How to Explore Seville on a Budget

In Spain, all good things – from coffee to beer – are often affordable, at least by the standards of other major Western European cities. The same is true for Seville; the colorful and sunny city that was a stronghold of Islamic rule in Spain for over 500 years, before falling to Spanish Christians in the 13th century. As the capital of Andalusia, Seville attracts restaurateurs, artists and tourists. The downside is that it can be more expensive than elsewhere in southern Spain.

With a bit of savvy planning, there are ways to ensure that a trip to Seville’s many tempting palaces, museums and restaurants remains affordable while experiencing the best the city has to offer. Read on to find out how much money you’ll need each day in Seville.

Look for a place to stay outside the Old Town

Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter and the city center are home to Seville’s most famous sights: the cathedral and the Alcazar. Escape the tourist honeypot by relocating to Triana, a less polished but vibrant neighborhood across the river. An apartment for two on a site like Airbnb hovers around $131 per night (the average in Seville is $217.50 per night) and is conveniently located near the delicious array of pastries on sale at Manu Jara Dulcería.

For hostel prices but without the backpacker vibe, try Room007 Salvador, an old coffee roastery near Las Setas, the Metropol Parasol. Around an elegant colonnaded courtyard, the design is impressive and the prices are reasonable: a private room for six people costs €144 (£57), or €72 ($78.50) for a double room with bunk beds. Look for inexpensive accommodation that can be combined with low-cost activities. La Banda, a multi-award-winning hostel, offers paella and flamenco nights, rooftop yoga, and guided tours of Seville with a brunch stop.

You can visit the Real Alcázar and other sites for free during certain hours © Doug Armand / Shutterstock

Save your money by visiting the sites on Mondays

This is when many major museums and palaces offer discounted admissions. Explore the Real Alcázar for free starting at 4pm or 6pm, depending on the month. Next door, the Caridad Hospital opens its doors free of charge from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays. Step straight into the small but extravagant chapel, where you’ll find murals by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Juan de Valdés Leal, two of Spain’s most prolific painters. The hospital’s small but charming jasmine-filled garden is across the street.

Also look beyond Seville’s most famous sights, which cost less to visit. In the vibrant district from La Macarena, enter the arcaded courtyard of the Palacio de Las Dueñas, ochre-coloured, for free, from 4 p.m. on Mondays. Its lush garden is one of only two in Spain to feature in the “Great Gardens of the World”. As for the Sunday church, the baroque Iglesia de San Luis de los Franceses, recently restored, is free from 4 p.m. After gazing at the elaborate frescoes, make your way through stone passageways into the crypt. During the week, students can enter for €2 ($2.20).

Go around the city on foot

Strolling through the winding streets of Seville is by far the best free way to explore Seville’s unique neighborhoods. Practically, the main places to visit, Santa Cruz, La Macarena, El Arena and Triana, are grouped together, which means that the city is easily navigable.

Runners can enjoy a 10 km loop around the historic city center. Start at the Real Alcázar, head north towards La Macarena, across the river to the less visited Jardines del Guadalquivir, south through the park towards Triana and across side of the bridge in the old fishing district of El Arenal. It is also a good way to evacuate all breeds (plates).

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A Sevici bike stand in downtown Seville
Seville has been a bike-friendly city for decades: rent a Servici bike by the hour © trabantos / Shutterstock

Explore Seville by bike

While other European cities are making their post-pandemic cities more bike-friendly, Seville got there decades ago. Some 180 km of cycle paths mean that cycling is safe and easy. The cheapest way is to rent a city bike with pick-up for intervals of half an hour to an hour. Start by creating an account on the Servici app, then select a seven-day package for around €13 ($14). Ride for free for the first half hour, then pay €1 ($1.10) for the next full hour and €2 ($2.20) thereafter.

Plan a fall or early spring vacation

Seville is not a year-round destination for budget travellers. Accommodation prices skyrocket during the annual Feria de Abril which falls after Easter in late April or early May. Avoid traveling during peak seasons. Instead, book a trip between September and November, or January and March, when the days are still warm and the city is less busy. For a festival vibe minus the nasty prices, time your trip to coincide with Andalusia day (the regional day) on February 28. Budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet fly from London to Seville from £13 ($14) and £26 ($28.30) respectively.

Take the train from another Spanish city

If you are already in Spain, consider taking the train to Seville. Services between major Spanish cities are modern and you can find cheap seats if you book in advance. Depending on how much time you have, you can combine a few Spanish cities in one trip while paying just one set of airfares. Trains from Malaga to Seville cost around €25 ($27) one way and take around 3 hours. Madrid to Seville costs around €30 ($32) and takes two and a half hours; Cadiz to Seville costs around €18 ($20) with a travel time of 1 hour 40 minutes.

