In my previous post I mentioned that my friend Louise came to visit for the weekend; and the first thing on our agenda for that visit was a trip to the Real Alcázar. Having previously visited the palaces and gardens back in October, I knew they’d be fairly busy (especially as its now tourist season in Sevilla), so I’d booked our tickets online the week before and saved us a wait in a MASSIVE queue on the Saturday morning. Seriously, it cut our waiting time down to about ten minutes compared to the at least an hour the other queue had to wait for. If you’re planning on visiting during your time in Sevilla, I cannot recommend highly enough pre-booking your tickets (or showing up stupidly early in the morning before the queue builds up).
We’d booked for the 11:30am entrance time and it ended up being the perfect time for us to go because it gave us time for a nice, chilled breakfast beforehand and it wasn’t smack bang in the hottest part of the day so we weren’t dying from heat exhaustion either. Being students and therefore cheap, we decided to give the €5 audio guide (available in lots of different languages) a miss and still managed to enjoy our visit. There are information signs in each of the rooms and the entrance to each garden available in Spanish and English, so even without the guide you know what you’re looking at. There are also free information leaflets (again, available in multiple languages) available after going through security, which give you a bit of the history of the place and also include a map so you can plan your route.
The Alcázar is the oldest royal palace in Europe that is still in use today with the upper parts of the palace being the official residence of the Spanish royal family in Sevilla and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 (along with the Cathedral and the Archive of the Indies). Walking through both the palaces and the gardens, you can sense the history of the place and see the various additions that have been made to the palaces over the years. And, while not as impressive as the Alhambra in Granada, the palaces in Sevilla are a beautiful example of mudéjar architecture. My favourite part of the monument are definitely the Baños de Doña María de Padilla which you can find underneath the Patio del Crucero. Just look at how beautiful the lighting is!! I wish I had a better camera to do it the justice it deserves.
Although tickets are a little pricey without student discount, I would still thoroughly recommend a visit to the Alcázar if you ever find yourself in Sevilla. Wandering the gardens with the scent of the orange trees and getting lost inside the palaces while admiring the stunning architecture is a lovely way to pass an hour or two in the city.
Where: Just off Plaza del Triunfo in the centre of Sevilla
When: Open from 9:30-17:00 (October – March) and 9:30-19:00 (April – September). Closed January 1st and 6th, Good Friday, and Christmas Day.
Price: For general entry the price is €9,5 or €2 for students or retired people. To visit the Royal Quarters upstairs, the price is €4,5 and you can book the two together. If you book online, there’s an extra fee of €1 per ticket.
How to get there: Sevilla has an international airport with flights to many different destinations. You can also fly in Málaga or Madrid and take the high speed train to Sevilla itself. Once in the city the Real Alcázar is one of the most easily recognisable attractions and is found just off Plaza del Triunfo. You can also spot it during tourist season by the massively long entrance queue!