The Real Alcazar With Kids
Activity: The Real Alcazar. How to Get There: Archivo de Indias Light Rail Station. The entrance is on the north side. When in doubt, follow all the tourists and horse and buggies! Cost: 12.5€/adult, 4€/25-17, free for kids under 16. (reserve in advance on their website). Free on Mondays, but you still need to reserve tickets in advance to get in. Hours: 9:30-5:30 roughly. Longer hours in the summertime.
This is the number one thing to book in advance if you are visiting Seville! If you forget, your best best at getting in is to get there early in the morning. In the afternoon and evening, the lines get very long and they only let in 15 people at a time every 20 minutes.
The Real Alcazar is Spain’s Buckingham Palace. It’s still home to Spain’s royal family. It was built in 913 by Muslim Kings and then remodeled to look like The Alhambra in 1400 after the Christians kicked the Muslims out. The palace has a Muslim feel to it because the Christians hired Muslim architects and artists for the rebuild.
Once you’re in, there is a neat courtyard. To your right, there’s a little room with a picture of The Virgin Mary (she’s kind of a big deal in Seville) and some sailors, namely Christopher Columbus. Seville was the port city where Columbus took off for The New World in 1492. He’s pictured here with The Virgin Mary because she is the protector of sailors. He is the blonde guy on her left.
Continue on to the Courtyard of the Maidens. This is the main draw for this palace. It’s a big courtyard with a long pool in the middle. Everyone loves taking pictures in all the arches! The colorful ceramic tiles really brighten up the place too.
Continue on to the next room and notice the star studded domed ceiling. The Muslim builders snuck phrases such as “None but Allah conquers,” into the artwork along with Christian phrases praising the current Christian king. Either the king didn’t notice them or he left them because technically the Arabic word “Allah” means “God” so the phrases didn’t bother him.
The next rooms hold more intricate carvings, some huge tapestries including an upside down map (Mediterranean people viewed the world upside down from the way we do!), and large halls filled with traditional blue and white ceramic tiles.
After you’ve finished most of the palace, go outside. Take a quick detour to see the Sultan’s underground baths. It’s just past the steps that lead to the main gardens. It’s like something out of Game of Thrones, which actually did use a lot of The Real Alcazar as a filming location. The gardens themselves are lovely and a great place to let the kids burn off some energy and eat a picnic lunch. Don’t miss the hedge maze!