Daniel and I (and just about everyone else in the world) are HUGE Game of Thrones fans. I’m not going to lie. I have a Google MyMap with filming locations pinned onto it for future travel planning.
Seville first caught my eye by way of a blog post, and when that blog post off-handedly mentioned that the Real Alcazar in Seville was also the filming location for Dorne, the deal was sealed. I was determined to go to Seville and visit Dorne if it was the last thing I ever did. And so I did.
At first, our plan was to get right off the train from Malaga, check into our hostel, and then head on over to the Alcazar. We were just that excited. But then the woman at the front desk told us that she recommended buying tickets online at least a day ahead of time. AND we remembered that it was free Monday at the Alcazar, which meant that the lines were going to be crazy.
So that plan went out the window.
We already had pretty set in stone plans for Tuesday, so instead, we went online and booked tickets for Wednesday morning at 11, wanting to give ourselves a little bit of time to sleep in. Then, on our third day in Seville, we went to Dorne.
Getting Lost and Having Our Minds Blown at the Alcazar in Seville
With the Alcazar literally a two-minute walk from our hostel, we had an amazing lazy morning in bed. A few minutes before 11, we sauntered up to the entrance of the Alcazar, tickets in hand.
For a hot second, our hearts dropped. There was a line. We hate lines. Lines are actually the worst.
But then we saw the little sign that said: “already purchased tickets”. We gave all the suckers in line some serious face as we walked past them and right into the front courtyard.
And already, our minds were pretty blown.
The Million Different Courtyards of the Alcazar
While we were handed a map when we walked into the Alcazar, we decided to be idiots and not look where we were going. Instead, we picked a door and went inside. And then… immediately outside.
We had just gone from one very large courtyard into a slightly smaller one. We were very confused.
Little did we know, that would set the tone for the rest of the day.
Now, I’m going to let you in on what I assume is a little-known secret: The Real Alcazar is made up almost entirely of courtyards. Like, yeah, there are a couple of actually enclosed rooms here and there. But to us, it seemed like every time we turned a corner we were in yet another courtyard.
And of course, they weren’t all in a straight line, either. Everything was jumbled together in some sort of logical way that made no sense to us. Even when we did try to look at the map, we had no idea where we were. So we kind of just gave up and hoped that we would find our way out of the place before either of us were too hangry (which, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know is a serious problem for us).
And while we halfheartedly searched for our escape route, we took in the beauty of every single damn courtyard in the place. (Except, probably not actually. We definitely missed a few if my calculations are correct.)
Planning our Future Backyard in the Real Alcazar’s Gardens
Okay, so maybe the dream of having acres and acres of perfectly groomed gardens (including a hedge maze!) is a little bit over ambitious. I am studying to be a social anthropologist, after all, which pretty much guarantees me the lucrative future job of university professor. But like, a girl can dream, right?
I’ve talked before about how much I love palace gardens, but the Real Alcazar’s Gardens really take the cake.
Just like the courtyards inside, we kept getting lost. But this time, we had a mission: to find the water gardens of Dorne.
We looked at the map, hoping that there would be a giant red arrow screaming “GAME OF THRONES FILMING LOCATION HERE”, but no cigar. So instead we went off of a gut feeling towards what appeared to be two really long pools. But nope. Even though they were pretty, they weren’t the water gardens of Dorne.
Eventually, I resorted to looking it up on my phone — something that, as a meticulous planner, I’m surprised I didn’t do like two months before we even got there. It turned out we had walked straight past them in our attempt to get to the imposter pools.
Like, they had been pretty, but we were here for Dorne.
That Time Daniel and I Pretended We Were Sand Snakes
So, after we finally figured out where the REAL Water Gardens were, we made a beeline for them. Of course, everyone else had too. You know, because they were the main Game of Thrones filming location in the place. So we weren’t lacking company.
Still, just like in Barcelona , we waited for our turns for the good shots. And I think I did a pretty good job.
Now, while we couldn’t get up to the actual terrace that Prince Oberon sat (and was murdered) on, we did notice people walking along the terraces to the side. So from there on out, it was our mission to find the way to those terraces.
Turns out, it was literally right around the corner, so it wasn’t too hard of a mission. But let me tell you, I have literally never been to a better place for forcing Daniel to pose for pictures. Or for forcing him to take pictures of me. It was every Instagrammer’s dream—and every Instagram boyfriend’s nightmare. (P.S. Follow me on Instagram *hint hint*)
Seriously, don’t miss your chance to traipse along these covered hallways pretending that you’re off to defend Dorne.
