Walk or bus? Bike or taxi? Our expert in Seville, Cat Gaa, gives you her savvy tips on getting around her city.
By Cat Gaa
Seville’s privileged location in the valley between the Atlantic and the Cordillera Bética makes it flat, meaning it’s a city easy to walk. Indeed, one whose architectural gems and life on the streets shouldn’t be missed, but tired feet lend to public and private transportation. Here’s the scoop on how to get around Andalusia’s capital.
Arriving to Seville
Seville’s San Pablo Airport and Santa Justa train station receive the majority of holiday-goers. San Pablo is just 10 kilometers out of the city center, and makes a great base to jump from Seville to other Andalusian destinations like Jerez, Málaga and Cádiz.
To reach Seville from the airport and vice versa, the cheapest option is the bus marked Especial Aeropuerto (EA), which connects travelers every 15-30 minutes between Prado San Sebastian and San Pablo, with intermediate stops at San Bernardo train station, Nervión Plaza shopping mall and Santa Justa train station. Cost for a one-way ticket is 2,40€ and round-trip 4,20€.
Alternately, you could take a taxi from the airport for 25€, plus an additional surcharge for weekend, late night or festival trips (30€) or 1€ for luggage supplement.
From Santa Justa, the city’s largest train station and final stop for most high-speed AVE trains, you’re within walking distance to the city center, but bus 32 will take you as far as Plaza del Duque, right in the heart of Seville’s shopping district.
Bright red TUSSAM buses criss-cross the city, and they are the most-frequently used transportation in the Seville. More than 500 kilometers of the city is served by one of the 36 bus lines, with main hubs being Puerta Jerez, Plaza del Duque, Ponce de León and Prado de San Sebastián.
Travelers will find these services especially useful, as they make an easy alternative to walking on a hot day or covering a great distance.The 960 bus stops every 15 minutes from 6:00am until midnight Monday to Saturday, and every half an hour on Sundays. The city is also serviced by less-frequent night buses, which originate in Prado de San Sebastián, adjacent to the historic center, from midnight until 3:00am.
What’s more, several options are available for travelers: a single journey is 1,30€, but a 10-ride pass (available at most tobacco stores, as well as the Information Offices in Prado de San Sebastián and Ponce de León) is rechargeable and costs 6,60€, plus a 1,50€ deposit for the card. Additionally, a one-day touristic pass, valid for unlimited rides during 24 hours, is 5€ and a three-day pass, 10€, plus the 1,50€ deposit.
Metro and Light Rail
The newest addition to Seville’s public transportation float is the one-line underground metro and the above-ground light rail. The underground metro carries travelers from the western outskirts of the city through the historic quarter east through Nervión and finally onto the village of Dos Hermanas. Relatively fast, with trains coming every six minutes during peak hours, clean and safe, its inception has eased some traffic coming from the outside neighborhoods (just make sure to not get on before a football game, as the line stops near the Seville Football Club Stadium). A single trip costs 1,30€ within the city limits, and 1,60€ if crossing one transportation zone. The trains run from 6:30am – 11:00pm Monday-Thursdays, 6:30am – 2:00am Friday and Saturday, and 7:30am – 11:00pm Sundays.
The light rail’s reach is limited – just two kilometers long, its trajectory is the distance between Plaza Nueva to San Bernardo train station, though plans to expand down San Francisco Javier to the Santa Justa train station are in the works. Moving at just 15 kilometers per hour, it’s a slow journey from one end to another, but the air conditioning and Wi-fi are obvious benefits. A single trip costs 1,35€, and trains come round every six minutes during peak times. You can catch the Metro Centro from 7am until midnight.
Taxi strikes and a hike in prices have rendered the vehicle an enemy in Seville, and there are other options for moving around the city. The basic fare is from 1,60€, so expect to pay 4-5€ for a short trip. Rounding up in standard as a tip. During Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Holy Week and the April Fair, prices spike substantially.
Taxi stands can be found all throughout the city – Plaza de Cuba, all bus and train stations, Plaza Nueva, Puerta Jerez, Alameda de Hércules and circulating the main streets – or you could call a company and ask for pick-up. Be aware that the driver may only accept cash, so smaller bills are appreciated.
TeleTaxi: (+34) 954 622 222
Radio Taxi: (+34) 954 675 555
Sevici Bike Share
Given Seville’s flat topography, biking can be an enjoyable way to see the city and circulate through it. The city has designated bike paths that stretch over 120 kilometers along the river, around the old city walls in the Macarena and even out to the far-reaching eastern neighborhoods.
The city’s bike share system, Sevici, has its share of fans and foes: since 2007, its membership has grown to 50.000 yearly users, and tourist and resident alike use one of the city’s 2,500 two-wheelers. Still, theft, vandalism and lack of parking spaces for bikes have caused problems.
For travelers, Sevici is available on a one-week pass system, allowing you to move freely and at your leisure. Maps are available in the Tourism Office, Edificio Laredo Plaza San Francisco, and show the more than 250 stations and the marked bike paths. Passing by the interactive column, switch the language to English and choose the short term bike lease option. You’ll have to pay 11€ for the week, plus a safety deposit of 250€, which is returned back to your credit card after one week. Bear in mind that the first 30 minutes are free, so if you’re looking to ride a while, return the bike to the nearest station, wait two minutes, and take it out again to continue riding. Fees for weekly users are 1 – 2€ per extra hour.
For more information, visit the Tourism Office or the Sevici Webpage.
The romantic clip-clop of hooves resound through the historic quarter of Seville, and nearly 100 horse-drawn carriages will offer you a romantic spin around the city’s main sites, including the María Luisa park and Triana neighborhood. While it’s (likely) a lovely way to go, the ride will put you back 36€ during the off-peak, plus a tip (and I’ve yet to see a cute driver!). Pick one up in Parque María Luisa, Puerta Jerez, Avenida de la Constitución in front of the Archivo de Indias or in Plaza San Francisco. Absolutely mandatory to wear a smirk on your face.
Your own two feet
Seville, in the end, is a walkable city meant to be enjoyed by exploration. Many of the city’s thoroughfares have become pedestrian havens in the last decade, making the city center a mass congregation of authentic buildings, camera-wielding tourists and street performers. No visit to Seville is complete without walking along the banks of the Guadalquivir, window shopping on Calle Sierpes or stopping mid-afternoon to enjoy a beer at Plaza Salvador. If you can, do as the Sevillanos and use your feet.
Upon receiving an offer to work at a radio news broadcast center in Chicago, Cat Gaa turned it down and turned up at the Consulate of Spain to petition a visa. Five years and a daily Cruzcampo later, she writes for Sunshine and Siestas about Seville and teaches first grade. When not running after students, she can be found cruising the jasmine-lined streets of Triana on her trusty pink bike, Juan Bosco.