Guide to visiting The Royal Alcazar in Seville, Spain
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
Game of Thrones fans absolutely cannot miss heading to The Royal Alcazar (also known as Real Alcazar de Sevilla) when in Seville, Spain. The complex is humongous and is one of the oldest royal palaces in the world that is still currently in use. Its history is amazing as it stood through different eras, hosting a variety of cultures that once lived in Seville.
The Real Alcazar's of Seville's Origins
The Royal Alcazar was originally a Moorish fort constructed in the 10th century by the first Caliph (chief Muslim religious leader) of Andalusia. After the Christian conquest of Seville, the construction of the current Royal Alcazar started in the 14th century while still retaining some of Islamic, Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque elements. It is considered the best example of Mudejar (post-Moorish) architectural style in Spain. This category of architecture, influenced by Muslim and Christian elements is a unique one found only in Spain, and some parts in Portugal. The Royal Alcazar of Seville was also damaged in the 1755 Lisbon, Portugal earthquake and major renovations had to be done to salvage the complex, while more buildings were added.
If you're wondering why the palace is called an Alcázar, the Alcázar is actually a Spanish word that means fortified castle. Going further back, that word originates from the Arabic word al qasr meaning palace or fortress. In fact, many cities in Spain still continue to use the word Alcázar for palaces and royal residences from the time of the Moorish invasion.
Ever since it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, it has attracted tons of visitors to learn more about the unique surroundings, history, and culture. Rather than heading there and waiting in the long line, you may just wish to purchase tickets online! With such a rich history, you'll may also want a guide to explain the various areas of the complex and take you to the must-see #gamesofthrones locations. Book your Alcazar of Seville Guide Tour here!
If you are not heading for the guided tour, we strongly suggest you to get the audio guide! You'll need to pay 5 euros for that but it is definitely worth your every cent!
How to get to The Real Alcazar of Seville, Spain?
The closest metro station to the Alcazar is Puerta de Jerez or you can take the T1 tram to Archive de Indias. When you are there, head over to the Cathedral of Seville. The entrance is located close to Plaza del Triunfo. We initially couldn't find the entrance and kept walking around the entire Alcazar, looking for the entrance! When you are there, looking for the snaking queue!
Real Alcazar of Seville, Spain
Pl. del Patio de Banderas, 6, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
What are the opening times of The Real Alcazar of Seville, Spain?
The Alcazar opens from 9.30am daily and closes at 5pm during the winter months (October to March) and 7pm in Summer (from April to September). It closes earlier at 1.30pm during Holidays like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The Visit to The Real Alcazar of Seville, Spain
Now that you've got everything settled, off we go to the Alcazar! If you thought that the scenes within games of thrones were amazing, the REAL thing is much more stunning in real life! (no pun intended)
The entrance to the Alcazar where you'll start is called the Lion's Gate or Puerta del Leon. The gate is one of the last few Arab Traces in the Alcazar and these 12th century walls marks the gateway into the complex.
If you've gotten your tickets online, you can enter the Alcazar straight but if you haven't, here's where you'll queue to purchase your tickets at the door.
The Lion's Courtyard
Once you've entered, you'll be in the Lion's Courtyard or Patio del Leon. Here, you'll already get to see the unique architecture all around: from the floor to the buildings all around!
The Maiden's Courtyard
This is the most iconic area of the Alcazar, it is so pretty, but there's still so much more to see!
The interior architecture such as the mosaic tiles and the tapestry room were stunning. You'll spend hours just roaming around the entire complex. If you're wondering how long should you allocate for the Real Alcazar, I'd suggest between 2 to 3 hours. Guided tours are roughly 3 hours long.
There are simply so many #instagramworthy spots in the palace complex!
The Ambassador's Hall
This is one of the filming spots in the Game of Thrones series. You'll have to look up at the stunning gold ceiling! If you look closely enough, you'll see both Muslim and Christian inscriptions.
The Ambassador's Hall is a square room, open on all four sides with beautifully carved arches. This is the venue where the most prestigious guests were received. In the original Muslim Palace, this was the throne room!
Outdoors, the bright orange colours surely brighten up the entire place. Even though it was in the early part of winter, the sun shining onto the Mercury Pool was such an enchanting sight!
The Mercury's Pool isn't just a water ornament but it used to be the cistern which supplied the palace with water brought from the nearby town of Carmona! The bronze statue of Mercury with a winged helmet was only added much later when the pond no longer functioned as the cistern and became purely for decorative purposes.
Behind the pool you'll find the Italian grotto gallery (the concrete looking wall) was constructed using volcanic rocks so that it would look like caves. It is built to hide the ancient Almohad wall. When this passageway is open, head up and walk from one end of the gardens to the next as it gives a spectacular view of the gardens!
The Gardens of Alcazar
The Gardens of Alcazar is filled with many plants and greenery and at the time when we were there, there were just so many orange trees!
Baths of Mario de Padilla
Not pictured is the Baths of Mario de Padilla. Even though it was supposedly concealed, there were just too many people. Perhaps enjoying the cool interior rather than the standing in the warm gardens?
We also wandered into the servant's courtyard which looked too beautiful to be just for the servants too!
Overall, the Real Alcazar of Seville is a splendid attraction and great for #familieswithyoungchildren or #historyandculturalbuffs! For some other ideas on what to do in Seville, read our All you need to know: 15 things to do in Seville, Spain blogpost or try out skydiving in Seville!
Have you been to the Real Alcazar of Seville? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!