Whether you're looking for the best way to get around the
city or traveling to destinations outside of Seville transportation
is one of the most important (and often confusing) items
to get a handle on. I'll cover the basics of transportation in Seville below. First is how to get around Seville and then how to get in and out of Seville with regional transportation. Along the way I'll try to offer some helpful hints on how to best use each method. This section has been updated on October 2011, with a few more updates to come!
of the tourist sites in the center are best reached by walking.
For much of the city center you can apply the rule of walking will get you there faster than waiting for some bus to take you. I recommend taking a map, especially when you are in Barrio
Santa Cruz. But a map also comes in handy in most of the historic center of Seville where very few streets follow a straight line. Beware that many maps often "straighten"
the streets anyway, as in, "hmmm.. this map makes it look
like the street is at a right angle, but here it goes off
to the left and I don't see a street sign with the name..".
This can make things a bit challenging if you don't have a very good sense of direction. I have seen many
tourists at intersections with a map looking very confused.
During late spring and the summer the shade is coveted and
the experienced walkers will cross the street to seek it
out while getting around the city. The city government stretches toldos, or tarps, across the buildings in the center
so many of the streets always have shade - a great idea
that keeps the shopping district busy through the hottest
days. The shops also keep their doors open to let the air conditioning run into the streets. You'll notice a good difference in temperature even if this practice is a conservationist's nightmare.
When walking in the city take note of a few observations:
Sidewalks: in many areas outside the tourist center they are in bad shape. In some cases they are less than a foot wide.
Dog crap: there is a bit of a problem and I'm not sure it will go away unless they do DNA tests on every dog in the city.
Traffic lights: maybe Seville has some color blind drivers? Or more likely its just fun to run red lights.
Bike lanes: they are now everywhere and while I like the idea its also another thing to watch for (bikes, that is).
Sevilla is relatively flat and you'll have a hard time
finding a hill. That makes for easy biking if you don't
take the situation on the roads into consideration. I would
recommend using some type of protective head gear. Maybe
it's my mom talking, but between the cars, buses, scooters
and pedestrians, safely navigating the streets can be difficult.
A few suggestions if you plan to buy a bike, or ship one
over with you:
bike - bike theft is a problem and having
a less lucrative target helps avoid the possibility that
your new $500 bike disappears.
your bike - there are not a lot of bike
racks in Sevilla, so you may find yourself searching a
little for a suitable place to lock your bike to. When
two chains and locks are better than one
try to lock it within site of where you will be,
or at least in a busy place where it's less likely
someone will walk off with it.
under every circumstance do always lock your bike
to something solid - don't just lock the wheel to
if you have a quick release seat consider taking it with
your bike - don't be that moron in the
middle of Calle Sierpes trying to bike through the afternoon
crowd. Thankfully this is now illegal.
Get a bell or horn - I know it sounds dumb but I've seen a lot of collisions
and arguments simply because the person in front of the
biker doesn't know someone's coming from behind.
You can't help but notice the increase in bike paths all
around the city center. Once the tranvia gets moving pedestrians
may feel like they're in Amsterdam, trying to dodge all
sorts of traffic (bike, car, tram and bus). Seriously, it
should not be that bad, and I think this is a good development.
Now the city has bikes to go with the bike paths, and at
a very reasonable rate. For residents there is now a 25 Euro
annual fee, and any time you rent the bike you have up to
30 minutes free. Then 50 cents per half hour after that.
For visitors it is also possible to rent for a week or just
a day. You need a credit card and in the case of short term
rentals you can sign up on the spot at the kiosks located
next to the bike racks. For resident passes you can sign
up online. The system will
freeze or debit 150 Euros from your credit card / bank account
when you take it off the rack. The money should be instantly
back in your account when you lock it back up. There have been instances where the money is not returned immediately but it seems to be a rare occurence.
Some great places to ride your bike include along the river
where there is a path for bikers, joggers and the likes;
the expo grounds, which are fairly deserted; Parque Maria
Luisa and Parque Alamillo just across from the bridge by
the same name. A rent a bike service I can recommend is
run by Carlos Amarillo, called rentabikesevilla.com.
