We had to meet our guide for a tapas Seville tour in Plaza Mayor Seville. Not knowing anything about Plaza Mayor you could imagine our surprise when we came out of the small streets of Seville into this big square that is dominated by the wooden Parasol Setas Sevilla.
Sevilla in Andalucia Spain is renowned for its historical sights such as the Sevilla Cathedral and the Seville Alcazar. Today you will find Seville sights also include a modern architecture masterpiece called Las Setas de la Encarnación or Setas Sevilla. Locals call it the Seville mushrooms.
In English, the building is known as the Metropol Parasol. The wooden parasol is located at La Encarnación square. Deep in the old quarter of Seville, Spain. This modern masterpiece Setas Sevilla was designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer and completed in April 2011. It has dimensions of 150 by 70 metres (490 by 230 ft) and an approximate height of 28 metres (85 ft). The Seville Mushroom claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. If nothing else Setas Sevilla is a very interesting structure to look at.
Setas Sevilla – the History
Since the early 19th century a market has been in Plaza Mayor. The dilapidated Sevilla market building was torn down in 1973. and the site remained void of a building until early 1990. The city of Seville decided to build some underground parking and revive the market. During the initial stages, Roman and Moorish ruins were discovered. Progress ground to a halt in red tape but fast forward to 2004 when a new local government decided to start again with the redevelopment and Setas Sevilla was off and running again.
An international design competition was held to bring life back to the square. A winning design was chosen and as one would say it was full steam ahead or so they thought. The project was plagued by design limitations and the laws of physics. It was soon worked out that it could not be built as proposed. Tests, tests and more tests were done to find materials capable of the design. Finally, 5 years after the initial design the construction began. The structure was made out of Scandinavian birch wood, known for its strength. The budget was to be 50 million Euros. By completion in 2011, it had cost 100 million Euros. They say every city has one building the public don’t like well Metropol Parasol is that building for Seville. It is a modern eyesore in a traditional neighbourhood.
The building today has four levels. The underground level features the Roman and Moorish remains discovered on site. They are on display in a special museum room. Level 1 or the street level is the Central Seville Market. Level 1 on top of the market is an open-air public space. Levels 2 and 3 are the two area of the wooden parasol, affording one of the best views of the city.
Now getting back to our experience. As luck would have it we had a few minutes spare before our Devour Seville tour kicked off. We climbed the steps and had a look, fascinated by Las Setas Sevilla. This wood structure above our heads seemed to flow effortlessly above us in every direction. We had never seen anything like it.
We met Jamie our guide on our Seville Tapas tour and the second stop was the Seville food market at street level. The Metropol market was an amazing array of food stalls selling fish, meats, cheeses you name it. We wandered the Seville market try the best Seville food on offer. We tried some amazing Iberian ham and bought some fruits for the girls to eat. The Mushrooms of Seville Market contains over 40 stalls and occupies 2,200 square meters.
Fast forward 3 hours later and we finished our Seville tapas tour and we headed straight back to the Seville Mushroom.
We headed to the underground level to explore the Antiquarium or Roman Sevilla. The Archaeological walk allows you access to 400 meters worth of raised walkways. The walkways take you over the ruins of the house foundations, mosaic floors and Roman columns, all on display for your viewing. If only all Roman ruins were this well looked after. The Antiquarium Seville is well worth a few euro’s for a look at some amazing well kept ruins.
The views from the Metropol Parasol is amazing
From the underground level, you access the lifts to Mirador Setas de Sevilla (Metropol Parasol lookout). You arrive at level two where there is a bar, restaurant and toilet facilities. From here there are an additional 250 meters of walkways that reach a height of 28 meters off the ground giving you an unparallel 360 view of Sevilla. The kids enjoyed the lookout walkways. They had fun running back and forth. The kids looked like they were on a floating cloud. Make sure you have your camera handy, you will get some of the best pictures of Seville from up here.
At 3 Euro entry, you also got a free drink at the bar, so for us, this had to be one of the best priced Seville sights. We ordered a wine sat in the Andalucia sun and enjoyed the moment. We were there on an amazing day bright blue skies and afternoon sunshine. We pointed out the Seville sights we had already seen and ones we were going to see.
The uniqueness of this building cannot be understated. You will marvel at its beauty, you will ponder its design and overall you will be left with a lasting memory of a truly special building like nothing else anywhere in the world
How to get to Monumentos de Sevilla – Metropol Parasol
If you plan to take public transit, take bus lines 27 and 32 or the Metro T1, stopping at Plaza Nueva.
Being centrally located in Seville it’s easily accessed by foot. If you’re coming from the Seville Cathedral, area head north on Av. de la Constitución towards Calle Federico Sánchez Bedoya, Turn right onto Calle Alemanes, Turn left onto Calle Álvarez Quintero, continue onto Calle Conteros, slight left to stay on Calle Conteros, continue onto Calle Francos, continue onto Plaza Jesús de la Pasión, continue onto Calle Lineros, Calle Lineros turns slightly right and becomes Calle Puente y Pellón, Continue straight onto Pl. de la Encarnación, and you have arrived! No visit to Seville is complete without seeing this amazing building.
Monumentos de Sevilla – Metropol Parasol opening hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 10.00-23.00h
Friday – Saturday: 10.00-23.30
* Access to the gazebo is on the ground floor next to the access to the Antiquarium
* The Setas Sevilla box office will be closed 30 minutes before closing time
Where do we stay in Seville?
We stayed at apartment Salvador in the Seville Old Town. Beautifully furnished and modern self-contained apartment featuring cooking facilities. Restaurants, shops and the Seville Mushrooms (Setas Sevilla) are all in close vicinity. The Alcazar and the cathedral are 5 minutes walk away.
For more information and booking look HERE.
How to get to Seville
- Find your international flights to Seville with Momondo. Domestic budget flights in Spain try Veuling
- San Pablo Airport is located in the south of Spain, ten kilometres north-east of the Seville city centre.
- Pick up your hire car from Seville Airport to explore the region. For the best prices click HERE.
- Airport transfers to Seville and surrounding area are available. Book your transfer today.
- Catch a train to Seville from cities in Spain and beyond. Plan your trip HERE
- Many buses arrive and depart Seville Bus Station daily from all over Spain and Portugal. We arrived from Granada and departed to Albufeira Portugal from Seville Bus station. Search Bus tickets with Go Euro
Getting around Seville
Where to stay in Seville
- Seville has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to Apartments and Hotels rooms.
- Hostels in Seville can start from as little as $14 a night for a shared dorm room. HostelClub has a great selection of properties. Check out Trip Advisor for the top 5 ranked hostels in Seville. You can book your stay directly from this page.
- You can search Airbnb for there Seville accommodation offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing up and booking a stay right HERE
- Hotels in Seville generally start from around $70 a night for a double room and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards 5 stars. You can compare and book your stay on Agoda, Hotels.com, Hotels Combined and Priceline
(All coloured text in the Getting to Seville, Getting around Seville and Where to stay in Seville links to the pages mentioned for your information and booking convenience. We here at Wyld Family Travel will make a small commission from any bookings you make. This money goes into maintaining our website)
Please find 2 more articles about our time in Seville below. Just click the image to be taken to the article for your reading enjoyment