First thing’s first: co¡ee. Find a small café overlooking the Guadalquivir River (there are multiple to choose from and it’s hard to go wrong), then order a café con leche and a freshly toasted baguette drizzled in olive oil with fresh tomatoes and Spanish ham for a taste of Andalusia. You’re likely to find yourself in good company as you fuel up for the day ahead. One of the highlights that’s often touted is the stunning Royal Alcázar palace (also known as Real Alcázar), and for good reason. Located at the heart of the city, near the famous Cathedral of Seville — an ideal area to anchor your day’s activities around — this beautiful UNESCO site is well worth the visit. (Tip: purchase your tickets online at the palace’s o¦cial website (alcazarsevilla.org/en) to avoid waiting in line.) The eminent Puerta de Leon (the Lion’s Gateway) is a grand entrance with its arched doorway surrounded by an orange castle wall and ordained with a mosaic

of tiles that depict a crowned lion (hence the name). If you appreciate architecture as much as I do, you can lose yourself in the incredible details and beautiful craftsmanship. A mix of Mudejar art, Islamic, Gothic and Renaissance styles create a visual feast with colorful mosaic tiles, gorgeous archways and ornate pillars. Then, there are the gardens. The Galeria de los Grotescos (the Grotto Gallery) stands out with its wall adorned by Renaissance frescos and grotto work running alongside Mercury Pond (complete with a statue of the Roman god, Mercury), and lovely views of the nearby greenery. Numerous Moorish-style benches make for a delightful break amongst the palm trees, manicured hedges and mixed floral varieties (the gardens are home to more than 175 di¡erent plant species). It’s easy to spend an entire day wandering the dozens of spaces, from the elegant Lion Courtyard to the verdant Maze Garden to the geometric beauty of the Baths of Maria de Padilla. continue...


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