Incredible views of the Seville skyline, a factor to keep in mind when comparing it to Madrid.

Seville or Madrid? Which City Is Better To Visit In 2024

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Is it better to visit Seville or Madrid? Read on to find out!

Of all the exceptional cities in Spain, Seville and Madrid are two of my favourites. But knowing which one to visit is not an easy choice if you have to choose between the two.

As someone who’s lived and worked in both Seville and Madrid for several months, I understand the locals of both cities and why they are fascinating, memorable places to visit.

So I’m the perfect blogger to explain to you all the reasons why you should visit Madrid and Seville and how they compare when it comes to things to do, places to see, where to stay and more.

In a rush? My Tour Recommendations for Seville & Madrid:

Visit the Magnificent Royal Alcazar of Seville
✅ Discover Spanish art at the Prado Museum in Madrid

🏨 My Hotel Recommendations for Seville & Madrid:

Oasis Backpackers’ Palace Seville
Hotel Baco (Seville)
Hotel Doña María (Seville)
Way Hostel Madrid
LaNave (Madrid)
Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá (Madrid)

Seville or Madrid: Which City Is Better To Visit?

Seville and Madrid are two very different cities in Spain; both are definitely worth visiting but for very different reasons.

Seville, the capital city of Andalusia, is a more laid back place where no one is in a rush, but it is full of fascinating historical sites and is famous for flamenco dancing, gazpacho soup and really good weather nearly all year round.

Madrid on the other hand is quite the opposite; it’s a lively, modern capital with plenty of socially popular neighbourhoods.

Personally I would pick Madrid if I had to choose between the two cities. It’s hard to choose between them as they are both beautiful places, but I prefer the arty museums and trendy neighbourhoods compared to Seville’s historical sites.

I can totally see why someone may prefer Seville over Madrid however. You get the feeling that Seville is more authentically Spain, but the same can’t be said of Madrid.

So let’s compare and contrast both cities regarding several different aspects on what they both have to offer.

Reasons Why Seville Is The Better Option

Firstly, let’s take a look a look at why Seville is the better option to visit rather than Madrid when in Spain:

Seville has more history than Madrid

Although Madrid is the bigger city between the two, it’s perhaps surprisingly Seville that has more historical sites to explore.

Seville’s number one tourist attraction is the Royal Alcazar, which is an absolutely stunning royal palace near the city centre that dates back to the 10th century.

➡️ Visit the Magnificent Royal Alcazar in Seville
Book your ticket hassle free by clicking here

The palace features both Spanish Christian and Moorish architecture and wandering around the complex is an wonderful experience, you’ll be left in awe at the breath taking beauty on show.

The gardens of the palace are equally beautiful and several scenes from ‘Game of Thrones’ were filmed on the grounds.

It is a place full of wonderful beauty that left me in awe at the architecture designs and lovely gardens that you get to explore – it should most definitely be your first port of call when visiting the city.

Another top historical site in Seville that you must visit is Plaza de España, which is one of the largest plazas in Europe and was built in 1928 for the  Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.

This is another majestic space to walk around and it’s totally free to enter. It’s my favourite place to visit in Seville; the artwork and architecture on show is very beautiful and impressive.

👉 Pro Tip: I recommend visiting Plaza de España after the sun has set; temperatures are cooler, the grounds are less populated and it’s twice as magical under the lights.

Seville has better weather ☀️

There’s no denying that Seville is the hotter of the two cities as it is further south than Madrid, so if you want a warmer climate then you may want to choose the Andalusia capital.

Seville enjoys good temperatures all year round, even throughout the winter months temperatures are far from freezing and there are a lot of sunny days and not so many rainy days.

However, all this sun can be something of a detriment, especially during the summer months.

During this season Andalusia experiences heatwaves and unbearable temperatures in the mid 30’s (Celsius) and even 40 degrees Celsius or more in recent years.

I can attest to how unbearable the summer months in Seville are, having lived there for 2 months during June and July.