They rent small, foldable bikes which are ideal for fitting
into small places if you want to bring it on the bus or
store it in your hotel room. They have home/hotel delivery,
suggested routes and even offer a tour of the city with a
bilingual guide if you are interested. If you want to get out and do some mountain
or road biking in Andalucia, especially around Granada,
check out bikingandalucia.com.
If you want to get places quicker, avoid the hassles of
parking and don't mind spending a little money then a scooter,
or moto, may be a solution for you. You get great
gas mileage as well! I would not recommend Sevilla as a
place for learning to ride a moto as traffic and narrow
streets tend to push your driving limits. If you are familiar
with riding a moto and have spent some time in a European
city using one then I suppose Sevilla is not that difficult.
Do be aware that there is a helmet law in effect and the
police will fine you for not using one. You will also need
insurance for a moto, although for a ciclomotor you don't need a driver's license (it all has to do with
the cylinders the moto has), which makes it a popular choice
for those who don't want to pay for classes and go through
the hassle of getting a license.
The drivers or riders of motos in Sevilla are famous for
their "flexible" attitude regarding the laws of
the road. Red lights for many don't mean they really have
to stop, and you will often see people on motos sneaking
through them. There is also a tendency to weave through
traffic, either to make one's way to the front of the line
at a light or simply moving through traffic which is going
slow. In witnessing these habits I wonder why there are
not more serious accidents on motos. You are of course not
obligated to perform any of these acts but you will certainly
Buses are the easiest and cheapest way to get around Seville if
you're going a little further. If you plan to use them a
lot buy a bónobus at a kiosco (newsstand)
or estanco (tobacco shop). If you plan to be here
for a month and use the bus a lot, you may wish to purchase
a monthly pass, or an abono 30 días. The
bus network is comprised of circular (C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4
buses) and line routes (north, south, east and west). You
can catch most city buses in one of four locations below.
Note that Plaza Nueva is no longer an option due to the
work to convert Avda Constitución and the plaza into
Puerta de Jerez
Plaza de la Encarnación
Prado de San Sebastian
Stops are also easy to find on the main avenues. So how
much does the bus cost? That depends on how you purchase
a pass. Below is a breakdown of the prices as of late 2011. You can
only purchase a pass with or without transbordo,
or transfer. Reduced fair or free passes also exist for
the elderly, young or unemployed. The airport bus is 2,40€
and can be caught every 30 minutes by the Prado de San Sebastian
bus station, which is the most central location (see section
below for more information on airport transportation). Tussam, the city bus service, recently implemented the use of plastic or card type multi passes. These passes have a deposit of 1,50 € which can be refunded if you turn the pass back in after use. The prices below do not include this deposit.
bónobus (con transbordo)
10 trips with transfers
abono 30 días
unlimited for 30 days
tarjeta turística 1 día
unlimited for 1 day
tarjeta turística 3 días
unlimited for 3 days
A few other helpful hints when you decide to ride the buses
change: is appreciated when paying. After
9pm it is mandatory.
Waving: if you are the only person at a bus stop for multiple lines, it is normal to indicate with a slight wave that you want to get on the bus. If you are the only one at the stop and looking in the other direction the bus may pass you by!
Buses generally run until 11:30pm. There is a limited
number of nocturnal buses with routes that typically end
the timbre or bell: if you want
to get off at the next stop
Opening doors: you may need to push a
button to open the door on some buses
maps: you can find in the tourist office.
You can also see where most buses go by looking at the
map at the bus stop itself. Most buses are on circular
or line routes.
people generally get in line for the bus, so make sure
you put yourself behind the others already there.
Tranvia / Metro-centro
Related Information and links Tussam - Bus Tram Official page
The first thing to mention is the tram's route, which connects Plaza Nueva with the Prado de San Sebastian bus station, with a total of 1.3 km. The second portion of the line opened in 2011 going all the way to Viapol, connecting the tram to the San Bernardo train station and making the tram much more practical. The stops, from the center going further out, are:
Avda. Constitución (in front of Correos)
Puerta de Jerez (in front of Hotel Alfonso XII and the University)
Prado de San Sebastian (just next to the regional bus station)
You can purchase single trip tickets at any of the stops using ATM like machines. The price per single trip is 1,30 Euro. In a bit of rational thinking and planning the tram uses the same ticket system as the city bus lines, allowing a few advantages:
Discounts: You can save buying the bónobus, the multiple trip pass which reduces the fare to about half of the normal 1 Euro cost. (See the above chart in the City Bus section for prices which also apply to the tram).
