Free & Cheap Things to Do in Sevilla

With our home base on the Costa del Sol in Torremolinos, we’ve mainly stuck to the coast when it comes to our day trips, exploring cities like Fuengirola, Málaga, and Nerja.

The other week, we ventured further north with a quick day trip to Andalucía’s capital, Sevilla.

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Unbeknownst to us at the time of our visit, Sevilla is the hottest major metropolitan area in Western Europe. Sevilla’s average high temperatures in summer regularly exceed 35°C (95°F). It was well over 40°C the day we visited. No wonder we were melting!

We took a train from Málaga and spent the day there, wandering around the city in the sweltering heat, taking advantage of all the free sites. We specifically chose to visit Sevilla on a Monday, since this is when most tourist sites offer free admission.

Metropol Parasol

Our first stop was the Metropol Parasol. This impressive viewing platform comprised of six wooden parasol-like structures dominates Sevilla’s La Encarnación square in the old town. The Metropol Parasol is also known as las setas de Sevilla (the mushrooms). To me, it’s clear to see why. What do you think?

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Even though it was blindingly bright that day, we couldn’t pass up walking around on top of the mushrooms so we could appreciate the views of Sevilla down below.

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The elevator is pretty cool too.

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Entry is €3. Visiting hours are Sunday-Thursday 10:00-23:00 and Friday-Sunday 10:00-23:30. Entrance to the viewing platform area is in the basement of this structure. We followed the signs to a moving walkway which took us to the reception desk in the basement.

Torre del Oro

Torre del Oro is a remnant of the fortified walls which encircled Sevilla until the 19th century. This 12-sided tower was constructed around 1220. Now serving as a reminder of Sevilla’s Moorish past, this watchtower once controlled access to the city by protecting the docks on the Guadalquivir River.

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We climbed the winding stairs to the first level for views of the city but weren’t able to climb higher since the second and third levels were blocked off. Inside the tower, we scoped out the air-conditioned maritime museum and a gift shop.

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Entry is free on Mondays, but only €3 otherwise. The tower is open Monday-Friday 9:30-18:45 and Saturday and Sunday 10:30-18:45.

Puro & Bio Artisanal Ice Cream

I’m glad I had the foresight to research vegan ice cream possibilities before we stepped foot in Sevilla. Homemade vegan ice cream that isn’t overloaded with processed sugar is hard to come by, so we always hope to take advantage of any artisanal ice cream shop offering vegan flavours.

Fortunately, Puro & Bio is located down the street from Torre del Oro. They offered at least a dozen vegan flavours. We each ordered a large serving of ice cream for €4.50 each. I tried mango and coffee and Kuba tried pistachio and coffee. The ice cream wasn’t cloyingly sweet and had an authentic gelato mouthfeel. It was the perfect break from the intense heat that day.

Regrettably, I don’t have any photographs of our ice cream. We inhaled our portions (brain freeze!) and immediately wanted to order more but we resisted the urge. Perhaps we should have ordered the litre size instead.

Check out Puro & Bio’s website and Facebook page for more information.

Plaza de España

We walked all over Sevilla that day despite the harsh temperatures. After a shady lunch in Parque de María Luisa, we strolled around nearby Plaza de España.

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There wasn’t much to do here except marvel at the buildings and mosaic tile alcoves of Spain’s 17 provinces, which I neglected to photograph. (Massive oversight.) We were lucky enough to stumble upon an impromptu flamenco in the plaza. What a fitting ending to our day in Sevilla!

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Since we were only in Sevilla for the day, we didn’t have time to check out all the sites on my list. Here are some other sites worth investigating:

  • Giralda Tower – One of the three remaining minarets from the Moorish Almohad dynasty. This became the bell tower of Sevilla Cathedral after the end of Islamic rule in Spain. Entry is free on Monday from 16:30-18:00 if you reserve your space in advance through reservas@catedraldesevilla.es. Otherwise, it’s €8.
  • Real Alcázar – Originally a Moorish fortress, this was transformed into a royal palace in the 14th century. Entry is free Monday from 18:00-19:00 from April to September, and from 16:00-17:00 from October to March. Regular admission is €9.50.
  • Castillo San Jorge – This medieval fortress overlooking the Guadalquivir River now operates as a museum of the Spanish Inquisition. Entrance is free. (Closed on Mondays.)
  • Museum of Fine Arts – Free entry for European citizens, €1.50 for everyone else. (Also closed on Mondays.)

We were only able to spend the day in Sevilla but I’m glad we went. Now we know we’d like to visit Sevilla again, but only after we have our van sorted and definitely not in the summer time. It’s far too hot for us!

Check out more Sevilla photos in my gallery.

Have you visited Sevilla?

What are your favourite things to do?

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How to simplify & declutter your shoes

If you are looking to simplify your life, why not start with your shoes? Not only will you clear out some closet space, you’ll save money too.

I had a massive shoe collection before I started my minimalist journey almost three years ago. I had shoes in bins, shoes stuffed in an organiser hung over my bedroom door, and new shoes I hadn’t yet worn still in boxes. My shoes were mostly cheap shoes from Target and thrift shops. I had shoes in every colour and for every occasion: flats, heels, boots, everything!

Did I actually wear all of these shoes? Nope. I collected them just in case. For most shoes, I’d wear them once and set them aside.

I left the States in 2016 with one pair of shoes but now I’ve upgraded to just three pairs: sandals, all-purpose shoes for hiking and walking, and sturdy boots for winter.

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For more details about these minimalist shoes (except for these Merrell shoes in particular since they’re new), check out my minimalist shoes video.

