Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza#10 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 can last up to four hours. Ticket prices vary from €20 EUR (about $27 USD) to more than €100 EUR (about $137 USD) depending on the bullfighters and the seat 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. "The bullring itself is very attractive and historical, and the museum will help to make up your mind what you think of the sport," one TripAdvisor reviewer said. Guided tours of the museum and arena run every 20 minutes in both Spanish and English. The museum opens every day at 9:30 a.m. From November to April, the museum closes at 7 p.m.; in May and October it closes at 8 p.m.; and from June to September it closes at 11 p.m. On days when a bullfight is scheduled, the museum is only open until 3 p.m. Admission costs €7 EUR (about $9.50 USD), though student and senior tickets cost €4 EUR (about $5.50 USD) and children 7 to 11 years old can enter for €3 EUR (about $4 USD). 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. Exlpore 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 be on a guided tour.
Make sure to budget enough time to admire the details. One TripAdvisor reviewer suggests: "Be sure to look upwards when you walk through this grand residence of kings, because the workmanship of the carvings and painting on the ceilings is truly amazing." This UNESCO World Heritage site is surrounded by gardens that are also worth seeing.
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