MOORISH ANDALUCIA IS HOME TO SOME OF SPAIN'S most celebrated cities. Its characteristic white villages, bullfighting traditions and flamboyant flamenco lend the area a character all of its own.

Every city has its plaza de toros (bullring) where the bullfighting season kicks off at Easter. Whatever your views on the sport, it’s an evocative reminder of how deep tradition strikes at Andalucia’s heart.  Night time is flamenco hour – and the staccato clack of castanets against sultry guitar chords heralds yet another deep-rooted tradition that’s very much alive and well here.

Don't miss Seville's Gothic glories: the spired and towered cathedral is home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus and priceless Goyas. Then there is the Alcazar, home to royal families since the ninth century, and the Real Fabrica de Tabacos – famous as the setting for Bizet's opera Carmen.

A walk through the winding alleys of Seville's old Jewish quarter – Barrio Santa Cruz – is unmissable, while leafy Maria Luisa park makes a nice spot for a late afternoon wander. Do make time for a foray into the Museo de Bellas Artes – a fabulous art collection in a former convent. There's also a bullfighting museum next to the bull ring. When you’re ready for out-of-town excursions, Cordoba, Granada and Jerez beckon.

Marbella has the cobbled streets and squares of its old town and the party port of Puerto Banus. Marbella's golden palm-lined beaches have promenades, parasols, hammocks and bars, not to mention a variety of watersports. Prefer to head out of town? Ronda and other old Andalucian towns are easily reached.


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