The hot days really affect your activities each day (or lack of them), and most businesses close during the mid afternoon hours during the summer.

👉 Pro Tip: I would recommend a visit to Seville during spring or autumn when the temperatures are not so high and life isn’t so languid as it is during the summer season.

Seville is cheaper than Madrid 💰

Although Seville is probably the most expensive city in Andalusia, it’s still considerably cheaper than Madrid, which is one of the most expensive cities to visit in all of Spain.

Seville is cheaper when it comes to accommodation, food and drink as well as tickets to the major tourist attractions. So if budget is an issue when planning your trip to Spain, then definitely choose Seville instead of Madrid!

When it comes to the cost of living in both cities, it’s estimated that Madrid is 23% more expensive than Seville.

People are friendlier in Seville 🙂

The general consensus is that people in Seville are much friendlier than locals in Madrid, and in my experience I would have to agree.

With a population of just 1 million compared to Madrid’s 5 million, there’s a lot less people and a lot of students in the city centre, creating a fun, sociable atmosphere.

That’s not to say that Madrid locals are not friendly of course. But the capital is a big, busy city where people are in a rush to get to where they’re going, which was kind of reminiscent for me of London in the UK.

Seville is easier to explore than Madrid

Seville is very much a walkable city, it’s easier to explore and you can get from one side of the city to the other by walking in next to no time. You can go from one major tourist attraction to the next without having to rely on public transport.

Madrid on the other hand is too big a city to explore in just one day, and you do have to rely on the city’s metro train system or bus system to get around.

Although Seville is a smaller city, it’s still quite easy to get lost, with its countless mazy, narrow backstreets.

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    Reasons Why Madrid Is The Better Option

    So that’s all the reasons why Seville is the better option to visit in Spain instead of Madrid, but now let’s look at reasons why Madrid is the better option:

    Madrid has more culture than Seville

    Most people would agree that Madrid is the cultural centre of Spain, with only Barcelona having as many cultural highlights as the capital does.

    If you’re an art lover and fond of visiting museums or exhibitions, then you simply must choose Madrid over Seville.

    I spent 2 months living and working in Seville and in all honesty I felt that I had exhausted all the cultural things to do within the first month.

    On the other hand, I spent 8 months living and working in Madrid and still felt that I hadn’t explored everything that city has to offer by the end of my time in the capital.

    There are several world class art museums to choose from in Madrid, with the Prado museum being Spain’s national art museum.

    ➡️ Discover Spanish Art at the Prado Museum in Madrid
    Book your ticket easily by clicking here

    It’s one of the world’s leading art museums and has the largest collection of Spanish art, from the 11th to the 18th century.

    My personal favourite museum in Madrid however is the Sofia Reina museum close by.

    This museum features more contemporary and modern art, including Picasso’s famous: ‘Guernica’ painting, which is just an extraordinary sight to behold.

    I have visited both of these top art museums several times and I highly recommend them both if you’re an art lover. I recommend the Prado if you prefer classical art and Sofia Reina if you prefer more modern art.

    👉 Pro Tip: The Prado Museum is totally free to visit on weekdays between 6pm-8pm and on weekends from 5pm-7pm.

    It’s also completely free to enter on Sunday evenings, so definitely take advantage of this, though be prepared to have to queue to enter.

    Madrid is the livelier city

    Madrid is by far the livelier city compared to Seville. There are several really lively neighbourhoods in the city that are crammed on weekends with people socialising at bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

    Whether it’s the trendy, student friendly Malasaña, the countless tapas bars of Barrio de La Latina or the multicultural diversity of Lavapiés, you’re never short of options when it comes places to explore in Madrid.

    This is why I love Madrid so much; the nightlife is the best that Spain has to offer in my opinion, if not in all of Europe.

    Madrid has better parks than Seville 🌲

    Madrid also undoubtedly has better parks compared to Seville as well. There are over 40 parks in total within the city limits of Madrid, with the most famous and popular being El Retiro park.

