Entering the Alcázar of Seville is a feast for the eyes: its beauty is more than a match for the rest of Seville's monuments and neighbourhoods, and although its name does not resonate as much as that of the Giralda or the Torre del Oro, the Alcázar is an obligatory stop on your trip.
1. How to visit the Alcazar of Seville
A visit to the Alcázar is a must in Seville and it is common to find combined tickets for the Alcázar and a guided tour or some other activity, such as a visit to the Cathedral.
2. Entrance to the Alcazar and guided tour of the surrounding area
The Alcázar of Seville is located in the historic centre of the city. A few steps away from it you have the Giralda Cathedral or the Santa Cruz neighbourhood. With this activity you will take advantage of this location to take a guided tour of the Alcazar and its surroundings, avoiding, of course, the queues at the entrance.
What this tour consists of
The details are as follows: the tour lasts about two hours, it is available in English and Spanish and the price is around 30 euros. To secure your place, you must book online and, once you choose the day on which you want to take this guided tour of the Alcázar of Seville, you will receive an email informing you of times, meeting point and other instructions.
About the guided tour of the surroundings
Although the tour of the surrounding area is not as comprehensive as a specific guided tour, it will help you to get your bearings in the city and then you can explore the area at your own pace or with another tour. As for the Alcazar guide, it is a way to get much more out of your visit. If you want to stay longer after the guided tour and visit the Alcazar and its gardens on your own, that's no problem.
Ana's Traveller Tip
With or without a guided tour, buy your tickets online. Waiting in the queue at the ticket office in the sun is a sacrifice and does not ensure you will be able to get in on the day.
3. Guided tour of the Alcázar of Seville for small groups
If you are a fan of guided tours or are particularly interested in the history of the city of Seville and its Moorish legacy, this guided tour of the Alcázar for small groups is well worth it. The price of £29 is very similar to a normal guided tour and the difference is that you will be in a group of no more than 20 travellers; this will allow you to feel more confident with your guide and more comfortable when touring the Alcázar.
What this tour consists of
In addition to the services of a professional guide, the price includes admission without queues. In other words, you won't have to wait in the long queue at the ticket office, but you will meet your guide outside and go straight in. Once you have booked online and chosen the day you would like to visit, you will be informed of the meeting point and time.
This tour covers the history of this enclave, but also information about the architecture of the place (with Arab, Renaissance and Baroque influences) and about the rooms that served as the setting for the popular series Game of Thrones. This tour can be booked in English or Spanish and lasts approximately one and a half hours.
4. Guided tour of the Alcazar and the Cathedral of Seville
Seville Cathedral and its famous tower, the Giralda, is another key attraction for visitors to the city. This guided tour combines the Alcázar and the Cathedral of Se ville as they are both places of reference in terms of architecture and cultural wealth, not only in Andalusia but in the whole of Spain.
What this tour consists of
The price is £41 and the total duration of the guided tour of these two monuments is around three and a half hours. You can do it in English or Spanish and in both places you will avoid the queues at the entrance by going directly with your expert guide and the rest of the group.
You can book your place online and choose the day and time that suits you best for the tour. I recommend choosing early morning to avoid the heat and weekends to avoid the crowds. The tour includes a climb up the Giralda tower, so be prepared for the steep stairs.
Any lover of Islamic and Christian art and history will be fascinated by this tour of Seville's two most prominent and most visited monuments.
5. What to see in the Alcazar of Seville
Many people compare the Alcazar in Seville with the Alhambra in Granada, not in terms of importance or size but in terms of style. Certainly after visiting both sites you will see many similarities between the two as both are among the oldest palaces in Spain and also both have in common Moorish and Andalusian decoration.
To get the most out of the Alcázar of Seville, my first recommendation is that you should either take a guided tour or do a little research on what you will find inside and who were the kings who lived in this palace. Although getting lost in the Alcázar of Seville is a delight, don't forget to get a map at the entrance so you can recognise what you are seeing.
The essential stops
- The gardens: totally captivating and dotted with wonders such as the pond of Mercury or the pavilion of Charles V.
- The Palace of King Don Pedro: called the little Alhambra. It is not difficult to see why; I could name several of its rooms but I would not know which one deserves more recognition.
- The Casa de la Contratación: of the highest historical value for being a reference in terms of trade with America.
. The Gothic Palace: where the Christian kings lived after the reconquest.
- The Patio del Yeso: is the area you will find at the entrance and, although it will not impress you as much as others, it is one of the oldest preserved.
6. Tips for visiting the Alcázar of Seville
If you are not a fan of guided tours or are not interested in combined tickets, you can also visit the Alcazar on your own. Individual tickets can also be booked in advance by choosing date and time of visit on the official website of the Alcázar of Seville; this way, even if you don't have a guided tour, you will avoid queuing at the ticket office. The difference in price will only be in the handling fee, which is normally one euro.
