Huelva (Seville), Spain

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This is the Spain you were promised: bright days, citrus trees laden with fruit, music that summons you to dance and then cry, palace walls hiding colorful interior gardens, even toreadors in tight pants and flamenco dancers in cascading skirts. And the food! The freshest possible seafood, the pork-based dishes (Ibérico pigs are fed acorns, resulting in a nutty, nearly irresistible taste)—even olives, with a sprinkle of orange rind and hot pepper—taste vivid, different. You’ll remember these flavors like you remember a first love.

Huelva is a town with the worldly charm of a port and the added draw of stunning beaches. Columbus sailed from here and trade with the Americas brought great wealth. But Andalucía holds its own riches—including western Europe’s largest tract of undeveloped land, Doñana National Park.

The treasures of Seville should not be missed, either. Moorish influence remains in the architecture, cuisine, music and bloodlines of the city. Stroll through the Alcázar, a stunning Moorish palace lost in time. The massive cathedral is magnificent, with five naves and an elegant bell tower, La Giralda. The old neighborhoods are still lively and residential, and the Metropol Parasol provides a surprising swoop of modern flair in the midst of age-old buildings. Your high expectations are welcome here. ¡Viva España!

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