    El Retiro park is probably my favourite park I’ve ever visited, only Central Park in New York comes close in comparison (although London has some fantastic parks too).

    It is a huge park, featuring a large lake where you can go for a paddle on a rowing boat, as well as monuments, statutes and a few outdoor bars where you can sit and watch the world go by for a couple of hours.

    It is a wonderful place to go for a stroll and unwind from the hectic pace of Madrid, and at the heart of the park sits the Crystal Palace, a beautiful glass conservatory that is now used to house art exhibitions.

    Madrid is the better city for shopping 🛍️

    Madrid also has the advantage over Seville when it comes to shopping as well. The Spanish capital is the country’s fashion capital, and as a result there are countless clothes stores throughout the city.

    Gran Via is Madrid’s main shopping street where you can find popular high street clothing stores, and the Salamanca district (also known as ‘the Golden Mile‘) is world famous for having luxury clothing stores featuring high end fashion.

    Best Places To Stay in Seville On Any Budget

    If you decide to visit Seville rather than Madrid, then choosing the right place to stay is not an easy choice. Let’s look at three different accommodation options in Seville with three different price options:

    📍 Budget Recommendation: Oasis Backpackers’ Palace Seville

    If you’re on a tight budget when visiting Seville then Oasis Backpackers’ Palace is a great option.

    With spacious dorms, private rooms and an outdoor swimming pool, this modern hostel is only 500 metres away from Seville bus station and walking distance from all of the city’s major attractions.

    Check out this top review from Andrea:
    “Really nice place! The rooftop terrace is really nice and creates a nice social vibe in the afternoon and evening. The staff was nice and so was the travellers I met there”

    ➡️Book a room at the Oasis Backpackers’ Palace Seville here

    📍 Mid-Range Recommendation: Hotel Baco

    For a more mid-range budget option, then look no further than Hotel Baco which has really good moderate prices available.

    This superb 2 star hotel is based in Seville’s historic centre, meaning that all of the city’s many sights are within easy reach. You are also spoilt for choice when it comes to numerous restaurants and bars all close by to the hotel.

    Check out this top review from Mariya:
    “Very nice and clean hotel in the heart of Seville. Every touristic attractions, bars, restaurants are within walking distance. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Highly recommend.”

    ➡️ Book a room at Hotel Baco here

    📍 Luxury Recommendation: Hotel Doña María

    If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay while visiting Seville, then Hotel Doña María is one of the best options you’ll find in the whole city.

    This is a stunning 4 star hotel located in a former palace and offers amazing views of Seville’s famous Cathedral from it’s rooftop. The facilities here really are outstanding!

    Check out this top review from Aleksandra:
    “The best location ever, A very pleasant roof top bar with a fantastic view. Fully recommend this place!”

    ➡️ Book a room at the Hotel Doña María here

    Best Places To Stay In Madrid On Any Budget

    Likewise, finding a good place to stay in Madrid is far from easy as there are so many options to choose from. Let’s look at three different accommodation options at three different price ranges:

    📍 Budget Recommendation: Way Hostel Madrid

    If you want a cheap but cheerful place to stay in Madrid, then Way Hostel is the perfect choice.

    This hostel is located very centrally in the capital, it features private rooms and shared dormitories for 6, 8 or 12 people at very cheap prices, meaning your visit to Madrid doesn’t have to cost the earth!

    Check out this top review from Tim:
    “Great, friendly, helpful staff. Good location and plenty of hostel generated experiences and opportunities.”

    ➡️ Book a room at the Way Hostel Madrid here

    📍 Mid-Range Recommendation: LaNave

    For a good mid-range budget option, then LaNave has everything you need. This is a really top rated, cosy guest house based in a historic building that has lots of charm.

    LaNave is located just 500 metres from Plaza de España Metro Station, not too far away from the city’s top attraction; the Royal Palace of Madrid and it features family rooms, a terrace and a bar.

