Here are my picks for things to do in Seville in December, from traditional celebrations to local customs, the simplest things to the truly spectacular.
Wondering what it’s like to visit Seville in December? Chilly but still warmer than the US or UK, with the appeal of off-season quietness and winter sale bargains… this time of year is ideal for a city break in southern Spain!
While it’s a month in which temperatures may have dropped (a little bit compared to other European cities!), the city is still a flurry of activity as people gear up for the holiday season.
With festive cheer sweeping the city’s streets, Seville is the perfect place to visit during December. As time goes by, more and more people are choosing Seville for their winter getaway, and with good reason!
1. Enjoy the wonderful Casa de Salinas
Casa de Salinas is a stunning 16th-century palace nestled in the historic heart of Seville, mere steps from the Cathedral, the Royal Alcázar, and the Archivo de Indias.
Its unassuming façade belies the opulence within, from the Tarifa stone-paved hall to the marble-columned main courtyard adorned with exquisite 16th-century plasterwork and Triana tiles. The palace houses a second-century mosaic dedicated to Bacchus and features stained glass windows from the Cartuja de Sevilla-Pickman.
It offers a unique glimpse into Sevillian life across seasons with its summer and winter dining rooms. Owned by the Salinas family since 1930, who have carefully restored it, Casa de Salinas can only be visited via guided tour, providing an exclusive peek into a living piece of history.
You should visit Casa de Salinas to experience the blend of architectural grandeur and intimate historical storytelling that this private residence offers, a rare opportunity to step inside a living legacy of Seville’s aristocratic past.
2. Admire the Hospital de la Caridad
The Hospital de la Caridad in Seville is a stunning example of Spanish Baroque architecture, founded in 1662 by Miguel de Mañara. It still functions as a hospital providing social assistance and care.
The site, originally the royal shipyards, houses elements from this period within its three large halls. The Baroque façade of the church at the entrance showcases white and blue ceramic representations of Saint George and Saint James, as well as allegorical depictions of Faith, Charity, and Hope.
Inside, an inner courtyard with Tuscan arcades on columns and an octagonal fountain adorned with allegorical figures greets visitors. The walls are decorated with biblical scenes on Dutch tiles.
The church itself is a masterpiece of Spanish Baroque architecture, containing one of the city’s most significant collections of paintings inspired by Miguel Mañara’s message, with works by artists like Murillo and Juan Valdés Leal. A notable feature is the grand altar with a painted sculpture by Pedro Roldán, exemplifying Spanish art’s realism.
3. Explore the Itálica Roman ruins near Seville
Just a short 7km journey from Seville lies Itálica, an ancient Roman city of great historical significance. Not only was it the first Roman colony in Spain, but it also holds the distinction of being the birthplace of Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian.
This archaeological treasure boasts incredibly well-maintained ruins. Highlights include a massive amphitheater, one of the largest from the Roman era, intricate mosaic flooring, and remnants of Roman dwellings, public edifices, and thoroughfares.
For enthusiasts of the “Game of Thrones” series, the Itálica amphitheater might look familiar – it was the backdrop for the Dragonpit scenes. This connection brings a touch of contemporary cultural allure to the site.
A visit to Itálica stands out as one of the best things to do in Seville in December, offering an immersive journey into the depths of ancient history. Consider arranging a guided tour that includes admission and round-trip transportation from Seville for a comprehensive experience.
4. Stroll around a Christmas market
Visiting a market is an essential part of winter tradition in Seville. Across the city you’ll find a variety of Christmas markets, each with their own unique selection of goods.
- Mercado Navideño de Artesanía & Navidad en la Alameda de Hércules: These are two of the most popular markets in Seville. With so many stalls providing beautiful hand-crafted toys, ornaments and clothes, this is the perfect place to find a special Christmas gift.
- Feria del Belén: To experience something unique and traditional, head to the Feria del Belén. Here you can see the wide range of figurines that locals purchase for the nativity display in their homes. The tradition of the nativity display has been alive in Seville for centuries, and the city’s nativity market is one of the biggest of its kind in Spain.
