11 January 2022
Our amazing trip starts in Spain, known for being rich in culture and art, it’s also perfect to visit any time of the year. What we discovered during our stay is that Spanish people are very proud to show all of the beautiful things that this country has to offer. And we got a sense of this with each and every one of our tour guides, who were from the area that we were visiting, and we were able to build such a strong human connection that made us fall in love with the places even more.
Our first stop is in San Sebastian, located in the North of Spain, also known as the Basque Country. We stayed at the wonderful and perfectly located Hotel Maria Cristina. Don’t be fooled by first impressions of this coastal town – it may seem small and quiet, but it’s home to the friendliest people and honestly, the best food in the world. It’s no wonder foodies from all over the world come here, with the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants per square meter in Europe! Our guide Lourdes was just incredible, giving us a little history of the town and showing us just the best pinxtos bars hidden between the cobbled-stone alleys of the old part of the town. Our insider tip: the best time to come here is in the Spring so you can enjoy the beautiful weather and take long walks on the beach!
Madrid is a lively city, packed with gorgeous historic buildings, bustling food markets, and of course the royal palace. It’s also known for its renaissance and contemporary art museums, sunny blue skies, and unique neighborhoods filled with amazing restaurants. We had the pleasure of staying in two totally unique places. First, the Urso Hotel & Spa, a modern hotel located in the trendy Chueca neighborhood, and second, Gran Hotel Ingles, a gorgeous and elegant property nestled in a quiet street but conveniently close to all of the main sites. Our guide brought us to visit the famous Prado Museum which holds the incredible works of Goya, Velazquez and other Spanish masters. Madrid is also home to the typical tapas bar, where you can pick and choose an array of delicious small plates. Do as the Spanish do and visit several tapas bars throughout the evening, sampling a variety of wonderful delights.
We’re heading down south towards the Andalusia region and arriving in Granada. During our time in Granada, we stayed at Hospes Palacio des los Patos, a 19th century UNESCO-protected palace that was once a private residence and now an idyllic place to relax. This small city is packed with students and tourists mainly visiting the Alhambra along with the 14th century Palacios Nazaries, known to be one of the finest Islamic buildings in Europe. The Alhambra is easy to reach by foot, but can be a bit steep, so we recommend grabbing a cab up to the top and then wander back down. Another insider tip: don’t miss the Mirador de San Nicolás viewpoint in the Albaicín quarter. This spot offers one of the best panoramic views of the Alhambra and its gardens, with the Sierra Nevada mountains as the backdrop. We also enjoyed strolling through the busy streets in search of more delicious tapas bars and a fun fact – in Granada you can get a free tapa for every drink you order!
Our last stop in Spain was definitely one of our favorites. Seville is another gorgeous city that is a must when visiting the Andalusian region, especially since it’s always sunny down there! The city is characterized by vibrantly colorful buildings and rows of scented orange trees on every street. Eat with care – they are very bitter, but perfect for locals when they make their traditional marmalade. Getting lost in the narrow streets of the city center while discovering the best local tapas bar, taking in all the views from the Giralda Tower of the Cathedral, enjoying a breath-taking flamenco show (Seville is renowned as the birthplace of Flamenco!) were just a few of our many memorable moments in sunny Seville. For any Game of Thrones fans, don’t miss out on the royal gardens (guarded by some pretty colorful feathered friends!) in the sumptuous Royal Alcazar. On top of all of that, Hotel Alfonso XIII is the most incredible place to unwind after a long day of exploring.