Mention the word ‘Spain’ to many people, and chances are it will trigger mental images of beautiful, olive-skinned señoritas dancing seductively in bright red frilly dresses in orange tree-lined squares to dramatic Flamenco music as horse-drawn carriages pass by, carrying elegantly-attired folk sheltering under sun umbrellas through the crowds.
This stereotypical image however relates to the city of Seville, rather than to Spain itself.
As the capital city of Andalucia, Seville is the largest city in southern Spain. It’s a vibrant place populated by a people famous for their sparkle and wit.
And there are many wonderful sights to see, places to visit and things to do in the city all year round to make any trip up from the Coast more than worthwhile.
A visit to the 13th century Torre del Oro military watchtower on the banks of the Gualalquivir river, for instance, or La Giralda, the bell tower and minaret of the famous Sevilla Cathedral, which was once the tallest tower in the world and has spectacular views across the city.
There are numerous historic public gardens in which to wistfully while away the hours, the world-famous Easter week parades and the annual ‘Feria’, plus of course more modern attractions like the Isla de Mágica Disney-style theme park.
But above all, it’s the city’s ancient Jewish Quarter, with its charmingly narrow cobbled streets, quaint plazas, tall elegant houses, impossibly picturesque courtyards overflowing with a riot of colourful flowers and blossom – not to mention one of the largest cathedrals in the world, the Alcázar Palace at its very heart – that most foreign visitors instinctively gravitate towards.
Walking through its streets and squares you truly get a tangible sense of the city’s history, a city which only truly came to prominence in Europe relatively recently following the discovery of the Americas.
As the birthplace of tapas of course, the culinary delights on offer at the many restaurants in the area are not to be missed.
And if you don’t fancy a trip up from the Coast and back on the same day, the city has some of the finest hotels in the whole of Spain.