Not everyone will be able to downsize their shoe collection to three pairs, and that’s perfectly fine. Everyone is different. Perhaps you need five pairs of shoes, or even ten. What’s most important is that you start somewhere. Start trimming the unnecessary shoes from your collection: shoes you hardly wear, shoes that are too uncomfortable, shoes that serve no real purpose in your wardrobe.

So how do you start?

First, you need to evaluate what you have currently. How many pairs of shoes do you own? (Go count them.) How many pairs do you wear on a regular basis? (Make a list.)

To create your own simplified shoe collection, only draw from the shoes you currently own. Don’t run out and buy new Xero Shoes simply because they’re minimalist sandals. This defeats the point of downsizing.

Commit to not buying shoes until you sort your collection, no matter what. Otherwise, you’ll never downsize your collection and you’ll be right back where you started.

How many pairs do you actually need?

The number of pairs you need depends on several factors. I find it easiest to categorise shoes into situations. Depending on your work situation, you will need a pair or two of special shoes just for work. You probably want a good all-purpose shoe for walking and running errands. If you go out and dress up regularly, you’d want to keep a pair for that. Maybe you need another pair of shoes just for lounging around the house.

It’s important to consider the climate you live in as well. Are you lucky enough to live in a climate where you can easily wear sandals year-round? If not, you’ll need shoes that will protect your feet through the seasons.

The colour scheme of your shoes is another thing to consider when narrowing down your collection. In my opinion, neutral colours are best since they match with everything.

The shoes you keep should be:

  • Comfortable. Can you wear them for an extended period of time without your feet hurting?
  • Practical or functional. Are these shoes you can use on a day-to-day basis?
  • Versatile. Can you wear these shoes in a variety of situations?
  • Timeless. Will they still be in style in a few years?

And most importantly, you need to like them!

Make a decision and stick with it.

When I was downsizing my shoes, I dumped all of them into a pile and took out the few pairs I hoped to keep. Having a mountain of shoes in front of me not only forced me to face how out of control my shoe habit had become, it motivated me to stay focused on the task at hand.

When you do decide to get rid of a pair, absolutely get rid of it right then. Take the shoes to a charity shop or post a listing on Ebay. (I unloaded most of my unwanted shoes on Ebay.) That way, you’re less likely to reconsider and have them creep back into your life.

Think twice about buying new shoes.

I recommend using your shoes until they wear out completely, but at some point, you’ll need to bring a new pair of shoes into your home. When you do need a new pair, check second-hand shops first. If you can’t find shoes second-hand, research for shoes online and read reviews carefully. Remember that quality shoes will last longer than cheap ones, so it’s worth it to pay more upfront.

Shopping for new shoes should be a slow process, especially since you put so much time and effort into minimising your shoe collection. Don’t undo all that hard work by impulse buying shoes because these rarely work out in the long run. Shop with intention and make sure your new shoes are perfect.

In the following video, in addition to explaining these tips and strategies in more detail, I explain why I only buy vegan shoes (and why you should too).

Why not start today?

Downsizing your shoes (or your wardrobe) doesn’t need to happen overnight. You can take your time getting there, but you’ll never get anywhere unless you take the first step. Something inspired you to look into decluttering so take the initiative and start today by taking a pair of shoes to the charity shop. Your journey into minimalist living will be a life-long learning experience. Don’t feel pressured to do it perfectly straight away.

When you push yourself to minimise your shoes, you discover the shoes that are true to you. You figure out which shoes match your style and personality, and which shoes serve a genuine purpose in your everyday life. Clearing out extra shoes from your closet not only gives you more space, it gives you peace of mind.

Hiking Down Mount Calamorro

For our fourth hike in the Costa del Sol, we decided to take it easy.

Very easy, in fact, since we took a cable car from Benalmádena to the peak of Mount Calamorro, the highest point in the area, and then hiked down. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can certainly take the cable car both ways.

Thanks to my husband Kuba for letting me share his photos in this post. Check out his Instagram account @roaming_kuba for more stunning photos of our travels.

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At the peak, we found a little café, chickens roaming freely, as well as several viewing points of the cities below. Also, if you’re like me and always need to know where the next toilet is, you’ll find one inside the café.

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Check out Kuba’s vlog to see the chickens, as well as the cable car ride and the rest of our hike. 🙂

There’s also a wild bird exhibit at the peak but we avoided it. Instead, we climbed a bit higher on the marked paths to other viewing points before starting our descent. Leaving the peak was easy since we chose the simplest option of following a paved path as long as we could. Soon we departed this path and chose our own, one that took us back to Cañada del Lobo.

We had lunch here and then continued down a familiar path. We hiked this same path in our last hike which also took us to Cañada del Lobo. We retraced our steps in reverse.

We got a bit turned around near the end of the hike and came across this underpass. We weren’t too far off from our planned route but we must have missed a turn somewhere. Thankfully, we found a hole in the fence nearby and continued on our way home.

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It was nice not having to climb the mountain but the descent was tricky in its own way. I feel that going up a mountain is easier than descending since it’s easier to slip and fall down than it is to fall up!

Also, there are several other ways down the mountain, depending on how much time you have and how far you want to hike. The cable car ticket office provides paper maps of hiking routes, but to be extra thorough, I recommend researching the hikes beforehand.

The Téleferico de Benalmádena is just a few minutes walk away from the Benalmádena / Arroyo de Miel train station. It’s right next to the Tivoli World amusement park. Just look for the cable cars going up the mountain and head in that direction. You can’t miss it!

I recommend purchasing cable car tickets in person. The sign might not have one-way tickets listed (it didn’t when we were there) but you can definitely purchase them. Just ask the ticket attendant for a billete solo ida and you’ll be good to go.

For more information about the cable cars, check out Téleferico de Benalmádena online.