The Venice of Spain: Plaza de España, Seville

Plaza de España in Seville has to be one of the most photographed and famous squares in the whole of Spain.

That’s not only because of the blockbuster movies shot here (Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars), the impressive size of the plaza, and artistic execution but also due to the fame it gained on Instagram.

Plaza de España is the work of a Sevillian architect Aníbal González, who designed the space for the 1929 Ibero-American Expo. The plaza is now adjacent to Maria Luisa Park (don’t miss a stroll here) and covers a total area of 50,000 square meters and counts itself among the most impressive plazas in Spain.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a 515-meter long Venice-style canal that you can explore by boat. No wonder they call it the Venice of Spain!

Let me take you for a little tour and show you around!

Early Morning at Plaza de España

If you’re on a hunt for the perfect photographs at Plaza de España, just a bit of warning here: the usual advice of arriving at the location for sunrise doesn’t apply here.

In the early morning, the sun peeks from behind the main building. Most of the square and the galleries will be in shade until early afternoon.

You have better odds of getting great shots when you get here late afternoon when the sun is lower.

Perfect symmetry, as seen across the canal. These photos were taken around 8 am.
The morning light barely covers the towers on each side.
Perfect for shots without people in it, if you know your way around manual settings on your camera.
The canal boats around this time are not running either – something to keep in mind.
As the sun moves higher up, more and more of the square is bathed in the sunshine.
In the morning, you will almost always find the square empty, apart from cleaning staff and horse carriage drivers.

Best Photography Spots in Plaza de España

I would say it’s almost impossible to get a bad photo at Plaza de España!

The whole plaza is one gorgeous giant photography backdrop, so you can’t go wrong. Here are some of the most popular spots for photography:

  • rowing the boat on the canal (something I didn’t get a chance to do)
  • photos on the bridges, taken from the side view to show the tower behind
  • on the tiled benches, taken from the side to showcase the curving of the square
  • insider the galleries looking into the square
  • in front of the main towers
  • from the bridge looking at the boats passing by
One of the central bridges.
The birds acted as paid extras to add a little drama to the images =)

The Plaza’s Building

The plaza is one giant half-circle with its buildings accessible through the bridges over the moat.

The building is currently used by different government offices and is not accessible for tours.

You can, however, get to the upper floor balconies to enjoy the view of the plaza from higher up.

Details of the main building.
The plaza is popular with runners, especially in the morning hours.
The access to the plaza is through each end where the towers stand.
An empty plaza, something you won’t see too much in the summer months.

The Provinces

As you walk along the central plaza you will see 48 alcoves with benches, covered in beautifully painted tiles, depicting the 48 different provinces of Spain.

For local visitors, it’s almost mandatory to take a photo with their province.

Short pillars with shelves inside stand between each alcove. I was confused about their purpose until I found out they are actually bookshelves.

They are used by visitors as a Little Free Library, to donate books and novels for others to read (had I known that earlier I would have brought my book collection here!).

Need to have a word with their gardener about pulling out those weeds!
We found Malaga!
Gorgeous details and handstrokes on the tiles.
Each alcove also has a map which shows the main cities within the province – a great way to entertain kids and let them find the cities on the map.
One of my favourite ones with blue & yellow tiles.

The Bridges

The four bridges that go over the canal are representing the four former kingdoms of Spain – Castile, León, Navarre, and Aragón. They connect the central part of the plaza where the fountain is, with access to the main building and the galleries.

They are very wide but not accessible for wheelchair users.

Maria Luisa Park

If you’re coming to Plaza de España, it would be a shame to miss a stroll through Maria Luisa Park!

Once used as gardens of the Palace of San Telmo, they were donated to the city and now serve as the city’s main green space.

The park is also a botanical garden and is home to many bird species.

The center of Maria Luisa Park is built-in ‘Moorish paradisical style’ with tiled fountains, styled flower beds, benches, pavilions, and beautiful trees and plants all around.

Many monuments can be found in the park, the most interesting ones are the monument to Miguel de Cervantes and the fountains of lions.

Horse carriage rides are available close to the plaza to take you around the park to show you the best parts.

Small pond with ducks close to the entrance of the park.
Blooming flowers everywhere.
Gorgeous green even in the middle of summer.
One of the many small flower gardens.

Plaza de España – Visitor Information

How to get to Plaza de España: the plaza is accessible through the Maria Luisa Park, or the two streets that line each side of the main building – Av Isabela la Catolica and Calle Nicolas Alperiz. I have used Av Isabela la Catolica, which is just off a big roundabout. There is a bus stop right by the entrance at Av. Portugal. The closest metro station is Prado de San Sebastian.

When to visit Plaza de España: If you want to enjoy the square in peace, it’s best to visit in the morning. In summer it tends to get very busy, but thanks to its size it never feels crowded.

Opening times: The plaza is open from 8 am to 10 pm every day.

Boat Rides: Tickets are available at Venta Official ticket booth, a small booth close to the parked boats. The tickets cost €6 for a 35-minute ride, if you go over it, the price goes up to €10. A small deposit of €4 is also required so remember to return to the booth after your ride.

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