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 in a park. The marble whiteness of the Castillo de Arteaga, with its 13th century Gothic tower, rises dramatically out of the Basque Country’s Ria Urdaibai reserve with its narrow lush green valleys opening up into wide estuaries. Napoleon III and Eugenia de Montijo had it rebuilt when their son was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Biscay. Out of this castle, Garbiñe Azkuenaga has created a stunning hotel, masterfully combining period furniture with contemporary design. Spend your days exploring the surrounding area: cliffs, rivers, marshland and meadows. In the evening, enjoy a superb dinner in the castle's restaurant or a wine tasting in the well-stocked cellar. ... 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. 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
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
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
Restaurant in town. Located in the district of Salamanca, just minutes from the capital’s main shopping streets, Ramon Freixa Madrid has a peaceful inner garden courtyard, which is perfect for al fresco dining and enjoying an aperitif in the open air. The Spanish Chef Ramon Freixa is one of the brilliant leaders of Mediterranean cuisine. Thanks to his imagination, daring and humour, he goes beyond the Mediterranean flavours to take them to a new dimension. His signature dishes include a study of a tomato, an autumn sequence around black truffle (tuber melanosporum), hare royale, lacquered shoulder of lamb or a lobster micro menu. ... 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. 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 a village. The walls of a 500-year-old flour mill are home today to a delightful family hotel where you can enjoy total peace troubled only by birdsong and the sound of the brook rippling through the grounds. The garden, lovely pool and spa are all invitations in themselves to take it easy in this peaceful ambiance. However, it would be a pity not to explore the Guadalajara area: the historic city of Sigüenza, mediaeval villages, natural reserves, salt mines and rivers in canyons – each more beautiful and interesting than the last. At nightfall, the mill restaurant serves Slow Food cuisine inspired by traditional recipes produced from seasonal, local ingredients. ... 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