Seville, or Sevilla, its Spanish name, is the fourth largest metropolitan area in Spain but it has the feel of a smaller town. For tourists, anyway. The historic center, the area of Seville of interest to most visitors, is compact and walkable, and some people even try to squeeze it all in one day. I do not recommend that for various reasons. First, what a tiring day that would be! Second, and likely most importantly for those reading this post, there is no way to photograph the major sights at their best in just one day. For that, you need at least a weekend.
But this post is not about telling you how long you should stay in Seville, but about the best places, in my opinion for photography there. So, without further ado, here is the list in no particular order.
Las Setas de Sevilla, or Metropol Parasol
This place has two fantastic vantage points that produce dramatically different images.
To photograph the wooden structure itself, you need to stand underneath it and use a very wide angle lens to capture as much of it as possible, although likely not all of it, or a less wide lens to focus on parts of it. I prefer to photograph this view during blue hour, when the blue lights of the structure match the sky and everything is illuminated.
But the hero of this location is the fantastic view from the top of the structure. There are 360° views of Seville with the view towards the cathedral being the most popular, and for a very good reason: it’s stunning.
For this particular spot, both, ultrawide and telephoto lenses come in handy. With an ultrawide lens you can capture part of the Setas along with the cathedral in the distance, while an telephoto lens will allow you to zoom in on the cathedral itself. While the views are great at any time, sunset is the best, especially just as the sun has gone down and the city lights come on. Blue hour is also good.
Garden Walls of the Real Alcazar
Yes, all of the Real Alcazar is beautiful, but it is also nearly always crowded. Good luck trying to get a photo of the Patio de las Doncellas without a gazillion people in it! The gardens are absolutely stunning, and, if you time it right, you can get a photo with few people or no people. You can also get a photo of the Giralda (cathedral tower) through the palm trees if you have a long enough lens. And if this spot looks familiar, it is because it is the garden of the palace of Dorne in Game of Thrones. If it’s good enough for GoT, it’s good enough for me!
The garden is part of the Alcazar so you do have to pay the entry fee.
Plaza de España
This is a very popular spot in Seville, and it is absolutely beautiful. The compositions are endless, whether you go for superwide views of the square or choose to focus on the details. My favorite time to photograph Plaza de España is at sunrise and shortly after. Yes, I know it’s early (relatively, anyway), but the light is wonderful and the place empty. The only downside to photographing it at this time is that the fountain is not on, but I’d gladly give that up to have the plaza to myself.
Corner of Avenida de la Constitución and Plaza de San Francisco
From this corner, and with your back to the Ayuntamiento building, you can capture the Avenida de la Consitución and the Edifcio de la Adriática, one of the most iconic buildings in this area of Seville. Any time of day is great for this spot, but my favorite time is during blue hour when you can capture the lights of the avenue, and if you can get a light trail from the passing tram, even better.
Note: as of the writing of this post, there is some pretty unsightly scaffolding on the building right next to the Edificio de la Adriática that is virtually impossible to crop out while still getting the length of the avenue and the building in the photo.
Puente San Telmo
There is no better spot that is not on private property from which to photograph the Torre del Oro from the river-side than from about halfway across the Puente San Telmo. The sidewalk on the bridge is narrow, but there are seating alcoves along the bridge that allow you, well, to sit, or give you room to setup a tripod without obstructing the flow of pedestrian traffic. Or no tripod, up to you, but I have feelings on the matter. That’s a story for another day though. The best time to shoot from this spot is during evening golden hour, when the soft sunlight bathes the Torre del Oro in the gorgeous light that makes it appear golden, giving the tower its name: Tower of Gold.
Next to Restaurante Abades Triana
On the other side of the San Telmo bridge, on the Triana side, just after the Resaurante Abades Triania is a set of steps that lead down to the riverside. From here, you can see the Torre del Oro and the Giralda, and get them both in the same photo if you have a wide angle lens, or you can stitch a panorama like I’ve done with the photo here. You can also get a pretty great photo of the Giralda if you have a really long lens, 400mm or so. I’ve never seen many people in this spot, and when walking there you’ll miss it if you blink. The second best thing about this spot is that since you are already in Triana, you might as well explore the neighborhood.
Top of Calle Mateos Gago
This is smack-dab in the heart of the historic center of Seville, and offers the best unstructured view of the Giralda from the ground, as well as of a few other buildings surrounding the square. To get the entire Giralda in you will need a pretty wide lens, or to step back into Calle Mateos Gago, which is a beautiful street you’ll want to photography anyway. Sunrise and sunset are both good times to shoot in this post. During sunrise you will get the sunlight illuminating the tower, while during sunset you’ll have beautiful dusk colors behind the tower.
The Cathedral Roof
It is undeniable that most of the best views of Seville include the cathedral, but the views from the cathedral itself are pretty great too. I can’t speak for the views from the tower (Giralda), but the views from other parts of the rooftop are worth the stairs and narrow walkways. You have to purchase a ticket for the “Cubiertas de la Catedral,” and it is a guided tour so you don’t have much time plan a shot. It is also only available during the day so you have to make do with the light you have.
This list is, of course, not exhaustive. Seville is a beautiful and picturesque city, so, get out there photograph it!