Finally, with Daniel and I both feeling the hanger stirring in our stomachs, we said our “Long Farewell” to Dorne (aka the Alcazar).
How to Visit the Real Alcazar Seville
If you’re as big a Game of Thrones fan as Daniel and me, or you just like pretty palaces and gorgeous gardens, then the Real Alcazar Seville should be pretty high up on your bucket list. Because, you know, it’s all of those things.
While I’m no expert (like honestly, you probably shouldn’t even listen to me), I can make a feeble attempt at providing some basic tips and tricks about how to visit the Real Alcazar Seville.
How to buy tickets for the Real Alcazar Seville
First things first: buy your tickets for the Alcazar ahead of time. This counts even for Free Monday (lbr, especially for free Monday). While there is a €1 booking fee per ticket, it is SO worth it to be able to bypass the crazy long lines at the entrance.
When we were there, the line to buy tickets wrapped around the corner. We walked right in. Because we had already bought our tickets. Do not doubt the power of buying tickets ahead of time. It is magical.
To buy your tickets for the Real Alcazar Seville, head to their website. Depending on if you want to visit the Royal Bedroom or just the ground floor, select what type of visit you want.
From there, choose the date you want to visit the Alcazar, the time slot you wish to enter, and how many tickets you need. Be sure to pay attention to the different ticket types! There are discounts for students and seniors and children under 16, residents of Seville, and disabled people get in for free.
As of January 2018, the prices and opening times are as follows:
October to March from 9:30 am to 5 pm // April to September from 09:30 am to 7 pm // Closed on the 1st and 6th of January, Good Friday and the 25th of December
How to get to the Real Alcazar Seville
The main entrance to the Real Alcazar Seville is the Lion’s Gate, located just off the Plaza del Triunfo, literally within spitting distance of the Seville Cathedral. This is easily the most touristed part of the city of Seville, so you should be able to find your way there pretty easily.
Beware that if you put Real Alcazar into Google Maps, it will try to take you straight to the gardens. Which is hard when you can’t find the entrance to the whole thing.
Seville is incredibly walkable (you can get from one end to the other in like 15 minutes), so I definitely suggest going that route if you’re up for it.
If you’re taking public transportation, head for the Archivo de Indias tram stop on the T1 line.
What to see at the Real Alcazar Seville
There is absolutely loads to see at the Real Alcazar Seville. The upper levels of the palace are still in use by the Royal Family of Spain when they are in Seville, but the ground floor is open to visitors year round. Here are some of the highlights.
What to See at the Real Alcazar Seville: The Palace
Puerta del Léon
While you may be excited to get inside and see everything, be sure not to rush past the entrance because The Lion’s Gate is absolutely beautiful. Look up before you walk in to spot the lion above the door.
Patio de la Monteria
This is the first courtyard that you’ll see when you walk into the Alcazar (but don’t worry, it won’t be the last). It was originally used as a hunting courtyard, where everyone would meet before heading out on a hunt.
Be sure not to miss the façade of Don Pedro’s Palace, which is the main building you’ll be exploring.
The Hall of Justice and the Patio del Yeso
The Hall of Justice is a pretty stunning room and, located just to the left after you enter from the Puerta del Léon, it will probably be one of the first ones you see. Be sure to look up at the interlocked wooden ceiling and down at the fountain in the center of the room, which enters into the pool on the Patio del Yeso.
The Hall of Justice is also where King Pedro I assisted his step-brother, Don Fadrique, in 1358!
Patio de las Doncellas
The Courtyard of the Maidens got its name in reference to the fact that the Moors demanded 100 virgins as tribute from the Christian kingdoms in Iberia each year. The patio has seen a few major design changes over the years, getting a fountain put into the center and then being restored to its original gardens and reflecting pool (and temporarily back again for Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven).
The Patio de las Doncellas will probably look familiar to you if you’re a Game of Thrones fan; it was the backdrop for a brief shot when Ellaria kneels to Prince Doran — but more on that later.
Patio of Dolls
The Patio of Dolls is straight. up. s t u n n i n g. Although it’s much smaller than its neighbor, The Courtyard of Maidens, it was probably much more beloved because it was one of the private areas of the palace. Look closely at the carvings in the walls — the patio got its name from the carving of dolls faces at the beginning of an arch. Can you find them?
Garden of the Prince
Okay, so this is kind of cheating, becasuse the Garden of the Prince isn’t actually inside of the palace, per se. But it is isolated from the rest of the gardens, so I’m going to include it in this section.
