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
Restaurant and hotel in town. Located inside the walled town of Cáceres with its extraordinary Almohad, Gothic, Renaissance and colonial buildings, Atrio boasts sublime architecture by Emilio Tuñón Álvarez and Luis Moreno Mansilla, masters of modern design. In the heart of the old stone buildings of this medieval town, Chefs José Polo and Toño Pérez prepare cuisine with unique, authentic flavours in a heavenly, extremely contemporary setting. Truffles, pasta and mushrooms, razor clams with cured Iberian ham, pig’s trotters, oyster and other gourmet creations are in complete harmony with the splendid building. ... 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 country. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the world, you can enjoy at La Torre del Visco the glorious scenery of a valley untouched by man and the modern world. The estate house with its tower dating from 1449 is surrounded by its own eighty-nine hectare farm, romantic gardens full of roses and olive trees bordered by the river Tastavins and the mountain range known as “Ports de Beseit”. The owner grows her own organic fruit and vegetables and makes her own olive oil for the restaurant. Inside the beautiful labyrinthine buildings, immerse yourself in a novel by the fireside, play chess or piano. During the night you can observe the stars on the terrace. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. A 19th century Lord’s manor, the Mirador de Dalt Vila was until recently a family property. When it was converted into an intimate and welcoming hotel, none of its historical values were lost. Perched on the heights inside the famous walled city of Dalt Vila – declared a Unesco World Heritage site –, the building offers, as suggested by its name a magnificent panoramic view of the city of Ibiza, its historical port and the never ending horizon of the Mediterranean sea. Far from the bustle of the town, sample the charms of this peaceful haven with its excellent service and highly dedicated staff. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. The attractive town of Ezcaray, on the crossroads between the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and the Rioja wine route, is home to a culinary jewel whose fame goes back for five generations. Echaurren has been handed down from father to son for more than a century, ever since the stable block of the former staging post was converted into a dining room. The restaurant, along with traditional Rioja recipes which have been brought to perfection and embellished by this family of renowned cooks, are at the heart of the property. Echaurren is nestled in the historic centre of the town opposite a fine stone church, Santa María la Mayor, and offers cheerful, modern rooms decorated in bright, fresh colours. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. One of the impressive façades of the Neri, tucked away in the heart of the romantic Gothic district, gives onto Sant Felip Neri square, a magical place with Gothic edifices and the church where Gaudí used to come to pray every day. This hotel was created when, in the 18th century, two mansions merged – one dating from the Middle Ages. It boasts a delightful décor, blending period features with ultra-modern design. The chef creates a Mediterranean cuisine with a seasonal menu in this private, welcoming restaurant. At the top of the building, “Roba Estesa” is an oasis in the city, where you can enjoy vistas of the city at nightfall, while trying delicious tapas. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. Up on a hill overlooking La Seu d’Urgell, with the Pyrenees as the backdrop, El Castell de Ciutat faces a landscape of preserved natural beauty. The Tàpies family provides a warm welcome in this mountain chalet, located at the foot of a fortress dating back to the 16th century. There are breathtaking views of the Urgellet valley and Cadí-Moixeró, Catalonia’s biggest nature reserve. Discover the pleasure of exquisite Mediterranean cuisine in the restaurants and taste wines from all over the world. Enjoy mountain sports or sail over the valley in a hot air balloon before relaxing in the magnificent wellness center. Don’t leave without enjoying breakfast in the morning sunlight on the terrace. ... 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