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“Cool and different view of Sevilla”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Camara Oscura

Camara Oscura
Ranked #51 of 278 things to do in Seville
Certificate of Excellence
Type: Other
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
38 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Cool and different view of Sevilla”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2014

This is a unique experience. From the outside the Camara Oscura looks like any other tall tower you'd see in European cities. And there is a fenced-in observatory that provides a view of the entire city. What makes it unique, however, is the use of a "periscope" like device at the very top of the tower than projects an image onto a large dish. The operator controls the periscope and you see multiple views of the city in all directions -- close up and personal. It's very different and fun to experience. Because it's in Macarena, the views are not as breathtaking as from Giralda Tower which is right in the midst of the historic city center -- but it's well worth the visit. It's a 30-minute walk from Triana.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Philmf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Denbigh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Every visitor to Seville/tourist should be advised to experience this.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2014

Because we like seeing the 'off tourist' areas of Spain, we tend to stay at the Melia Hotel that is out of the city centre, in the slightly scruffy but very real and fascinating Macarena district of Seville, around the Macarena church and its staggeringly beautiful interior and statue of Mary. (It is one of their TRYP groups of hotels, that are both excellent and offer good deals).
We love to sample the cafes and bars and restaurants we pass on our twenty minute walk from there, in and out of the city. All very local and incredibly friendly and well priced.
We have now learned a reasonable amount of Spanish which has made our approach more and more satisfying over the years (though it has taken us a typically British number of years to do).
On our last long weekend trip we decided to go up the tower – with its camera oscura advert on its wall - that is just up the road from the hotel, on our way down to the river.
We have passed it a few times, but going up any tower has never been high on our priority list, and we could not understand what the 'camera' thing was all about.
On Sunday though we needed to kill an hour before lunch and decided to take a look. On arrival we still were not persuaded, because nothing we saw at the old brick tower sticking up around 50/150 /yards/feet in the air with a wire fenced ledge, actually told us what is would be. and there was absolutely no indication that it would be breathtaking because of what was on the INSIDE..
My wife knew she had read good reviews about it, and so semi-reluctantly we gave it a go.
What a revelation, on a Susan Boyle scale!
The 4€ per head is paid at an adjacent cafe, and the 'camera' is shown at one hour intervals, leaving us with 20 minutes to wait.
A chap behind the door let us in and told us, in part Spanish/part English, to go a look at the view at the top whilst we waited.
At the top is a small room where all its incoming light can be extinguished, which has a door out to the caged in walkway around the outside, which is what it ‘says on the tin’.
A high place to look down on Seville, worth around 5 minutes, and a place to take very small photos from, of surrounding roofs.
We soon had that out of the way, and hung around until a couple more families joined us, followed by the congenial chap from the door downstairs, who turned out to also be the ‘periscope operator’, because that what this is.
In the dark room is what looks like a concrete sky dish, or saucer a yard or so across. Wire cables, with handles on disappear into the gloom above, which he uses to control the periscope, along the lines of a submarine.
Once he opens the mirrors an incredibly clear picture of nearby roads cascades down onto the dish, and the show is on.
First he followed cars down a road, and you are able to see the drivers, and the surrounding traffic signs, road signs, and brake lights etc. as clear as chrystal.
Then it was a swoop up onto the roof tops of buildings near and far, where the washing on the lines and the clothes pegs all some to life.
Then to the mountains on the horizon, and back to the rooftops over the road, and hugely spectacularly – the white pigeons flying around.
His commentary was in Spanish, and full of enthusiasm and fun.
He was slow and carefully and clearly spoken though, and so it was easy for us to follow everything, and would been pretty easy without any Spanish because he was referring to places and people and things involving many of those 3,000 words that are pretty much the same in either language fall into place.
So instead of Aristotle, camera, invention and periscope – he was saying Aristóteles, cámara, periscopio and invención. Not hard to follow.
When we needed to ask a question he turned out to have excellent English, though fell over when trying to tell us that there were 8 of these in the UK (they are made by a British company) with one on Constitution Hill Aberystwyth which is the biggest Camera Obscura in the World! Spaniards can not generally say Aberystwyth but nor can most of us Brits.
For half an hour or more we were able to look at every tourist attraction, bridge, church and building for miles all around Seville, along with a commentary that made this experience the highlight of our stay, and a ‘must do’.
It was simple superb at every level, including the fun and laughter all three of we groups had, watching the children reacting, and listening to each other.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank Simon H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2014

I never saw something like this, it was amazing! Also the scenic view is stunning, I even liked it better than the one from the Giralda tower ... . It's only 4 euros and as mentioned in the other posts, the guide will tell you the tour is in Spanish and will end up in saying everything in perfectly english (at least for a Spanish guide!). A must do!!! But if you're afraid of heights I would skip the view and only check out the camera oscura ;). The tour is every half hour untill 5 o'clock and you have to purchase your tickets in the bar next to the tower. It's closed on monday.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank CharlotteBE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
33 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“So special and exclusif!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2014

Sevilla is special buth the tower of Camera Obscura is so super special. More tourist must know about it!!!
And the guide spoke english so good and funny he do his best so much. In the time of a half our he tel everything importent things of Sevilla City. And you can follow with the special camera obscura effect.
It is nice to see that someone localguide do his work full of passion. It was our last day in Sevilla after one week and we are lucky we visit the tower. Don' t be afraid of the high see of the top outside. Do it and love it, it looks not so special but it is super special!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Diane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
99 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Torre de los perilous”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2013

At one stage this attraction was trending as the number one visitor attraction in Seville. So I decided I had to visit. The view from the tower is ok. That is if you can reach the top alive. If you want, just as good a view, in the safety of a hotel, then I suggest eagle eyed tourists should book into the hotel SevillaCenter and you will get a very pleasing vista of the entire city. I visited the tower on Sunday the 17th of November 2013, The tower doesn't open until 11:30am so we had to spend a few hours exploring the nearby neighbourhood. There is no finer city to do a spot of exploring. When we did get in the guide sported some Spanish that clearly mentioned the number tres. It sounded to me like they said "please go to level 3 and there you will get some more information” The guide had perfect english when they directed us to the adjacent cafe where we could purchase the tickets to use their elevator. So they can converse in non-native tongue if it involves raising some Claude Money.

It turns out that pressing number 3 must have been the worst thing we could have possible done. The lift jammed approximately 2 flights of stairs from the top. We were stuck there for 50 mins. Even though the terrified guide shouted that the technician would be there in 10 mins. The guide didn't check on us again until we started threatening to call the police 30 minutes into the ordeal. It seems like this isn't the first time they have had problems with the lift. The safety certificate was signed by Sergio in October. It could have been a lot worse there was only 2 of us in the elevator. It was mid-November so it we could breath, there was no mid summer 40 degrees heat. The elevator is licensed to hold six people or 450kg. Id imagines that that calibration was done when the elevator was situated in the hotel or apartment block that it was clearly rifled out of. There are 9 floors on the control panel, but there is only 2 floors in this mediaeval monument, ground and top. So the lift was not designed for this tower. Eventually the technician did arrive. He puffed and panted his way to the 12th flight of emergency stairs, and then we were released. I climbed the final two flights my accomplice declines, and made their way down very shaken. They asked us if we were ok on the way out, we simply said "no, not OK". The Café refunded us the entrance fee. I hope this posting will help any one who may be claustrophobic, or afraid of heights to avoid this attraction. If you want the views there are safer options.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank SunnyHarry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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