface it offers. It also has well signposted cycle paths and green circuits, ideal for observing the island’s biodiversity and architecture.

 Recorrer en bici Formentera

3. Snorkel or dive

In another article we told you about the best beaches of Formentera, including some that are good for snorkelling or diving. The waters of Formentera invite you to immerse yourself in them, regardless of the beach. The pleasant temperature of the water throughout the year (22° to 27°), together with the great biodiversity it contains, make the island an ideal destination for fans of this sport.

Hacer snorkel en las playas de Formentera

4. Discover its coasts by Kayak

If you are passionate about water sports, you will love discovering the coasts of Formentera by kayak. The island’s small size and its good weather conditions will make it very easy for you. As well as getting unique views of its beaches, lighthouses and towers, you will be able to admire the marine fauna and flora from your boat.  

 Rutas en kayak en las playas de Formentera

5. Discover the mill route

Formentera has 6 windmills that are classed as cultural heritage of the island. You can combine the visit to some of them with other activities that we have suggested. You will love the traditional appearance of these mills, for more information about this click here.

A great gastronomy 

The most demanding pallets have an excellent reason to travel to Formentera and taste each of its gastronomic treats. Many of the specialities will leave you with an unforgettable taste in your mouth that will make you want to cook them for yourself when you go back home.

Many of its dishes and products have become gastronomic references, such as the Peix Sec de Formentera, a unique artisan speciality made by drying fish in the sun. This product is used in a multitude of typical dishes, such as ensalada payesa.

Ensalada payesa en Formentera

In general, the quality of the fish on the island is excellent and can be seen in many dishes: bullit de ratjada, rape a la cassolana, bonito casserole with fennel and capers, bull d´anfos, etc. Likewise, seafood also makes up many of the must-try dishes.

You can’t leave without trying other typical products from Formentera: liquid salt, artisan fresh cheese, honey, dried figs, bescuit, herb liqueur, etc. Shall we continue?

Peix sec en Formentera

Now that you have a guide with places to visit and plans to do in Formentera, organise your trip with your favourite ideas and enjoy this haven with personalised routes.

7 Restaurants to Go in Formentera

Formentera Food
Source: Nacho Pintos

It’s no secret that Formentera has long been an unspoiled, stylish little island, bathed in dazzling Mediterranean light. A slice of Caribbean paradise with it’s crystal turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, Formentera is an idyllic destination for travelers. The smallest Balearic island has a famously bohemian lifestyle which is perfectly reflected in the healthy, locally produced and ecologically minded cuisine served up in its restaurants. The following are a few special locations loved by locals and visitors  alike.

1. Juan y Andrea

Probably one of the most well-known and long-held establishments on the island, this restaurant offers up excellent seafood cuisine right on the sand in the stunning Playa Illetas. Run by the same family since 1971, this is the place to be seen if you want to rub shoulders with well known island celebrity regulars, or watch the glamorous crowd emerge from their yachts for an al fresco lunch. Certainly it’s upscale vibe is reflected in the prices, however Juan y Andrea is quintessential Formentera and not to be missed.

Information

  • Name: Juan y Andrea
  • Address: Playa de Illetas
  • Opening hours: 1pm – 7pm
  • Phone: +34 971187130
  • Website: www.juanyandrea.com

2. Tiburon

Tiburon, (the Shark Bar) is also located at Playa Illetas, really one of the most prettiest and most paradisiacal beaches on the island. Admire the outline of neighbouring big island Ibiza as you enjoy mouth watering mediterranean simple and healthy cuisine from your table on the terrace. Make sure to try the well-loved surf and turf (fillet steak with prawns) or one of the delicious salads. With your feet in the sea, relax and enjoy the ambience, the ideal place to let your troubles drift away.

