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.

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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.

Gardens of Al-Andalus: A way of live

Since the arrival of Islam as a religion in the 7th century C.E., Gardens have been described as a
metaphor of Paradise or al-janna (the garden). Every time heaven is mentioned in the holy book of
Quヴげaミ, there is a description of flowing water and fruit bearing trees, signifying their importance to
man. The reward for good deeds according to the Quヴげaミ is a place of shaded trees, flowing water,
gardens with sweet fruits (bostan) and fragrant flowers (gulistan).

As the religion evolved in a desert climate, Water became the main resource to conserve and utilise
in the most optimum way possible.

The Quヴげaミ gives 8 different names which Muslim theologians
take to be 8 different levels or stages of Paradise.
a. Jannatu-al-khuld (al-furqan, 25:15), can be called as
さGaヴdeミ of eteヴミit┞ざ1 oヴ さthe Gaヴdeミ of Iママoヴtalit┞ざ2
b. Darul-as-salam (al-aミaマ, ヶ:ヱヲΑぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
AHode of PeaIeざ
c. Darul-al-Qaヴaヴ ふal Muげマiミ, ヴヰ:ヴヲぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
Gaヴdeミざ oヴ さThe Gaヴdeミ of Blissざ
d. Jannatu-al-adn (al-Baヴaげah, Γ:Αヲ-Αンぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
Gaヴdeミ of Edeミざ oヴ さthe Gaヴdeミ of E┗eヴlastiミg Blissざ
e. Jannatu-al-Maげ┘a ふal-“ajdah, ンヲ:ヱΓぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
gaヴdeミ of ‘etヴeatざ oヴ さthe Gaヴdeミ of HospitaHle hoマesざ
f. Jannatu-al-nain (al-Maidah, 5:70), can be called as
さPaヴadiseざ oヴ さHea┗eミざ
g. Illiyin (al-tatfif, 83:18), can be called as the same.
h. Jannatu-al-Firdaus (al-kahf, ヱΒ:ヱヰΑぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
Gaヴdeミ of Paヴadiseざ
The above translations indicate that Paradise, in all levels is a
garden

Some quotes from Quヴげaミ, indicating water and plants as the main
source of our well-being:
 And He is the One Who sends down water from the sky.
Then by means of this (rain) We bring forth vegetation of
every kind out of which We produce green (foliage) from
which We bring forth clustered grain packed one over the
other, clusters of date-palm hanging low from its spathe
and gardens of grapes, olives and (also) pomegranates
(which from many aspects look) alike but (in products,
tastes and effects) are unlike. Look at the fruit of the tree
when it bears fruit, and (also observe) when it ripens.
Verily in these are Signs for those who believe.

The Muslims inherited practical and intellectual knowledge from the Roman past, the built landscape on which they now inhabited; they learned also from their diverse brethren, for these were areas populated by Byzantine Christians, Jews, Copts, and adherents of various polytheistic religions such as Zoroastrianism and Judaism.

However, while human cultural practices changed with the advent of Islam, many aspects of the land itself did not, for the climate of the Mediterranean rim has not changed significantly in the past 2000 years.

In Arabia, at the time of coming of Islam in the 7th century, a
garden was conceived as a walled orchard or vineyard, and was
irrigated by a channel of water or a well.

Islam absorbed the already well established Persian tradition of
hunting parks and royal pleasure gardens and invested them with
a new spiritual vision. It was through this vision, as portrayed in
the Quヴげaミ, that Islamic gardens were born. The first Muslims
came from the deserts and towns of Arabia and Syria.
The pleasurable aspect of Islamic gardens- the sensory delight of
sight, sound, scent and refreshing spray were balanced with their
ability to yield useful fruits and to display the process by which
fertility was transformed into profit.
The Umayyad Palace at Rusafa, in Syria is the earliest example of
char-bagh, where a raised pavilion stood at the intersection of the
walkways in an irregular garden enclosure.
Thereafter, the quadripartite plan spread across the Islamic world,
from Spain and Morocco to Afghanistan, culminating in the great
gardens of Timurid and Safavid Iran and Mughal India.

