If you want to discover the soul of a Spanish city you need to visit its plazas – where locals go to eat, drink and lounge on hot, sultry days. That is particularly true in Seville, a place famous for its flamenco dancing, where squares are bursting with life around the clock. Here are the city’s finest plazas.

Plaza De Encarnación

You can’t miss the enormous wooden Encarnación or ‘las setas’ (the mushrooms) in Seville's historic centre. This incredible canopy structure by Berlin architect Jürgen Mayer was only completed in 2011, and it’s created an unusual contemporary plaza amid the city’s historic fabric. It’s divisive among locals, but even they must admit its parasol-like hoods provide blessed shade. Underneath it, there’s an archaeological museum.

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Plaza Del Salvador takes its name from the square's Iglesia del Salvador / Image: Turismo de Sevilla

Plaza Del Salvador

This plaza in the Alfalfa quarter, which takes its name from the Salvador church, represents the real Seville. Kids run free, locals chatter and bartenders fill glasses of Cruzcampo quicker than you can say una caña (a small beer).

Plaza de la Alfalfa

A family-friendly plaza in Alfalfa, surrounded by local, no-frills bars and cheap, honest tapas joints (Bar Alfalfa and Taberna Alambique are standouts). There’s also plenty of space for kids to play.

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Tree-lined Alameda de Hercules is lined with bars and restaurants / Image: Turismo de Sevilla

Alameda de Hercules

Anyone after something different will love this sprawling, tree-lined plaza in Seville's trendy Alameda district, packed with quirky bars and restaurants (try nearby Duo Tapas or Al Aljibe). If you’re lucky, you might even experience an impromptu flamenco jam session.

Calle San Juan de la Palma

In the historic centre, grab a glass of tinto de verano (red wine with soda or lemonade) and park yourself out front of Bodega La Plazoleta, while the kids play in the little park in the plaza opposite. Two birds, one stone.