    Check out this top review from Linda:
    “Excellent stay at LaNave, I just stayed one night and what you see is exactly what you get. The staff were caring, the room cosy, the location is central and the hotel was decorated with taste.

    ➡️ Book a room at LaNave here

    📍 Luxury Recommendation: Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá

    If you’re wanting five star luxury while staying in Madrid then there really is only one option: Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá.

    Situated in the upmarket Salamanca district of Madrid, this five star hotel has everything you could possibly need; elegant spacious bedrooms, a fitness centre, a cocktail bar, two restaurants and more.

    Check out this top review from Fadi:
    “One of the best quality hotels and service I have been to in Europe.”

    ➡️ Book a room at Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá here

    Seville or Madrid: Which City Is Better FAQs

    Still not sure whether to visit Seville or Madrid? Let’s answer some commonly asked questions about these two fantastic Spanish cities:

    Which city should you spend more days visiting?

    It’s worth spending a good few days in both cities to fully explore and get a feeling for what they both have to offer. I would recommend a very minimum of 2 days in both cities.

    If you plan to stay longer in Seville, then there are plenty of beautiful cities close by which you can take day trips to, such as the beautiful port city of Cadiz.

    You can also visit Granada based in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Cordoba which is well known for it’s famous mosque.

    There are several interesting places worth visiting close by to Madrid as well, such as the ancient town of Toledo, Salamanca which is famous for its sandstone architecture and Segovia which features an amazing Roman aqueduct.

    The magnificent city of Segovia and its Roman aqueduct, close by to Madrid.
    The magnificent city of Segovia and its Roman aqueduct, close by to Madrid.

    When is the best time to visit both cities?

    As previously mentioned, I would definitely avoid Seville in the summer months as high temperatures can make life unbearable.

    I would instead recommend a visit during April when there are two famous religious festivals; Holy Week, known as Semana Santa and Feria de Abril (April Fair) which takes place two weeks later.

    As for Madrid, I would also avoid visiting during the summer months as many locals leave the city for cooler temperatures, usually the north of Spain, and the capital is not as lively as usual.

    Instead, a visit during spring or autumn would be perfect.

    Are both cities safe to visit?

    Yes, both Seville and Madrid are considered safe cities to visit and in my experience I have never seen any crime in either places.

    That doesn’t mean to say that crime doesn’t happen in these cities of course, petty crime occurs in both Seville and Madrid just as it does in any other major European city.

    My advice would be to stay vigilant when travelling to these places, but you really have nothing to worry about when it comes to safety, whether you’re travelling in a group or alone as a male or female solo traveller.

    How to reach both cities?

    Both Seville and Madrid are fairly easy to reach, with international airports on the outskirts of both cities, with regular flights to both cities from the UK and other European destinations.

    From Madrid you can easily travel to other major cities in Spain; Barcelona is reachable by train in less than three hours, and Valencia is less than two hours away from train as well.

    There are high speed trains you can catch from Seville to Madrid or the opposite way, which takes just over two hours. I have personally caught this high speed train and found it to be a very enjoyable journey albeit expensive.

    From Seville you can also catch trains or buses to other cities in Andalusia, and renting a car is always a good option too.

    Conclusion: Seville or Madrid? Which City Is Better To Visit

    So that concludes my list of which city is better; Seville or Madrid. Both cities are amazing places in their own right and I would recommend visiting both if possible.

    Having taught English in Madrid for several months, it does have a special place in my heart so I would choose it over Seville.

    There are so many things to do in the capital and I honestly believe that Madrid is better than other popular European capital cities.

    But Seville has a certain charm and authenticity about it that is hard to resist – my advice would be to visit both of these top cities!

    ➡️ Planning your trip? Here are my favourite resources:

    🏨 Accommodation: I recommend using
    🚙 Rental Car: Use Discover Cars for the best car rental prices
    ❤️ Travel Insurance: I recommend using Visitors Coverage
    ✈️ Flights: Use for the best prices on flights