Seville is famous for its charm, tapas, and flamenco. Moreover, if you’d like to explore other cities in Spain, Andalusia’s capital makes for a great base to do so. Due to its location in southern Spain, Seville is within driving distance to some of the country’s most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the most famous pueblos blancos (“white villages”). With so many options, choosing one or two destinations to visit may feel overwhelming. For this reason, I’ll discuss the top 12 best day trips from Seville, Spain, in this article. Hopefully, this list will help you choose a day tour from Seville that is most suited to your interests and the sights you’d like to see!
Granada is the most popular day trip from Seville for one big reason: The Alhambra Palace. Although the Alhambra began as a small fortress, it was eventually converted into a royal Nasrid palace in 1333. Later, as part of the 1492 Christian Reconquista, the Catholic Monarchs conquered Granada and took control of the Alhambra. The palace fell into disrepair over the centuries, only to be rediscovered during Napoleonic times. Nowadays, after hundreds of years of restoration, the Alhambra Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular attractions in the country. On your visit, you’ll see first-hand why Moorish poets described this palace as “a pearl set in emeralds”.
How to get from Seville to Granada
Train and bus rides from Seville to Granada generally take about three to four hours. However, if visiting the Alhambra is at the top of your bucket list, make sure to book a guided walking tour. Otherwise, it can be quite tricky to get tickets for specific days and times. Even if you don’t plan to visit the Alhambra, Granada is still worth the visit. In fact, this city maintains an amusing tradition of giving you free tapas when you order a drink! After filling up on tapas, buy all the souvenirs you need at the Alcaicería, Grand Bazaar. Then, end your day by watching the sunset at the Mirador San Nicolás or the Mirador de San Miguel Alto.
Córdoba is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and its main attractions include the Mezquita (mosque), the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Palacio de Viana, and the Roman Bridge. In the 10th century, it was the capital of a Muslim Caliphate and a center for learning. You can find remnants of this extended period within Córdoba’s history all over the city. However, the best example is the Great Mosque of Córdoba. Even if you’re not into history, there’s still plenty to see! Take a walk through the Jewish Quarter, where you’ll find one of Andalusia’s most picturesque streets: Calleja de las Flores. If you’re in Spain during the first two weeks of May, you can’t miss Córdoba’s Patio Festival. During this celebration, residents adorn their homes with flowers in the hope of winning a prize for the best decorations. The Patio Festival is visually pleasing, and it’s also free!
How to get from Seville to Córdoba
Overall, Córdoba is one of the best options for a quick and straightforward Seville day trip. In fact, the journey only takes about 45 minutes on a high-speed train. On top of the trip length, approximately 25 trains run from Seville to Córdoba each day, and tickets tend to be quite affordable. As always, I’d recommend reserving your train tickets in advance. Moreover, Córdoba is one of the few day trips where I don’t think you necessarily need to book a guided tour. Nonetheless, if you’d like to see more than one city on your day trip from Seville, I suggest booking a guided tour of Córdoba and Carmona.
Cádiz is a smaller fishing and beach town that is very easy to reach from Seville. For a day in the sun, lounge on the beach at Playa La Caleta or Playa de La Victoria. If you’re not a beach person, check out San Sebastián Castle or the Cádiz Cathedral. For a great view of the town, head to Torre Tavira. Originally a watchtower in the 18th century, Torre Tavira is now a popular tourist spot in Cádiz. After climbing ten flights of stairs and 170 steps, you’ll experience a panoramic view of the city’s highlights. The rooftop of the tower is also home to the Camera Obscura, installed in 1994. Every 30 minutes, there’s a live demonstration with the Camera Obscura, projecting close-up images of Cádiz onto a white screen. After a full day of exploring, cool off at Heladería Pazza Mina with the city’s best ice cream.
How to get from Seville to Cádiz
Since Seville and Cádiz are quite close in distance, trains and buses between the two cities run frequently. Both the train or bus journey will take about 2 hours to get from Seville to Cádiz. To be safe, it’s always a good idea to book your return ticket ahead of time, as the evening trains sometimes sell out. If you’re having a tough time deciding between bus or train, know that the bus is generally cheaper, but that the train might be more comfortable. Another great option is to look into car rentals for this day trip! There are plenty of parking decks around Cádiz where you can affordably leave your vehicle for the day while exploring the city on foot.
Ronda, the most famous white village in Spain, is part of Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park in Andalusia. Between its location along a gorge, the mountains in the distance, and the surrounding greenery, it’s easy to see why Ronda makes an ideal day trip from Seville. In fact, Ronda has inspired many famous artists, including Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. You may have even seen photos of Ronda’s most famous attraction: Puente Nuevo (“new bridge”). This bridge, which divides the city in half, took 34 years to build. For the best perspective of Puente Nuevo, hike down to the Ronda Bridge View Point along the Carretera de los Molinos. If you have a car, you can also drive to this spot! After that, take some time to stroll through Ronda’s Old Town.