Transfers: The system accepts transfers. If you purchase the bónobus, with the transfer (transbordo) option, you can take the bus, and then the tram without additional cost.
One pass:The obvious is that you don't have to manage multiple transport passes for a tram system and a bus system, something very few would be willing to do with the current short length of the tram.
The future, and in my opinion the success, of the tram will be
in extending the route. The recent expansion to San Bernardo is a good start. Original and rumored plans had the tram connecting to Santa Justa train station - practical in bringing visitors to the city center with public transport - as well as crossing through the central shopping district all the way to Santa Catalina. This would be practical in connecting my house to the route (ok, this is just for me). But it could be really practical in offering a public transport option through the center where bus and taxi options are no longer ideal. Less practical: perhaps disturbing pedestrian areas which don't seem to have enough space to accommodate the tram. Many merchants and center city residents would kill me for saying this, but I think construction should begin now!
Seville's metro is just one line, Linea 1, and the main use if you are a tourist would be to get to the San Bernardo train station. Although you can do the same using the tram which is cheaper and you don't have to bother with descending several stories below to catch it. What the metro does well is connect many of the outlying neighborhoods as well as the University of Pablo Olavide. What it does poorly in my opinion is not work with the city bus and tram passes. In fact the Metro in many cases is quite expensive and the pass system makes you study a map and determine how many saltos you have to travel (salto = zone).
We'll concentrate on the immediate city limits for the moment with these stops:
Parque de los Principes
Plaza de Cuba
Puerta de Jerez
Prado de San Sebastian (Center)
You can purchase tickets in the station (underground level) using several automated machines, although the process is not always clear depending on where you want to go.
The Metro pass (a paper card which can be recharged) requires that you add money but also indicate the number of saltos or zones which you will travel through. Study the map because if you just add money but don't add saltos for a long trip, then when you leave your destination station you
may have a problem. For shorter distances within the center you don't have to worry.
Regional transport passes: There are also regional transportation passes which work with the metropolitan buses connecting to the suburbs and smaller towns outside Seville. The advantage of these passes is that you can add money to them and they work with the Metro but you don't have to indicate the number of saltos.
By now you see I get confused with the Metro. Its not so hard but they've done their best to make it expensive and less user friendly for first time users than any other public transport in Seville. Once we have the second and third lines maybe the practicalities will outweigh the pain in the #&% that it is for me personally.
Taxis are another way to get around, although a little
than the bus. When hailing a cab look for the green light
on top meaning the taxi is free. Most are fairly new and
offer enough room for two with plenty of luggage. If you
need a van or larger taxi you can generally secure one by
calling ahead. Likewise, if you need a taxi for the airport
very early in the morning my recommendation is to call the
night before and make a reservation (see the telephone numbers
below). Many of my short cab rides cost between 3,50 - 6€
for two people. For a taxi to / from the airport there is a flat rate in effect:
21,27€ during weekdays and 23,72€ during holidays, Sundays
or nights between 21:00 - 07:00 (info as of October 2011).Taxis can be found
in the main plazas of the center in designated taxi stands
if you can't hail one on the street. The best locations
for finding a taxi are:
Plaza del Duque (in front of El Corte
Plaza de la Encarnación
Plaza de Cuba
A few more helpful hints for taxis:
Luggage: extra charges will be added for luggage handling (by piece),
holidays, Sundays and late night rides.
Number of people:
4 people is generally the maximum allowed in a taxi.
Taxi drivers prefer smaller bills to larger one (i.e.:
avoid using a 50 or 100€ bill)
Drivers to not expect tips, but rounding off the change
Distances to other towns and cities
Distancias a otros pueblos y ciudades
First and foremost is just how far from Seville are the
various cities and towns you may want to visit. The distances
below are approximate:
Taking a train (or arriving by train) is
fairly easy with Seville's Santa Justa train station located
on Avenida Kansas City, close to the center. If you choose
to walk it's about 15-20 minutes from the center, depending
on your location. A cab will also get you there for 4-6€
depending on your location. Two bus lines will drop you
at the station itself: Bus C-2 or Bus 32.
