In South-western Europe, between France, Portugal and the Mediterranean Sea, facing Morocco across the famous Straits of Gibraltar, Spain has an eclectic culture, marked by strong regionalisation.
Stretching from the nature parks of Catalonia to Extremadura via Madrid, the capital, and the two Castiles, Spain’s inland area consists primarily of the Meseta. This sprawling plateau, surrounded by mountains and divided down the middle by the sierras of the Sistema Central, is home to a multitude of historic towns and bright villages built by its successive inhabitants. In Segovia, visitors crane their necks to admire the double-arched Roman aqueduct erected more than 2,000 years ago without a single dab of mortar. In Cáceres, Moorish ramparts protect the proud patrician manors and imposing Renaissance structures. Among its streets lined with honey-colored walls, Sigüenza conceals a medieval castle built over an Arab kasbah and a cathedral that blends the Romanesque, Gothic and Plateresque styles. And the Aljafería, Saragossa’s Mozarabic palace, was rebuilt by the Catholic Kings in the distinctively refined Mudéjar style and once served as a tribunal for the Inquisition.
From the crest of the Pyrenees to the lively streets of Barcelona, from the beaches of the Costa Brava to the Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Spain is a medley of celebrations and lazy days in the sun, of phantasmagorical structures by Gaudi or Subirachs and Romanesque monasteries, of treats like sweet-and-sour botifarra dolça sausage and suquet, a fish stew with mussels and fried squid. Not far from La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s emblematic cathedral, the city’s Roman and Visigoth origins can be seen in the ancient narrow streets excavated under Casa Clariana-Padellàs — an incredible underground journey back in time.
Restaurant on the seafront. On the Catalan coast, between Girona and Barcelona, Chef Carme Ruscalleda crafts creative, modern cuisine inspired by the landscape and Catalan culinary traditions. In a beautiful garden bordering the charming beach of Sant Pol de Mar, Carme develops her very own original gourmet style, with produce from the Maresme region, famous for its fishing ports, its specialised crops and its wild mountains. Dishes with a fine balance and natural flavours play with contrasts and textures. Since 2004, Carme’s cuisine has drawn on Nipponese influences which marry naturally with the culinary style at the Sant Pau. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. In the heart of Asturias, amidst eight hectare grounds boasting beautiful gardens and unspoilt nature, discover this 16th century palace between the Sierra del Sueve mountains and the Cantabrian sea. Palacio de Luces has been tastefully refurbished in complete harmony with its historic setting. The piano bar and the pool invite to relaxation and the ideal location between the sea and the mountains is conducive to the many, diverse activities on offer. Everything here is designed to ensure your well-being and peace of mind – spaciousness, décor, the traditional Asturian cuisine at the restaurant Balcón del Sueve which meticulously selects the finest ingredients served to you along with some fabulous views. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. In the west of Majorca, the Sierra de Tramontana is a paradise of olive and almond trees that once inspired Frédéric Chopin, on his romantic travels with author George Sand, to write his Preludes. In fact, Valldemossa belonged to the former estate of the Carthusian Monastery where Chopin and Sand stayed and still reflects the same purity and beauty that the famous couple enjoyed. Behind the stone walls that give protection from the glare of the sun, there are very charming rooms with four-poster beds dressed in white netting. On the agenda are Mediterranean dinners on the terraces overlooking the burnt landscapes of the island, and the gentle pleasures of an exceptional swimming pool, golf, sailing, watersports and other preludes. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. Between the Gredos mountains and the majestic Tagus river, this 19th century manor house modestly hides its terracotta facade behind tall cypress trees. In the main building or the outbuildings in the garden, the spacious bedrooms offer majestic panoramic views. The six hundred hectare domain has exclusive activities in store such as relaxing in the spa, horseback riding, hunting and golf on the hotel’s driving range and its pitch & putt. In the surrounding area you will find attractions like the Guadalupe monastery, the castle of Oropesa and the Yuste abbey. The magnificent Tierra restaurant uses ingredients from its own farm and kitchen garden. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. The magnificent vineyards of the Abadía Retuerta estate extend along the banks of the Duero to the east of Valladolid. A superb, elegantly restored, 12th century abbey, set in a stunning landscape, welcomes its visitors. This cultural treasure of Spain, the soul of this region, has been converted into a hotel with all due respect paid to its 1,000 years of history. Every architectural detail has been immaculately preserved. The monks’ cells are now guestrooms, the chapter house is the lounge bar, and the refectory is now a sumptuous restaurant dining room under a vaulted ceiling in the purest of Gothic styles. A splendid estate with a unique character. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. The Mas de Torrent is located in the heart of Empordà, the most authentic and chic region on the Costa Brava, with its beautiful beaches and little medieval villages, in between olive and cypress trees. This 18th century masía delights with its spectacular views, delightful gardens and impeccable, attentive service. The welcoming interior is home to both classical and contemporary suites, some with their own private pool. Two extraordinary restaurants and the Mas Spa make for a magical stay. Don’t miss the treasures in a region so beloved by the artist Salvador Dalí: Cadaqués, Pals, Peratallada and Sant Martí d’Empúries. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. “Good cuisine, which is written in capitals, is not the property of any one person. It belongs to all those who have worked behind the stoves since the dawn of time.” So says Chef Martín Berasategui who has turned this restaurant in the Basque country, close to one of the pilgrimage routes of Compostela, into a culinary temple. Sautéed black garlic and beetroot ceviche feature amongst his most adventurous inventions. Another legendary dish is red mullet with edible crystallised scales, bean sprouts and cuttlefish. The seductive atmosphere is in perfect harmony with the exquisite cuisine, excellent wines and exceptional service. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. At the family restaurant Arzak winds of innovation are blowing. Juan Mari was one of the founders of new Basque cuisine in 1977: creativity and techno-cuisine as a revolutionary way of inviting the region to take pride of place on the plate. His daughter Elena accompanies him on this gourmet adventure, adding her sensitivity and rigour to the untameable spirit and creativity of Juan Mari. Their duo produces marvels culminating in dishes featuring local hake, line-caught calamari or beef from the region, as well as a delicious array of aromas from across the world, including tamarind, hibiscus, rhubarb, mango skin, coconut, roasted chocolate and liquorice powder. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. The Chef Óscar Velasco creates dishes featuring fish and shellfish from the Costa Brava, exceptional vegetables like young Maresme peas, or delicious Morella truffles, and his flagship creations, including crispy suckling pig from Segovia. The impressive cheese board is another highlight. Velasco’s cuisine is the embodiment of a culinary philosophy that is both traditional and contemporary, with a wild flourish. In the dining room, the Maître de Maison, Abel Valverde, and the sommelier, David Robledo, offer unique, stylish service – the prelude to a gourmet feast that will truly delight the senses. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. “Successful creations start with the best products. Each dish must be approached with the daring of a young chef, the experience of a mature man and the wisdom of an elder.” The personality of Chef Pedro Subijana, always striving to do better and his constant quest for innovation have made him an ambassador for new Basque cuisine. He adds a "personal touch" to traditional recipes: hake and its "kokotxa", oyster leaf and "mussel beans". Enjoy the impressive panoramic views of the Cantabrian sea from Mount Igeldo while dining at this restaurant located just five minutes from the centre of Saint Sebastián. ... Learn moreless