Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Food and culture are inseparable in Barcelona. Historical backstreets are overflowing with tapas and bodegas, art nouveau neighborhoods are enlivened by food markets, and restaurants celebrate art as well as cuisine. In wider Catalonia, you find decadent vineyards that are surrounded by quaint, old-world villages. Handcrafted to honor Barcelona’s culinary and cultural realms, this eight-day tour weaves history and art with tapas tours, fine dining, Catalan gastronomy, and two sublime...
Barcelona – Tapas and Taverns History Tour Through the El Born Neighborhood
Aromas will guide you through El Born. The narrow, neighborhood streets are a warren of floating smells and sounds. Every so often you will get a whiff of something exquisite that jumps out from the general indulgence. You can follow the thread, unravel the scents, and discover tapas at a bodega. People will gather on the tavern’s small tables with wine glasses in hand and small dishes on the table. Chitchat will provide an orchestral backdrop to clinking plates and jubilant chefs. Here, you will eat tapas like a local in true Barcelona style before moving on to the next authentic tavern.
Along the way, you will learn about history as well. From the footsteps of Columbus and Roman soldiers, this neighborhood has seen its fair share of stories. Churches from competing periods will also dot the warren as their bells will cling with the passing the time. Over the evening, you will visit four different bodegas on a private tour that provides a complete array of flavors. All of them will be family-run establishments, and the guide will know exactly what to order and where to order it. Between the bars, you will walk off a little of the food in the oldest part of the city, and at each stop there will be a chance to sample different Catalan wine as well. It will be an indulgent evening that immediately evokes Barcelona’s food-loving atmosphere.
Barcelona – Food and Market Favorites of the Gracia Neighborhood
El Born is well known to locals and visitors alike, even if TripAdvisor is of no assistance when trying to discover the more authentic tapas bars. Gracia is a more undiscovered neighborhood and is the best one in Barcelona for appreciating this culinary tradition. Covering the quirky streets will be owner-operated delis, wine bars, bodegas, and patisseries. Neighborhood food markets will appear simple from the outside but will be stuffed with fresh flavors that showcase produce and delicacies from all across Catalonia. Unlike many other countries, Spain preserves a culture of buying food from local specialists. So, rather than one visit to a hypermarket, people stop at one shop for their veggies, another for bread, and a different one for ham.
Today, you can taste your way around Gracia on a four-hour walking tour, meeting shop owners and sipping on aperitifs as you go. Your visits will also include two local cafes where you can join locals at small tables and gaze around at century-old walls. Few visitors make it out to Gracia, and fewer still know about its food. It is an excellent neighborhood for understanding how food and culture go hand in hand in everyday life. You will also quickly learn that Barcelona is not where you grab a few snacks off of the shelf, but it is where you will first chat with the proprietor, listen to their recommendations, enjoy a few samples, and then make your order. Today, you will finish with a 14th-century Barcelonan dessert before the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Barcelona – Day Trip to the Exquisite Penedes Vineyards
A cooling breeze will roll in off the Mediterranean, and mountain slopes will provide shelter from the arid interior. Chateaux will dot the vines, and old-world estates will suggest grandeur from the outside. This is Penedes, which is an exquisite wine region that is located one hour south of Barcelona. Traveling by luxury Mercedes, you will explore this region on a private tour, popping cork after cork as you search for Spain’s best sparkling wine. Using a traditional method that is similar to Champagne, Cava is produced by blending Chardonnay with Catalonia’s native grapes, Xarello and Parellada. The results are sublime and not as nutty as Champagne, but more fruit-driven with greater nuance on the tongue.
Charming Penedes villages will also provide a highlight today, notably for their golden, stone facades and peaceful, central plazas. It will seem that life has not changed in these villages for many centuries, which is a feeling that is most aptly felt when you are dining on a small terrace and dribbling local olive oil over seafood and tomato dishes. Penedes also produces red wines, and the guide will tailor three vineyard visits that will be tailored to your tastes. A small boutique vineyard will be perfect for introducing different Cava vintages before a larger, family-owned winery provides a more complex variety of wines. Then, the third cellar can be chosen based on what you are enjoying most. All of the wines come with historical stories as you can step back in time and mix the vineyards with visits out in towns like Subirats and Vilafranca del Penedes.
