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?

Spanish Golf Courses Designed by Severiano Ballesteros

Alhaurin Golf, Spain
Alhaurin Golf, Spain

I’m probably showing my age here but when I was young my dad loved golf and played frequently. Severiano Ballesteros or Seve as he was usually called was a big name in world golf and I enjoyed watching him on TV when a big tournament was on.

Alicante Golf
Alicante Golf

As a child my dad took my brother and I on crazy golf and pitch and putt courses, the odd 9- hole one too, but I never had time or chance to learn properly or play on an 18-hole golf course. I’d love to one day. So when musing over which Spanish golf courses to write about, as there are so many, the Spanish Golf Courses designed by Severiano Ballesteros came to mind.

Los Arqueros Golf
Los Arqueros Golf

Here are  some of Spanish  courses by Severiano, he would probably have gone on to design many more had he not died at only 54 years old.

Real Novi Sancti Petri Golf
Real Novi Sancti Petri Golf

Severiano Ballesteros Designed Golf Courses in Spain

Alhaurin Golf Resort, Malaga

Alicante Golf Club, Costa Blanca

Los Arqueros  Golf & Country Club, Malaga

Real Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club, Cadiz

Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort, Valencia

Oliva Nova Golf
Oliva Nova Golf

As you can see some of the best golf courses in the most fabulous surroundings and designed my favourite player.

All photos @ each golf club.

Off-roading 4×4 Land Rovers on the Andalucia Mountain Tracks

Andalucia is a huge mountainous region. One sierra or mountain range rolls into another across the south of Spain meaning a huge network of tracks and dry river beds ideal for mountain biking, quads or 4×4 off roading.

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I’ve often explored rugged tracks around where I live in my estate car, which is not ideal, so when the opportunity of driving a 4×4 Land Rover defender around the sierras in Granada came my way I happily jumped in behind the wheel. Actually I didn’t jump, they are higher than I thought.

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Three of us were in one Land Rover and we were six vehicles in all. Stage one was the easier bit, partly  road and mostly dry river beds with jutting out tree trunks, large stones and at times slippy wet puddles. I chose to drive first, each stage being about an hour so doing as told and keeping both hands firmly on the steering wheel with thumbs on the outside (in case of jarring) off we went. What fun!

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We stopped for photo calls and driver swaps as the river bed terrain changed and the driving a bit more skilful with the need of a lower gear ratio and careful manoeuvring.

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The river beds became open countryside with stunning surreal landscapes, steep climbs and hairpin bends on the pine-covered mountain slopes.

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Now the back-seat driver I could enjoy the scenery  more and relax between jolts.

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After winding and climbing with no other sign of life around we reached the Vereda de Chirlata, a spot of Natural Interest and at midday a lot of heat  haze too! But what incredible far-reaching landscapes, disappearing into the horizon with no sign of life or habitiation.

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We then wound down to civilisation again, leaving the wild, stunning mountain views behind, an experience not to be forgotten with wishes to repeat it in spring or autumn.

Many thanks to my co-drivers Abi and Jesu,  TurGranada the official tourist board for the GXPerience blog trip especially Raul also known as MisterBackstage for his humour, joie de vivre, planning skills and lack of sleep, Garnata Tours who provide many different types of activities and tours around Granada province  and Sports Adventures who own the Land Rovers and plan vespa, quad, Land Rover, car treks and rallies in Spain and Northern Africa.

 

 

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Granada

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Without even realising  we were airborne. Floating gently, the distance between us and the ground growing. The views over the town of Guadix, 60 km from Granada city, revealing its beauty, calmly we drift upwards. In tandem with a smaller balloon we are at times above it, then below with no sensation of rising or falling – just a steady calm, barely noticeable movement.

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This is the land of cave houses, stunning scenery and mountain ranges. The cathedral captures my eye, a merge of Renaissance and Baroque style, with clay ridges behind and in the distance the mighty mountain range of the Sierra Nevada with glints of white snow still visible at the end of June.

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Higher we go, 360 degree views of uninterrupted beauty. The silence is calming then the flare of the flame a noisy blast and serenity resumes. I could live up here, peacefully drifting the skies, looking down on the hustle and bustle of the city below and the immense expanse of nature far greater than that of civilisation. Never for a moment feeling scared or unsafe.

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And those views go on forever, oh to keep on flying.

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Where to stay in the province of Granada – Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels in Granada

My balloon flight experience  was thanks to GloventoSur and part of the GRXperience blogtrip run by Granada Tourist Board. A big thank you to both. Would I go again? Oh yes. I want to fly over the Alhambra in Granada city and over Ronda and the stunning mountains around it.

All photos are mine except the one with me in the basket! – copyright deMiku

See my Offroading in a 4×4 Land Rover post from the same trip.

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

 

A Moorish Massage and Arab Bath – Hammam Al Andalus in Malaga

If you like nothing better than relaxing but find it hard to do and to totally disconnect, a visit to a Hammam is what you need. A complete relaxation, pampering and massaging that makes it impossible not to forget the pressures of modern life.

Hammam Al Andalus have recreated a five-star experience and my visit to the Hammam in Malaga was just that, an incredible feeling of well-being, cossetted and pampered.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

On arrival through the Moorish-arched doors the atmosphere starts to lull the senses, low-lighting, Moroccan music and aromatic essences begin your journey into the past. A time when much of southern Spain was ruled by the Moors and the hammams were gathering places for conversation and the ritual cleansing demanded by their religion.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

Reaching the five senses the baths are beautifully decorated with natural light dancing through the roof and candles flickering shadows across the gorgeous tiles.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

Essentials oils and aromas blend with the steam, low Arabic music soothes and relaxes, an assortment of teas and then comes the touch – a choice of massages, essential oils, foam, hot towels and a pure, ancient form of relaxation that can’t be beaten.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

The Hammam was typically a hot bath, a cold bath and a warm bath and a steam room. When you’re steamed, stimulated in the cold pool, relaxed in the hot pool and generally chilled out in the larger warm pool, where traditionally hours would be spent in conversation,  you’re then ready for the ultimate massage – I choose a traditional Kessa Massage. A skin purifying cleansing on a warm stone with kessa glove and all-natural soap.

Hammam Al Andalus, Arab Baths Malaga

Lying there already relaxed after the round of pools, warm water is poured over you from the tips of your toes to your knotted neck. Then foamy bubbles engulf your body popping, rolling, covering, warming, never have I experienced anthing more sensual yet welcoming and caressing and I imagine being in my mothers arms, carefully being bathed, cared for and loved.

 

Read my post about the Hammam Al Andalus in Granada

See my Only Spain Boutique Hotel collection in Malaga province

Looking for help planning your visit to Spain? Visit Trip Planning in Spain.