Let’s take a ride to Spain together – what I did, what I recommend and all the best places for you to visit!
First stop, a trip to the picturesque town of San Sebastian.
San Sebastian, with its pristine beauty and cleanliness, served as the perfect launching pad for our Spanish adventure. Its beaches, like the famed La Concha Beach, with it’s shimmering white sands and crystal-clear blue waters, lured us in with undeniable allure. As we strolled through the town, we marveled at the harmonious blend of modern and ancient architecture, a testament to the city’s rich history.
From the moment we arrived, it was clear that our adventures would revolve around food. We dove headfirst into the delightful world of pintxos (also known as pinchos), those mouthwatering Basque tapas that come in endless varieties. Our days were filled with explorations of the city’s streets, hopping from one pintxos bar to another, sampling their exquisite offerings and all the vino. Ttvn-Ttvn Taberna and Gandarias Jatetxea quickly became our go-to spots, their flavors leaving us begging for more.
How the mischievous sun weaves its warm magic, turning somber skies into a beach-worthy paradise! However, in a classic case of bad timing, we found ourselves unprepared for this unexpected weather shift on our very last day for soaking up the sun. Ah, the beach day that got away…but fear not, my friends, we shall return to enjoy and revel in its beauty once more.
There was no time for regret as we delved deeper into the heart of the city. The Old Town beckoned us with its tantalizing aromas and vibrant energy. Here, the pintxos scene reached new heights, teasing us with tantalizing displays of culinary artistry. Our insatiable appetite for exploration outpaced our time, leaving us with a bittersweet longing for more.
Nestled in a local area within walking distance of La Concha Beach, Gros, and Old Town, we found ourselves in the heart of the action. It was so amazing to see how they adored their four-legged companions in San Sebastian! Well-trained dogs roamed the streets, mostly off leash, despite the being illegal. We couldn’t help but smile at the sight of these furry locals, adding an extra dose of charm to our already unforgettable experience. Can you tell I was already missing my puppies?!
Ah, let’s talk about the crown jewels of San Sebastian’s culinary scene! Brace yourselves, my fellow food enthusiasts, for I present to you the culinary wonderlands that stole our hearts: La Taberna De Blas and Rekondo.
La Taberna De Blas, a beloved establishment nestled in the heart of the city, lured us in with its cozy charm and mouthwatering aromas. A symphony of flavors danced upon our tongues as we sampled their delectable creations! Each bite was a revelation, a testament to the skill and passion of the chefs behind the scenes. As we bid our farewell, our bellies full and content, we couldn’t resist taking a bottle of Spanish wine to-go. We adore the culinary delights of Spain!
Next on our culinary conquest was Rekondo, a place where Michelin stars shine bright and culinary dreams came true. As we stepped into Rekondo, we were greeted by an air of elegance and sophistication (perhaps a tad too much sophistication, making us feel like mischievous kids at a fancy country club, haha!). Nevertheless, we embraced the experience with open hearts and a little help from the bottles of wine that encouraged us to let loose. The dishes that graced our table were a harmonious fusion of innovation and tradition, each bite a celebration of the artistry of the chefs.
As we bid the city farewell, promising to return someday soon, we couldn’t help but daydream about the pintxos we had missed, the beaches yet to be explored, and the laughter-filled moments waiting for us in this vibrant coastal haven. So, dear friends, on our next visit to San Sebastian, we will embark on a grand culinary expedition, eager to explore more hidden gems and sample tantalizing dishes. And, of course, we’ll leave ample time for beach escapades and more mischievous encounter with the local vino. After all, what’s a Spanish adventure without a touch of wine-induced laughter?
Where to Stay – San Sebastian
Best Pinxtos to Try in San Sebastian Old Town
When it comes to pinxtos, remember to order one or two at a time along with a glass of wine, and then move on to the next spot for a full Spanish experience. We made the classic mistake of ordering too much at our first stop, but hey, no regrets because every bite was absolutely delicious!
