From my two weeks spent in Spain, it’s safe to say that I have eaten and drunken my way from city to city, from the Catalonian down south all the way to the Basque country up north. With a mix of cultures and history, Spanish cuisine certainly has a little something for everyone.
Here’s my top 10 Spanish eating experiences not to be missed..
1. Barcelona Food and Produce Markets
This place is incredible. From the mix of aromas filling the air to the colourful fruits, pastries and juices, its bound to have all senses stimulated. My best tip: wander the market before making a purchase. It’s easy to go crazy in here. Check out all of the stalls on your first lap then go back and indulge! Guaranteed to get better value for money, even though everything in here is cheap cheap cheap!! Money certainly goes further in Barcelona. Oh and take cash.
2. San Sebastian Pinchos and Bar Crawl
San Sebastian is my favourite Spanish stop. More of a happening beachside town than bustling city, this place has a vibe that will make you want to stay. Every second shop in this place is literally a bar. No word of a lie. This region is known for epic pinchos. Hop from bar to bar eating a couple of pinchos and drinking as you go. When you order pinchos, you will receive an alcoholic drink. Enjoy wandering your way through the funky little eateries of the old town. My personal favourite: ‘Atari’ offers extremely yummy food and drink all of which is fairly reasonably priced. Oh and be sure to order the beef cheeks! Expect to pay on average €2.5 to €7 for pinchos in San Sebastian.
3. Explore San Sebastian’s Local Alcohol
When in San Seb, it’s a must to try local wines and ciders. Calimocho, Txakoli and Cider all come from this region and are definitely worth exploring in the bars whilst in San Seb. This town boasts some of the finest alcoholic beverages in Europe. People travel to this area just to try these! Be sure not to miss out.
4. Paella in Valencia
It’s said that Spain translates into ‘the land of rabbits.’ It was also the Muslim culture that saw the introduction of rice to Spain. That being said, Valencia is home of Paella. Traditional and authentic paella here is made with rabbit or chicken. Tasting a little like pork, I can recommend having the rabbit paella. It was the first time I had eaten rabbit, which I was a little apprehensive, yet it was surprisingly enjoyable. I also enjoyed a chicken paella as well as the seafood, which was my personal favourite, and sadly the least traditional.
5. Tapas in Madrid
Enjoy dining out in one of the charming squares, eating a variety of tapas and drinking sangria. Tapas are a little cheaper than pinchos but are equally as yummy. Fun to do with a group of friends and enjoy tasting unusual food combinations.
6. Sangria in Barcelona
Red wine, juice, soft drink and fruit..say no more. A number of my favourite things all combined. The best sangria I had whilst in Spain was indeed in Barcelona and a refreshing recipe I will take home for the summer time.
7. San Sebastian Michelin Star Restaurants.
San Sebastian is home to one of the most traditional types of cuisines…that which is local to the Basque country. This kind of food doesn’t really translate to anywhere else in the world. There are seven three star Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian. These restaurants all proudly capitalize on the Basque tradition, making Michelin star dining here a fine experience not to be missed.
8. Orange Juice in Valencia.
The Muslims introduced oranges to Spain in their time of ruling in Valencia. Hence, Valencia has some of the best oranges and orange juice in the world. It’s inexpensive and can be picked up quite easily on the streets for a euro or two. I preferred to purchase it at the local food markets in Valencia where I could see the orange juice being squeezed before my eyes.
9. A Calamari Sandwich in Madrid
It’s kind of surprising to be eating seafood all the way inland in Madrid. Yet this city boasts fresh seafood! This city proudly transports fresh seafood to the region fresh each day. Calamari and bread are not two ingredients I thought would go together but I was proven wrong. Maybe not quite as good as the hot chip sanga but still a winner with the taste buds.
10. Churros in Valencia
Pure melted chocolate.. pastry.. doughnuts…say no more. These desserts are cheap and found everywhere throughout Spanish cities. Although I would say Valencia is definitely home of the Churros.
HOW DID I TRAVEL BETWEEN CITIES?
I used Busabout to travel between each of these Spanish cities. I found Busabout to be a great flexible way to travel. I even loved San Sebastian so much that I extended my stay there. It was super easy to do through the Busabout website and it didn’t cost anything to make the changes. Busabout suits freestyle travellers and it’s especially great if you are a solo traveller like me and want to meet a bunch of people.