The capital city of Andalucia
Most visitors are drawn to this province by its capital, Seville, Andalucia's largest city and its administrative centre. In Seville is Europe's largest historic quarter, so it's crammed with magnificent churches, convents, monuments and Moorish buildings. It's also renowned for its multitude of tapas bars and a buzzing nightlife; in summer, evening is the best time to stroll through the winding streets and pretty squares, to escape the fierce, unrelenting heat of the day.
One of Europe's biggest cathedrals is here, the vast Gothic Catedral whose famous minaret, the Giralda, is the best place for a bird's-eye view of the city. Nearby is another of the city's most impressive sights, the elaborately ornate Mudéjar palace of the Alcázar. Close to Seville is the ruined settlement of Italica, one of the Roman Empire's most important cities, which you can still today a huge amphitheatre and intricate mosaics.
Relatively few foreign tourists venture beyond the delights of Seville city and the region's main transport arteries linking Seville with the neighbouring provinces of Cordoba, Cadiz, Malaga or Huelva. But there are still many more places to explore. You can do this on foot, through some of the Sierra Morena's most stunning countryside thickly clad with oak trees, or marvel at the region's imposing religious architecture or sample some of the province's finest gastronomic treats such as cured sausages and aniseed liquor.
Much of the province's landscape is dominated by the mighty Río Guadalquivir, one of Spain's most important rivers. Seville itself is set in the heart of the fertile river valley, while many of the province's most significant settlements are scattered around the gently rolling Guadalquivir river plain (vega), known as La Campiña, planted with patchwork fields of wheat and olive groves. Historically, this area was largely in the hands of a few wealthy landowners and today the land is still divided up into huge farm estates, punctuated by large towns rather than small villages.