Barcelona – Gaudi’s Architecture and Pintxos in Poble-Sec
Montaner and Gaudi took the European art nouveau movement and made it distinctively Catalan. In the Eixample neighborhood, you will explore glamorous, late 19th-century streets where every other townhouse is a work of Modernist art. Casa Batllo and Casa Mila are Gaudi’s most famous residential buildings, and you will have a peek inside, wandering surreal staircases to mosaics, chimneys, and phantasmagorical designs. La Sagrada Familia is the city’s most famous building, which is a towering and unfinished cathedral where every line is not quite as you would expect. Palau de la Musica Catalana is the city’s often forgotten masterpiece, which is a music hall of elaborate stained glass and sumptuous curves. These four buildings will comfortably fill your day and should mean that you will be hungry for a Poble-Sec feast.
Tapas originated in Andalusia as Barcelona’s chefs morphed them into something that is unique to their city. Pintxos are the Basque style of tapas, which are tiny bites that are held together by cocktail sticks rather than being lids. It will be like fine dining experience in a fun and informal setting as you will witness dazzling creations that are distinct to Poble-Sec and Barcelona. An entire street of these bars has cropped up in Poble-Sec, and you can hop between as many of them as you desire, and a local guide will show you what to try and where to try it. You will truly taste how tapas differ from pintxos and how a Catalan style is consistent with both.
Barcelona – Exploring Old Barcelona and 19 Small Plates at one of the World’s best restaurants
Today, you will roam back into the heart of old Barcelona, wandering past thick Roman walls to Gothic and Baroque churches and then past street musicians as ghostly secrets whisper to you from the walls. So much has happened in Barri Gotic, and a local guide will help you to understand the history, especially how it has shaped Catalonia and the Spanish Union. It will be easy to feel lost in these mazy streets, but suddenly you will emerge onto Las Ramblas, which is the famous city thoroughfare. Food smells will mingle here. The guide will show you little plazas that jut off from Las Ramblas where the food is far more authentic.
Halfway down La Ramblas, there will be an exception: La Boqueria. Strange fruits will pile up on the stalls of this market, and large joints of cured ham will hang from hooks, enveloping corridors in their aroma. Catalan cheeses range from soft and creamy to blue and pungent. This is Barcelona’s most famous food market, and a local guide will be very handy, helping you sidestep the tourist-focused stalls around the entrance to find treasures that are deep within. As you taste and sample there will be more history to learn as well, and this morning’s walking tour will help you connect all the dots of a convoluted city’s history.
Tonight, you will dine at one of the World’s best restaurants, which is the double Michelin-starred restaurant of Jordi Cruz. Catalan tradition will be the starting point here, with all the food drawing from what is available within the region. The results are contemporary and creative, providing an extravagance that you will not have sampled over previous days. You will be thinking of cucumber gin, snowflakes that are married with ceviche cockles, and Mediterranean tuna belly that has been garnished like a Miro painting. You will sit down to the 19-course, small plate menu that will be complete with a selection of carefully selected wines that will be paired with your food. It is one of those restaurants where it is near impossible to get a table, and only after experiencing it will you realize why.
Barcelona – Quaint Catalan Villages and Velvety Priorat Wines
Spain only has two DOCa regions, which is the highest classification of wine quality control. One is Rioja, and the other is Catalonia’s Priorat. Steep, terraced vineyards will fill the slopes here, yielding low production but high-quality wines. You will begin your private tour at Mas Doix in the tiny village of Poboleda. First, you will wander through the vineyards, seeing how Carignan and Grenache grapes are cultivated on steep slopes. You can walk back up to the cellar and sample the results, including a wine that has received 98 points in the Parker guide. Then, you can stroll through Poboleda itself where the cobblestone streets have a peculiar heritage.
Priorat’s red wines are velvety and intense and old-world in their deep, expressive tastes. These are wines to the cellar, which are wines that you hold back for a special occasion 20 years in advance. At the second vineyard, you will be privileged to try a variety of vintages and appreciate how Priorat wines evolve over time. Lunch will be taken in Gratallops, which is a traditional village with a tiny family-run restaurant. This is one of Catalonia’s best-kept secrets. Your final vineyard visit will be to Clos Figueras where the wines bring Priorat into a more new-world style, utilizing the same slate terroir in different ways. After a day of velvety wines, the evening will be left free in Barcelona, so you can choose tapas-style dining or something more formal.
Barcelona – Catalan Art and Deconstructed Tapas at Tickets
Catalan art will be the focus on your final day in Barcelona. You will begin up on the hill in Montjuic where Fundacio Joan Miro will provide a colorful journey through paintings that have inspired many a local chef. The Catalan Art Museum is superb, and its galleries cover 2,000 years of evolving style. It will help you chronologically track the region’s art, particularly the lesser-known artists who proved to be precursors to Modernist art. It is the city’s best museum, and there is a lovely little restaurant nearby where you can reflect on all the canvases with your art historian guide. You may also want to visit the Picasso Museum this afternoon. The artist grew up in Barcelona, and although his museum is busy, many famous and formative works can be seen.
