Seville

An Immersive Alcazar Seville Tour – All You Must Know

The Moors or the Muslims from North Africa had once occupied Southern Spain including Granada, Cordoba, and Seville. With them, they brought along Islamic architecture and built exotic palaces, mosques, and buildings. When the Christians took over in the 14th century, the Castilian Royals didn’t entirely wipe away Islamic heritage; instead, they adopted the best of it and created a new Mudéjar architecture.

Today, the Alcazar in Seville is the best example of the Mudéjar architecture in Spain and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. TV enthusiasts will recognize the iconic architecture of Alcazar, distinct with arches, tiles, and lacework, as belonging to the land of Dorne in the epic show ‘Game of Thrones.’ Here is a guide on why the Alcazar of Seville is exceptional and what to see there.

Alcazar Seville

History & Architecture Of The Alcazar In Seville


The history of the Alcazar Palace dates back to the early 10th century when the area was used for government buildings by the Umayyad dynasty. Later on, the Abbasid dynasty built an Alcazar or a Royal House and expanded the complex. The Almoravid and Almohad dynasties followed who expanded the complex further, of which only the Palacio del Yeso stands strong today.

The rest of it was demolished and built over after the Christian ‘Reconquista’ or the conquering of the Iberian Peninsula. The Palace was taken over by Castilian Royals, and Peter of Castile, also known as Don Pedro who transformed the palace by employing Mudéjars (unconverted Muslims) from Granada to build in an architectural style that incorporated Islamic architecture with Christian motifs and elements.

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Alcazar Seville Tour – The Highlights


Here are a few must visit rooms you cannot miss out on during your visit. Here's a handy map to help you navigate through the many rooms. Download it and keep it handy on your phone.

Puerta del León (Lion’s Gate) | Room/Area – 1

Alcazar Seville Tour

A Lion welcomes you to the Alcazar Palace! A white ceramic tile panel with the image of a heraldic lion holding a cross contrasts the red wall of the palace. This gate is known as the Puerta del León and leads you inside the Patio del Léon. Beyond this is the oldest area of the complex known as Palacio del Yeso which includes the gate, the Patio and an arch which leads to the Patio de la Monteria where kings gathered before they left for a hunt.

Casa de la Contratación (Contractor’s Room) | Room/Area – 6 & 7

Alcazar Seville Tour

The contractor’s room is an incredibly important room and influenced the history of Spain. It is the room where navigators, cosmographers and nautical writers worked to plan voyages to the new land of the Americas. It is said that Christopher Columbus was received here after his second voyage to the Americas! The painting of ‘Madonna of the Seafarers’ adorning the room also depicts Native Americans for the first time in any European art.

Palacio del Rey Don Pedro | Room/Area – 10 to 18

Alcazar Seville Tour

The Palacio del Rey Don Pedro is the Palace of King Pedro and was built by him in the existing fortress of Alcazar. It is a set of 9 rooms and courtyards that were used for his private use and were styled in beautiful mudéjar architecture with tiles and intricate lacework. It includes some of the most iconic and recognizable rooms of the Alcazar. This section also has a staircase that leads to the Cuarto Real Alto or the Royal Quarters.

Patio de Las Doncellas (Courtyard of Maidens) | Room/Area - 10

Alcazar Seville Tour

Patio de Las Doncellas roughly translates to the ‘Courtyard of Maidens’ and hints to the legend that the Moors demanded 100 virgins every year from the Christians of Iberia. The patio is symmetrical and has a sunken long rectangular pool in the middle surrounded by landscaped gardens. The arches of various sizes lead out to the covered corridor and reception rooms beyond. The upper story borrows from Italian Renaissance style, but the decorative art is essentially mudéjar in style.

Salón de Embajadores (The Ambassador’s Room) | Room/Area - 15

Alcazar Seville Tour

The purpose of this room was to leave visitors awe-struck about the greatness of the kingdom, and it did a fantastic job! It was here that King Pedro received royal guests and ambassadors, and was used for administration purposes. The highlight of the room is the gilded ceiling with geometric lacework, it supported by horseshoe arches which have frieze work, and detailed with motifs of castles and lions. This is one of the finest examples of mudéjar art!