I’m not entirely sure, but I’m like 75% that this is right near the 100 different courtyards that we got lost in (tbh it’s all kind of a blur), but the Garden of the Prince definitely sticks out in my mind — especially because of the amazing entrance to it!
What to See at the Real Alcazar Seville: The Gardens
So, the inside of the Real Alcazar Seville is cool. But the gardens? The gardens are EVEN COOLER.
I know, I didn’t think it was possible either. But it’s true. They are.
A lot of the gardens were also featured in Game of Thrones, so I’ll get to those in the section devoted to Game of Thrones Filming Locations in the Alcazar. For now, here are some of the coolest non-Game of Thrones parts of the Alcazar gardens.
Garden of the Dance
The Garden of the Dance is one of the more understated gardens at the Alcazar, but it’s no less remarkable — especially if you run into the peacocks. What was previously used as the royal vegetable patch was turned into something just a little bit more spectacular, with two levels of boxwood hedges, columns, and a tiled fountain.
The Garden of the Dance is conveniently located between multiple GOT filming locations as well, so you can’t miss it. Just be sure not to run past on your quest to be a Sandsnake!
I love a good hedge maze, and I can appreciate that the royals of the Alcazar loved a good hedge maze too. There’s nothing too spectacular about the Alcazar hedge maze, but it’s just plain fun. There aren’t any signs pointing to it, so be sure to seek it out on the map!
Garden of Ladies
The Garden of Ladies is perhaps the most incredible part of Alcazar Gardens. From the soaring palm trees to the perfectly groomed hedges to the exquisite Fountain of the Fame on the side, it is sure to blow you away. And since they were created to celebrate the wedding of Carlos V with Isabel of Portugal, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.
For a fantastic overview of the gardens, be sure to head up to the Fountain of Neptune or the balcony overlooking the Garden of Ladies.
Garden of the Poets and Garden of the Retirement of the Marquis
The Garden of the Poets is where we mistakenly first headed to try to find the water gardens of Dorne. And after we satisfied our fandom, we went back. Unlike the main parts of the gardens, the Garden of the Poets is much more secluded, meaning that if you want a little peace and quiet, it’s the perfect place to go—probably just like when it was actually in use.
The Garden of the Retirement of the Marquis is located just next to the Garden of the Poets and is another fantastic place to escape the crowds. It’s all of your traditional groomed hedges and more.
Game of Thrones Filming Locations in the Real Alcazar Seville
Now, for the part I KNOW you’ve all been waiting for: the Game of Thrones filming locations in the Real Alcazar Seville.
They need no introduction, so here they are.
The first scene in Game of Thrones that features the Alcazar is when Ellaria Sand storms up to Prince Doran’s viewing platform—located on the King’s Royal Balcony overlooking the Mercury Fountain, just off of the Garden of the Dance. While the King’s Royal Balcony isn’t accessible to the general public, you can get a similar view over the gardens from the balconies of the Grotesque Gallery.
Pavilion of Carlos V
From those same balconies, you can see the Pavilion of Carlos V, where the fight between Jaimie, Bronn, and the Sandsnakes took place. From the balcony, be sure to go down the stairs to view the pavilion up close. It’s also right next to the entrance to the hedge maze!
I didn’t even realize this was a filming location while we were there, and I’m still hitting myself for not having the chance to compare the scene to the actual location. ?
Fountain of Neptune
For only having a few seconds of screen time, I have to say that Trystane Martell and Myrcella Lannister are the cutest Game of Thrones couple. And the Fountain of Neptune is where we were first introduced to this innocent young couple. Isn’t it beautiful?
Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla
We all know the short-lived happiness of Trystane and Myrcella is thanks to Ellaria Sand and her daughters, the Sandsnakes. The Baños de Doña María de Padilla is where they filmed the scene in which they planned to kidnap Myrcella.
While we were there, the Baths were pretty full of people. They’re a small, confined, space, and thanks to their newfound popularity it’s easy to understand why. Be prepared to wait a few minutes for your photo op!
The Hall of Ambassadors
Last, but most certainly not least, is the Hall of Ambassadors. This freakishly, crazily, lavishly tiled room will take your breath away. It’s no wonder why they chose it as the filming location for Jaimie and Prince Doran’s meeting. Don’t forget to look up!
And there you have it: the ultimate guide to visiting the Real Alcazar in Seville, complete with all of the Game of Thrones filming locations for all you nerds out there. May you have the most amazing visit to the Alcazar ever!
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