How to get from Seville to Ronda
Although it’s possible to take a bus from the San Sebastian del Prado station in Seville to Ronda, it may not be your best bet. This three-hour journey can often be uncomfortable, as buses may not offer much legroom. Instead of taking public transportation, I suggest making the most of your time and money by taking a guided tour of Ronda and visiting other pueblos blancos on the same trip. It would be a missed opportunity not to visit Arcos de la Frontera or Setenil de las Bodegas since they are so close by!
5. ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA
Arcos de la Frontera is another of Andalusia’s most popular pueblos blancos to visit. It’s probably best known for its dramatic position, perched high atop a sandstone ridge (pictured above). Some of its main attractions are Basílica Menor de Santa María de la Asunción, Plaza del Cabildo, Convento de las Mercedarias, Iglesia de San Pedro, Castillo de los Duques, and the town’s many miradores. Nonetheless, the most popular draw to Arcos de la Frontera is likely the town itself. This pueblo, with its many winding streets, truly transports you back in time. Furthermore, it’s typically a less crowded destination, and locals tend to be very welcoming. I’d recommend taking the time to stop by a local tapa bar while in town and try something new.
How to get from Seville to Arcos de la Frontera
It is possible to visit Arcos de la Frontera by taking the Los Amarillos bus from Seville. However, in my opinion, it would be remiss to go all the way to Arcos de la Frontera for the day without seeing some of the other white villages as well. This pueblo is quite small and can be fully explored in just a few hours. Afterward, make your way to Ronda or Setenil de las Bodegas. If you’d like to see as many white villages as you can, I would urge you to take a guided tour of the area. These towns are much easier to see in a group because it’s really challenging to make your way up the hills and through the many narrow streets in a rental car. I know from personal experience!
6. SETENIL DE LAS BODEGAS
Setenil de las Bodegas is a beautiful white village in southern Spain. In particular, it’s well known for its unique architecture. In fact, due to the many natural caves and rock formations in the town, residents have constructed homes and other buildings quite literally under overhanging rocks! As far as this village’s interesting name, legend holds that it comes from the Roman Latin phrase septem nihil, meaning “seven times nothing”. Apparently, this refers to the Moorish resistance to Christian attacks during the Reconquista–it took seven sieges for the Christians to eventually capture the city. Nowadays, Setenil de las Bodegas is a popular stop on any route through Spain’s white villages. The main attraction is Calle Cuevas de la Sombra, where you’ll be able to pass beneath a rock overhang. Other sights to see include Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación Parish Church and Nazari Castle.
How to get from Seville to Setenil de las Bodegas
Since Setenil de las Bodegas is a relatively remote town, the best options for a day trip from Seville are to rent a car or go on a guided tour. If you choose to rent a car, the drive takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes. While you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss some of the other popular white villages in Andalusia, such as Ronda and Zahara de la Sierra. In my opinion, the best option is to sign up for a guided tour! That way, you don’t have to worry about driving the windy roads, and you’ll get to see up to three or four white villages in a day.
7. JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA
Jerez de la Frontera, typically just called “Jerez”, is another charming Andalusian town. It’s famous for its sherry, flamenco, and annual horse festival in May. Since Jerez is well known for its sherry, one of the biggest attractions is to go on a winery tour. I recommend dropping by the Bodega Diez Merito, a family-run winery that will make you feel right at home. They offer various visits, ranging from tasting, tapas, vors, tours of the bodega and vineyard, and sherry cooking. Click here to plan your visit! Other top activities in this town include the Alcázar (yes, Jerez has one too!) and the equestrian ballet at the Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre. In this impressive show, titled “How the Andalusian Horses Dance”, you’ll witness riders demonstrate their horsemanship skills, all while dressed in 18th-century styled costumes.
How to get from Seville to Jerez de la Frontera
There are many ways to reach Jerez from Seville, including by train, bus, and car. Nonetheless, the easiest route is taking the train, which takes a little over an hour. If you’d rather travel by bus, head to the San Bernardo Bus Station. Buses run about every hour and a half and take just a few minutes longer than the train to arrive. Renting a car is an ideal option if you’d like to have more freedom to explore other nearby villages and towns. To make things even simpler, there are many guided options for day tours from Seville to Jerez de la Frontera. Some of these also combine Cádiz and Jerez into a day trip!
Along with Córdoba, Carmona is another quick day trip you can do from Seville. Due to Carmona’s advantageous location on an easily defended plateau, it has provided a home to various civilizations over hundreds of years. For this reason, you can find Roman, Moorish, and Castilian ruins in this historic town. Some of Carmona’s top activities are to visit the Alcázar de la Puerta de Sevilla, the Roman Necropolis, and the Iglesia de Santa María de la Asunción. If you’d like to try some authentic Carmona cuisine, head to Molino de la Romera. This restaurant was an olive mill in the past and now offers some fabulous views of the Andalusian countryside from the terrace. If you’re feeling adventurous, make sure to try Carmona’s acclaimed local dish: Espinacas con garbanzos (“spinach with chickpeas”). Take your time as you stroll through the Jewish quarter or maybe even the Farmer’s Market.