Getting to the center from the station
When arriving you can catch a cab to the center (at the
front exit) again for about 4-6€. If you want to catch
a bus to the center you have two good options. Bus 32 will
take you to Plaza Encarnación in the center. If you
prefer Plaza Nueva, perhaps a little more central, walk
a block or two to Avenida Kansas City and catch Bus 21.
If you don't have a lot of luggage you can easily walk to
the center as well.
Tickets and Schedules
You can purchase tickets at the station, in the RENFE office
located in Calle Zaragoza behind Plaza Nueva, or online at
reservation page. Many travel agents will book tickets
for the train as well, especially when booking them with a
flight or other travel services. As there is a travel agency
just about on every block you shouldn't have trouble finding
one. When traveling to Madrid it is often nice to catch the
AVE - a great high-speed train that has shaved hours off the
journey. Tickets are more expensive than the normal train,
but it is well worth it. If you want to save a little money
catch the 10pm train as I did a while back. Just make sure
you know what you're doing and where you're staying once you
get to Madrid at 12:30am. Do note that it can be cheaper to
fly to Madrid, especially if you use public transportation
to and from each airport. I found a 19 Euro flight one time,
which was more than half the price of the AVE. In general
the AVE is cheaper, but not always. You can check exact prices
and schedules of any train to and from any city at the RENFE
schedule page. I highly recommend that you check the schedule
so please don't rely on this page for exact fares or times. Some notes on the table below:
Prices: are approximate and rounded up to the nearest Euro as
they fluctuate often. For example, some departure times
to cities are a few Euros cheaper or more expensive. Price
changes occur frequently but are generally small. You
should use this as a guide for price estimates. Note that
round trip prices are discounted from the one-way price.
times: are likely to
change, be suspended or offered for holidays and other
months. Schedules change and there are additional trips
to some destinations on certain days of the week. You
should use this as a guide to frequency of trips.
this list covers direct connections but does not include
transfer options. You can get from Seville to just about
any other city or sizeable town provided you are willing
to change trains. Buses in many cases may be the most
direct route to your destinations.
Both stations are practically in the center and in most cases
you can walk to or from both of them. If not, take a taxi
and give the name of the bus station. Plaza de Armas is about
3 blocks from the Triana bridge and Reyes Catolicos. The Prado
de San Sebastian station is close to the university and across
the street from the Jardines Murillo. The
most confusing thing about bus travel from Seville is the
choice of the bus stations. There are two possibilities depending
on your destination: Prado de San Sebastian or Plaza de Armas. If you are traveling to
cities or towns in Andalucia, such as Cádiz, Granada,
Málaga or Carmona you need to go to the station in
Prado de San Sebastian. If you are traveling to Huelva or
outside of Andalucia, such as Madrid, Extremadura, or Portugal
you need to head to the station in Plaza de Armas. As things
change I do recommend you check before heading out. It is
often difficult to get an actual person on the telephone at
either of the general bus station numbers listed below. Many
times the lines are busy, or they simply fail to answer. The
best thing to do is go to the bus station the day before or
head to the tourist office for some help.
Tickets and Schedules
You can reach many of the smaller pueblos and larger cities
by bus as well. Bus service in Spain is well organized but
run by many separate companies, and the company depends on
the destination. Buses are probably the cheapest option for
travel outside of Seville, although in general you should
expect longer travel times. If you are on a very tight budget
you may wish to catch a bus to Madrid that takes 6 hours.
The same route by train, however, takes 2 and a half hours.
Also consider when the timetables versus train travel. Sometimes
a more convenient departure or arrival time will make the
choice between bus and train easier.
Some notes about the list of destinations below:
Prices: are approximate and rounded up to the nearest Euro as
they fluctuate often. For example, some departure times
to cities are a few Euros cheaper because they are less
popular. Price changes occur more frequently because so
many companies handle different routes. You should use
this as a guide for price estimates.
times: are likely to
change or be suspended for holidays. Schedules change
often and there are additional trips to some destinations
on certain days of the week. You should use this as a
guide to frequency of trips.
company: knowing which
company offers the route is generally not of much help
because phone service is not good. It is always best to
go to the station and purchase the ticket in person. When
you arrive at the station inquire about the destination
or look for the signs where they indicate routes and inquire
about departure times and prices.
