Luxury Barcelona – Wine, Culture, Gastronomy, Golf or Beach – Tailor-Made Tours

If you’re heading to Barcelona and want a trip to remember having a tailor-made tour professionally planned by long-term locals who will help you with every step of your holiday is the key to an incredible experience.

Gran Reserva

Whether you want to visit a winery and sample some cava, enjoy a day playing golf or wander around visiting the best culture and monuments all combined with sampling the great gastronomy that Barcelona offers then Barcelona Inside and Out can help create your bespoke holiday.

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Wine is an essential element of many of their holidays and visitors love to discover the stories behind the wines and just how good Catalonia’s wines are getting these days.
As all their holidays are tailor-made they can include a wine tour  wherever guests are planning to go, although the DO’s they work with  mainly are in Catalonia are Penedes, Priorat and Bages.

Winery Tour Catalunya, Spain
Wine tours can be part of a holiday touring Catalonia or a day tour from Barcelona. The Penedes is a 45 minute drive from the city, while the Priorat is 1hr 40mins and is only really a day option for those who already know the regions’ wines and want to go for a particular reason.

Spanish Catalonia Winery

In the Penedes they work with the very well regarded Llopart winery. Llopart’s vineyards have a special position on the hills above San Sadurni with wonderful views of Montserrat. The effect of the extra altitude on the Maccabeu, Xarello, Parellada and Chardonay grapes is said to give Llopart’s cavas their especially well balanced and rounded character.

Visitors to Llopart are given a complete tour of the installations and vineyards. Followed, of course, by a comprehensive tasting of different varieties of their cavas.

Llopart Cava Winery

There is also the option of cycling through the vineyards on electric bikes provided by the winery and having a delicious homemade picnic lunch, full of good, traditional Catalan fayre and served in individual picnic baskets at the outdoor tables dotted around the vineyard. Alternatively guests are taken to a nearby Catalan masia for a more substantial, great local lunch – whatever you want, they will organise it for you.

Spanish Winery Picnic

If you prefer, you can visit a smaller winery, such as Cava Guillera or Albet i Noya, to provide a contrast. Here you will discover the processes on a more human scale and also some of the regions’ award winning reds and whites, which show how the Penedes is evolving and becoming well known for its wines as well as its cavas.

Hot Air Balloon Flights, Barcelona

Beach days, skiing, seeing Catalonia’s human castles or Barcelona from the air, whatevery you want to include in your holiday plans Barcelona Inside & Out will individually craft your holiday or your tour.

 

Where to stay in Barcelona?

Restaurante Patanegra 57 in Nerja

On a recent visit to Nerja we had the pleasure of discovering a great restaurant that we may not have found otherwise, so thanks to Nerja Tourist Board our host and Patanegra 57 or should I say Sergio Paloma for our gastronomic treats.

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Sergio, a native of Nerja, worked under the famous Basque chef Martin Berasategui for a year or so. Berasategui is a holder of numerous Michelin Stars and Sergio hopes to follow in his footsteps bringing Michelin fame to his door and to the town of Nerja.

Sergio Paloma, Patanegra 57

You can find Patanegra 57 in one of the lovely back streets very near the famous Balcon de Europa jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea between lots of lovely little sandy coves.

Restaurant Patanegra 57

I not only love discovering great new restaurants but this one had another of my great likes, old tiles. Cement-made, hand-coloured tiles, the decadence of a former era decorate the bar and window sills in Patanegra 57.

We ate at high tables near the bar, the back restaurant had another passion of mine – a vertical green wall which frequent customers and fellow diners also like.

Restaurante Patanegra 57, Nerja

We were served a selection of dishes from the very reasonable tapas menu and each one was very good indeed, from presentation to tasting to each plate very satisfyingly emptied.

My favourites were, even though all were excellent, the Octopus with Creamed Potatoes …

Restaurante Patenegra 57

… and the Oxtail Ravioli with Cauliflower Puree and  a Port Wine Sauce.

Oxtail Ravioli with Cauliflower Puree and a Port Wine Sauce.

And the finale was…..