Patio de Las Munecas (The Patio of the Dolls)| Room/Area – 18

Alcazar Seville Tour

The courtyard or the patio of the Dolls is located within the private areas of the Alcazar Palace, a part of the Palacio del Rey Don Pedro. The courtyard gets its name from the four doll faces that adorn the arch that leads to the main entrance of the palace. The patio has been refurbished extensively, and the two top floors were added in the 19th century. The intricate plasterwork with motifs like pineapples reminds visitors of the adjoining gardens.

Baños Doña María de Padilla (Baths of Maria de Padilla) | Room/Area - 34

Alcazar Seville Tour

The cool confines of the Baths of Maria de Padilla in the Palacio Gotico, located right below the Patio del Crucero, are actually a rainwater catchment system. The vaulted ceiling covers a large rectangular pool that is always filled with water and was supposedly used as baths, especially by Maria de Padilla. Maria was the mistress of King Pedro, who didn’t marry her due to political compulsions but she has impacted the course of history more than any women of the era.

Galería del Grutesco (Grotto Gallery) | Room/Area – 40

Alcazar Seville Tour

The Grotto Gallery is a unique backdrop for the Jardin del Estanque and is a mix of both the mudéjar and Italian styles working together to form something extraordinary. The gallery is essentially a triumphal arch that is made of both real and fake rocks and was designed by Milanese architect Vermondo Resa in the 1620s. The gallery was built into the ancient Almohad wall but included grottos with Italian artwork that has since been repainted and conserved.

Alcazar Gardens Seville


Alcazar Seville Tour

The Alcazar Palace complex is spread across 100,000 sqm, of which almost 75% belongs to the Alcazar Gardens. These fantastic landscaped gardens have over 20,000 plants from more than 187 species from across the world. The gardens held functional use as kitchen gardens plus offered aesthetic value. You can visit the gardens with a ticket to the Alcazar complex however there is no separate ticket just for the gardens. Some of the spaces you should visit are Troy Garden, Garden of the Flowers, The Dance Garden, Ladies Garden, Maze Garden, and Garden of the Poets.

Timings of the Gardens

  • From October to March: Everyday – 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • From April to September: Everyday – 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM

The Royal Apartments in Alcazar Seville


Alcazar Seville Tour

The Alcazar Palace is the oldest Royal Palace still in use in Europe and the family lives in these quarters on the first floor of the palace. Known as the Cuarto Real Alto, this set of eleven rooms completes the private quarters of the family. These rooms are replete with personal effects of the royal family including paintings, tapestries, beautiful furnishings and more. No one is allowed to photograph these private apartments and a visit is the only way to view them!

To visit the Royal Apartments you require an additional ticket and it is open for visit only until 13:30 daily. The rooms are open only in half hour slots from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM, and only 30 people are allowed in one slot. You can purchase the Royal Apartment tickets while booking your general admission tickets or make a reservation at the dedicated desk as soon as you enter the complex. Note, admission to the royal apartments is strictly by time slot reservations and the time printed on your tickets are for entering the Royal Apartments, not the Alcazar complex.

The rules for the Royal Apartments are strict, you cannot bring in any luggage and there is a locker to place your stuff in, be ready with 1 Euro for the locker. Also, do not under any circumstances take photographs of the apartments.

Best Alcazar Seville Tours And Tickets - Deals & Offers


Looking to have your ticketsr ready before arriving the Alcazar? Here are a few options at the best price on the internet. Grab em' before they sell out!

Is the Alcazar Seville Guided Tour Worth It?


The Alcazar Palace in Seville is spread across almost 50 rooms and halls and an expansive garden area. Each of the rooms has a distinct purpose and specialty, and elaborate decoration and symbolism that might be missed by the untrained eye. A guided tour will ensure that a local professional guide will take you through all the best spots in the Alcazar and help you unravel its stories. Some tours also give access to the exclusive Royal apartments which have limited entry. A guided tour will also combine other attractions in the vicinity like the Seville Cathedral and La Giralda.

Alcazar Seville Hours


October to March: From Monday to Sunday, 09:30 to 17:00
April to September: From Monday to Sunday, 09:30 to 19:00

Closed on the 1st and 6th of January, Good Friday and the 25th of December
Free Mondays 16:00 to 17:00 (October-March) and 18:00 to 19:00 (April-September)

Directions To Alcazar Seville & Getting There


The address of the Royal Alcazar is Patio de Banderas, s/n, 41004 Sevilla.

