Getting Around Barcelona on Public Transport

  • 01 of 06

    The Barcelona Metro

    Getting Around Barcelona on Public Transport

    Tony Hisgett/Flikr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The first and most common method of getting around the city is by using the metro train network, and all of the major sights in the city have stops nearby, offering a quick and easy way to get to the different areas of the city. There are currently eight lines in operation, and a further two lines in development, with those served by modern electric trains. The metro also connects to the suburban lines that are operated by Renfe, transporting people further out into the suburbs and the commuter towns around Barcelona. Stations include the Sagrada Familia stop and Les Corts, which offers the best access to the Nou Camp football stadium.

  • 02 of 06

    Buses and Trams in Barcelona

    While the Metro is the easiest method of transport for visitors, you can also make use of the extensive network of buses in the city, and the two tram networks, with one in the east and the other in the west of Barcelona. Although the Metro is open late at night on the weekends, transport after midnight during the week will need to be done on the night bus system. Along with the Metro and the funicular railway, these different parts of the transport network all operate under one pricing system to make it easier for visitors and locals alike to handle getting around the city.

  • 03 of 06

    Cycling in the City

    Getting Around Barcelona on Public Transport

    Colville-Andersen/Flikr/ Colville-Andersen

    Although not usually considered to be a great city for cycling, recent years have seen a nice network of cycle lanes opening up around the city, coinciding with the introduction of the bicycle rental scheme 'BiCiNg'. However, as this system is mainly for locals, and some work is required to get the card needed to rent these cycles, most short-term visitors will rent from one of the local bike shops, with cycling around the city a great way to see Barcelona.

  • 04 of 06

    Getting to the Airport

    There are several different ways that you can use to get to and from the airport, with trains, bus routes, and minibus transfer services all offering convenient ways to travel. The train service connects to three stations in the city center, while the minibus transfers are booked in advance, and usually shared with a small number of other travelers. With regards to bus connections, they are affordable and usually take around forty minutes, although this can take longer in the heavy traffic around rush hour in the morning and early evening.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.

  • 05 of 06

    The Barcelona Card

    Getting Around Barcelona on Public Transport

    Don McCullough/Flikr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    If you are going to be visiting a lot of the museums in the city, it might be worth looking at the Barcelona Card, which combines access to the transport around the city, along with free access to many of the museums in the city. Even if the attractions you want to visit aren't free, there are still discounts to hundreds more attractions. Alternatively, there are also travel cards that offer unlimited travel for a certain period, or ten journeys for a discounted price.

  • 06 of 06

    Onward Travel Connections

    If you are looking for the main transport connections from Barcelona, then many of these routes will usually begin from the main railway station, Barcelona Sants. This has high-speed services to cities across the country including Madrid, while there is also a TGV route connecting Barcelona with Perpignan in France. For bus connections across the country, Estacio d'Autobuses de Sants is near the main railway station, while the Estacio del Nord is another terminal in the north of the city.

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Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

  • 01 of 11

    Sangria in Spain

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Daniela Dirscherl / Getty Images

    No drink is more identifiable with Spain than sangria. The traditional ingredients in sangria include red or white wine mixed with fruits, such as pineapple, nectarines, pears, apples, peaches an other fruit. Get a jug with a meal while sitting out on a sunny terrace before retiring for an afternoon siesta.

    Unfortunately, as with most cliches and stereotypes, the real situation is different from the popular conception. Not everyone drinks sangria in Spain, though. In fact, most natives drink beer in Spain, and you often won't get real sangria in many bars and restaurants.

    Why? Sangria is a punch, and like punches elsewhere, it's a drink typically reserved for serving large groups — or for disguising the taste of cheap alcoholic drinks. Spaniards don't typically order sangria in restaurants, so the versions you'll try in cafes are essentially made for tourists. 

    Language tip: Consider ordering a tinto de verano instead of sangria. The mix of red wine and lemon Fanta is refreshing and sweet like a sangria, but much more authentic.

