Seville Travel Guide

Elegant, sun-soaked and unforgettably spirited, Spain's great southern city of Seville has a rich history that shows through exquisite Moorish architecture and opulent 16th century Spanish buildings. The destination is the perfect setting for high culture and romantic operas such as Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro; flamenco, tapas and bull fighting are other standouts on its incredible list of attractions.

The soul of the city is best epitomised during its two passion-filled grand festivals: the Semana Santa (Holy Week), held the week before Easter, and the Feria de Abril de Sevilla (Seville April Fair), which takes place two weeks after Easter Sunday. Dating back to at least the 16th century, the Semana Santa is notable for its spectacular processions, which gather thousands of locals and visitors. Semana Santa celebrations are famous for their Baroque statues of the Virgin Mary, which sport silver and gold crowns, embroidered cloaks and velvet tunics that only reveal their face and hands.

The Feria de Abril was first celebrated in the mid 18th century and has evolved from being a livestock and agricultural fair to being a purely Sevillian tradition. Over 1000 striped, intimately-decorated casetas (tents) line both sides of the streets, and offer festival goers wine, delicious tapas and lively songs called sevillanas. Adorned horse-drawn carriages, women in bright, polka-dotted flamenco dresses, and men on horseback and in traditional farm-worker clothes complete the festive atmosphere.

Seville has an impressive collection of historical sites, including its cathedral, which is one of the largest Gothic buildings in the world. Having been occupied by the Moors for 500 years, the city also has a legacy left by the Arab kings in the form of the Alcazar. This palace-fortress is regarded as one of the finest surviving examples of Moorish architecture.

Seville is the regional capital of Andalusia, which contains the densely populated beach resorts of the Costa del Sol along its southern reaches, and the mountain villages of the Sierra Nevada range further inland, about 25 miles (40km) from the coast. These are among the many charms that draw visitors back, time and time again.