  • By Car – The GPS Coordinates of the Alcazar in Seville are 37.383665132 -5.988162714.There is no parking on the Alcazar premises and you will have to use a paid parking lot. The nearest parking lot is at - Parking ROMA, Av. Roma, 13, 41013 Sevilla, just 450m away from the Alcazar entrance.
  • By Bus – The Royal Alcazar is serviced by multiple bus stations including Menendez Pelayo and Prado San Sebastian. The biggest bus terminal in the area is the Estacion Prado which services both the lines A1 and A2. The entrance to Alcazar is about 550m away from Estacion Prado.
  • By Metro – The nearest Metro/Subway station is the Prado De San Sebastian which services the L1 line. The entrance to Alcazar from the metro is just 250m away.
  • By Tram – The Prado De San Sebastian station also has a tram and is serviced by the T1 line.

Best Time to Visit Alcazar Seville


The best season to visit Alcazar in Seville is during spring in March and April. The temperatures are lower and it is easier to spend time outdoors and enjoy the gardens without breaking into a sweat. It is also a great time to see the gardens in a glorious bloom.

If you are visiting during the busy summer season, the best time to visit Alcazar Seville is to visit before 11 AM or after 3 PM. This way you will avoid the big tour groups as well as the humid heat of the afternoons.

Tips For Visiting The Alcazar In Seville


  • If you're purchasing tickets on the official website, make sure you use a Mastercard and not a Visa Card. Many people have faced difficulties in their payment going through with a Visa Card. Headout does accept all cards, hence go ahead and purhcase from Headout if you have a Visa card. You'll face no issues.
  • Almost every review of Alcazar in Seville will tell you book tickets in advance, as you will save up to an hour of your time. There are two lines at the gate, one for online ticket holders and one for those who are yet to buy the tickets. In peak season the queues for buying tickets can get really long, even running all along the compound!
  • You can visit the Alcazar of Seville for free on Mondays. The monument is open from 6:00 to 7:00 PM (from April to September) and 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM (from October to March) for such free visits. However, you have to reserve your entry on the official website.
  • The best times to visit the Real Alcazar Palace, like most top tourist sites in Europe is first thing in the morning (9:30 AM) or towards the end of the day. Avoid weekends and holidays as much as you can. The Alcazar is noted to be busiest from just before 11:00 to mid-afternoon, so avoid these times too.
  • You can bring in a few snacks and water inside, although there is also one restaurant/cafe where you can buy snacks but it can be expensive for budget travelers. Keep a look out, you might even bump into a peacock!
  • Washrooms are available off the Patio de la Monteria before entering the main Mudejar palace. It's close to the café, at the far end of the garden. There are two other restrooms within the palace complex.
  • The best way to explore the Alcazar complex is to get in early and head straight to the gardens and enjoy photography before the sun is too bright. You can then explore the indoors at your own pace.

The Alhambra in Granada or the Real Alcazar of Seville?


alhambra granada
alcazar seville

Ending with the eternal question. Alhambra or Alcazar?

A quick look at photographs of the Alhambra in Granada and the Real Alcazar of Seville and both seem similar, however they are quite varied in style. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the Alhambra is built in traditional Islamic style with little influence of European Christian art whereas the Alcazar is built in the contemporary mudéjar style which is a confluence of Moorish and Christian art.

The Alhambra is located on the outskirts of Granada and is expansive, covering a vast network of palaces and surrounded by the vibrant Generalife gardens. Whereas the Alcazar is more compact, located in the centre of Seville and has pretty yet small-scale gardens. A Skip the Line ticket of the Alhambra costs about €61 while a Skip the Line ticket tour of Alcazar costs about €32.

Both are excellent examples of Southern Spain’s historical heritage and you can choose either depending on the city you're visiting and time in hand.

To read more about visiting Alhambra Granada and getting last minute tickets to this Moorish jewel, read on >>

Frequently Asked Questions


What do I do if the tickets are sold out?

Is the Alcazar Seville Guided Tour recommended?

Can I visit only the Gardens of Alcazar?

Can I visit only the Royal Apartments of Alcazar?

What is the cancellation policy for Alcazar Seville Tickets?

Is there a way to see the Real Alcazar for free?

What is the best time to visit the Real Alcazar of Seville?

Is there a baggage check at the entrance?

Are there any limitations on Photography?

How much time should I keep aside for a sedate visit?

Is the Alcazar Seville a child-friendly attraction? Are there reduced prices?

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