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  • 02 of 11

    Gin and Tonic

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Mario Gutiérrez / Getty Images

    The gin and tonic didn't originate in Spain, but it was perfected here. Spaniards not only adopted the humble G&T as their sophisticated mixed drink of choice, they also cloned it and created a supercharged version that will wipe the floor with the Gordon's and Schweppes you're used to. The Spanish serve their G&Ts with a premium tonic and, in most cases, a highly inventive garnish.

    Language Tip: The Spanish word for gin is ginebra (the same as the Swiss city of Geneva, where gin ultimately gets its name from) and tonic is tónica, but the G&T is simply called a gin-tónic. 

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  • 03 of 11

    Sidra (cider)

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Christophe Boisvieux / Getty Images

    Spanish cider is arguably one of Spain's least-known drinks, and it's a treat for true cider fans. Unlike its sweet and fizzy counterparts in England and northern Europe, Spanish-style cider is tart, dry, and a fantastic alternative to your usual pint or copa de vino

    Spanish cider is only widely available in Asturias and the Basque country, but its originality makes it that much more fun: The drink has to be poured from about a foot above the glass, reducing acidity and aerating the brew. Your other option? Drink it straight from the barrel. 

    Language Tip: Cider in Spain is called sidra.

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  • 04 of 11

    Sherry (Vino de Jerez)

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Holger Leue / Getty Images

    Your best bet for sampling Andalusia's famed fortified wine is to go to its home base. Sherry comes from the city of Jerez in Andalusia. In fact, it's called sherry because the Arabic name for Jerez is Sherish—and the town is packed with tabancos, or small bars where you can sample glasses of sherry, refill your own bottles, graze on tapas, and even catch live flamenco shows.

    Language Tip: The word sherry isn't widely understood in Spain. Instead, call it vino de Jerez (simply translated “wine from Jerez”).

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  • 05 of 11

    Vermouth

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Damian Corrigan

    Vermouth may be Italian (the sweet stuff, at least), but it has a long history in Spain, particularly in Catalonia and Madrid. Locals have a name for when you drink it: “la hora del vermut,” which essential means “vermouth o'clock” and comes just before lunch.

    Vermouth is on the comeback trail, with classic vermuterias fuller than they've been in years and trendy bars all over the country selling 'vermut casero' (homemade vermouth).

    Language Tip: The Spanish word for vermouth, vermut, is close to the original German word wermut, which means “wormwood” — one of the original ingredients. 

    Continue to 6 of 11 below.

  • 06 of 11

    Coffee (Cafe)

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

    No breakfast in Spain is complete without a coffee. Coffee in Spain is served in many ways, but Americano is not one of them. Prepare to drink espresso, whether solo or mixed with milk.

    Language tip: Coffee isn't the only popular hot beverage in Spain. These are some key translations of hot drinks in Spanish:

    • Café: coffee (espresso) 
    • Cafe con leche: coffee with milk
    • Té: tea
    • Cola Cao: hot chocolate or cocoa (Cola Cao is a popular brand name). This is not to be confused with Cacaolat, a chocolate milk drink brand almost always served cold (though it is actually nice hot, too). This is rarely available outside Barcelona, but is worth a try if you can find it. 
    • Chocolate: a thick hot chocolate, which is very different from the above Cola Cao. In fact, you might want to use a spoon! 

     

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  • 07 of 11

    Beer (Cerveza)

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Ed-Ni-Photo / Getty Images

    Beer is, without question, the staple alcoholic drink for young and old in Spain. Although the craft beer trend has made its way to Spain, the Spanish don't tend to be very particular about which beer they drink. Most bars only serve one beer on tap—typically San Miguel or Cruzcampo. 