The price of the general ticket is 11,50 euros adding 4,50 euros more for those who want to visit the area of the Cuarto Real Alto, located in the upper part of the Palace of King Don Pedro.
Attractions included in the entrance ticket to the Alcazar itself
- Bellver-Casa Fabiola Museum
- Triana Ceramics Museum
- Castle of San Jorge
You also have to take into account that the entrance to the Alcázar is free for disabled people, children under 16 years old and residents of Seville. Pensioners and students will also have a discount on the general entrance fee and in the last hour of access to the Alcazar (from 16 to 17 in winter and from 18 to 19 in summer) the entrance is free for all visitors. Something very important: this does not mean that you should not book in advance any type of free entrance so as not to miss out.
Finally, you may also be interested to know that the Alcázar occasionally organises dramatised visits by night. Keep an eye on the official channels to find out when they take place and book your place in advance.
Ana's Traveller Tip
Don't visit the Alcazar in a hurry. Set aside at least two hours of your trip to enjoy its gardens and architecture.
7. Organise your visit
How to get to Seville
The Alcázar of Seville is right in the historic centre, very close to the Cathedral and the Santa Cruz district. Once you arrive in this area you will have no problem finding the different signs that indicate its entrance, although it is true that it can go unnoticed in the face of the beauty of the surroundings. Various city buses will drop you off near this area, as well as the metro line that runs through some areas of Seville.
The nearest metro and bus stop is Puerta de Jerez and from there, if you don't want to walk, you can take a tram that will drop you off at the door of the Cathedral, just a few metres from the Alcázar.
The Alcázar of Seville is open from Monday to Sunday from 9:30 am all year round. In winter it closes at 5pm and in summer at 7pm. It is only closed (with some exceptions) on 1 and 6 January, Good Friday and 25 December. Outside these hours the Alcazar can be opened to groups attending congresses, symposiums or similar events for the exclusive price of a night visit.
When to go
Those who are not used to the high temperatures of Seville may have a hard time visiting not only the Alcazar but also the different monuments of the Andalusian capital. Therefore, the first recommendation on when to go to the Alcázar, especially when visiting in summer, is to avoid the central hours of the day, despite the fact that there is plenty of shade in the gardens and palaces.
As it is one of the most visited monuments in Seville, I also recommend avoiding holidays and weekends as much as possible in order to enjoy the visit without crowds.
Duration of the visit
Whether you go on an organised tour or an individual visit, the Alcázar of Seville has a lot to see and it is not worth doing it in a hurry. My recommendation is to set aside a minimum of two hours to walk around the interior and enjoy the rooms and gardens.
The Alcazar is undoubtedly one of the most photographable places in Seville. The beauty of both its palaces and its gardens will constantly invite you to capture every detail. Since photos, unless otherwise indicated by signs in certain rooms, are allowed, if you are particularly fond of photography, add an extra hour to the time you book for the visit.
Where to eat
If you want to eat before or after your visit, my main advice is to stay away from the area as much as possible. You will probably find various public relations people on the street selling you the typical delicacies of local restaurants. Regardless of the quality of these places, the price is quite inflated and let's just say that they are not the most authentic in the area...
Instead of succumbing to these offers, I recommend you to wander around a bit; the prices are probably still high, but you will find more authenticity.
The surrounding area
The Alcázar is located in the historic centre of Seville. This means that just a few metres away you'll find treasures such as the Cathedral and the Santa Cruz quarter, both of which are worth a visit in their own right. If you follow the tram route from Puerta de Jerez you will arrive at Plaza Nueva for a lovely, albeit hot, stroll. One last tip: wander around the area as much as you can, it's well worth it.
Visiting the Alcázar with children
The Alcázar is an ideal place to visit with children, not only because children under 16 have free admission, but also because the little ones will love exploring its courtyards and labyrinths. If the Alcázar is like a fairytale setting for adults, it is even more magical for children.
Ana's Traveller Tip
Take water with you during your visit: to beat the heat and to avoid paying high prices at the cafeteria inside.
8. If you are interested in buying tickets for the Alcázar, you will also be interested in
A few metres from the Reales Alcázares of Seville is the impressive Cathedral. The Cathedral of Seville, in Gothic style and crowned by the Giralda tower, is one of the most important works of architecture in the world and if contemplating it from the outside is already a privilege, accessing it, visiting its interior and climbing the tower is a unique experience.
The architectural styles of Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcázar are very different, which is why it is so fascinating for the traveller to enjoy both in the same visit. There are joint guided tours of both monuments, but I recommend you take a look at this article on Seville Cathedral Tickets to soak up all the information you need about a must-see visit.