Guadalquivir River Cruise#7 in Best Things To Do in Seville
Seville's popularity can be largely attributed to its history – much of which revolves around the immense river that runs through the heart of the city. According to many recent visitors, a great way to get a feel for Seville and its past is to hop aboard a Guadalquivir River cruise. The Guadalquivir River (or casually, the "rio") was once the artery for all trade traffic in and out of the Andalusian capital. The river's access to the Atlantic was also crucial for New World exploration. Today, the Guadalquivir is not only a charming part of the city's aesthetic, but many portions of the river bank also act as venues for nightlife, dining and sunbathing.
Boat tours offered by the Cruceros Torre Del Oro company will give you the chance to see Seville's popular attractions – like the Torre del Oro and the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza – from different vantage points. On the cruise, you'll sail under the Triana and San Telmo bridges and pass the site of Seville's 1929 Ibero-American Expo, all with audio commentary available in several languages, including Spanish and English.
Cruceros Torre Del Oro offers hourlong river cruises every 30 minutes daily from the Pier Contadero Marquis at the base of the Torre del Oro. Cruises run between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. October through April and from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. May through September. Children younger than 12 years old can cruise for free, but adults will have to fork over 18 euros (about $20) for a ride. Visit the company's website for more information about the tour.
For a more active experience, there are also a number of kayaking river tours available from companies like Naturanda Tours.
More Best Things To Do in Seville
#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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