Complete with glittering beaches, awe-inspiring urban architecture and charming rural landscapes, Spain welcomes each of its visitors with open arms. In addition to checking iconic sights such as the Alhambra and the Sagrada Familia off of your list, there’s one more highly important thing to do here in the land of tapas and tinto de verano: eat, of course! Here in Spain, food is an experience meant to be savored in both the literal and metaphorical sense, complete with good vibes, tasty drinks and great company. Add these 10 experiences to your foodie bucket list in Spain and you’re sure to have the experience of a lifetime.
Eat and drink your way around Barcelona on a tapas & wine tour
Barcelona is a triple threat: it’s one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan destinations, one of Spain’s most gay-friendly big cities and a verifiable foodie paradise. However, the abundance of tacky tourist traps sometimes makes it hard to pick out the true gems when it comes to food. Learn how to eat and drink like a local when you join Devour Barcelona’s award-winning Tapas & Wine Tour. You’ll step off the tourist-beaten path and into the timeless bodegas and trendy wine bars locals know best. Get ready for an unforgettable evening full of tasty tapas paired beautifully with the best wines in Barcelona—a must-have experience on your foodie bucket list in Spain!
Discover authentic paella in Valencia
See those large, colorful pictures of bright yellow rice adorning restaurant exteriors? Run. Paella has earned a reputation as Spain’s most recognizable dish, but it’s actually a regional specialty native to Valencia, a colorful and vibrant destination on the country’s east coast. While it’s not impossible to find decent paella outside of Valencia, more often than not you’ll be served quickly reheated rice. A good paella, as a rule, should take at least 20 minutes to prepare fresh to order, and the dish tends to be at its best in its sunny homeland. If you should find yourself in the gorgeous Mediterranean metropolis, try authentic paella at lesbian-owned L’Aplec, which uses farm-fresh ingredients to create some of the most flavorful rice you’ll ever eat.
Indulge in sweet treats at an inclusive bakery
After walking around exploring all day, you’re sure to be hungry. Treat yourself to something sweet at an LGBT-friendly bakery, like La Cocina de Mi Vecina in Madrid. You’ll fall in love with their gorgeous homemade, hand-decorated cakes that look too pretty to eat (but are too delicious not to) and the welcoming, friendly atmosphere inside the adorable cafe. If you’re in Alicante, check out Canada Coffee, a charming North American-style bakery with Spanish flair. Their tasty treats include plenty of vegan options in dozens of delicious flavors.
Try pintxos in San Sebastian
If there’s one city that absolutely has to be on your foodie bucket list in Spain, it’s San Sebastian. Don’t just take our word for it—Lonely Planet even ranked going out for pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) in San Sebastian as their #1 foodie experience in the world. To get a taste for this one-of-a-kind local tradition, join Devour San Sebastian’s Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour. It’s easily the best way to learn how to devour Spain’s best foodie city like a local and brave the crowded pintxos bars.
Learn about (and try) Spain’s true national dish
No, it’s not paella. If there’s one food you can’t exclude from your foodie bucket list in Spain, it’s tortilla de patatas. This simple egg and potato omelet is much more common throughout the country than the Valencian rice dish. Made with simple, easy-to-find ingredients, the humble tortilla is a staple at tapas bars from Almería to Zaragoza. Try several and pick a side in the heated debate that divides Spaniards throughout the country: with or without onion?
Get lost at a local market
There’s no better way to take a peek at local life than by visiting a bustling neighborhood market. The sights, sounds and colors—as well as the delicious flavors—make this a must on our foodie bucket list in Spain. You’ll mingle with locals doing their grocery shopping and buy fresh products from vendors who, in many cases, are carrying on family businesses that have lasted generations. What could be better? If you’re in Madrid’s gay neighborhood, Chueca, a great place to start is Mercado de San Antón. Enjoying the island life out in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? Check out the welcoming Mercado del Puerto and grab pizza at Woodie’s Kitchen, which happens to be LGBT-owned.
Visit Galicia, a hidden gem
We’ve covered Barcelona and San Sebastian, but what about Galicia? The lush, green region just north of Portugal is easily one of northern Spain’s most overlooked destinations—and also home to some of its best food. Amazingly fresh seafood and flavorful traditional dishes are abundant here, and unlike anything you’ll eat elsewhere in Spain. Head to Vigo for a home-cooked meal at LGBT-owned La SabroSa and you’ll understand why Galicia is a must-visit destination on our foodie bucket list in Spain.
Take a tapas crawl in Granada
When it comes to traditional tapas, there’s no better place to enjoy them than Granada. In the Moorish jewel of a city down south, tapas come free with every drink order at the overwhelming majority of bars. In fact, it would be strange to not get a free tapa (sometimes of your choice, but not always) whenever you order a drink. This age-old practice is harder and harder to come by in many other areas of Spain, and stems from a tradition in which bar owners would thank their customers for their business by giving them a small serving of food. Take advantage of this cheap and delicious way to discover some of the city’s most happening tapas bars!
Taste liquid gold at an olive oil tasting
Step aside, Italy—many people don’t know that the world’s #1 producer of olive oil is actually Spain! And the overwhelming majority of that liquid gold comes from the sun-drenched southernmost region of the country, Andalusia. Head to passionate regional capital Seville for an olive oil tasting at Ines Rosales or La Oleoteca de Sevilla. Once you learn the secrets of how to spot a high-quality EVOO, your life will never be the same.
Eat your way around Seville
While you’re in sunny Seville, be sure to take part in the city’s rich local foodie culture. Check out Devour Seville’s Tapas Like a Local Tour to discover the most delicious bites in the gorgeous city’s most emblematic neighborhood, Triana. From homemade vermouth to fresh seafood to sherry served with a flamenco flair, you’ll soon discover why this beautiful gem of a city is a must-visit on our foodie bucket list in Spain.
Hungry for more? Check out Devour Tours’ award-winning foodie experiences in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and San Sebastian. Discover the best authentic bites at the places locals know and love best and make friends from all over the world along the way!