… Semi-cold yoghurt with Crunchy Pistachios and Raspberries.

A fabulous range of plates, recommended and one to return to, hopefully more than once. If in Nerja……

I’d like to thank Sergio Paloma and Nerja Tourist Board for hosting us in December.

 

 

Best Restaurants in San Sebastian

San Sebastian has a long held reputation for fine dining and excellent restaurants. Situated in the Basque Country on  Spain’s northern coast partly tucked away in the Bay of Biscay. San  Sebastian’s  location on the sea shore and on the edge of fertile growing area gives it a head start in producing fabulous local produce.

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Two of San Sebastian’s restaurants are in the World’s Best 50 Restaurants list for 2016  and they are Mugaritz and Arzak.

Arzak is run by Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina and they serve Modern Basque cuisine. One of the their signature dishes is Pigeon with Potato Feathers.

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The restaurant, located on the top of a hill, has been in the family for generations. It was Juan Mari, now 74 years old, who made it into what it is today. It offers Tasting or A la Carte menus which display their skills and flair. If you want to try some different wines you won’t be disappointed, their wine cellar is said to hold over 100,000 bottles!

Mugaritz prides itself on a Techo-emotional style of food cooked by Chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz and Juan Vargas. Andoni follows in the footsteps of the pioneering chef Ferran Adria.

Mugaritz

In their elegant restaurant why not try the 20-course tasting meal with elements chosen from the mountains and the sea.

Photos and Source: World’s 50 Best  and Mugaritz

Bib Gourmand Restaurants in Spain 2016

Having recently visited the lovely small white town of Cazalla de la Sierra to stay in the very charming and unique El Palacio de San Benito we arrived early to explore the town and have lunch before checking in.  To our very pleasant surprise we stumbled across  Restaurant Agustina and both hubby and I immediately knew we’d found our lunch spot, even before we’d noticed the Bib Gourmand seal of approval.

Restaurante Agustina

A quick glance and the menu and we sat ourselves down opposite the restaurant on a charming plaza with a road between us, if there’s a choice of sitting outside (in the shade) we do. I didn’t even go inside the restaurant, not even for a nose, very unlike and remiss of me.

Restaurante Agustina

It was to be a light lunch as it was early for us which made the mouth-watering menu choosing quite tricky and not very speedy. Into our second beer I’d narrowed it down to two starters and hubby chose a non-written choice of Pork Loin with a touch of Mustard.

Restaurante Agustina

I only photographed mine! The top photo a starter – Atun Marinada en ‘Algo Picantito’ con ensalada de alga ‘wacame’ y sesame and the second  a dish to share – Ensalada de Codorniz en Escabeche con Vinagreta de jinibre.

A very edible lunch with some interesting dishes, it got me thinking about how many and where the other Bib Gourmand restaurants are in  Andalucia and so here is the Bib Gourmand list  and I’ll definitely be looking out for some of these on my travels, and adding a comment as I tick them off!

Bib Gourmand Restaurants in Andalucia

Agua  Amarga-  Asador La Chumbera

Almodovar del Rio – La Taberna

Almuñecar – El Chaleco

Cadiz – Sopranis

Cazalla de la Sierra – Agustina  – Very good, indeed. Loved the little plaza we sat on.

Cazorla – Meson Leandro

Cordoba – El Envero

Cordoba – La Lonja

Fuengirola – Girol

Jerez de la Frontera – La Carbona

Linares – Canela en Rama

Linares – Los Sentidos

Linares de la Sierra – Arrieros

Malaga – Café de Paris

Malaga – Figón de Juan

Marbella – Bibo

Medina sidonia-  El Duque

Medina Sidonia – Venta La Duquesa

Monachil – La Cantina de Diego

Montellano – Deli

Los Palacios y Villafranca – Manolo Mayo

Priego de Cordoba – Balcon del Adarve

Puente Genil – Casa Pedro

Puerto Real – La Curiosidad de Mauro Barreiro

Sanlucar de Barrameda – Casa Bigote

Sevilla-  AzcZait

Sevilla – El Gallinero de Sandra

Ubeda – Amaranto

Ubeda – Cantina La Estacion – Very good, loved the train carriage decor and olive oil tasting.

