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Seville Budget Tips

Seville Budget Tips - Seville, Spain

While not the cheapest of cities, Seville is definitely manageable, especially if you follow our advice.

When to Visit

If there is one word that might cause Cheapos to hyperventilate when it comes to Seville travel, that word is “April.” The popular Feria de Abril occurs in the last week of April, and Semana Santa (Holy Week) often falls earlier in the month (or occasionally in late-March). Both events drastically drive up hotel rates, so unless you are going specifically to experience the festivities, avoid that time of year (and if you do visit at that time, book well in advance).

For the lowest rates, travel in July or August (if you can hang with the heat). November is also a good month for hotel rates, and March and June are good midrange months.


Tourist Office

As always, we recommend that your first stop in Seville be a tourist office. The Tourist Information Center at Edificio Laredo at Plaza de San Francisco 19 is open from 9 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

The office at the Basílica de la Macarena (Calle Bécquer, 1) is open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekdays, and the office at the Centro de Interpretación de la Exposición del 29 (Paseo de las Delicias, 9) is open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekends.

For more information, visit the Seville Board of Tourism official Web site.


Museums Prices and Passes

Here are admission prices to the main attractions in Seville, for adults and children:

Cathedral and Giralda : This spectacular cathedral sits on the site of the 12th-century Almohad mosque and next La Giralda, the mosque’s original (and majestic) minaret (Web site in Spanish only).
Prices: €8 (adults); €2 (reduced); free (children under 15)

Alcázar:Established in 913, this grand palace housed such greats as Pedro I of Castilla and Ferdinand and Isabella within its intricately carved walls.
Prices: €8.50 (adults); €2 (reduced); free (children under 16)

Museo del Baile Flamenco (Flamenco Museum): Housed in a glamorous 18th-century building, this interactive museum showcases everything you need to know about the passionate dance, from historic sketches to vibrant costumes to classes and evening shows.
Prices: €10 (adults); €6 (children)

Plaza del Toros:The oldest (and most esteemed) bull ring in all of Spain.
Prices: (guided tour included) €6.50 (adults); €4 (reduced); €2.50 (children ages six to 11)

Museo Arqueológico: Founded in 1867 (and originally located in the Alcázar), this Archaeological Museum is a treasure trove of art and artifacts, situated in a gorgeous former convent.
Prices: €1.50

Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes: This stunning 17th-century building, complete with lush gardens, was once a home for aging priests and now houses art exhibits.
Prices: €4.75 (adults); €2.40 (reduced); free (children under 12); free to all on Sundays between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Sevilla Card is a great value, offering free admission to most city museums and attractions, free and discounted tours (including a gratis Cruceros Tours boat ride on the Guadalquivir River) and free admission to Isla Mágica theme park, plus discounts to various shops, restaurants flamenco shows. Cards cost €29 for a 24-hour period, €47 (€20 for children) for a 48-hour period and €60 (€20 children) for a 72-hour period. You can purchase the Sevilla Card at tourist information offices, or buy online to receive a small discount.


Free Sights

Seville is chock-full of free wonders. It wouldn't be difficult, in fact, to spend entire days here and pay for nothing but your food. Many attractions offer free admission on select days, but simply exploring offers plenty of free amusement. Get lost in the labyrinth of winding streets, colorful plazas and sweet-scented gardens that is Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville's medieval Jewish quarter, or meander along the Guadalquivir River to take in its bridges, terrace bars and the glittering Torre del Oro.

For a full day of free, pack a picnic and a bottle (or two) of wine and head to Plaza de España, the city’s vast expanse of gorgeous architecture (with its very own canal), built for the Hispano-American Exposition of 1929. Then take a stroll through the nearby Parque de María Luisa (site in Spanish only), a treasure trove of lush gardens, colorful tiled patios and tranquil ponds.

Also not to be missed is the Metropol Parasol, the city’s new architectural wonder that undulates over an archaeological site and houses a community center and an array of free activities.


Flamenco

Seville is steeped in the tradition of Flamenco, and it would be a travesty to leave the city without witnessing this passionate, beautiful dance. That said, Flamenco shows can get expensive. A good general rule of thumb is to steer clear of tablaos. Hotels and tourist offices will push you towards these tourist-oriented venues, but they tend to be expensive and inauthentic.

Instead, seek out restaurants that host regular flamenco nights. The quality is sometimes unpredictable, but you're guaranteed a richer atmosphere. We like La Carbonería (Calle Levies, 18) in the Jewish district. Still better, befriend the lovely folks at the Pensión de las Cruces, a pension and school of Flamenco that often throws private parties with well-known dancers and guitarists on its intimate interior patio.


Bullfights

The ancient Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza hosts some of the biggest, most thrilling bullfights in Spain. The season runs from Easter Sunday through early October, and fights take place every Sunday evening, with daily fights leading up to and during Feria de Abril.

Ticket prices span a vast range, depending on the fight and your location in the ring. When the full-fledged matadors fight, you’ll pay between €20 and €100, but the cost to see a novillada (novice) fight can be as low as €5 to €30. During the high season of professional fighting, premium seats will be scarce, as season ticket holders take up a lot of them.

The ticket office will have maps of the bullring so that you can choose your seats. Sol (sun) seats are the cheapest, but do note that you'll be in the sun for an hour or so until it sets. Sombra (shade) seats are more comfortable and may give you a better vantage point to see the action, but they can get pricey. Midrange sol y sombra seats usually provide the best option. The further back you sit, of course, the cheaper the tickets will be.

Visit the Plaza de Toros Web site for more information.


Senior Discounts

Senior travelers can get discounts all over Seville. To obtain some discounts, membership in a particular senior association may be required. Members of the AARP receive discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals in Seville. They can be reached in the United States at 1-888-687-2277 or visited online. Be sure to ask about a discount if you do not see one listed, as some discounts are not advertised.


Student Discounts

The International Student Identity Card, ISIC, the most widely accepted form of student ID, provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food and transportation. Some places offer admission discounts of 20%-50% to ISIC members. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the United States call 1-800-223-7986 or click onto the ISIC site.

Applicants must be degree seekers of a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age. The card costs US$22 and is valid until the end of the year issued. For non-students 25 years or younger, the International Youth Travel Card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC. The card costs US$22 and is valid for one year from the date issue.

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