    Language tip: Beer is served in a variety of sizes in Spain: 

    • Caña: The smallest pour, typically the size of a small wine or brandy glass
    • Botellin: A mini, six-ounce bottle of beer 
    • Botella: A standard, 10-ounce bottle of beer
    • Tubo: A tall, thin glass; about 10 ounces of beer
    • Jarra or Tanque: The largest portion, typically a pint 

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  • 08 of 11

    Cava

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Johnny Louis / Getty Images

    While the French have Champagne, the Spanish have Cava, a sparkling wine made using the exact same process as its French counterpart. Even better? Cava retails at a fraction of the price of Champagne. Most Cavas are made in Catalonia, located in northeastern Spain. 

    Language tip: European Union protections forbid Cava from being labeled Champagne, but Spaniards still colloquially refer to the bubbly as champaña or xampany (in Catalonia).

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  • 09 of 11

    Wine

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    WIN-Initiative / Getty Images

    Spain has been producing wine for nearly 2,000 years, which means you'll find a variety of bottles at all price points. Two wine regions stand out: La Rioja is famous for red wines, especially tempranillos, while Ribera del Duero produces many of the country's luxury vintages.

    Of note: Spain produces plenty of terrific wine, but it also makes a lot of inexpensive wine. This makes it acceptable to do like the Spaniards and dilute vino with soft drinks.

    Language Tip: some useful Spanish translations:

    • Vino: wine
    • Vino blanco: white wine
    • Vino tinto: red wine
    • Vino rosado: rosé wine
    • Tinto de verano: red wine and lemonade, like a poor man's sangria but, frankly, better!
    • Calimocho: red wine mixed with Coca Cola

    Continue to 10 of 11 below.

  • 10 of 11

    Spanish Drinks: Chocolate

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    Diego Lezama / Getty Images

    Spanish hot chocolate is nothing like the Swiss Miss you drank growing up. In fact, it's more similar to a ganache than a drink. Do like the Spanish do and dunk your churros in the treat for a great breakfast—or a fortifying post-nightclub snack.

    Language tip: In Spanish, practically every letter is pronounced in the word chocolate: choh-coh-LAH-teh.

    Continue to 11 of 11 below.

  • 11 of 11

    Spanish Drinks: Horchata (Orxata)

    Best Spanish Drinks to Try in Spain (with Translations)

    nito100 / Getty Images

    Horchata (orxata in Catalan) is widely available throughout Catalonia, and it's particularly popular in Valencia. Instead of the milky rice blend you'll find in Latin America, Spaniards make this cold and refreshing drink with tiger nuts, water, and sugar. You'll find bars and street stands serving homemade versions during merienda, the late-afternoon snack that bridges the gap between lunch and Spain's notoriously late dinners. If you're especially peckish, tack on an of order fartons, long, sweet pastries made for dipping in the drink. 

    Langauge tip: An almond version of the drink is popular in Cordoba; look for horchata de almendras.

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The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

  • 01 of 08

    Red Force – A Crazy-Fast Coaster

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    PortAventura

    In 2017, PortAventura, the theme park resort near Barcelona, Spain, opened Ferrari Land. The 15-acre (60,000 square meters) park features a number of rides and attractions that pay homage to the legendary carmaker as well as its Italian heritage.

    It follows the UAE’s Ferrari World, the first theme park to feature the iconic auto brand. Unlike the standalone indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari Land is a traditional outdoor park (the seaside location in Spain has a more hospitable climate) and is part of the existing PortAventura resort. It joins the PortAventura theme park and the PortAventura Caribe water park. Ferrari Land requires a separate admission ticket. Combination passes are available to two as well as all three parks.

    The featured attraction at Ferrari Land is Red Force. Since the park’s theme is Ferrari, it should come as no surprise that the ride is built for speed. In fact, at 112 mph (180 km/h) it is Europe’s fastest (and at about 365 feet, also the tallest) roller coaster.

    Red Force uses electro-magnetic power, delivered by linear synchronous motors, to launch its trains from 0 to 112 mph in a heart-stopping five seconds. It climbs a top hat-shaped tower at 90 degrees and plummets straight down the other side. The ride is over in a matter of seconds. (But what a few seconds!)