5. Have fun in a cooking class
Seville cooking classes are a great way to learn about local cuisine and preparing authentic Spanish dishes. Enjoy the food you have prepared after your cooking class in Seville in good company, paired with local wine or beer.
This special cooking class in Seville is a unique opportunity to visit a local couple at their private home and discover traditional Spanish cuisine and culture.
You’ll be away from touristy restaurants to combine with your host, in preparing an authentic Spanish meal. At the same time, you’ll get a look into daily Spanish life through chatting with your English-speaking host.
6. Visit the Museo de Bellas Artes
Established in 1835, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Seville, set in a 17th-century convent with three tiled courtyards, showcases a collection spanning from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Its galleries feature creations by renowned Spanish artists, including Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Francisco de Zurbarán.
The art gallery is divided into 14 rooms distributed in chronological order. The religious theme is predominant and only the most modern works are separated from them.
Begin your journey at the Seville Museum of Fine Arts, where you’ll delve into the world of Renaissance and Baroque art, enriched by your guide’s knowledgeable insights. You’ll cover a lot of art history in a few short hours – the only thing you have to do is relax and enjoy the masterpieces!
Following this artistic exploration, head to a beloved local tapas bar to indulge in two varieties of regional delicacies, all while engaging in lively discussions about Seville’s vibrant art and culinary landscape.
7. Embark on Guadalquivir river cruise
Enjoy a beautiful sunny day on a serene journey down the Guadalquivir River, taking in the majestic sights of landmarks like the Torre del Oro and the Triana Bridge.
Start admiring the Torre del Oro, which is a few steps away from the pier. Prepare to be awed by some of Seville’s most iconic landmarks as we glide along the Guadalquivir. The cruise offers views of the San Telmo Palace, the historic tobacco factory, and the famed Triana Bridge. Enjoy these sights from the boat’s panoramic decks, providing a splendid vantage point of the landmarks along the river’s edge.
Your tour extends to the Isla de la Cartuja, the site of Expo’92. Here, you’ll have a chance to see the Pavillion and the Navigation Tower. After a tranquil hour of sailing, you’ll return to our starting point at the Torre del Oro, concluding our peaceful river exploration.
8. Enter the New Year in Seville
Tradition is incredibly important to people in Seville, and New Year’s is no exception. Generally speaking, the celebration is a family affair. Relatives will gather for a dinner of fish and white wine and as the clock strikes twelve, people scramble to stuff 12 grapes into their mouth, one at each stroke of midnight. This tradition is said to bring good luck, but we can never manage to make it to twelve!
Restaurants put together special menus for New Year’s Eve and huge crowds also gather in Plaza Nueva to eat their grapes under the glow of an astonishing fireworks display. The party goes on long into the night as people don’t have to work the next day!
9. Enjoy a flamenco show at the Museo del Baile Flamenco
The Museo del Baile Flamenco, located in the Barrio de Santa Cruz in Seville, is dedicated to showcasing the art of Flamenco dance. The museum features interactive displays, paintings, photos of renowned performers, and a collection of period dresses, providing a comprehensive look into the world of Flamenco.
But a cool thing to do in Seville in December is to enjoy a flamenco show. The performance, lasting 40 minutes to an hour, feature young talent and are held in both the courtyard and a more intimate basement space.
10. Attend a football game in Seville
Seville is home to two prominent La Liga teams, Sevilla FC and Real Betis. Both teams are known for playing high-quality, competitive football. Watching a game offers the chance to see some of the sport’s top talents in action.
Football is deeply ingrained in Spanish culture, and attending a match in Seville allows you to immerse yourself in this aspect of local life. It’s more than just a game; it’s a social event where you can feel the city’s heartbeat.
Whether you’re a football aficionado or simply looking for a unique and lively way to spend an evening, going to a football game in Seville is an unforgettable experience!
