Unusual Things to Do in Seville, Spain

The Metropol Parasol in Seville offers incredible, sweeping views of the city
The Metropol Parasol in Seville offers incredible, sweeping views of the city | © Luca Bravo / Unsplash
Photo of Justin McDonnell
8 July 2020

With a palace and a plaza for every day of the week, Seville oozes elegance. In a city as classy as this one, there’s no shame in sticking to the big attractions. However, if you want to add some spice to your visit, plenty is going on behind its pretty face. The Andalusian capital is famously historical yet decidedly modern – and the mix makes for a city that’s full of adventure. From kayaking and snail-eating to watching oddball art troupes at work, here are Culture Trip’s picks for the most unusual things to do in Seville.

Watch flamenco with the people of Seville

Bar, Tapas
Map View

Watching flamenco in Seville won’t win you any prizes for originality. However, finding the real deal is harder than you might think. The city is awash with tourist-trap extravaganzas – huge red dresses and perfected routines – but flamenco auténtico happens in the corners of shady bars, where maestros turn up in jeans and improvise their magic. Tapas bar La Madriguera de Mai looks like a student haunt, but every Friday and Saturday night, its tiny stage hosts flamenco that’ll make you weep.

Kayak down the river

Bridge
Map View
Following the flow of the Guadalquivir River is a wonderful way to see Seville – especially when you’re waterlogged and swallowing murky water. Tour boats are nice, but nothing beats a kayak for thrill-seeking and sightseeing all at once. Many companies offer guided tours and rentals, with prices averaging €26 (£23) for two hours. Among the well-reviewed are Paddle Surf Seville, SupGuadalquivir and Kayak Sevilla.

Learn about Seville’s herstory on a walking tour

Architectural Landmark
Map View

A female take on the city of kings, this alternative walking tour revisits the “queens, nuns, prostitutes and witches” whose legacies have been forgotten. Hear about the “cigar girls” as you pass the Royal Tobacco Factory, and the behind-the-scenes women who made Parque de María Luisa the landmark it is today. Tours run from Monday to Sunday at 10am (and occasionally 4pm), meeting at Costurero de la Reina. Book online.

Eat some cheeks

Market
Map View
Nothing gets the stomach rumbling like a cooked bull’s tail – apart from pork cheek, that is, or cooked snails. Seville is famed for its cuisine, and despite some dazzling vegetable dishes, at heart, it’s a deeply meaty affair. Don’t get squeamish: these delights have some of the richest flavours you’ll ever try. Eat yourself silly at the Mercado de Triana. If you’d like some guidance, standout food tours include Secret Food Tours, Devour Seville Food Tours, and Withlocals.

Stand on top of a giant mushroom

Building, Cathedral
Map View
Also known as Las Setas (the mushrooms), the enormous and undulating Metropol Parasol has become Seville’s most modern landmark. Some think it’s monstrous, while others believe it’s marvellous. Whatever your take, there’s something unique about gazing across Seville atop 26m (85ft) of wooden fungi. The viewpoint has a €5 (£4.50) entry fee.

Sneak a peek into the Pelicano5 art collective

Architectural Landmark
Map View

Leave the 17th century in the Museo de Bellas Artes, and hunt down some madcap art in the making. Behind the centre’s cobbled streets are a host of courtyards where artists have worked for centuries, and they are still very much alive. In one of these corralónes lurks the Pelicano5 art collective, which counts sculptors, carpenters and a self-professed “mad inventor” in its midst. Sneak a peek through a window, and you might just catch contemporary art in action.

These recommendations were updated on July 8, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.