Sights across the entire Spanish south have been shaped by centuries of Moorish and Catholic influence, and in few places is this more evident and captivating than at the Alcazar of Seville. This UNESCO World Heritage Site’s sprawling complex is made up of several features; the most picturesque is arguably the Patio de las Doncellas, with its tranquil ponds that reflect the intricate mudéjar plasterwork for which the palace is especially noted.
The Royal Alcazar of Seville ranks among the most visited complexes on the planet and is included on many sightseeing tours in Seville (including Game of Thrones–themed tours). Aside from general admission tickets, which should be booked in advance, visitors have a few other options for touring the complex. It’s possible to book admission to the Royal Residence (Cuarto Real Alto) as part of an additional tour that often sells out early—it’s a good idea to book a guided tour of the complex or your entrance tickets ahead of time. Those with limited time to spend in the city can opt for a guided tour with skip-the-line access.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Alcazar is a must-see for first-time visitors to Andalucia.
- Remember to bring water and sunscreen, as some areas of the palace have very little shade.
- Wear comfortable shoes, and dress in layers, as conditions within the palace can vary.
- Give yourself two to three hours to explore the palace complex.
How to Get to Alcazar of Seville
The Alcazar of Seville is very centrally located near the Seville Cathedral. If you’re already in the city center, the easiest way to reach the palace is on foot. The Seville tram stops at the Archivo de Indias, located next to the palace.
When to Get There
As one of Seville’s most popular attractions, the Alcazar can get busy. Plan to visit first thing in the morning to explore and photograph the grounds on your own before most tour buses start to arrive. To enjoy the royal palace gardens at their most beautiful, plan your visit on a sunny day. The complex is closed on Christmas, Good Friday, and during the first six days in January.
Beneath the Alcazar
Not all of the Alcazar’s beauty is situated above ground—below the Patio del Crucero are the Banos de Dona Maria de Padilla, the beautiful and almost eerie underground cisterns that collect rainwater from above. It's said that the tanks were named after a beauty so ruthlessly pursued by Pedro I (often called Pedro the Cruel), who ordered much of the Alcazar's construction, that she disfigured herself with burning oil and became a nun.