Guidebook: Seeking the Soul of Spain

Getting there: From LAX to Madrid, American, Delta, Continental, US Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways and Alitalia fly with a change of planes. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $636. Seville is a one-hour flight from Madrid or about eight hours by train.

Telephones: To reach numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international access code), 34 (the country code for Spain), 95 (the city code for Seville) and the local number.

Where to stay: The Hotel Occidental Porta Coeli, Avenida Eduardo Dato 49, 453-3500, fax 453-2342, https://www.occidental-hoteles .com/eng/msie/hoteles/occidental_porta_coeli.htm. A large, modern and comfortable hotel within walking distance of the city center. Doubles about $150.

Hotel Los Seises, Calle Segovia 6, 422-9495, fax 422-4334, It has 43 rooms in a 16th century archbishop's palace near the cathedral. Doubles from $120.

Seville's premier hotel is the Hotel Alfonso XIII, Calle San Fernando 2; 491-7000, fax 491-7099, A marvel built in 1928 and operated by the Westin chain. It's elegant and staid; the lobby is all mahogany, Moorish tiles and marble. Doubles from around $245.

Where to eat: Sevillanos boast that tapas, Spanish appetizers, orginated in El Rinconcillo, Calle Gerona 40, a landmark tapas bar that opened in the 1600s. The prices are modest, and the place has great atmosphere.

Egaña Oriza, Calle San Fernando 41, 422-7211, is an expensive, first-rate restaurant wedged against the walls of the Alcázar palace. The specialty is seafood.

Mesón Don Raimundo, Calle Argote de Molina 26, 422-3355, is housed in a 15th century convent and serves game dishes. The desserts are superb.

For more information: Tourist Office of Spain, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 956, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; (323) 658-7188 or (323) 658-7192, fax (323) 658-1061,