SEVILLE: Some cities have looks, other cities have personality. The sevillanos – lucky devils – get both, courtesy of their flamboyant, charismatic, ever-evolving Andalucian metropolis founded, according to myth, 3000 years ago
GRANADA: Read up on your Nasrid history, slip a copy of Federico García Lorca’s Gypsy Ballads into your bag, and acquire a working knowledge of Andalucía’s splendid Moorish architectural heritage – Granada is calling and its allure is hard to ignore. Internationally revered for its lavish Alhambra palace, and enshrined in medieval history as the last stronghold of the Moors in Western Europe
MADRID: No city on earth is more alive than Madrid, a beguiling place whose sheer energy carries a simple message: this city really knows how to live.
BARCELONA: I love the sea, and taking an early-morning jog along the Mediterranean is my favourite way to start the day. I’m also a bit of a history nerd, and relish strolling the cobblestone lanes of the Gothic quarter, thinking about the people in past centuries who walked these streets. Then there’s the food and drink – the first-rate tapas bars, the abundant and inexpensive wine, the superb and reasonably priced multicourse
MALLORCA: The ever popular star of the Mediterranean, Mallorca has a sunny personality thanks to its ravishing beaches, azure views, remote mountains and soulful hill towns.
VALENCIA: Never afraid to innovate, Valencia diverted its flood-prone river to the outskirts of town and converted the former riverbed into a superb green ribbon of park winding right through the city. On it are the strikingly futuristic buildings of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, designed by local boy Santiago Calatrava.
CÓRDOBA: One building alone is enough to put Córdoba high on any traveller’s itinerary: the mesmerising multiarched Mezquita. One of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings, it’s a symbol of the worldly and sophisticated Islamic culture that flourished here more than a millennium ago when Córdoba was the capital of Islamic Spain, and Western Europe’s biggest and most cultured city. Once here, you’ll find there’s much more to this city: Córdoba is a great place for exploring on foot or by bicycle, staying and eating well in old buildings centred on verdant patios, diving into old wine bars, and feeling millennia of history at every turn.