Ubeda – Zeitum

Vera – Juan Moreno

 

 

 

Malaga Cruise Stop – What to Do

If it’s your first or fifth port stop in Malaga there is plenty to see and do in this vibrant, great-for-shopping city. Or if a spot of relaxing is in order then La Malagueta Beach is only a short walk away.

Museo Automovilistivo, Car Museum, Malaga
Car & Fashion Museum, Malaga

My Favourite Visits in Malaga

Calle Larios (opposite the port) for shopping

Car and Fashion Museum

Muelle Uno for shopping

The Alcazaba and Roman Theatre

Mercado Atarazanas great fresh food market

Mercado Atarazanas, Malaga
Mercado Atarazanas, Malaga

Where I like to Eat

Beach Bars on Playa La Malagueta

Balneario – a decent walk along the beaches

Mercado Merced – Gastro Market, usually busy with an incredible chose of tapas and rations

Pimpi – a great traditionally decorated bar

Playa La Malagueta, Beach Bars, Malaga
Playa La Malagueta  Beach Bar

A Bit Different

If you’ve been to Malaga several times and want something different and unique to do why not choose A Cooking Day. A cookery day with a Malaga local, Maite who speaks excellent English. She will collect you from the port and whisk you inland to her family farmhouse and you will gather fresh ingredients from her vegetable garden, cook and eat together.

What about a Hammam Al Andalus experience. A unique, sensual massage and cold, tepid  and hot Arab Baths to cleanse both body and mind right in the heart of old town Malaga.

Hammam Al Andalus, Malaga
Hammam Al Andalus, Malaga

 

Two Adult-only 5* Hotels on Tenerife

When it’s an adult-only, child-free location you want these two fabulous hotels on the Canary Island of Tenerife definitely fit the bill nicely.

Grand Hotel Salome

Salome

Located on the Costa Adeje the Grand Hotel Salome has 120 rooms and 24 luxurious suites all with free wifi and flat screen TV. Make the most of this child-free environment and enjoy the Thai Zen Spa, workout in the modern gym, the heated indoor pool or playing tennis but if just relaxing is the name of the game bask in the sun by the large pool.

Set between Duque and Fanabe beach this is also an ideal spot for diving, windsurfing and also golf.

Grand Hotel el Mirador

The colonial style Grand Hotel el Mirador is just off the Duque Beach giving fabulous views of the ocean.  This 120-room luxurious adults only hotel has elegant luxury suites with walk-in closets and canopy beds. The private furnished balconies have beautiful ocean-views for a cosy sun-downer.

It has everything necessary for a relaxing island holiday.  Free Spa, fitness gym and a huge, heated pool which surrounds the main building.

Breakfast and dinner in the restaurant is Canarian and International buffet-style, there is also a poolside restaurant and a gourmet restaurant – El Cenador and by pool the Tosca bar offers drinks and tapas day and night.

Mirador

 

Both hotels are instantly bookable via Booking.com
Grand Hotel El Mirador ~ Grand Hotel Salome

 

Luxury Cycling Holidays

Echelon – small, family run exclusive cycling holidays – luxury vacations for discerning cyclists

Echelon are passionate about cycling and believe that it’s the best way to discover and live the experience of a new place. They believe that by cycling you can connect with a region in a unique way not otherwise seen by visitors.

Guests cycling the Camino de Santiago
Cycling The Camino de Santiago de Compostela

As locals, keen cyclists and your guides, they know the regions well and have an intimate knowledge of the winding back roads, best views and sunsets and hidden gems that are often overlooked.

Herdade de Cortesia
Herdade de Cortesia

 

Committed to providing value and unique experiences, from the bikes and equipment used to staying in the best hotels and dining at the finest restaurants – that’s  Echelon – offering the exclusive for those looking for exclusivity.

Marques de Riscal, Rioja
Hotel Marques de Riscal, Rioja

Luxurious hotels, local food and delicious regional wine so you can relax and unwind after the day’s cycling, knowing everything else is taken care of by those who know how to provide the best Echelon.