Seville is the capital of Andalucia and the cultural and financial centre of southern Spain. An area of just over 700,000 inhabitants (1.6 million in the metropolitan area, making it Spain’s 4th largest city), Seville is Andalucia’s top destination, with much to supply the traveler.Seville was originally an Iberian town. It flourished underneath the Romans from the next century BCE onward as Hispalis, and was an administrative centre of the province of Baetica. The Silingi Vandals managed to get the seat of their kingdom early in the 5th century ce, but in 461 it passed under Visigothic rule. Seville is famous worldwide for its culture, monuments, traditions and artistic heritage.The remarkable commingling of three cultures — Arab, Catholic and Jewish — for over 500 years can still be viewed and felt, perhaps nowhere more forcefully than here, at its heart, close to the Puerta de Jerez, old city gate. This is actually the area of the magnificent Alcázar palace where I marvelled at the Mudéjar architecture, admired the media naranja (half-orange shaped) ceiling of the Salón de los Embajadores, and spent a happy couple of hours reading in the cool, expansive gardens. There was also the impressive Cathedral (the third-largest church in Europe, and the greatest Gothic one anywhere) and Giralda tower, and the whitewashed labyrinthine Jewish barrio (neighbourhood) of Santa Cruz.
If you’re keen to party late in tried-and-true Seville style after your bar crawl, ask around for discotecas, where the action often starts after 3am, and finish your night in the early morning with a break fast of hot churros con chocolate (fried dough fingers with melted hot chocolate). Seville is a must for many first-time travellers to Spain. I’d recommend at the very least two full days to start to see the sights; if you’re absolutely pressed for time but bent on crossing Seville off your list, zip down from Madrid on the superfast AVE train for a rushed day spent sprinting through the major attractions. For returning travellers who’ve already been here before, you understand, like I do, that Seville is just a city to linger set for as long as you possibly can.