Seville Cathedral Tours | Explore this Historical Landmark With an Expert Guide
Seville Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Andalusia in Spain. Built between 1401-1506 on the site of a former mosque, Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic church and cathedral in the world featuring Gothic, Renaissance, and Neoclassical styles. It is also the fourth largest church in the world that has four facades, 15 doors, and twin organs. It is also home to about 80 chapels and tombs of several greats including Christopher Columbus and his son Diego.
Read on to know more about how you can best explore the attraction through Seville Cathedral tours!
Why Take a Seville Cathedral Guided Tour?
The Seville Cathedral is an iconic and one of the most visited landmarks in Spain. Here are a few reasons why you should take a Seville Cathedral guided tour.
Highlights Covered on Your Seville Cathedral Tour
Added to the cathedral in the 16th century, Capilla Real or the Royal Chapel is a Renaissance-style structure placed right behind the Great Chapel featuring royal tombs and two altars. One altar is home to a silver shrine that consists of the relics of Saint Ferdinand while the other features a 13th-century figure of the Patron Saint of Seville, the Virgin of the Kings, holding a 22-carat gold crown with almost 12,000 precious stones on his head.
Tomb of Christopher Columbus
Installed inside the cathedral in 1899, the tomb of Christopher Columbus was designed by Arturo Melida and is held high up by four allegorical figures that represent the four kingdoms (Castile, Navaro, Leon, and Aragon) of Spain, which existed at the time of Columbus and where he spent his life. A monument inside the Seville Cathedral door is the final resting place of the remains of Columbus. They were shifted to different locations before finding a permanent home at the cathedral.
Known for housing the richest and largest altarpiece in the world, Capilla Mayor or the Great Chapel consists of the main chapel along with several other side chapels, a choir, and 15 doors. The altarpiece, which features 45 beautifully carved scenes from the Bible, is made of polychrome wood and gold and is placed opposite the choir. The scenes depict events from the life of Christ and Santa Maria de la Sede, the patron saint of Seville Cathedral.
A Spanish Renaissance addition to the Seville Cathedral, the Chapter House was built in the 16th century right next to the Main Sacristy. Also known as the Capitular, the Chapter House is home to several beautiful paintings and artworks of Murillo. It is known for its magnificent domed ceiling that reflects the stunning marble floor. The Chapter House was built to listen to the problems of the members and arrive at a resolution that would be agreeable to everyone.
Door of Forgiveness
Also known as Puerta del Perdon, the Door of Forgiveness is located in the North Façade of Seville Cathedral and provides access to the Patio de los Naranjos (orange tree courtyard) from Calle Almanes. Originally built as the entrance to the Almohad Mosque, the Door of Forgiveness has retained its shape of a horseshoe arch and several other Islamic architectural elements like the intricate carvings and inscriptions from the Quran on the iron door. The door, which is now used as an exit from the cathedral, was embellished with terracotta sculptures and plaster ornaments in the 16th century.
Located on the west side of the Patio de los Naranjos, the Colombiana Library houses over 6000 copies of rare books, 940 incunabula, and manuscripts on the discovery of America. Several of these manuscripts have been written by Christopher Columbus himself. Fernando Colon, a known scholar and second son of Columbus, inherited his father’s personal library after his death and bought books to enrich it. The library, as of today, contains books on Columbus’ interests and explorations. It is maintained by Seville Cathedral and is accessible to students, scholars, and book lovers.
Accessible from the antechambers of the Capilla Mayor on the south side of Seville Cathedral, Sacristia Mayor or the Main Sacristy is a Renaissance-style museum displaying the Montanes crucifix and several magnificent and iconic artworks by celebrated Spanish artists like Francisco de Goya, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Luis de Morales, Campana, Zurbaran, and others. Also, find many beautifully- crafted liturgical items made of gold, silver, and other precious metals. The ceiling of the dome depicts scenes from The Last Judgment while the interiors feature arched doors, sculptural reliefs and a beautiful oil painting called Descent from the Cross.
The Baroque-style Tabernacle Church inside Seville Cathedral is a temple and a place of worship for Catholics. A heritage treasure inside the church comprises artist Juan Martinez Montanes’ carving of Jesus when he was a child. It also features Christ’s crown of thorns.
