Seville, Spain

A mere two-and-a-half-hour ride from Madrid on the AVE, Spain's high-speed train, gets one to Seville, capital of Andalusia.

The historic section of this beautiful city is an alluring labyrinth of narrow streets winding through 1,300 years of architecture, spotlighting Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance influences. But the city is not without modern, whimsical touches. Case in point: Metropol Parasol, aka Las Setas ("the mushrooms") de Sevilla, an enormous, 85-foot-high series of wood mushrooms that stretches for nearly 500 feet, with various walkways along the top affording spectacular views of the city; event spaces can host up to 400 people, and there is room for 3,000 in the plaza below.