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.
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Can Faustino, a magnificent palace dating back to the 16th century, overlooks the port of Ciutadella. Architect Olivia Putman has imagined it as a large family home, where natural materials are highlighted: the softness of the pink stones of the façade, the authenticity of wood and leather in the bright rooms. A simplicity which ideally suits Menorca, the wildest of the Balearic Islands. In the shadow of the bougainvilleas of the patio, enjoy the vegetables from the orchard and fish just caught in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Two superb boats as well as horses are at your disposal to discover this island listed as a biosphere reserve, its virgin beaches and Menorcan lifestyle. ... 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
Restaurant in town. Located in his home town, the restaurant of Dani Garcia is an invitation to share an original culinary experience and the innovative vision that this Chef has of Andalusian cuisine. Without denying any of his roots, he plays with the textures, savours or the contrast of warm and cold. The result is brilliant, a mix of tradition and avant garde, high tech and ancestral recipes: cherry pulp blends with gazpacho and Iberian pork meets smoked eggplants and souffleed potatoes. This partition is performed under the eyes of the guests, who can observe the cuisine looking like a laboratory from the nice dining room with its vertical wall garden. ... 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
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 country. In this former hillside monastery in Majorca, asceticism lives on in the décor, where white walls shine forth against the deep blue sky. The spa is a water and teakwood paradise using essential oils derived from the island flora. The swimming pool, a chic camping ground, provides large white parasols to ensure deckchairs remain in the shade. The rooms offer views of the sea, the olive tree orchards and the bay of Pollença. Organic produce, including olive oil, wine, citrus fruits and vegetables, is cultivated on the grounds and served in the restaurant. There is little inclination to venture out of this pleasant hotel, unless it is to head for the beaches or the golf course. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. A river runs round the estate and the majestic buildings dating back to the 18th century and then meanders between the trees of a magnificent wood. The grounds exude tranquillity and serenity. A Quinta da Auga is a natural, romantic escape within the World Heritage city of Santiago de Compostela, which welcomes the pilgrims at the final destination on the St James Way pilgrimage route, with an amazing historical town centre. The hotel’s restaurant offers regional delights, seafood and meat dishes. Enjoy a wide range of cultural, oenological and sailing activities in the vicinity. ... 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 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
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