Built between the 18th and 20th centuries, the Office Pavilion is a Neoclassical addition to the cathedral featuring a series of offices and museums that were constructed because the then-existing rental units, barns, and warehouses were in a dilapidated condition. The pillars that make up the interiors of the new rooms inside the Office Pavilion are made using mortar. The arches were built to make the walls and the rooms more stable and secure.
Patio de los Naranjos
Also known as the Orange Tree Courtyard, the Patio de los Naranjos was retained from the Almohad Mosque and is lined with beautiful orange, palm, and cypress trees. The Moorish-style courtyard was originally the prayer hall of the mosque. The courtyard, as we know it today, also features a large fountain from the Visigoth Period built on the site of the Sabil, an area where Muslims performed ritual ablutions before entering the mosque. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a tiring tour.
Guided Tours vs Non-Guided Tours
What to Expect on a Seville Cathedral Tour?
Seville Cathedral is massive, which is why you might feel a little overwhelmed or find it difficult to navigate the attraction all by yourself. We recommend booking a Seville Cathedral guided tour because they include an expert guide who knows the attraction like the back of their hand. A guided tour will enhance your experience of the visit because you will know the history behind each point of interest you visit inside the site.
When you meet your group at the designated point, you will be taken inside the cathedral and shown all the major points of attraction. Admire the largest and richest altarpiece in the world, the beautiful mosaic and marble inlays, and the spectacular Gothic interiors. Go up the 104m-tall Giralda tower, which was previously the minaret of the former mosque, and soak in breathtaking views of Seville from the top. Check out the Royal Chapel, Tomb of Christopher Columbus, Colombiana Library, Door of Forgiveness, the beautiful courtyard lined with orange trees, the Office Pavilion, the Tabernacle, Chapter House, and the Main Sacristy. Enjoy priority access to the Roman Catholic Church and marvel at the artworks inside the attraction.
- Book your tickets online and well in advance.
- Visit during opening hours or when the cathedral is about to close to avoid huge crowds. Keep in mind that the closing time begins at 7:10 PM.
- Children below 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
- Touching the artworks or the pillars and throwing garbage around is strictly prohibited.
- Do not touch, cut, or uproot the plants at Patio de los Naranjos.
- Do not talk loudly, show disrespect, or dress inappropriately inside the cathedral.
- Smoking, drinking, or eating inside the complex is strictly prohibited. You can consume water outside the building. Do not take off your shoes, undress, or lie down on benches, stairs, or the patio.
- Tripods are not allowed. Photography and videography for commercial purposes are prohibited without prior approval.
- Animals, except assistance dogs, are not allowed inside the complex.
- Toilets and baby changing facilities are available inside the attraction.
- The cathedral provides wheelchairs for those with reduced mobility.
- If you suffer from vertigo or anemia, are claustrophobic, have heart or respiratory problems, or tend to feel dizzy, please avoid climbing the Giralda tower.
Frequently Asked Questions About Seville Cathedral Tours
A. Seville Cathedral tours start from €24.79.
A. There are four types of Seville Cathedral guided tours available – Seville Cathedral and Giralda: Skip The Line Guided Tour, Seville’s Alcazar, Cathedral and Giralda Guided Tour, Seville: Alcazar + Cathedral Guided Tour, and Super Combo: Cathedral and Alcazar of Seville.
A. The Seville Cathedral tour covers all the major attractions inside Seville Cathedral like the Giralda Tower, Royal Chapel, Tomb of Christopher Columbus, the Office Pavilion, Patio de los Naranjos, Capilla Mayor, and Chapter House, to name a few.
A. The Seville Cathedral guided tours are available in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Italian.
A. The Seville Cathedral guided tour covers all the major attractions inside Seville Cathedral like the Giralda Tower, Royal Chapel, Tomb of Christopher Columbus, Main Sacristy, Patio de los Naranjos, Capilla Mayor, the Colombiana Library, Door of Forgiveness, and the Tabernacle, among other points of interest.
A. It depends on the type of Seville Cathedral guided tour you book. The small group guided tour will have no more than 10 people while others have a maximum capacity of 25 guests.
A. Yes. The Seville Cathedral guided tour is worth it because it is the largest cathedral in the world with a rich history and beautiful architecture. The Roman Catholic Church took over a century to build and is the largest Gothic church in the world with four facades, 15 doors, 80 chapels, and twin organs.
A. Yes. The Seville Cathedral guided tours include skip the line access.
A. The Seville Cathedral guided tour lasts between 2 to 3 hours, depending on the tour you choose.