- Gandarias Jatetxea
- Ttvn-Ttvn Taberna
- Bar Gorriti
- Meson Portaletas
- Sidreria Beharri
- La Mejillonera
- La Cuchara de San Telmo
- Bodegon Alejandro
Where to Eat – San Sebastian
Travel from San Sebastian to Barcelona
- Vueling Airlines San Sebastian (EAS) – Barcelona (BCN) 1h 5min
Now, let’s talk about those enchanting rooftop bars and speakeasies! Our adventures led us to Monk, a thrilling speakeasy where the bartenders delighted us with their mixology skills and charismatic flair. Skybar, although not quite my vibe, still offered decent views, and we had a small mishap when we ended up at the wrong Ohla rooftop while trying to meet some newfound beach friends. Fortunately, the cab ride to the correct Ohla wasn’t far, and we soon reunited, and the view was worth the adventures. The Hoxton and Terrace of the Sercotel Rosellón (great view of Sagrada Familia, requires reservations months in advance) were on our list, but there just wasn’t time to do everything, so we have those experiences on our list for our next visit.
The beach was a bit of a rocky affair, but Chiringuito Maluké was to the rescue with beach side chairs and bar service! Unfortunately, my poor feet couldn’t bear the pain of the rocky shores. However, I’ve heard Sitges beach is worth a day trip, though our tight schedule didn’t allow for it. Instead, we settled for a local beach, where we indulged in the joy of sunbathing, rented comfy chairs and umbrellas, and enjoyed beachside bar service. Meeting amazing new friends on the shores was an unexpected delight, making it one of the highlights of our Barcelona beach experience. Oh, how I wished we had such beachside luxuries and indulgences (such as bar service) in LA!
The paella cooking experience was an absolute must! Our group had a blast, connecting with other travelers, cooking up a storm, and devouring our team’s paella creation. We even made new friends on their honeymoon (more friends for our Christmas card list). The fresh produce, meats, and seafood in the local markets were a feast for the senses. The 10 Tastings of Barcelona – markets tour, led by the delightful and entertaining Sebastian, revealed the city’s culinary treasures, leaving us craving more. To escape the touristy vibe, we ventured on a market tour, immersing ourselves in the local flavors and uncovering hidden gems that tickled our taste buds and changed our perspective. If you’re after an authentic experience, I highly recommend exploring the Sant Antoni area—perfect for embracing the local vibes and immersing oneself in the culture.
Ah, the culinary journey through Barcelona was a feast for the senses! The city’s vibrant food scene left us constantly craving for more. As we embarked on our adventure, one standout was Terraza Martínez. With its delectable dishes and awe-inspiring views, dining on their terrace felt like a taste of paradise. The combination of flavors and the stunning backdrop of the cityscape created an unforgettable experience that lingered on our palates and in our memories.
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without experiencing Park Güell’s whimsical charm and the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia. Though I typically chase scenic routes rather than historical landmarks, Sagrada Familia took my breath away with its intricate beauty. We opted for an early morning private tour with our small group to avoid the crowds, and it made all the difference in enhancing our experience. The Gothic Quarter, with its picturesque allure, was a paradise for my photo-loving eye. We even had the pleasure of capturing our memories through a professional photoshoot with Emilija Photography, and I must say, the results were absolutely stunning. I can’t stress it enough—hiring a professional photographer while traveling is worth every penny.
In the midst of all these grand adventures, what truly made Barcelona unforgettable was the bond we shared with our best friends and the new connections we made along the way. Our collective experiences became the highlight of the journey, and Terraza Martinez, with its delightful views and scrumptious cuisine, created the perfect backdrop for my favorite meal in Barcelona.
From the bustling markets to the mesmerizing architecture, the captivating beaches to the lively rooftop bars, you showed us a side of the city that will forever remain in our hearts.
Another favorite was Vinitus, a lively spot where tapas became our ultimate indulgence. The bustling atmosphere and mouthwatering bites drew us in, rejuvenating our weary spirits after a long day of traveling. The vibrant energy of the restaurant matched the flavors dancing on our tongues, creating a perfect harmony of ambiance and culinary delight.
Lateral Consell de Cent also captured our hearts with its Mediterranean-inspired dishes. With fresh and vibrant flavors that celebrated the region’s culinary heritage. From savory seafood to aromatic herbs, the menu was a celebration of the rich traditions that Barcelona has to offer.
