After watching the TV show Spain On The Road Again, my husband and I knew Spain would be the destination for our next trip. By chance, we scored an amazing deal on tickets to Barcelona and jumped at the opportunity. We wanted to make the most of our time in the country and had a hard time deciding which cities to visit. We were flying in and out of Barcelona and, because Madrid was a must-visit, we knew we would be spending the majority of our time in these two cities. After doing some research we were able to come up with a really great itinerary. Valencia was close enough for us to take a train, hit up all the spots we wanted to see and hop back on the overnight train to Granada. We would spend a few nights in Granada, several nights in Madrid, and one final night in Barcelona.
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is a place I could definitely see us living. One of our favorite restaurants during our entire stay in Spain was the Cerveceria Catalana in Barcelona. There’s always a line so I recommend going just before the dinner rush.
Valencia was an adventure and definitely held some of our favorite memories. Our mission in Valencia was to visit one of the most authentic Paella restaurants featured in the Spain On The Road Again documentary. We hopped in a cab as soon as we got off the train and our driver, not speaking an ounce of English, knew exactly the restaurant where we wanted to go! As we pulled up to the building we were surprised to see that it was closed, despite our arrival being within business hours (don’t be surprised to run into this issue quite a bit with the late afternoon siesta’s). The driver tried to explain to us in his (very) broken English that he could take us to an authentic Paella restaurant just a bit further out. We were a little hesitant, but this guy seemed so nice that our instinct told us we could trust him. We ended up at an amazing spot that has now spoiled us from all future paella dishes! Mission accomplished! We then walked through the quaint area and were approached by two French women who wanted to share a boat ride. It was the perfect way to spend the remaining bit of time we had left!
I could probably sum up Granada in three words: Alhambra, Mirador and Morocco. The Alhambra was just an amazing site to see and the photos don’t even show half of it. One could easily spend an entire day here and work up a huge appetite in the process. If you’re not too hungry, leave the car and make the long hike up to the Mirador de Morayma. This fantastic restaurant has the most spectacular view overlooking Granada. Keep an eye out as you make your way up the windy paths because the restaurant is disguised as a villa from the outside. The owners make their own olive oil and even gave us a bottle to take home (though sadly I could not take it with me on the plane). On our last night in Granada we visited a Moroccan restaurant where I ordered a simple lemonade. Not thinking it would be anything different from the lemonade we have in the States, I was in for the most wonderful surprise! It was the most refreshing, vibrant drink bursting with flavors of lime, lemon and mint. I’ve never had anything like it!
Saving the best for last, we returned to the train station to make our last leg up to Madrid. This city is just so amazing it’s ridiculous. The abundance of nightlife, history, art, and the people we met made it a truly unique experience. In our opinion, the nightlife here is the best part. Jumping from bar to bar consuming tempranillo, cava, albarino, and a variety of tapas, we definitely did not hold back in our final days in Spain. One of our favorite places for seafood is La Casa Del Abuelo with the best gambas a la plancha. Lolita was another favorite restaurant of ours and the Mercado de San Miguel market was one of the most beautiful in all of Madrid.
Here’s a tip! Upgrade your train travel package, it is money well spent.
Enjoy a few episodes of Spain On The Road Again when planning your trip to this beautiful country.
The Alhambra in Granada is a must-see. Get your tickets and visitor information here.