A Paradise Garden was based on the classic Char-bagh design, in
which the garden was divided into 4 parts by water channels; the
4 water channels being the 4 rivers of paradise, as described in
Islam. Plantation of fruit trees and roses and other flowers lay in
geometrically arranged beds below the level of flanking pathways,
making irrigation simple and also giving a sensation of walking on
a carpet of flowers.

さafter such fruit trees as Lemons, Oranges and Palm trees, comes
the legumes and Cotton and finally, the aromatic herbs, with
Coriander, Sesame, Cumin, and Saffron being mentioned, as well
as soマe oヴミaマeミtal plaミtsざ1
.

Experiments involving horticultural techniques were specially
developed in the area of Seville in the so-called Al-sharaf. This was
an elevated table land with surface of approximately 1650 km2
which was bordered with water. Its soil was made with sand
mixed with lime and local layers of clay and it was highly fertile.
The area which was occupied by about 800-2000 villages was
cultivated by a dense population working for wealthy families,
who hired agronomists and agriculturalists to improve cultivation
techniques and production.

Experiments involving horticultural techniques were specially
developed in the area of Seville in the so-called Al-sharaf. This was
an elevated table land with surface of approximately 1650 km2
which was bordered with water. Its soil was made with sand
mixed with lime and local layers of clay and it was highly fertile.
The area which was occupied by about 800-2000 villages was
cultivated by a dense population working for wealthy families,
who hired agronomists and agriculturalists to improve cultivation
techniques and production.

A lush garden with fountain and shade giving trees and the gentle
green everywhere as depicted in the kind of Char-bagh in
miniature, there may be room for many plants and flowers, but,
there is always water, usually a small fountain or a small pool in
the centre with possibly one palm tree and a few pots.
The houses were often quite high, with 4-stories or more and a
flat roof on which one can sleep on hot summer nights, the
windows opening up into the courtyard, a miniature Paradise
garden within.

HHWT

By the hand of local experts discover epic places even locals don’t know about!
We have included in this tour the must-visit attractions, that you won’t want to miss when visiting Spain.

Learn all about Spain history, traditions, amazing gastronomy and world-famous festivities. And discover the Mediterranean relaxed lifestyle. Spaniards are known as some of the most friendly inhabitants in Europe 🙂

 

Cosmopolitan Barcelona

Explore Barcelona medieval Gothic quarters, see the Gothic Cathedral dated on the 13th century, the Roman walls, the Jewish quarters, the prestigious school where master painters as Picasso and Dali studied, among many other spots!

Feel the city vibe of the most iconic street in Barcelona, La Rambla, a large boulevard which runs from the Plaça Catalunya to the seafront full of cafés, shops and famous “La Boquería” the traditional food market.

During this tour your hands will be busy (not only eating the delicious Spanish “Tapas”) but with our offer of handicrafts workshops. You may want to become a traditional shoemaker (Espadrilles shoes) at the city center. Or you may prefer to show your skills as a mosaic artist following the Modernist architecture Gaudi’s style known as “Trencadis”.

Walk the Passeig de Gracia towards your guide to discover the Catalan Modernism, a very unique architectural style based on Nature and dated on late 19th century.

See famous Casa Batló, rich in curves, natural forms and a reptile-like tile façade has earned it the nickname of House of the Dragon.
La Pedrera and Sagrada Familia church, all designed by the genius of local architect Antoni Gaudí. The church has been under construction for over 100 years and isn’t expected to be completed for at least another 20 years.

The following optional tours are available for a surcharge. Please contact us for further information:

Sail a vessel experience departing from Barcelona’s harbor.

 

 

Andalusia, Southern Spain

Escape the big city to the inspiring sights of Andalusia in Southern Spain. Explore Andalusia’s most iconic cities: Seville, Cordoba & Granada and visit of the most important Islamic heritage of Spain: the Alhambra of Granada and Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral.

 

Cordoba

Travel to Cordoba by fast speed train through the landscapes of Don Quixote, small towns and fields of olive trees.

Discover a city with one of the richest histories in Spain. Cordoba’s most famous monument is its great  Mosque-Cathedral – Between 10th until 13th centuries this Masjid was one of the grandest and most important mosques in Al Andalus. When the city was reclaimed by Christians, the building was converted into a church.