Where To Stay In Barcelona
- Three Ensuite bedroom apartment Paseo de Gracia – You Stylish
- Other YouStylish Properties
- Sant Antoni
Where to Eat – Barcelona
Adventures / What To Do – Barcelona
- Sant Josep de la Boqueria
- Mercat de la Llibertat
- Sitges Beach
- Chiringuito Maluké
- Park Güell
- Paella cooking experience
- The 10 Tastings of Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia – Early Morning Private Tour
- Professional Photos in Barcelona – Emilija Photography
- Gothic Quarter
- Gaudi Houses
Travel from Barcelona to Valencia
- Train Ride – Renfe 3.5 hours
Valencia, the land of small-town charm with big vibes! As we ventured into this incredible destination, the crowds didn’t disperse, but hey, being from LA, we’re no strangers to bustling streets (and believe me, we have our fair share of crowds). Valencia greeted us with its delightful mix of old-world charm, as we settled into the enchanting streets of the historic Old Town. The winding alleys led us to hidden local restaurants where culinary delights awaited, and let me tell you, this is where I had some of the best food ever. Each meal was a masterpiece, making it impossible for me to choose just one favorite. Well, except for the sushi mishap… I know, I know, you’re probably wondering why on earth we decided to try sushi in Spain, but hey, we heard good things about it elsewhere, just not in Valencia. Let’s just say it was an adventure we won’t repeat, but we can laugh about it now.
While in Valencia, we stumbled upon a vibrant festival that seemed to engulf the whole community. Though we didn’t get to witness it firsthand, the excitement was palpable as locals buzzed with anticipation and shared tales of past celebrations. It reminded us that festivals hold a special place in Spanish culture, and we marveled at the enthusiasm and energy that permeated the air.
With our newfound love for markets sparked in Barcelona, we made it a point to explore the markets in each town we visited. Valencia’s markets were a delight to behold, offering a sensory feast of fresh produce, local delicacies, and lively ambiance. Aldo and I reveled in wandering through the winding streets of Valencia, discovering hidden gems around every corner. We happily meandered into charming shops and cozy restaurants, spontaneously indulging in tapas and sipping vino along the way. For us, this spontaneous and adventurous approach to sightseeing proved to be the most rewarding.
I cannot forget my favorite experience in Valencia! Right outside the train station, there it was, a merry-go-round. Somehow, I managed to convince Aldo to join me, and he chose the tea cups, probably thinking I would hate it. But oh, how wrong he was! I have always adored tea cups since I was a child, and this ride was pure joy. As the tea cups spun and spun, I couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably, tears streaming down my face from sheer delight – Aldo not as much as he was quickly regretting his choices. To add to the hilarity, we were the only ones on the ride, and the attendants couldn’t contain their laughter as Aldo and I experienced a mix of laughter, dizziness, and sheer amusement.
Valencia treated us to a medley of flavors, festivities, and unexpected moments of laughter. It was a destination that charmed us with its warmth, history, and vibrant energy. Our time here was filled with culinary delights, meandering through winding streets, and embracing the spirit of adventure. Valencia, you truly left us with memories we’ll cherish forever.
Now, let’s dive into the mouthwatering culinary scene of Valencia, where our taste buds were treated to a symphony of flavors. There were several standout restaurants that we had the pleasure of experiencing, and it’s impossible for me to pick just one favorite because they were all so good. One noteworthy spot was Palace Fesol, where we indulged in their famous paella, a dish that we still reminisce about. But what surprised us even more was their Valencia gazpacho. Initially thinking it was a chilled tomato soup with seafood, we discovered a warm, cooked delight that surpassed all expectations.
Another unforgettable dining experience awaited us at Jamón Jamón, a true haven for food enthusiasts. Here, we surrendered to the enchanting flavors of Jamón ibérico, relishing in its rich and savory essence. The ham, served in various mouthwatering dishes, paired exquisitely with the delightful selection of wines, creating a symphony of flavors that danced on our palates. The cozy ambiance of Jamón Jamón added an extra touch of magic to an already memorable experience.
