Guide to Spain

Why Spain? Three reasons: (#1) Michelin and World’s 50 Best cuisine (denoted with ♦) (#2) gorgeous countryside and (#3) beautiful architecture.

Duration: 11 days/10 nights

Six Cities: Barcelona, Ibiza, Bilbao, Axpe, Larrabetzu and San Sebastián (Basque Country)

Method: four airline tickets/person and a car


Itinerary

Stop 1: Land in Barcelona

Stay for 3 nights at Cotton House Hotel (luxury boutique hotel by Marriott).  Convenient location for walking around town. Centrally located with beautiful on-site library, clothier, restaurant and bar not to mention a roof deck pool with stunning views of the city.

Things to do

  • Sagrada Familia (secure tickets in advance)
  • La Boqueria
  • Park Guell
  • Walk the nature trail to the highest point in Barcelona and ride the virtual roller coaster at Tibidabo Amusement Park (2 hour 45 min walk / 7 miles)

Where to eat in Barcelona

Stop 2: Fly to Ibiza

On day four, check out of Cotton House Hotel and take an hour flight to Ibiza. Stay for two (2) nights at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay.  Exceptional pool, on-site restaurants, and spa with detox-juice station.  Incredible music and dancing all night on the beach at Destino and plenty of in-door night clubs that get fired up around 11 pm.  Note: The ATM’s in Ibiza dispense cash and night club tickets.  🙂  Everybody, despite their age, should go to Ibiza at least once and thankfully, Albert Adria brings a variety of fine dining angles to Spain, one of which is a progressive experience at Heart Ibiza with Cirque Du Soleil.

Things to do

  • Visit the Spa and detox
  • Relax by the pool
  • Walk the island
  • Cirque Du Soleil
  • Destino
  • Nightclubs

Where to eat in Ibiza

  • Heart (adventure dining), Ibiza
  • Nobu (casual), Ibiza Bay

Stop 3: Fly to Bilbao and rent a car

Check out of Nobu Ibiza and fly to Bilbao. Stay for five (5) nights in an Airbnb.  Eating is an all-day affair in Spain.  Many pintxos bars and small businesses close in the afternoon around 1 pm and resume business around 4 pm local time.  Pintxos tours encourage a few small bites at multiple restaurants. It’s not uncommon to visit between four – seven pintxos bars in one day. The key to enjoying Bilbao is to not be in a hurry.  The food is exceptional with fresh, oceanic ingredients and flavors.  Sardines are a standard ingredient in many appetizers and small bites.

Things to do

  • Pintxos Tour
  • Guggenheim Museum (buy tickets at window)
  • Danceclub
  • Drive between Larrabetzu and Axpe to see stunning countryside

Where to eat in and around Bilbao

  • Asador Etxebarri (fine dining), Axpe ♦ (No. 06 W50B)
  • Asador Indusi (casual), Bilbao
  • Azurmendi (fine dining), Larrabetzu ♦♦♦ (No. 38 W50B)
  • Bar Restaurant Victor (pintxos), Bilbao
  • Bar Zuga (pintxos), Bilbao (no known website)
  • Bodega Indautxu  (casual), Bilbao (no known website)
  • Corto Maltes (bar), Bilbao
  • Katu Bar  (bar), Bilbao (no known website)
  • LaVina Del Ensanche (pintxos), Bilbao
  • Nerua Guggenheim (fine dining), Bilbao ♦ (No. 56 W50B
  • Ormaetxe (bar), Bilbao (no known website)
  • Pub Lust Bilbao (nightclub), Bilbao
  • Taberna Basaras  (pintxos), Bilbao (no known website)
  • Zezen Gorri Montes (pintxos), Bilbao (no known website)

Stop 4: Drive to San Sebastián

Still using the Airbnb in Bilbao as home base, drive to San Sebastián for the day. The road is long and a bit windy from Bilbao, but the roads are pristine and the scenery is simply beautiful.  The tollway charges roughly 25 Euro to make the drive, so bring cash and expect to be on the road for about 3 hours round-trip.  Note: San Sebastián, also known as Donostia, sits 12 miles from France’s border, so if you have time and you are feeling ambitious, why not cross the border? Donostia is within the Basque Autonomous Community on the coast of Biscay Bay and it’s a stunning sight to see.  Basque Country hosts its own language which is not the same as Spanish, and unless you were born into the region, good luck learning how to speak it. Basque is such a difficult language to learn and understand, that you can’t even wing it (like you can by learning a few Spanish phrases).  Interesting Fact: To get a government job in Donostia, job applicants must speak fluent Basque. Many Basque residents also speak/understand traditional Spanish and some English as well.

Things to do

  • Shop
  • Visit the fish market
  • The Bay of Biscay
  • Pintxos Tour

Where to Eat in San Sebastián

End of Itinerary

This concludes 11 days/10 nights touring the best scenery and restaurants Spain has to offer across six key cities.  Fly back to Barcelona or wherever your next destination may take you.


Aggregate List of Can’t Miss Restaurants In Spain

Bars/Coffee House

Casual Dining Category:

Fine Dining Category:

Fun/Adventure Dining:

Pintxos / Bar (Tapas Style): 

  • Asador Indusi, Bilbao
  • Bodegón Alejandro, San Sebastián
  • Bodega Indautxu, Bilbao (no known website)
  • Ganbara (pintxos), San Sebastián
  • LaVina Del Ensanche (pintxos), Bilbao
  • Pub Lust Bilbao (nightclub), Bilbao
  • Bar Restaurant Victor (pintxos), Bilbao
  • Taberna Basaras, Bilbao (no known website)
  • Zezen Gorri Montes (pintxos), Bilbao (no known website)
  • Bar Zuga (pintxos), Bilbao (no known website)

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    E & B Woodward

    Tastemakers, World’s 50 Best Restaurants
    5 Continents (South America, North America, Europe, Australia, Africa)

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