How to get from Seville to Carmona
The trip from Seville to Carmona should only take about 30-40 minutes from the San Bernardo station (bus number M124). Additionally, riding the bus might be the best budget-friendly option, as the cost is normally around 3 €. Like some of the other day trips mentioned, you can easily see Carmona and another city within 24 hours. For example, one popular option is to tour both Córdoba and Carmona in one day.
Did you know that you can actually see ancient Roman ruins just outside of Seville? In fact, Itálica, located 5.6 miles (9km) northwest of Seville, was the first Roman settlement in what is now modern-day Spain. Moreover, it was the birthplace of two famous Roman emperors: Hadrian and Trajan. One of the biggest draws to this site is its well-preserved amphitheater, which could seat 25,000 spectators! You may also recognize these ruins from the HBO series Game of Thrones. In the season 7 finale, Itálica was used as a Targaryen Dragonpit, where the main characters meet to hold a summit. Besides the amphitheater, this archeological site also includes an extensive list of well-preserved mosaics, the remains of the Traianeum (a temple dedicated to Trajan), thermal baths, and a sophisticated water supply and sewage system.
How to get from Seville to Itálica
Since Itálica is so close to Seville, it makes for an effortless day trip! If you’d like to take public transportation, you can take the 170A and 170B buses to Santiponce from the Plaza de Armas bus station in Seville. The 170A is probably the best option, as it passes by every 30 minutes. The journey from Seville takes approximately 30 minutes, and the bus drops off and picks up right at the entrance. Although the trip by bus is convenient, you may prefer to explore the ruins with a guide. I’ve included a few different options for guided tours to Itálica from Seville below.
10. DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK
Doñana National Park is a natural reserve that spans 543 km2 (209.65 sq mi). In 1994, it was officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This park is an excellent spot for bird watching, as more than half a million birds visit each year. On a Doñana Natural Park tour, you can learn about various ecosystems: marshes, dunes, swamps, and even pine forest. Due to its ecological diversity, this land was used in the past as a royal hunting estate. Nowadays, Doñana is dedicated to conservation, providing a home to many endangered species. Many tourists hope to catch of glimpse of the Iberian lynx, which the WWF currently lists as the world’s most endangered feline species. Visitor access to the park is relatively limited, so you’ll have to book ahead of time for boat or jeep tours, especially if you want to visit during the high season.
How to get from Seville to Doñana National Park
There are a few options as far as traveling from Seville to Doñana National Park. While it is possible to drive there on your own, you may want to sign up for a guided tour to avoid any hiccups. Nonetheless, if you’d prefer to make the short drive, many tourists visit the park and hike the trails at the visitor center without a tour.
Gibraltar isn’t actually a part of Spain, but rather a British Overseas Territory. The reason most people choose to travel to Gibraltar is a little quirky: it’s to see monkeys! In fact, the Barbary macaques in Gibraltar are a massive draw to the peninsula, although no one knows how they came to live there. Current estimates are that approximately 200-300 monkeys are living in Gibraltar. On your visit, make sure to follow the rule of never giving food to these animals. This habit can be harmful to monkeys and can even alter their natural behavior towards humans.
How to get from Seville to Gibraltar
Unfortunately, visiting Gibraltar from Seville via public transportation isn’t super feasible. For example, there are no trains to Gibraltar from Seville. Moreover, while it is possible to take a bus, it’ll only take you as far as La Linea, on the other side of the border. From there, you’ll have to walk to the border physically. Instead of jumping through these hoops, take a guided tour for the day to keep things simple. Do NOT forget to bring your passport, as Gibraltar is NOT in the Schengen zone. You WILL have to go through customs at the border.
Want to tick visiting Morocco off your bucket list? If so, why not hop the Strait of Gibraltar and visit Tangier on a day trip from Seville? I chose to list Tangier as the last day trip from Seville in this article because it’s almost impossible to do in one day on your own. Furthermore, going to Tangier and then returning to Seville makes for a long, exhausting day.
How to get from Seville to Tangier
If you really want to visit Morocco while you’re nearby, I have listed some reputable guided tours from Seville to Tangier below. These excursions from Seville typically leave very early in the morning to make the most of the day. Plus, they include transportation, ferry tickets, meals, and a walking tour of Tangier. It’s imperative to remember that you’ll be leaving the country, so don’t forget your passport!
Which day trip from Seville would you choose? Let me know in the comments!
This article was first published in June 2019 and has since been updated.