Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza#12 in Best Things To Do in Seville
If you're an animal lover or faint of heart, this experience is not for you. But if you're looking to immerse yourself in a Spanish tradition that spans centuries, spend an evening at the Plaza de Toros, Seville's bullfighting ring. Bullfighting has faced a lot of criticism for its animal bloodshed, but many Sevillanos think of the sport as an art form integral to their culture. During bullfights, three matadors each lure two bulls through a series of choreographed movements designed to weaken the animal. In the final of the fight's three stages (tercio de muerte), each matador's goal is to end the bull's life.
Bullfights occur in the late afternoon from April to October and usually last for about two hours. Ticket prices vary from 20 euros (about $27) to more than 100 euros (about $137) depending on the bullfighters and seats you choose; the most expensive seats are those in the shade (called sombra seats). You can purchase tickets online in advance or head to the ticket office at the ring. Visit the bullring's website for more information about events, tickets and tours.
The bullring's on-site museum is a worthwhile option for those who prefer to experience the beauty of the ring without watching an actual fight. Guided tours of the museum and arena run every 20 minutes in a variety of languages. The museum opens every day at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. November to March; it closes at 9 p.m. April through October. On days when a bullfight is scheduled, the museum is only open until 3 p.m. Admission costs 8 euros (about $9), though student and senior tickets cost 5 euros (about $5.50) and children 7 to 11 years old can enter for 3 euros (around $3.30). Kids younger than 6 can visit the museum for free. You'll find the Plaza de Toros just west of El Centro along the Guadalquivir River.
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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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