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The Big Getaway

The Culture Lovers
Art appreciation and late-into-the-night fun at a reasonable price.
When to go: March through May
Hours from NYC: Eight

The unhurried pace of life in Seville means relaxing is pretty much unavoidable. It’s also a city of remarkable beauty: There are masterpieces of Spanish art and Moorish architecture around the corner of every fragrant, orange-tree-lined street, plazas teeming with people drinking at all hours, and endless tapas to sample. Spain’s self-proclaimed flamenco capital, this Andalusian city seems to be in a constant state of celebration.

Where to Stay:
Built in 1929 in the heart of Seville’s old quarter, the Gran Melía Colón (from $215) has long been a favorite of visiting bullfighters. Now, after a massive renovation by architect Álvaro Sans, the property has regained much of its original splendor, plus added modern amenities like Wii and Wi-Fi. Book one of the Red Level premium rooms (from $430), which includes a personal butler.

What to Eat:
It’s all tapas, all the time. Cross the Guadalquivir river into the gypsy quarter, and hit Jaylu for a taste of top-notch jamón Iberico and salmorejo (a garlicky tomato-and-bread purée), or go to El Rinconcillo, one of the oldest tapas joints in the city. Or simply head downstairs to the hotel restaurant, Michelin-starred chef Dani Garcia’s El Burladero.

To Do, by Day:
Dress modestly (no shorts, T-shirts, or anything revealing) for a visit to Seville’s cathedral, the largest Gothic church in Spain. Inside, you’ll find a vast collection that includes several Goyas and Columbus’s tomb. Climb the Giralda tower—a former mosque minaret with staggering views. Nearby is the Real Alcázar, the Mudéjar palace where Spain’s king and queen stay when they visit. Explore the rooms and the gardens, where in the spring the air is heavy with the scent of jasmine. Also check out the Museo de Bellas Artes, which houses works by El Greco and Zurbarán, and the Triana pottery district, where the city’s traditional blue and yellow tiles are sold.

To Do, by Night:
Have a glass of tinto de verano, a sangria-like cocktail, at La Cucaña, a bar bordering the Guadalquivir. Catch an opera at the Teatro de la Maestranza, or hit the bustling La Carbonería for a sizzling flamenco performance—or simply try it yourself. Soothe your feet at the Arabic-style Aire de Sevilla baths, open until 2 a.m.

Side Trip:
Explore Granada, a short train ride away. Stay at the Room Mate Migueletes (from $140), a seventeenth-century mansion turned boutique hotel. For a beach break, hop a flight from Seville to Tenerife to visit another Gran Melía spot, Palacio de Isora (from $540), in the Canary Islands.

How to Get There:
Iberia has two flights daily from JFK to Madrid, and six connecting flights to Seville.


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