11. Book a a gastronomic adventure at a local market
Set off on with the Triana Market Tapas Tour, a unique culinary exploration in the historic Triana Market of Seville.
This engaging tour offers a chance to taste an array of local delicacies, including juicy cured meats and the exquisite 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham, along with aromatic spices, olives, and more. Relish two signature authentic drinks included in the tour. Make sure to leave space for the tour’s grand dessert finale, a sweet delight that promises to tantalize your taste buds.
Embark on this memorable journey through Seville’s vibrant food culture by booking your spot now for this 2-hour epicurean excursion!
12. Discover Seville’s best-kept secret: convent sweets
Wondering where to find some of Seville’s most delectable sweets? You might think of the city’s renowned bakeries and pastry shops, and while they are great choices, there’s an unexpected source too. Some of the most cherished treats are actually crafted by cloistered nuns in convents!
These nuns, typically withdrawn from the public eye, emerge during the holiday season to showcase and sell their homemade delicacies at a grand bake sale. This is your chance to grab a unique culinary souvenir and support a rich, enduring tradition. The event is usually held at the Real Alcázar’s stunning Patio de las Banderas, coinciding with the extended holiday beginning on December 6. Remember to mark your calendar!
13. Relax at the Arab baths
After a long walk, it’s essential to rest, relax, and pamper yourself, and what better place to do so than in one of its Arab Baths?
Arab baths, or hammams, played a crucial role in the daily life and hygiene of people in Islamic times. They were also social centers where people gathered, conversed, and relaxed.
Located in the historic center of the city, the Arab baths are one of the few well-preserved examples of Arab baths in Spain. Upon entering the building, you’ll be instantly transported to a bygone era, thanks to the vaulted ceilings, intricate mosaics, and Islamic architecture characteristic of ancient Seville.
14. Learn everything about bullfighting
The Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, situated not far away from the Guadalquiver riverbanks, is a prominent bullring with a capacity of 12,000. Recognized as Spain’s most significant and largest bullfighting venue, it continues to host bullfights during the official season.
However, if you wish to experience its beauty in tranquility, the arena itself is a marvel, showcasing exquisite late baroque architecture and a striking main entrance characterized by its exposed stone structure.
The tour includes a visit to the quaint yet captivating museum that chronicles the history of bullfighting from the 18th century to the modern era. Additionally, the tour takes you to the chapel dedicated to the Virgen de la Caridad, a sacred space where matadors offer prayers before stepping into the arena.
15. Hop on board a tourist bus to see the best of Seville
Experience panoramic views of Vienna’s iconic landmarks with a 24-hour hop-on hop-off tourist bus ticket. Travel in comfort on a double-decker bus, passing key sights like Plaza de España and Basílica de la Macarena. This ticket offers access to a complete route around the city, that includes onboard audio commentary.
Your ticket activates upon first use, allowing you to journey through Seville’s captivating attractions on two different routes. Opt to remain on the bus for a full loop to relax and observe the city’s bustling life, or hop off at various stops to experience Seville’s rich culture and history on foot.
Is December a good time to visit?
In Seville, as the chill sets in, the holiday spirit soars to new heights.
The city is adorned, the sound of bells fills the air, and traditional treats such as turrones and polvorones are a common sight around every corner. This can only signify the onset of the holiday season in Seville!
December in Seville is packed with delightful and joyous activities. If you’re planning a trip to our charming city this winter, then December is one of the best times of the year to do so.
What is the best time to visit Seville? Find out what to expect in each season and get ready for your trip to this amazing city with my month by month travel guide to Seville.
1. January activities to start the year in Seville
2. Things to do in Seville in February
3. Enjoy the March springtime in Seville
4. Spend a magical April in Seville
5. Top experiences in Seville in May
6. Visiting Seville in June
7. What to do in Seville in July
8. Top tips for enjoying Seville in August
9. September is one of the best months for visiting Seville
10. Things to do in Seville in October
11. Events and activities in Seville in November
12. The best holiday experiences in Seville in December