The capital of the Spanish region of Andalucia, the historic city of Seville resides on the banks of the River Guadalquivir and is famed for its spectacular architecture, incredible flamenco dancers, magnificent bull fighters and vibrant gypsy culture. Where vitality and flamboyance are the norm and joy the most celebrated emotion, Seville is also a superb centre from which to explore the exquisite Andalucian countryside.
Seville car hire is best organised in advance to enable pick up at Seville San Pablo Airport (SVQ) and from here a world of opportunities awaits the intrepid tourist prepared to venture further than the charming city, home to civilisations such as Romans, Moors and Castilians, over its 2000+ year history.
The Alcczar of Seville, is Europe's oldest royal palace still in use and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This and the Seville Cathedral, the world's largest gothic cathedral, are two of the city's most popular tourist destinations. Once the site of an ancient mosque the cathedral was under construction from 1402 to 1506 utilising elements of the old mosque including the minaret which became the iconic La Giralda bell tower. With its fragrant Orangery, fifteen decorative outer doors and 80 chapels within, the magnificent cathedral is the burial place of Christopher Columbus.
Also in the old city is the splendid Parque de Maria Luisa, a paradise of orange trees, elms, Mediterranean pines and palms, featuring the glorious Plaza de Espana, previously used as a Star Wars set. Other city treasures include Roman, Islamic, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance churches and buildings, museums and the fascinating Archive of the Indies, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to historical records of the Americas.
Easter is a particularly special time of year in Seville with the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations filling the streets with colourful floats and processions. In Spring also, the Ferra de Abril festival takes place, an entire week of parades, dancing, drinking, eating and partying.
Seville car hire offers the tourist the opportunity to venture beyond the city limits to explore the stunning countryside and other nearby cities such as Granada which nestles at the feet of the Sierra Nevada mountains and which boasts the magnificent Moorish citadel, Alhambra Palace.
North East of Seville is the beautiful city of Cordoba, founded by the Romans for its strategic position on the Guadalquiver River, still spanned by the El Puente Romano, Europe's oldest surviving bridge. Cordoba's main attraction is the Great Mosque, once the largest in all Islam but later converted into a cathedral.
South of Seville, Jerez is renowned for its sherry and brandy industries, as well as for its fine horses, flamenco dancers and music. Its Moorish routes are evident with yet another remarkable mosque/cathedral conversion. Further south Cadiz resides on a peninsula almost completely surrounded by the sea. Founded in 1100 BC by the Phonecians, the city has also played host to Carthaginians, Romans, Visgoths and Moors.
Further afield the picturesque coastal resorts of Fuengirola, Gibraltar, Malaga, Marbella and Torremolinos all enable easy transition from city splendour to coastal bliss.
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