Seville is a city rich in culture, history and things to do. Wandering the narrow cobble stone streets, checking out the Alcazar that was even used as a location set for Game of Thrones and falling in love with Plaza de España. And let’s not forget the delicious tapas! You can easily fill a long weekend in the city, but if you want to venture out and get a taste for other gems in the region, there are plenty of options for a day trip from Seville.
The smaller Spanish cities that don’t get as many tourists are often just as full of history and culture but without the crowds getting in the way. Which, let’s be honest, is definitely an extra bonus! The following are all easy day trips to make, either on your own or as part of a tour, and will give you a much deeper appreciation of the southern Spanish history and culture.
Home to the stunning La Mezquita, which dates back to 784 A.D., Cordoba is a compact city full of history, stunning architecture and gorgeous cobble stone streets. You’re free to explore the winding streets on foot, as there are no cars in the historic centre. Within the old city walls, the patios of Cordoba with their crisp white walls and colourful hanging pots have become a firm favourite with instagram fans. There’s also the old Jewish quarter to explore, as well as an array of charming, small shops. Venture further out and you’ll find the impressive Roman bridge stretching across the Guadalquivir river, the Alcazar and old Arab baths. Just 45 minutes away by train, and with plenty to fill the day, Cordoba makes for the perfect day trip from Seville.
El Puerto de Santa Maria
Seville is a city that gets hot. For some, the heat calls for just one thing – the beach! Just over an hour on the train or by car and you’ll find yourself in El Puerto de Santa Maria. The city offers an ideal day trip from Seville for those looking for a balance of sightseeing and relaxing on the beach. El Puerto is most known for its beaches and sherry exports, but there’s also an impressive bullring that is still used today, as well as a castle and a generous offering of churches to explore.
Ronda draws visitors in with the stunning bridge that joins the two sides of the cliffs. There are actually three bridges in this town to check out, as well the oldest bull ring in the country. It’s still used, with an historical bullfighting event, Corrida Goyesca, taking place every year. It takes about an hour and a half to drive, or 2 hours 15 on the bus to get to Ronda, but it’ll be worth it for those wanting to get the postcard picture of the stunning bridge, or to indulge in the history here.
Just an hour and 40 minutes on the train and you’ll find yourself in the coastal city of Cadiz. One of the oldest inhabited cities in Western Europe, the old town is full of character, narrow streets and impressive plazas. The new town is distinctly different, but the location of the old town makes it very difficult to build, so much of what is there has been for a long time. Highlights include old city gates, military watchtowers and stunning buildings that fill the many plazas in the city.
Jerez de la Frontera
Just an hour on the train from Seville and you’ll arrive in the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera. Best known for the Tio Pepe bodegas, sherry and flamenco dancing, Jerez is a perfect day trip city. Mornings can be spent checking out the alcazar and watching the famous dancing horses at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. Come afternoon, the siesta culture is strong here, with a lot of places closing for a few hours to avoid the hottest part of the day. For day trippers, it’s the perfect time to find a cafe in the square, and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Come afternoon, the bodegas are calling! Make the most of the opportunity to take a tour and learn about the famous sherry Jerez makes.
If you need a bit more inspiration to visit Jerez, check out this post.
Sometimes paired with Cordoba for a day trip from Seville, Carmona is just a 20 minute drive or 1 hour 15 on the bus from Seville. It’s not a huge city and not widely known, but it’s worthy of a trip for the history alone. It’s got an alcazar as many of the cities in the south do, but there are also Roman ruins and a necropolis to explore.
If history isn’t your thing, there are day trips to Carmona to tour the olive groves, learn about olive oil, Spanish cooking traditions and to sample tapas.
Crossing the border from Spain into the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is a strange experience. First, you go through passport control, which isn’t required at any other Spanish land border. Then, once you’re through, you’ll cross over the runway as you drive into Gibraltar. How often can you say you do that? As it’s a British overseas territory, you’ll find things in £ rather than €, and everything looks, well, English. The traffic lights, the shops and of course, the pubs.
It’s a 2 hour drive from Seville, but with so much to fill the day, it’s a worthwhile journey. The views from the top of The Rock are stunning, with monkeys hanging around and even views of Morocco on a clear day. Hikers will enjoy the Mediterranean Steps, which as the name suggests is a huge stairway up the side of the rock. Not for the faint-hearted, but the views are worth the crazy climb. Elsewhere, St Michael’s Cave is a big hit with visitors, and history buffs will enjoy a tour of the Great Siege Tunnels.
A little further out from Seville at 2 hours 30 by train or car, Granada is a city close to the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains. Known most widely for its famous Alhambra, the hilltop fortress and palace, you could easily spend half of the day exploring that alone.
And the rest of the city? Just as impressive! The Albaicín, an old Arabic quarter, takes pride of place on the hill, where you’ll have fun navigating the steep cobble stone streets that are difficult to follow even with Google maps. But with so many quirky shops, charming squares and delicious tapas places to find and explore, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon.
Although all of the above are perfect day trips from Seville, if you have the opportunity to spend longer there and stay a night, it really gives an insight to a different side of the city. Once the other day trippers leave and the locals finish work, the cities take on a different vibe. Dinner and drinks in the late evening, people meeting friends and just enjoying the simple pleasures of life. It’s one of my favourite times of the day in Spain!
To check for the cheapest and easiest trains, I use TrainLine.
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