The Best Food Cities in Spain: 4 Spanish Cities to Completely Stuff Your Face In! This is a Guest Post from Allison at Eternal Arrival, Outlining Her 4 Favorite Cities In Spain That Foodies and Food Travellers Shouldn’t Miss!
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The Best Food Cities in Spain: Four Spanish Cities for Foodies…That Aren’t Barcelona
Spain is a food lovers’ paradise. From legendary tapas to the inventive, Michelin-star-studded Basque region, there’s no shortage of delicious food to be had in Spain.
And while Barcelona gets much of the attention when it comes to Spanish food, there are many other great Spanish food cities waiting to be explored!
Allison Green of Eternal Arrival recently spent five weeks eating her way around Spain. In this guest post, Allison shares her thoughts on the foodie highlights of this beautiful country, and picks 4 of the best food cities in Spain…that aren’t Barcelona!
Allison’s picks for the best food cities in Spain include:
Before We Get Started, We Want to Tell You About Devour’s Delicious Food Tours Across Spain…
Devour Tours was co-founded by travel blogger Lauren Aloise back in 2012, and has since grown to offering food, wine, and tapas tours in 6 cities across Spain (Granada, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, and San Sebastian). With a goal of connecting travelers with local, family-run food businesses to highlight Spanish culture through it’s food, Devour has now hosted more than 50,000 guests, and over 30 different tour options in the 6 different cities it operates. If you haven’t heard of Devour yet, and are planning on eating your way around Spain, be sure to check out some of their great food tours while you’re there (book in advance though, as they tend to get pretty busy!). We’ve highlighted a few below in Granada, San Sebastian, and Madrid, but it’s worth checking out their city-specific websites for all 6 cities to plan your trip! You can find all their tours for each city by following these links: Granada, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, and San Sebastian.
If you’re a foodie on a budget, I can’t think of a better place to go than Granada. Every single drink you buy will get you a small tapa.
Sometimes it’s your choosing; other times, it’s the chef’s call. These tapas range from the traditional, like boquerones (anchovies) and tortilla española (potato and egg frittata), to the inventive and multicultural offerings at places like Bar Poe. The best part? A tapa and a drink will only set you back about 2 to 2.50 euros!
Try a tinto de verano if you’re there in the summer – a favorite Andalusian drink of red wine and lemon soda, much better tasting than it sounds!
Granada Food Tours to Consider
- Tapas Like a Local Ultimate Granada Tapas Tour: Over 2.5 hours, you’ll try 6 or more tapas at 4 different family run tapas bars in the historical centre of Granada. If sipping a vermouth inside a Moorish bar, discovering a local favorite that dates back to the 1940s, pairing your tapas with local red and whites, and learning about Granada’s unique history and culture sounds up your alley, then this tour should be of interest. Check Prices and Availability.
- Tapas, Taverns & History Tour: A bit longer than the Ultimate Tapas Tour, this tour lasts 3.5 hours, taking you to 4 tapas bars and feeding you enough for a full dinner. The focus in this tour is off-the-beaten path spots that aren’t touristy and are filled with locals, combined with a historic walking tour in between stops! Check Prices and Availability.
Granada Travel Tips
- If you’re planning a trip to Granda, we’d recommend staying in one of Granda’s central neighborhoods of El Centro, El Albaicin, or El Realejo (which is slightly further away, but has a young, hip vibe). Check out our Where to Stay in Granada Neighborhood Guide for a full run-down.
- If you’re going to Granada, chances are you’ll also be visiting the Alhambra. As it turns out, getting tickets to the Alhambra and booking a time slot to see the Nasrid Palace is kind of complicated. Check out our Tips for Visiting the Alhambra post for updated “how to” info, and for all our best tips!
- If you plan on visiting other destinations in the south of Spain, we’ve got you covered:
- If you’re still planning your trip, check out our Andalusia 101 Guide which will help you figure out where to go and what to do.
- If Seville is on your list (which it definitely should be), our Where to Stay in Seville Neighborhood Guide and Guide to a Perfect Day in Seville should help.
- Cordoba is also worth a stop, and our City Guide to Cordoba should help you plan your trip!
- Finally, if you’re hoping for some beach time, we’ve put together 10 Reasons to Visit the Costa del Sol on your next trip to Spain.
San Sebastián gets all the foodie love, but I was even more impressed with Bilbao, the other major city in Spain’s Basque region. The tapas in Bilbao are insanely inventive and delicious. In the Basque country, these tapas are called pintxos, and are usually composed of different local and seasonal ingredients atop a slab of white bread. The possibilities are too many to detail, but include combinations on cheeses, meats, fruit compotes, nuts, roasted vegetables, and spices, or are topped with fresh seafood like anchos con vinagreta (anchovies marinated with finely chopped peppers in a vinaigrette) or pulpo (octopus). Also make sure you try the local txakoli (a young, slightly effervescent white wine) and sidra (hard dry cider)! Nearby Lekeitio makes a delicious day trip – be sure to try to fresh octopus and mussels!