Sabaters Vinos y Tapas was another gem we stumbled upon, offering a wide selection of wines. We had the pleasure of learning more about the local festival from a delightful server. We couldn’t resist taking home a bottle of their exquisite vino blanco.
Lastly, we discovered El Rall Restaurant, a hidden gem tucked away in Valencia’s charming streets. This cozy establishment offered a fusion of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine, prepared with the finest local ingredients. From the delectable mussels to the mouthwatering tomato con pan, each bite was amazing.
Oh, and let’s not forget the hilarious encounter we had with the Spanish way of pouring drinks, especially when it came to gin and tonics. Little did I know, they pour your drink right in front of you, and apparently, it’s your responsibility to tell them when to stop. As the bartender kept pouring and my eyes grew wider with each passing second, I finally blurted out, “Okay, okay, that’s enough – no mas!” We all burst into laughter, realizing that it’s standard practice to give them the signal when you’ve had your fill. Lesson learned: in Spain, you not only enjoy the drinks, but you also become an active participant in the pouring process! Cheers to cultural surprises and a good laugh!
Valencia truly captivated us with its culinary delights, from the iconic paella to the unexpected joys of gazpacho and the indulgence of Jamón ibérico. These restaurants and their offerings showcased the region’s rich heritage. The passion and creativity of Valencia’s chefs were evident in every bite, and we couldn’t help but fall in love with the city’s culinary scene.
Where To Stay – Valencia
- Ciutat Vella
- Barrio del Carmen, Valencia, Spain
- Our airbnb: Luxury, Spacious & Cozy Loft. Prime Location
Where To Eat – Valencia
- Palace Fesol
- Jamón Jamón
- Sabaters Vinos y Tapas
- El Rall Restaurant
- La Terraza de Santa for Horchata and Fartons, a valencia delicacy enjoyed together
- L’Aldea | El Carmen
Adventures / What To Do – Valencia
Travel from Valencia to Alicante Valencia Joaquín Sorolla to Alicante/Alacant
- Train Ride Renfe – 2 Hours
- Note there are 2 train stations 5 minutes apart from each other in Valencia
The last full stop on our grand adventures came alive in the city of Alicante. It’s all about those beach vibes, delicious food, and a splash of partying! We may not have partied as hard as we would have liked, considering our exhaustion levels at this point, but we still managed to make the most of our time. We kicked off with a much-needed pool day at the fabulous Sea Side Meliai Hotel, basking in the sun and sipping refreshing drinks as we savored the last rays of our vacation.
One of the highlights was our fantastic catamaran experience, where we set sail to explore the enchanting Tabarca Island. Sailing along the crystal-clear ocean was pure bliss, and the island itself was an adorable little gem. We had just the right amount of time to wander around and soak in the island vibes before returning to the boat for some lounging, sunbathing, and leisurely swims. Snorkeling was an option, but we opted to simply revel in the beauty of the surroundings.
Alicante’s beaches were simply stunning, with soft sand beneath our toes and the refreshing ocean inviting us for a dip. We rented chairs and an umbrella, treating ourselves to drinks and delicious food right on our spot on the beach. It was the perfect culmination of relaxation and indulgence.
Let’s not forget the incredible food experience on our last night in Alicante. After a seafood craving that had been building up throughout the trip, I finally had my fill of the ocean’s delights at La Taberna del Gourmet, giving the jamon (ham) a well-deserved break. To top it off, we decided to venture to a nightclub (Calle 365) on our final evening. Though we didn’t stay long (the crowd reminded us that we’re no longer in our twenties), it was a fun and memorable experience. Next time, we’ll find a club that matches our vibes and taste in music, and dance the night away!
As we bid farewell to Alicante, we can’t help but reflect on the beauty of the Costa Blanca, the refreshing ocean dips, the delectable food, and the vibrant atmosphere. It was the perfect end to our journey, leaving us with memories that will forever linger like the salty breeze of the Mediterranean. Until our next adventure!