Information

  • Name: Kiosko Tiburon
  • Address: Playa Cavall D’en Boras
  • Phone: +34 659 638 945
  • Website: www.tiburon-formentera.com

3. Beso Beach

This is one of the most fashionable beach hut style hang -outs on Formentera where you will supposedly find the best paella (seafood rice dish) on the island. With its palm canopy roof and sandy floor, Beso Beach is all about natural, rustic decor and chilled vibes. Many plates are made for sharing with tasty options such as black rice, paella and shellfish as well as popular Spanish meats like Jamon Iberico. Located in a secluded spot just steps from the sea at beautiful Playa de Cavall d’en Borras, Beso Beach also gets lively in the evenings for music and dancing.

Information

  • Name: Beso Beach
  • Address: Playa Cavall D’en Borras
  • Opening hours: 12.30 – 22.00
  • Phone: +34 622 222 113
  • Website: www.besobeach.com

4. Pizzeria Macondo

An Italian restaurant full of Italians can only be a good sign! If you’re looking for authentic, delicious, wood fired pizza this is the place for you. Huge portions and a wide and varied menu (including pasta and other mediterranean cuisine). Situated in the centre of San Ferrant, bustling Macondo is popular with locals and has been a long standing Formentera favourite for many years. Leave room for dessert because the pannacotta de dulce de leche is not to be missed! Be sure to arrive early for dinner as they do not take reservations and it can get busy at night, that’s what happens when you serve the best pizza on the island.

Information

  • Name: Pizzeria Macondo
  • Address: Career Major 67, Sant Ferran
  • Opening hours: 13.00 – 16.00 / 19.30 – 1.00
  • Phone: +34 971 32 90 69
  • Website: www.macondoformentera.com

5. Pirata

Ask anyone on the island about Pirata and they’ll tell you the same thing. It’s barely changed since it’s opening years ago. With it’s simple setting and easy vibe, it’s still the hippy haven it always was. Located right in front of of the most scenic coves on Playa De Illetas, Pirata serves up fresh and delicious sangria by the pitcher and is an idyllic spot to breathe and soak up the beach vibes. Try the lobster with fried eggs or pop by in the late afternoon for a coffee as you gaze out over transparent blue waters. Heaven.

Information

  • Name: Kiosko El Pirata
  • Address: Playa de Illetas
  • Phone: +34 971 324064
  • Website: n/a

6. Blue Bar

Sitting right on top of a sand dune at Platja de Migjorn, Blue Bar is where you will catch unrivalled views of the sunset. Supposedly in its hey day (it’s been open since the 60’s) Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix would drop in. The food is international with Mediterranean and Asian flavours catering to a wide range of tastes. Casual and unpretentious, the ambience is groovy and there is often either live music or DJ sets all adding to the vibrant scene.

Information

  • Name: Blue Bar
  • Address: Sant Ferrant des ses roques
  • Opening hours: 12.00 – 4:00
  • Phone: +34 666 7581 90
  • Website: www.bluebarformentera.com

7. Es Moli de Sal

Known internationally for a high level of service and excellent quality cuisine, Es Moli de Sal is certainly one to tick off your Formentera bucket list. Set in a beautifully reformed salt mill, it’s prices may be a little higher than some of the other establishments, but it’s worth it for the exquisite views and spectacular scenery. Another island favorite in front line for a stunning sunset, the kitchen is famed for raw fish carpaccios and excellent seafood rice (people rave about the lobster). Es Moli de Sal is the kind of casual-chic, unique and unforgettable island experience travelers are looking for.

Information

  • Name: Es Moli de Sal
  • Address: Playa de Illetas
  • Phone: +34 971187491
  • Website: www.esmolidesal.es

For such a tiny island, Formentera has a truly impressive array of dining options, sure to please all types of food -lovers. The only problem you will have is deciding where to go next as you explore beach after pristine beach, tasting fresh seafood and sipping on cocktails as you admire yet another stunning view of azure waters. The magic and charm of laid-back Formentera will capture the hearts of all who visit.