Sharing authentic Spanish tapas with friends at the restaurant or bar.  Seen from above.
Look for affordable authentic tapas at local restaurants outside the city center © marcin jucha / Shutterstock

Taste Andalusian food and drink on the cheap

Beer is cheaper than bottled water in some bars in Seville. If you’re happy to stand at the bar, a cana (small beer) at Bodega Santa Cruz costs €1.40 ($1.50). Cruzcampo, a light local beer, is the cheapest. Tapas like croquetas (fried meatballs stuffed with melted ham, cheese or mushroom) and pavia of bacalao (cod fingers in a soft batter) usually cost between €2.50 and €5 ($2.70 to $5.50) per dish; breeds are bigger and more expensive. Enjoy affordable and tasty tapas at Casa de La Moneda, a charming restaurant housed in the former Royal Mint of Seville. In Triana, the mushrooms stuffed with Las Golondrinas aioli are a must.

Cervecería 100 Montaditos is another wonderfully economical location. You can choose from a hundred bites montaditos (mini sandwiches) for only €1 ($1.10) on Wednesdays and Sundays. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s a chain – students flock here in the evenings.

Refuel at breakfast

Spanish change of scenery (breakfast) is delicious, cheap and served in most cafes that line Seville’s pretty squares. Try the Plaza Alameda de Hércules, where an alfresco breakfast of coffee with lechefreshly squeezed orange juice and a few slices of pan con tomato – toasted bread rubbed in a tangy mixture of Andalusian olive oil, salt and fresh tomato – should set you back around €4-5 ($4.30-$5.50). Coffee snobs might prefer the specialties of Delatribu, a quirky little cafe in the district Santa Cruz which sells award-winning coffee from €2 ($2.20). Polish it with olive oil torta from the nearby Inés Rosales boutique. You can buy six of these sea salt speckled cookies for €2.55 ($2.80).

Have a beer in an old Arab bath, without paying entrance

It’s possible to see the last remnants of al-Andalus, the Islamic caliphate that once ruled Seville, without paying the high price. Indulging in the full Arabian hot tub experience will set you back a pretty penny. Instead, head to Cervercería Giralda, a tapas bar built around an old Hammam which dates back to the 12th century. The owners discovered the centuries-old Baño Árabe during renovations during the pandemic in 2021. Enjoy a cerveza under the geometric designs of one of the best preserved Islamic baths in the Iberian Peninsula.

Maria Vargas Romero, flamenco dancer for 25 years, performs at tablao El Arenal, Seville, Andalucia, Spain.
You’ll have to shell out for flamenco, but cheaper tickets are available © Yadid Levy / Lonely Planet

Feel the flamenco spirit in a bar

Swing-wrist flamenco is a staple on most travelers’ bucket list, but it’s rarely free—performers have to make a living. Students tend to shell out around €15 ($16.35) for a show; other cheaper tickets include €12 ($13) for Thursday night performances that returned to Fundación Cajasol, a stately 16th-century villa. Otherwise, opt for bars with a flamenco atmosphere and laid-back live music. La Carbonería, a former coal factory with an electric vibe, is free to enter and you only pay for your chopped off (drink). As the performances unfold, applaud the jerky rhythms of flamenco and give a well-timed “ole” with the locals.

Visit the public gardens to see ancient sites

Find places for low-key activities like reading and yoga that you can do on your own and for free. Many parks in Seville, from the spectacular Parque María Luísa to the Jardines del Guadalquivir filled with orange blossoms, are more than just grass. Surrounded by date palms, a restored Islamic swimming pool and an 11th-century Moorish palace, there’s no better place than the Jardines de la Buhaira to read The shadows of the pomegranate tree by Ali Tariq. One of the five books of the “Quintet of Islam”, the novel discusses the fall of Granada, another important Muslim stronghold in al-Andalus, to Spanish Christians.

Daily costs in Seville

  • Hostel room: from €18 ($20) for a dorm
  • Basic room for two: from €60 ($65) per night
  • Independent apartment (including Airbnb): average prices per night range from €60 ($65) for a private room to €200 ($217) for all.
  • Coffee: €1.50-2 ($1.60-2.20) for one coffee with leche on the terrace, at €2-4 ($2.20-$4.30) for a cappuccino or a pour-over V60 coffee at Delatribu, a specialty coffee shop.
  • Sandwich: €4 ($4.30) for montaditos with Ham in Los Alcalareños.
  • A dinner for two: from €30 ($32). Typical Andalusian tapas tend to start around €2.50 ($2.70) each.
  • Beer: from €1.60 ($1.70) for one cana of local Cruzcampo beer, up to €5 ($5.45) for a pint of local craft beer at Maquila Bar

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