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Seville city guide: a day in Alameda and Macarena

The Alameda and Macarena districts of Seville offer an alternative from the city’s usual tourist sights, with their cool cafe-bars, art spaces, independent boutiques and markets

Many visitors to the sultry southern Spanish city of Seville stick to a set route of cathedral, Alcázar palace and the Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, without venturing further afield. While these monuments and flower-filled plazas, dotted with traditionally tiled tapas bars, shouldn’t be missed, if you head into the less touristy areas of La Alameda and La Macarena (both no-go areas 15 years ago) you’ll find a mix of avant-garde eateries, communes and independent shops – without a flamenco apron in sight.

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Sitges … with kids? Our family wouldn’t holiday anywhere else

Sitges, the seaside resort near Barcelona, is famous for its vibrant gay nightlife but William Cook finds its laid-back vibe makes it just perfect for family holidays, too

My brother-in-law was the first one to tell me about Sitges. He’d been there with his boyfriend and thought my wife and I would like it. I must admit I was a bit surprised; all I knew was that it was a gay resort near Barcelona and was famous for its nightlife. My wife, Sophie, was pregnant and we both needed a holiday but we were hardly in the mood for raucous nightlife – gay or straight. Surely this was the last place we should be going?

We were wrong. We went for a week and had a great time. It was easy to get there – only 16 miles from Barcelona airport. It was remarkably attractive – lots of historic buildings, from Renaissance to art nouveau. The beach was damn near perfect – a broad sweep of vanilla sand, sheltered by a ring of green rolling hills (the Garraf massif) – and yet somehow Sitges hadn’t been overwhelmed by tourism. It still felt like a working town.

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