We can’t forget to talk about the culinary delights that awaited us in Alicante! The city proved to be a haven for food enthusiasts, with its plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants. Although we didn’t have the opportunity to indulge in many of them due to our exhaustion, we did manage to venture out one evening and hit the jackpot for me. La Taberna del Gourmet, in particular, left an indelible mark on our culinary journey. It was the perfect place to satisfy my longing for fresh salads, vegetables, and fruit, offering a delightful selection of light and refreshing dishes. From perfectly seasoned tuna tartare to the tantalizingly fresh mussels, and the perfectly buttery scallops, every bite transported us to a seafood paradise. La Taberna del Gourmet exceeded our expectations, providing us with a feast that not only satisfied our seafood cravings but also fulfilled our desire for lighter fare. It truly became the highlight of our culinary adventure in Alicante – and quite possibly my favorite meal of our entire trip to Spain!
Where To Stay – Alicante
Where To Eat – Alicante
Adventures / What To Do – Alicante
- Alicante: 6-Hour Catamaran Cruise to Tabarca Island
- Beach Rentals and Food and Drink
- Club – calle 365
Travel Alicante to Madrid
- Train Ride Renfe Alicante/Alacant to Madrid-Chamartín-Clara Ca 2.5 hrs
Our grand adventure came to a close with a whirlwind half-day in Madrid. We arrived at our final destination feeling like weary travelers, with Aldo lovingly pointing out that I resembled the Walking Dead (true love, right?). Determined to make the most of our limited time, we ventured into the bustling city and stumbled upon a vibrant market. We couldn’t leave without indulging in churros con chocolate – a heavenly treat that we had been eagerly anticipating throughout our journey. Let me tell you, those churros did not disappoint; they were the perfect sweet farewell to Spain.
Ah, I can’t forget to mention our delightful visit to Chocolatería San Ginés in Madrid! It was a chocolate lover’s paradise tucked away in the heart of the city. Stepping into this iconic establishment felt like entering a sweet haven. I had sampled churros con chocolate during our travels, but it wasn’t until I visited Chocolatería San Ginés in Madrid that I truly found churro perfection. The golden-fried churros were perfectly crispy on the outside, revealing a delightfully fluffy interior. And the chocolate! It was thick and velvety, the ideal dipping sauce for our churros. With each bite, the combination of textures and flavors danced on our taste buds. We couldn’t resist ordering seconds, as the experience was simply too divine to resist. Chocolatería San Ginés provided the perfect finale to our Spanish culinary journey, leaving us with memories of pure indulgence.
As we meandered through the lively streets, our tired feet led us towards a renowned museum. However, the crowds and the imminent closing time deterred us from venturing inside. It seemed the universe was telling us to slow down, take a breather, and reflect on the incredible experiences we had gathered along the way. With our hotel conveniently located near the airport, we faced a dilemma – to make the journey back into the heart of Madrid or surrender to the exhaustion that had enveloped us. In the end, fatigue won the battle, and we opted for room service and an early night’s rest. Yes, it may seem like a missed opportunity, but sometimes even adventurers need their beauty sleep.
In hindsight, I pondered the thought of staying in the heart of Madrid, waking up with the city’s pulse, and embarking on our journey to the airport in the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps we would have found a second wind and embraced the evening with renewed energy. Alas, the allure of a comfortable bed and the promise of relaxation won us over.
With contented hearts and treasured memories, we bid farewell to Spain. It may not have been the grand finale we had envisioned, but it was an honest portrayal of the joys and challenges that come with travel. As we embarked on our journey back home, we carried with us a sense of fulfillment and a longing to return, knowing that our adventures in Spain had left an indelible mark on our souls.
And so, with contented hearts and treasured memories, we bid farewell to Spain. It may not have been the grand finale we had envisioned, but it was an honest portrayal of the joys and challenges that come with travel. As we embarked on our journey back home, we carried with us a sense of fulfillment and a longing to return, knowing that our adventures in Spain had left an indelible mark on our souls.
Where To Stay – Madrid
- Meliá Avenida América Equal distant between the city of Madrid and the airport
Where To Eat – Madrid
Check out our saved Google Maps collection to explore all our Spanish food adventures, with notes and pins for each place we visited, both good and bad. Get a comprehensive guide to the best culinary spots in Spain. For another trip down memory lane, find our adventures to Ireland here , Scotland and Amalfi Coast .
Enjoy the journey to Spain!