A walk over most streets in the old quarter will take you past several beautiful decorated building facades, the Calleja de las Flores is the most spectacular.

Explore the Juderia old Jewish quarters and see the synagogue dated from the 14th century, it is one of the finest examples of Mudejar architecture in Cordoba like many of the city’s key historical places.

Experience the lively food market in our foodie tour where your local host will show you the key ingredients of Andalusian cuisine (famous extra virgin olive oil is essential, taste it)

Learn how to prepare traditional dishes attending a Spanish cooking class. In the menu features seafood rice, spanish omellete, Salmorejo (veggie soup).

 

Seville

Travel to the capital of Andalusia by fast speed train.

Did you know? Legend says Seville was founded 3,000 years ago by the mythological hero Hercules!

Sightseeing with a local guide many of the city’s highlights such as the Golden Tower ( a 13th century watchtower over the Guadalquivir river), the cathedral and the Giralda Tower besides (it was the Mosque minaret, built during the Almohad period), the Catholic kings Royal Alcazar and the colourful Plaza de España build in 1929 in a eclectic style (mix of neo-Mudejar, Reinassence and even Art Deco) for the Ibero-American Exhibition.

Walk along one the harming streets surrounding the Seville’s cathedral. It is Santa Cruz, one of the most iconic districts of Seville and the old Jewish neighborhood.

Flamenco is a dance truly unique and it was born here in Andalusia. If you fancy, you can learn the basic steps with our teacher and his guitar player at Seville. If you prefer an outdoor activity, explore the city from a kayak on the Guadalquivir river!

 

Granada

Travel to Granada by coach (easiest way to get there as there is no direct train)

Rising above the modern lower town, the Alhambra and the Albaycín, situated on two adjacent hills, form the medieval part of Granada. To the east of the Alhambra fortress and residence are the magnificent gardens of the Generalife

Visit the palatine city of the Alhambra, the former rural residence of the emirs who ruled this part of Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is the best example of Nasrid art and the only preserved palatine city of the Islamic period is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Described by the ancients poets as a “pearl set in emeralds.” is dated in the 9th century.

Relax at Carmen de Los Martires, just besides Alhambra complex,  one of the city’s most attractive green spaces.

Alhambra stands on a hill separated by the river Darro to the hill where was built the Albayzín district, the best-preserved illustration of a Hispano-Muslim city.

Walk the Albaicin charming little streets to see the whitewashed houses and jasmine-scented squares.  To reach the top of Albaicin, you will require a good amount of energy but the views of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains from its most popular square, the Mirador San Nicolás, are some of the best in the city.

Granada is also known for the amazing street art and the great “tapas” (small appetizers) bars. We offer two thematics tours available for those interested.

 

Add On Experiences in Granada

Spanish dishes Cooking Class
55.00 €
Lunch or dinner with starter, two courses, dessert and drink in a house cave with a spectacular view over the Alhambra complex.

Graffiti Art Tour
22.00 €
Walking tour to learn about the art scene of Granada, dig into the hip hop and
graffiti culture. The pieces of the famous painter “Niño de las Pinturas” will fascinate
you!

Foodie Tapas Tour
59.00 €
Discover 5 nice places where try food you wouldn’t have discovered by yourself
with our foodie’s host!

 

Tour Highlights

The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:

  • See the works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona
  • Visit the Alhambra and Generalife (Granada)
  • See the Cathedral in Seville
  • Explore the Albayzin quarter

 

BARCELONA Guided walking tour to the Gothic Quarters, guided walking tour the Modernism & Gaudi, shoemaker or ceramic workshop, train ticket to Cordoba

CORDOBA Guided walking tour, visit the Mosque of the Caliphs, Food Market experience and cooking class, train ticket to Seville

SEVILLE Guided walking tour, flamenco class or kayak the river, bus ticket to Granada

GRANADA Guided visit of the Alhambra complex and Albayzin district

 

 

 

MADRID Welcome dinner; guided sightseeing, visit the Prado Museum

 

MADRID
explore Madrid’s colorful fusion of cultures

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Miss the crowds and skip the lines booking in advance your entrance tickets to major attractions such as the Alhambra Palaces, when booking this tour.

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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