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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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.

Cycling in the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve

I’ve worked on a long list of possible day trips and things to do since we arrived in Torremolinos. We have plenty of options to choose from but the cost of these options is one of the most important factors in deciding which trips we take. It isn’t the only determining factor as we can make exceptions, but we usually prefer to stick to more affordable options.

If an activity is cheap and it gets us outside, well that’s even better!

Special 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.

There’s a dedicated bike path running along the beachfront promenade in Torremolinos, so renting a bike seemed like a fun idea. Plus, since I just received a new camera, I was hoping to test out my vlogging-while-cycling skills. Don’t worry, the camera is insured! 😉

For only €10, we were able to rent two bikes for four hours. We rented our bikes from DSG Electric Rent, which based on my research, offers the cheapest prices for bike rentals in Torremolinos. It’s also conveniently located right on the beach, so you can just head straight down the beach promenade after picking up your bike.

While we could have just cycled up and down the beach, we wanted to do something different away from the city. Instead, we headed to the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve, a short 25-minute bike ride away from Torremolinos.

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Interestingly, the lakes in the park are man-made. Excavations of gravel and sand in this area left large pits which eventually flooded.

The Guadalhorce River, which runs between Málaga and Torremolinos, splits just before it flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Once used for gravel and sand excavations in the 1960s and 70s, this estuary is now an important bird breeding and migration site in this part of Spain.

We came across several bird observation points along the network of trails weaving through the marshlands. These covered points were ideal for bird-watching and photography, and even a lunch picnic in the shade.

There were a few other cyclists and hikers in the park but for the most part, we were left alone with the birds. Even though we were outside the city, we could still hear Málaga’s airport as it’s nearby.

Cycling through the park was so much fun! Cycling has to be the best mode of transportation, wouldn’t you agree? Not only is it environmentally-friendly and an excellent way to stay fit, it’s also a lot easier to find a parking space.

Perhaps we can have our own bikes someday. Until then, we are happy to rent bikes here and there. Next time I think we’ll head in the other direction, perhaps to visit Fuengirola for another vegan popsicle. 😉

I regret that I don’t have any photographs of the birds, but I do have around two minutes of bird footage in my vlog thanks to Kuba. Check out my vlog to see the park and all the long-legged birds we saw that day.

Thanks to Simon for recommending this park. 🙂