San Pablo Airport is located about 12 km north of the city.
For a taxi to the airport there is a flat rate in effect:
21,27€ during weekdays and 23,72€ during holidays, Sundays
or nights between 21:00 - 07:00 (info as of October 2011). Just remember that salidas means departures and llegadas means arrivals so the
driver drops you in the correct place. There are not multiple
terminals as with other, larger airports so it makes it easy
on you and the driver. You can also catch a bus to the airport
which has stops in several locations:
Palos de la Frontera (next to the Casino de la Exposición)
Prado de San Sebastian (just next to the bus station)
Pedro de Castro (Hotel Pasarela - Hotel Meliá)
Enramadilla (RENFE - Viapol)
Avda. San Francisco Javier (Edificio Sevilla II)
Luis de Morales (Hotel Portacoeli - Hotel Lebreros)
Avenida de Kansas City (Estación Santa Justa
- Hotel Ayre)
Bus tickets currently cost 2,40€ and departures are about
every 30 minutes beginning around 6:15am with an hour and
30 minute break around 3pm. Somewhere just around midnight
(24:00) they stop. For more information you can call Los Amarillos,
the charter service who runs the route, at 902 21 03 17.
Getting to the center from the airport:
Taxis are waiting outside the arrival terminal
near the baggage claim. Go to the taxi at the front of the
line and normally the driver will help you with
your luggage. You can also catch the same bus mentioned
above by exiting the terminal, taking a right and passing
the taxis. There is a sign for the bus with times indicated.
You can rent cars at the airport and there are a few desks
waiting in the arrivals area if you want to book upon arrival.
Check the section below for more information and how to
get a better rate on car rentals.
At the airport
Well, it's an airport so they have overpriced food,
a bar and upon passing through the metal detectors in departures
there are a few shops (which are not always open) where
you can buy a few items. If you arrive and need to change
money you can do so upstairs at departures at the Iberia
office. There is also an ATM located upstairs. Do expect
a fairly modern building, but don't expect a lot of services
catering to airport travelers. The airport does close for
a few hours some time after midnight and before the earliest
flights in the morning. There are plans to have it open
24 hours in the future.
I still say use a travel agent to find your best deals for
flights out of Seville. Mine has done wonders so far and
we are hoping he still has time to find us some cheap tickets
to the U.S. for August. In 2004 - I got round trip tickets
from Madrid to Charlotte, N.C. for 454€ for both June
and August trips. That was the last time I think I flew for cheap. Between 2008 and 2011 we have been flying out of Malaga, taking advantage of easy rail connections. Prices for the Malaga - N.Y. flight were as low as 900€ Flying to other countries close by from
Seville is relatively cheap (you're in Europe already!),
although most require you to connect in Madrid. There are
some direct flights to London (Gatwick), Paris, Brussels
and now several new flights on Air Berlin to 15 or so destinations
in Germany. Vueling opened an office in the Seville airport in October 2007 and will be offering several flights to destinations such as Amsterdam and Lisbon, as well as other destinations in Spain. Additional flights are said to be in the plans so we will keep an eye out for those in the future.
Driving in Seville can be a lot of fun but also a little scary.
I enjoy driving once I am out of Seville and on the
highways. Driving within Seville, especially the center,
takes a bit of patience and I like to compare it to a video
game except you don't get points for every obstacle you hit.
Watch out for:
Pedestrians crossing at any moment from most any direction
Scooters or motos weaving through traffic and
ignoring traffic signals
Other drivers ignoring the red light in front of them
because it looks pretty clear from where they are...
Taxi and bus only lanes
Narrow one-way streets, blind curves and intersections
Requirements, insurance and know-how
If you want to take a chance and rent a car you'll need to
meet the following requirements:
U.S. driver's license (valid, of course)
International Drivers license - yes, this is now officially required by law
Be at least 18 years of age but in some cases at least
Be a tourist or have a residence permit of 6 months
Finally, be prepared for manual drive (stick-shift) cars.
So you think you're ready to drive? Before getting on the
road here take a look at these
signs and see if you know what to do (or not to do) when
you see them. If you feel like testing your skills on a more
official level try one of the written
tests from the Dirección General de Tráfico.
The other way is to have an international driver's license.