Eat More Pintxos!
- Pintxos Food Tours in Basque Coutry — If you’re obsessed with finding hidden gems and tasting the very best pintxos, consider jumping on a small group food tour. In San Sebastian, you can try the Ultimate San Sebastian Pintxos and Wine Tour – 3 hours of eating your way around San Sebastian, and enough food to make up a full dinner. This tour stops at 6 different locations, all of which are family-run with stories that go back generations!
- Eating Pintxos Outside of Basque Country — If you’re not fortunate enough to be going to Basque Country this trip, fear not: pintxos are taking Spain by storm, and can now be found outside of their ancestral region. In Barcelona, for example, Maitea gets high marks. If you want to try pintxos wherever you’re going, consult Google before you head out for the “best pintxos in CITY.” Your mouth will surely thank you!
Spain’s capital is an amazing place to eat at one of the many tapas restaurants, particularly in the neighborhood of Puerta del Sol. Chueca and La Latina also have some delicious offerings. Be sure to try some jamón iberico at Museo del Jamón, which literally translates to “Ham Museum” and may be one of my favorite places in the world. You also should definitely try some churros con chocolate (churros with chocolate) – a perfect breakfast or midday snack!
Madrid Food Tours to Consider
Devour Madrid offers several well-rated food tours in Madrid, giving you plenty to choose from…hope you’re hungry!
- Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour: This is Devour Madrid’s original tour, and is still their most popular. Visiting 7 establishments in one of Madrid’s most famous neighborhoods, you’ll try 11 different Spanish dishes over 4 hours, pretty much taking care of both breakfast and lunch! Check Prices and Availability.
- Tapas, Taverns & History Tour: This 4 hour tour kills two birds with one stone by facilitating a serious face-stuffing (with enough food to make up your dinner) at 4 different family-run tapas bars, AND including a historic walk through Madrid. Double the culture, double the fun! Expect to sip cava, taste hundred-year-old family recipes, stop by the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, and Plaza de la Villa, and learn the story of Madrid’s development over the centuries. Check Prices and Availability.
- Tapas Like a Local Madrid Food Tour: 2.5 hours of discovering hidden gems that most tourists never get to, this tour is all about taking you to local’s favorite tapas bars to enjoy local’s favorite tapas treats! Visit 4 family-run tapas bars, tasting their speciality tapas and having a drink to go along with it. Check Prices and Availability.
- Spanish Wine Tasting in Madrid: Spend 2 hours with a wine expert while tasting and learning about Spain’s different wines and regions, tasting 6 different wines (paired with cured meats and cheeses and tapas, so you don’t go hungry!). Check Prices and Availability.
- Devour Madrid offers a few more food-focused tours in Madrid, including the Madrid Tapas and Flamenco Tour, Huertas Neighborhood Food and Market Tour, Prado Museum Tour and VIP Botin Lunch, Madrid Rastro Market Tour & Tapas Crawl, and a few more. You can read more about each tour and check prices and availability on the Devour Madrid website.
Madrid Travel Tips
- If you’re unsure which neighborhood and area of Madrid to stay in, check out our Where to Stay in Madrid Neighborhood Guide for an overview of the pros and cons of Madrid’s best areas (plus hotel recommendations in each).
Barcelona gets all the recognition, but I actually preferred its more low-key neighbor up north, Girona. Used as a Game of Thrones setting, Girona’s historic old town is filled with charm – and delicious eats. Be sure to try some pintxos at Zanpanzar, where each treat will only set you back 1.90 euros. My favorite was a truffled goat cheese, candied apricot, and walnut pintxo – ridiculously decadent, unbelievably delicious, and perfect with a glass of sidra or cerveza.
For dessert, you can do no better than Rocambolesc, a gelateria run by one of the most famous restauranteurs in the world. Their violet gelato is out of this world amazing!
Girona Travel Tips
- Our One Day Guide to Girona – Girona is the heart of the Costa Brava region of Spain as well as being a center of Catalan culture. It makes a perfect day trip from Barcelona, although if you have a few days, we definitely recommend you spend more than a day!
- If a Spain road trip sounds up you’re alley, we’ve put together a 3-day and 5-day itinerary through Costa Brava and Catalonia, including Girona.
Big Thanks To Allison For Sharing!
Allison is a full-time freelancer and travel blogger, exploring the world solo in pursuit of new and exciting adventures. At her blog, Eternal Arrival, you’ll find backpacking and budgeting tips, off the beaten path destination guides, and thoughts on how to balance travel with mental and physical wellness.