Seville

Seville is a combination of raven-haired flamenco dancers, bullfights and extravagant Mudéjar architecture. A hybrid of Islamic and European traditions, this fusion is best reflected in the splendor of the Alcázar, a palace still in use by members of the Spanish royal family. Seek out Casa de Pilatos, 16th-century palace of the dukes of Medinaceli and delight in its fountains and salons. The Sevillians’ passion for bullfighting is visible on a tour of the Real Maestranza bullring and its onsite museum, which houses paintings and embellished matador costumes.

Enjoy the perfumed gardens filled with orange trees in the Alcázar, and listen to the gentle trickling of water from its fountains. Geometric Moorish tiles and intricate woodwork stretch as far back as you can see, mirrored in courtyard pools. The Catedral de Sevilla and Giralda Tower is a gothic structure with five naves and towering spires. Leave the crowds behind and climb up the 300 steps tower for an unbelievable city views.

Flamenco shows mesmerize with clicking castanets, swirling skirts and fervent strumming of guitars at Sevillian institution La Carbonería in Barrio Santa Cruz, the Old Jewish Quarter. Seville caters to its nocturnal natives, and late-night bars thrive, especially in the Alfafa and Alameda neighborhoods. In the summer, locals congregate at bars on Calle Betis by the river in Triana to escape the heat and go clubbing at seasonal outdoor venues on Isla de la Cartuja.

Eat as much or as little as you want on a tapas trail around the bars tucked in Seville’s winding alleys. Savor costillas a la miel at Bar Eslava, or the venison chorizo at the 155 year old Casa Morales. Spanish nuns have been making confections for centuries, and at the San Leandro convent you can buy yema sweets made by the sisters.

Have a look of moat of Plaza de España and gaze up at bridges with intricately painted Moorish tiles with blue, green and yellow motifs. When night falls, the plaza’s graceful symmetry is bathed in a softer light. The Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes, with its box-hedged gardens and cloistered courtyards, is a welcome stop after admiring portraits by painter Diego de Velázquez. On summer evenings, join locals in their finery for a walk along Guadalquivir River’s banks.

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