I'm still checking up on how you get one, and the process
is fairly easy, but as this doesn't apply for me anymore my search has trailed off recently. In a day of non-laziness I will offer more information. Also realize you will be required to pay any
traffic fine or ticket on the spot if you are not a resident
of Spain. Insurance is generally purchased when you rent the
car and some policies in the U.S. may cover you while abroad.
Some platinum credit cards also will offer coverage when you
rent a car, but check to see what your benefits are first.
Many rental agencies require a deposit that will be charged
or authorized on your card, and then refunded upon return
if the car is in good condition. There is risk involved in
this if you have a scratch or accident and you should check
the amount you will be responsible for. All agencies allow
you to buy your way out of that deposit, and in my experience
it is a good investment, if for nothing else than peace of
mind. For deposits note that some agencies mentioning "a
charge to your card" but often they will only be authorized,
meaning they will check to see if you have sufficient credit
to pay the damage deposit and then have the right to charge
your card should you return the car damaged. To avoid paying
for preexisting damages, always check the car to make sure
any dents, scratches or other problems are noted before you
leave the lot.
Who to rent from?
have used Carjet.com on many occasions but have had luck in the last few years renting from Auriga Crown, which can be slower at check out but they've gotten me the best prices many times. Almost in every case these will be cheaper versus the big national or international
chains. Carjet has the advantage of being
a broker and thus can shop around for the best rates. You may pick up your car at any number of different rental companies. These same companies often offer a higher rate than they do through Carjet. Weird, but true.International chains like Hertz, Avis, etc tend to charge
much more for rentals in Spain or Europe for that matter.
In February of 2010 we rented a car with Auriga Crown for 79 Euros including the buyout of the collision damage waiver. I'm not promising the fastest or best service but the price appeals to me! Some things to look for in rentals:
A lot of drop off and pick points, and don't shy away from airports
and train stations. Some times these offer an easy "escape route" compared to picking up your car in the center somewhere.
No extra fee for one-way rentals. If you rent for more days some companies will not charge extra.
Covers travel in all of Spain and Portugal
Additional drivers insured at a charge or free.
It can be up to 7-9€ per day in some cases.
Fuel: require you to fill it up before you return it or buy the gas up front. There are some strong opinions on this and while I lose money I also like not having to find a place to fill up in the city.
If I had to go local it would be Autos
Hisaplis Rent a Car. They are located 50 meters from the
Cathedral just off Avda. Constitución (behind the giant
San Buenaventura location). They have some good rates as well
as pretty good service.
If you want to rent a car I do recommend a very small one
- it's easier to park and much easier to navigate through
the streets of Seville where a large car can be a liability. Keep in mind there are parking problems if you
are looking for a free space. In late 2010 the city implemented a traffic control system, complete with cameras which recognized the license plate of cars. If you were not a resident oyu had about 45 minutes to find a garage or you would receive a fine of 75 Euros or more. A change in city government in 2011 led to the desactivation of this plan and once again anyone can enter into the city center. So it is possible, although difficult, to find a free space in the city.
I should say more about parking
- it really is a pain in the ass in most of the center and
Sevilla has a problem with double parking. You can't live
here long without noticing some poor soul who is blocked in
and has no other option but to hit the horn every 30 seconds
until someone runs up and moves his car so the guy can get out. On a weekend night people
come to the center looking for nightlife and double parking
in some places is very, very common. There is even a custom
to leave your car locked, but in neutral with the brake off.
Now if someone needs to get out from behind you they can nudge
your car over until they have enough room to leave.
the double parking and half hour searches for a free space?
Parking garages or paid spots are expensive since they have
eliminated the cheap parking next to the river. Remember to never keep anything in your car if you are leaving
it anywhere, even in a garage with security. Rental or out of town tags are like
a neon sign asking for your car to be robbed. I've seen cars
with back seats folded down and the glove box open so the
would-be thieves could see there wasn't anything in them.
I've also seen "Soy de Sevilla" ("I'm from
Seville") signs in cars for those hoping not to have
their car broken into. So paid parking is expensive but can
also be a nice security feature, so if you want to locate
a parking space you can use my Seville Public Parking Map. Public garages charge anywhere
from 17 - 22 Euros per day, while hotels can charge anywhere from 13 - 25 Euros per day.