8 Best Things to Do in Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville

Doorway and orange trees in Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville

Santiago Urquijo / Getty Images 

No city represents the colorful passion of Andalusia quite like Seville, and no neighborhood captures that essence in the same way as Barrio Santa Cruz. As the city's old Jewish quarter, this colorful part of town is full of history and intrigue, with its vibrant buildings, tasty tapas bars, and central location making it a must on any Seville itinerary. That said, Barrio Santa Cruz is also home to plenty of tourist traps disguised as authentic experiences. If you really want to make the most of your time in this charming section of the city, add these things to do to your agenda and get ready for an unforgettable Seville experience.

01 of 08

Visit the Royal Alcázar of Seville

Courtyard in the Real Alcazar

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

Patio de Banderas, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Phone +34 954 50 23 24

Perhaps the city's most well-known landmark and attraction, the Royal Alcázar of Seville (also called Real Alcázar de Sevilla) is one of those places tourists seem to flock to, but with good reason. Built in 913 over a former Roman fortress and later used as a palace by both Moorish and Spanish kings, the UNESCO World Heritage site is an exquisite example of Mudéjar architecture, taking many influences from the cultures that created it.

Today, you can tour its many rooms and courtyards, some of which "Game of Thrones" fans may recognize as House Martell's Water Gardens (the Royal Alcázar doubled as the fictional royal palace of Dorne in seasons five and six). Purchasing tickets ahead of time online is highly recommended as the lines can be quite long and the sun can be strong during the busier summer months.

02 of 08

Stroll Through the Jardines del Murillo

The Murillo Gardens in Seville, Spain

grahamheywood / Getty Images

Av. de Menéndez Pelayo, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Phone +34 955 47 12 32

Barrio Santa Cruz is pretty popular and as a result, it can get a little crowded. When that happens, you'll want an escape. Enter the Jardines de Murillo. Located on the eastern edge of the neighborhood just beyond the Royal Alcázar of Seville's gardens, this lovely little green space is a respite of tranquility in the middle of the bustling cityscape. Come for a quick stroll or make a day of it with a picnic and a good book. Either way, this is one spot worth spending some time in during your trip.

03 of 08

View La Giralda Tower from Patio de las Banderas

View of the Giralda and the Seville Cathedral

Zu Sanchez Photography / Getty Images

Pl. del Patio de Banderas, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Phone +34 954 78 75 78

A cathedral tower as tall and impressive as La Giralda, part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede de Sevilla, can be hard to photograph correctly. To get a stunning view of the tower in all its glory, head to Patio de las Banderas. The historic square, situated between the Cathedral and the Alcázar, also serves as a sort of unofficial entrance to Barrio Santa Cruz. Spend some time enjoying the colorful surroundings, complete with Andalusia's ever-present orange trees, while you're admiring the view.

04 of 08

Wander the Neighborhood's Backstreets

Buildings along Calle Judería in Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville

titoslack / Getty Images

Juderia, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

With brightly colored buildings and beautiful floral accents around practically every turn, Barrio Santa Cruz is a district that's just begging to be explored. One of the best ways to do so is to simply get lost and see where you end up. A good starting point is Calle Judería, whose name is a nod to the neighborhood's onetime status as Seville's Jewish quarter.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

See the Subject of a Spooky Legend Up Close

Calle Susona in Seville, Spain

CarlosVdeHabsburgo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Hidden away in a small and unassuming plaza in the backstreets of Seville's Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood between Plaza Doña Elvira and Calle Agua is La Susona, a home sporting a colorful plaque underneath its balcony. Move a little closer and you'll see that it depicts a skull.

While versions of the legend vary, it's generally agreed that a young Jewish woman named Susona lived here during the late 15th century. Her father was involved in a plot against the local Christian authorities, only to be betrayed by Susona herself, and eventually tried and executed, after she informed her Christian lover in an attempt to protect him from harm.

Wracked with guilt for the rest of her life at having sold her father out, Susona never left her home in Barrio Santa Cruz again. According to local lore, when she died, her head was supposedly suspended from the balcony of the house and remained there for more than 200 years as a symbol of her eternal grief. Today, all that remains of it is the plaque. True? None of us will ever know. Spooky? Definitely.

06 of 08

Step Back in Time at Casa de Pilatos

Tiled courtyard in casa pilatos

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

Pl. de Pilatos, 1, 41003 Sevilla, Spain
Phone +34 954 22 52 98

While Casa de Pilatos (Pilate's House) isn't as well-known as some the aforementioned touristic sites in Barrio Santa Cruz, that's exactly what makes it so incredible. Constructed during the late 16th century by Don Pedro Enriquez and his son Fadrique Enriques de Ribera, this eclectic mansion features a mix of several different architectural styles—Mudéjar, Gothic, and Renaissance—all centered around a tranquil Andalusian courtyard. It's open year-round but makes an especially beautiful place to visit in springtime.

07 of 08

Learn About Flamenco and See a Show

Flamenco outfits in the Flamenco Dance Museum

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

C/ Ximénez de Enciso, 28, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Phone +34 955 02 99 99

Seville is widely considered to be the birthplace of Flamenco, perhaps Spain's most recognizable art form and dance. And what better place to learn about this passionate performance?

While not all Flamenco venues are created equal, there are some true gems among the winding streets of Barrio Santa Cruz. One standout is La Casa del Flamenco, which has everything a good performance should: an intimate venue, talented performers, and utmost respect for the art (photography and video recording are extremely limited here).

To get a deeper understanding of flamenco dancing before you see a show, you're in luck—Seville's Museo del Baile Flamenco (Flamenco Dance Museum) is located in Barrio Santa Cruz as well.

08 of 08

Treat Yourself to Tapas on Calle Mateos Gago


 Thomas Tolstrup / Getty Images

C. Mateos Gago, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

Wandering around Barrio Santa Cruz will have you working up an appetite in no time. Luckily, you're close to one of Seville's best tapas streets: Calle Mateos Gago. Be warned, as its proximity to the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede de Sevilla and La Giralda Tower makes the area a big draw for tourists, and for every authentic gem, there's a soulless tourist trap (or two).

So which places fall into the former category? Plenty of them, as long as you know where to look. For a uniquely sevillano experience, try Bar La Fresquita, decked out top-to-bottom in Holy Week memorabilia. Another local favorite a little ways down the street is Taberna Alvaro Peregil La Goleta, a no-frills, blink-and-you'll-miss-it hole-in-the-wall spot serving up Seville's signature orange wine and home-cooked tapas. For something more upscale, La Azotea is a must for contemporary tapas in a trendy ambiance.

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8 Best Things to Do in Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville