Cycling is a perfect pastime for getting around Seville. The city is flat, with 130km of marked bike lanes, so you can ride safely in most areas. On two wheels you can see a large section of the city in a short time, much more than you could manage on foot – and all while taking gentle exercise and looking after the environment.
Several routes will give you a tempting taste of Spain’s largest southern city, passing some of the Seville’s magnificent architectural jewels. One of the handy advantages of doing a tour early on in your stay is that you can see which places appeal, and where you’d like to return to, so you can explore them in greater depth.
So where do you find a bike to take you on your journey? You’ll find many bike hire shops around the centre and Santa Cruz. Thinking of other Spanish cities, if you’re looking for bike rentals in Barcelona, there’s an innovative bike rental service called Donkey Republic, used in conjunction with a phone app. In the future it’s hoped that this service, which ideal for visitors as there is no deposit to pay, will come to Seville – it’s already also in Madrid and Malaga and the network is gorowing, so before long Andalucia’s capital should also be enjoying Donkey Republic.
The monumental centre
If you’re starting on or near Puerta de Jerez, then head up Avenida de la Constitution past the impressive Expo 1929-era brick tiled buildings. Look out for little metal disks with a bike on to indicate where the lane is – most cycle lanes in Seville are coloured green or red, apart from this one. Pedestrians often walk in the lane without realising, so ring your bell to let them know you’re coming. And beware of the trams, which run next to the lane – be careful to look out for an oncoming tram if you cross over the tracks!
This route will take you past two main historic monuments – the Cathedral, and the Archivo de las Indias, to Plaza Nueva, at the very heart of Seville. As you ride up the avenue, the mighty basilica, the third-largest in the world, soars up in front of you, an unforgettable sight.
At the far end of Avenida de la Constitucion, the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) on Plaza Nueva has been a centre of local power since the 16th century. Don’t miss the original building with carved reliefs, at the back facing Plaza San Francisco; the front part is 19th century. Be careful when cycling along the pedestrianized streets north of here, in the shopping area, as there are no bike lanes, and lots of pedestrians. You can return on the other side of cathedral – no bike lane, but little traffic – to see the other side of the cathedral, the Giralda, Moorish minaret-turned-Christian belltower, and the outside wall of the Alcazar (Royal Palace).
One of the other wonderful areas to cycle is along the river – you can start from the Torre del Oro, the Moorish defensive tower, with the picturesque houses of Calle Betis along the opposite bank – more Amsterdam than Andalucia. This cycle path continues along next to the river, under Triana bridge and past Plaza de Armas bus station, After this, you pass under the Santiago Calatrava bridge, La Barqueta, which links the Expo 1992 site with Seville, and on to the Puente del Alamillo.
Here you can cross the river into the park of the same name, which is a favourite with families at weekends and perfect for children. Another cycle path hugs the other bank of the river, with optional detours into two Expo 1992 parks – Jardin Americano and Jardines del Guadalquivir. Away from the centre of the city, this is a quiet, calm area.
While calle Betis in Triana, across the river, itself doesn’t have a bike lane, it is fairly quiet, especially mid-morning, and offers wonderful views over the river to the Plaza de Toros, the Maestranza Theatre and the Torre del Oro.
If you want to visit a park a little closer to the centre while on your bike, head down Calle San Fernando, past the old cigarette factory immortalised in the opera Carmen, now the University, to Maria Luisa Park. Wide, shady avenues and charming tiled benches and fountains await, along with some impressive Expo 1929 buildings, including Plaza de España and the Bellas Artes Pavilion, now the Archaeological Museum. This park is also, obviously, ideal for children, with no traffic apart from horse and carriages, and plenty of playgrounds, paths and hidden corners to explore. You can also rent go-karts and rowing boats – though be sure to secure your bike if you leave it!
Cycling in Seville is a delight at any time of year, with plenty of traffic-free options and easy routes perfect for all levels of cyclists. So get on your bike – en tu bici!