This afternoon might be another chance to get out to the beach and laze beneath the sun. Barceloneta is the closest beach to your hotel, and there will be a refreshing atmosphere throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Art will continue to be a focus this evening, as you dine on molecular, deconstructed tapas. The signature restaurant of the Adria brothers will seem to have a fixed place in the World’s Best 50 Restaurants list. Every dish is a painting and a creation that is so exquisite it may be heartbreaking to insert a fork. However, aromas will compel you as you sample eel canapes with yuzu tarama and wagyu tartare that will be prepared like a 1930s Picasso.
Barcelona – Departure
You will experience a week of culture and food before your journey home with a new approach to gastronomy. Food should not be rushed, and it should not be devoured while on the move. Barcelona will teach you to slow down and make food an integral part of each day.
- Live the history with a tapas and taverns tour of the El Born backstreets
- Luxuriate in the charming villages and old-world vineyards of Priorat, Catalonia’s DOCa wine region
- Discover Catalonia’s art nouveau movement with visits to La Sagrada Familia, Palau de la Musica Catalana and houses that were designed by Antoni Gaudi
- Experience two of the world’s finest restaurants, with a 19-course small plate menu at two of the world’s best restaurants
- Wander the lanes of old Barcelona and feast all your senses in La Boqueria market
- Go off the beaten track to discover local favorites with a food and market tour of the Gracia neighborhood
- Pop the corks on a day trip to Penedes, where bucolic vineyards are home to Spain’s best Cava (sparkling wine)
- Journey through 2000 years of Catalan art, with a particular focus on Miro and Picasso
- Dine on Catalan designed pintxos with a guided tour through Poble-Sec
The people of Barcelona like to showcase their culture through their food with tapas being a primary example. Chefs took this Andalusian style of cooking and made it entirely their own. So, in Barcelona, you find Gothic-style bodegas and taverns that are hidden in many neighborhoods. Here, they love to do things differently. Gaudi and company did the same thing but with art nouveau as they began an architectural movement and made it distinct to the region. Much like the cuisine, they enhanced a style and created something that is much more revered than the original. Another example comes from Poble-Sec where the Basque style of pintxos has been given a Catalan twist.
Here, the culinary and cultural realms are inseparable. You can listen to historical tales in a tiny Catalan village while gazing over seemingly endless vineyards. Fine dining restaurants present their creations in an artistic style that is influenced by old city residents: Miro and Picasso. Moreover, and perhaps most poignantly of all, eating and drinking are two essential components of day to day life. Food is never something to rush; it is something to savor and something to create a memory around every single day. The locals love the food, and you will love it too, whether a backstreet bodega or a Michelin-starred restaurant. More importantly, you will love the culinary side to the culture and how so much of the day is dedicated to eating.
Celebrating both the gastronomic and historical realms, this eight-day tour through Barcelona is a mix of private tours and off the beaten track neighborhoods. It is far more than a list of restaurant reservations. The idea is to feel the local culture through the food, whether that’s at 2,000-year-old streets, art nouveau marketplaces, or those restaurant terraces that make the city so inviting. Local chefs and food connoisseurs lead your tours as their specialisms help them showcase the distinctive pieces of culinary culture. Over the eight days, you will find the city’s patchwork history can be stitched together by all the flavors that roll around your palate.
Start with the famous El Born neighborhood, dining on tapas as the streets whisper of Roman legend and Gothic ghouls. Then, travel off the beaten track on day two when you travel to Gracia a neighborhood for understanding a Catalan culinary tradition, particularly at the local food markets. Wine is integral to culture in Barcelona, and Spain’s best sparkling wine comes from Penedes, which is just an hour away from the city. Spend day three popping the Cava corks before the iconic art nouveau architecture is your focus on day four. A pintxo tasting in the evening in Poble-Sec follows Gaudi and company for the opportunity to taste how local produce of Catalan has restyled the Basque invention.
The second half of this vacation follows a similar style, marrying gastronomic experiences with cultural highlights. Wander the oldest parts of Barcelona on day five before incredibly modern Michelin dining. Explore Penedes on day six, which is a DOCa wine region of quaint villages and luscious reds. Journey through Catalan art on day seven, which will be followed by deconstructed tapas at one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. By day eight, you will be in a very local frame of mind and will be determined to keep food part of your daily life back home. Looking for the best Spain travel experiences? Consider browsing our Spain travel reviews page.
$1,915 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
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