Catedral de Sevilla and La Giralda#3 in Best Things To Do in Seville
The largest Gothic building in Europe, the Catedral de Sevilla sits in the heart of the city on Avenida de la Constitución and invites travelers from around the world to admire its impressive architecture. Built in the late 15th century, the cathedral has more than 40 chapels and sits on the site of a former mosque. The vastness of the cathedral and tower impresses visitors, and upon entering, many said they were stunned by the building's cavernous interiors. It is widely accepted that Christopher Columbus' remains can be found inside the above-ground bronze tomb on display inside the cathedral, though it has never been confirmed. Once you've finished touring the cathedral's interior, make your way to the Patio de Los Naranjos – an outdoor square filled with aromatic orange trees.
La Giralda – the adjacent tower and the tallest landmark in Seville – is one of the few remains of the site's original mosque, which was torn down in 1402. Along with those in Marrakech and Rabat, La Giralda is among the world's longest-surviving minarets from the 12th century Berber-Muslim Almohad Dynasty. Climb the minaret's nearly 40 ramps to the very top and take in sweeping views of the city.
The cathedral is regularly open to visitors Monday from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday access is available from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. In July and August, visitors can stop by Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cathedral does hold Mass several times per day in different chapels, so be mindful of those engaged in prayer. (Times and location of services vary by time of year and day of the week). General admission costs 9 euros (about $10) and includes access to both the Catedral and La Giralda. For more information, visit the cathedral's website.
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#1 Real Alcázar
The Spanish monarchy doesn't quite boast the worldwide clout of the British monarchy, but royalty is royalty, right? Take the chance to step into sovereignty when you enter the Real Alcázar palace and gardens. The palace was built in the seventh century and it still occasionally hosts the royal family when they visit Seville. While the original structure dates back to the Middle Ages, the entire palace has been heavily influenced by different architectural and cultural styles, ranging from Gothic to Baroque. The intricate architectural design is known as mudéjar – a Muslim and Christian artistic fusion unique to Andalusia. Explore on your own or use an audio tour to guide you through the luxurious rooms of the palace like the Salón de Embajadores (Hall of Ambassadors) and the Patio de las Doncellas (Patio of the Maidens). But to gain access to the Cuarto Real Alto (the Upper Royal Quarters), you'll need to pay for a guided tour.
Make sure to budget enough time to admire the details. Past visitors recommended examining every aspect of this grand residence of kings – even the architecture on the ceiling is striking. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by gardens that are also worth seeing.
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