Seville is the jewel in the crown of the southern Spanish region of Andalucía, and also its capital city. With the largest preserved old centre in Europe, its history and development can still be traced in everything from the often labyrinthine layout of its streets and squares, to its fine monuments, including the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and Europe’s oldest working palace. Many different architectural styles, from Moorish arches and tiles, through Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, to the ultra-modern, have helped create its modern form and remind us that this is also a living, working city.

Seville is famous as the home of bullfighting and flamenco, for its spring holidays, Semana Santa (holy week) and the April Fair, Seville oranges – the orange trees are everywhere and in late February and early March the blossoms (azahar) fill the air with their unique fragrance – and increasingly for the local cuisine and the convivial culture of tapas.

The climate is essentially mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cooler, wetter winters, so the best times to visit are spring and autumn, when its warm enough to be out and about in shorts and sandals, and to sit outside to eat. July and August can get very hot, and although you can get good weather in winter, it’s unpredictable.

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