Whether or not you choose to believe that Hercules founded Seville over 3000 years ago, the legend foreshadows the drama that awaits you in the Andalusian capital.
Moorish architecture dots the historic city center and every architecture buff should make a trip to the Cathedral and Conjunto Monumental de la Cartuja, which currently houses the city’s contemporary art museum. But for the best taste head to Alcázar palace. Decorated in the epitome of mudéjar style, it was built in different stages over the 11th to 16th centuries by Moorish and Muslim kings.
After working up an appetite exploring the halls and gardens, break for tapas. Skip paella (it's native to Valencia, not Seville) and opt instead for fresh seafood caught in the nearby Guadalquivir river or glasses of Sherry, which according to EU law can only be produced in the nearby Jerez region.
Follow your dinner with flamenco. First timers will surely recognize the swirling skirts and clacking castanets, but might not know that flamenco was first made popular back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The dance blends together Spanish folklore with influences from the Levant, North Africa and India. For a glitzy extravaganza of highly-choreographed moves, catch a show at a tablao. If you're after something more intimate, look at the local listings for shows put on by Seville's cultural institutions, held in bars or put on in peñas, private clubs dedicated to preserving traditional flamenco.
Whether your travel M.O. is eating, relaxing on the beach or absorbing foreign culture, San Sebastián has something for you. Located in the northern Basque province on the border with France, the city was a European Capital of Culture in 2016. Accordingly, it has a vibrant array of events and exhibitions to rival those of any major European city.
Start your immersion in the city's cultural scene at the newly-minted Tabakaleracomplex, housed in a former 19th-century tobacco factory. Tabakalera offers an array of exhibitions, events and performances that run the gamut on San Sebastián's contemporary art scene. Don't forget to head to the observation deck for fantastic views across the city.
From the top of the Tabakalera, you're sure to glimpse the city's famous beaches. And unlike other grubby city beaches, San Sebastián's sandy inlets are perfect for sunbathing. The most popular is the Playa de la Concha, which is packed with locals and tourists during the summer months. To the west under the eaves of the former royal summer palace of Miramar is the well-heeled Playa de Ondarreta. There's also Playa la Zurriola, the local surf beach.
From Playa la Zurriola, you're in the perfect position to walk along the Zurriola promenade. The embankment doubles as an open-air gallery and the city has invited an array of artists to erect sculptures. If you need a break from the sun, duck indoors to the Sala Kubo-Kutxa located in the city's beloved Kursaal building. The gallery features work of modern Basque artists that you won't see elsewhere.
You'd be amiss to overlook the city's impressive food scene. The region has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants. This dedication to innovative cuisine is noticeable throughout the city's restaurants.
In lieu of tapas, the locals munch on pintxos. Whereas you might order several tapas at a single bar, when eating pintxos the idea is to order a single plate at a variety of bars based on what each place does best. That's why locals head to Bar Antonio for a superlative carpaccio de atún rojo and to Paco Bueno for crisp fried shrimp.
Stay tuned for your introduction to: Barcelona, Madrid, Ibiza and more! Got a Spanish city you want to see here? Email [email protected].
Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get updated when we feature new cities.