Barcelona, Zaragoza, San Sebastián, Valencia. These four cities will be our homes-away-from-home as we explore the food & wine and the cultures of Catalunya, Aragon, the Basque Country, and the autonomous community of Valencia over the course of three weeks.
Our itinerary also includes an afternoon layover in Madrid and two overnight side trips: one to Girona, where we will lodge in the shadow of its famous cathedral, and one to Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, whose renowned Ruta de Pintxos awaits. We’ll wind up the trip with a day-long drive up the Mediterranean coast from Valencia to Barcelona for our return to the U.S.
We’ve rented apartments in the four cities via Airbnb, so we’ll have more homey surroundings than hotel rooms, with access to laundry and free wifi in each. I’ll use that wifi access to write here about each of the cities more as we explore them, but a few expected highlights of the trip include:
- The architecture of Gaudi, La Boqueria Marketplace, and the beaches in Barcelona.
- The Fiestas del Pilar in Zaragoza.
- The beaches on the Bay of Biscay in San Sebastián.
- ¡Paella Valenciana!
- Traveling on European high-speed rail systems between the cities.
And, of course, the food and the wine! Spain has an amazing concentration of world-class restaurants and we’ve been very fortunate to land reservations at a number of these, including El Celler de Can Roca, currently ranked #1 of the Top 50 restaurants in the world.
Two of the other top 10 restaurants on that list are in the Basque Country, and we’ll be hitting both of of them: Mugaritz (#4) and Arzak (#8). We’ll also drive out into the Basque countryside to visit #44, Asador Etxebarri, while back in San Sebastián, we will dine at Martín Berasategui. The Basques certainly seem to have a way with food!
Just as exciting will be the afternoons and evenings we spend poking around the various tapas and pintxos establishments, sampling local specialties, jamons, and wines! (Pintxos are the Basque version of tapas.)
Stay tuned for updates and photos from the trip right here on this blog!
A note on Basque pronunciation: the “tx” in Basque is pronounced like our “ch”, so “pintxos” is pronounced “pinchos” (and it’s sometime spelled that way, too). “Etxebarri” is pronounced “Echebarri,” and so on.