    Interestingly, the world's fastest coaster is Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in the UAE. Red Force clocks in as the world’s fourth fastest coaster. The Spanish ride ranks as the third tallest coaster in the world. It punctures the skyline at PortAventura.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.

  • 02 of 08

    Flying Dreams

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    PortAventura

    Flying Dreams takes its cue from the original “flying theater” attraction, Soarin’ (which is now known as Soarin' Around the World). Like the Disney attraction, Flying Dreams simulates soaring above vistas by using ride vehicles that move in sync with action projected  onto a large, immersive screen in a hemispheric dome. In this storyline, riders pick up a shiny, new Ferrari GT at the carmaker’s factory in Italy and follow it on a tour around the world (but mostly Europe) that ends at PortAventura.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.

  • 03 of 08

    Racing Legends

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    Mousetrappe

    A motion simulator ride, Racing Legends uses theme park trickery to place guests in Ferrari F1 race cars and sends them careening on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya course. Passengers also travel back in time, including an early 20th-century journey alongside Enzo Ferrari. The attraction uses a domed theater screen like The Simpsons ride at the Universal parks.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.

  • 04 of 08

    Thrill Towers

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    PortAventura

    At 55 meters, or about 180 feet, the two drop tower rides at Ferrari Land are plenty tall and fast, but there are similar attractions that are much taller and faster.  Port Aventura already offers one of the world's tallest drop tower rides, Hurakan Condor, which rises 100 meters (328 feet). The two Ferrari Land towers are designed to look like engine pistons. The Free-Fall Tower rises slowly to the top and freefalls down, while the Bounce-Back Tower shoots up, freefalls down, and bounces back up.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.

  • 05 of 08

    Maranello Grand Race

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    PortAventura

    Forget simulators. The Maranello Grand Race uses actual cars that visitors can drive to compete against one another. Granted, they are essentially go-karts and don’t reach the speeds of real race cars, but the cool vehicles are designed to look like Ferrari F1 cars. Children as short as 1 m (about 40 in) can ride with an adult. Unaccompanied children must be 1.3 m (about 51 in). There is a similar ride, Junior Championship, designed for younger children.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.

  • 06 of 08

    Pole Position Challenge

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    PortAventura

    PortAventura says that the simulators used for Pole Position Challenge are similar to the ones that drivers used to train Ferrari F1 drivers. There are six simulators for adults and two for children. Visitors can make reservations, but they are often gone early in the day. Both this attraction and Pit Stop Record (below) require an additional fee.

     

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.

  • 07 of 08

    Pit Stop Record

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    PortAventura

    Do you want to feel what it’s like to be in the pit crew at a race? Two teams compete against one another to change the tires on an F1 car in record time.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.

  • 08 of 08

    Rides for Children

    The Best Rides at Ferrari Land in Spain

    PortAventura

    In 2018, Ferrarri Land added an area with rides designed for younger kids. They include Junior Red Force, a much smaller coaster that kids as small as .95 m (about 37 in) can ride. There are also spinning rides and a toned-down Kids Tower attraction.

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The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

  • 01 of 09

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Valter Jacinto / Moment / Getty Images

    The Ria Formosa lagoon, a series of lagoons and sandy barrier islands between the coast and Atlantic ocean, is only a few miles east of Faro. A vital nesting ground for many migratory birds, it’s common to see flamingos, cranes, egrets, and several other species in the area. Seafood such as octopus, crabs, and oysters is also abundant in the area, and supplies restaurants throughout the country.

    You can explore the mainland section of the Ria Formosa on your own via a long boardwalk, or take an excursion with one of several companies to get out to the islands. Water-based trips include kayaking and catamaran options, along with guided bicycle trips, get you much closer to most the bird life.

    Getting There: Boat trips generally leave from Faro harbor, and can be booked through travel agents, your hotel, or direct with the operator. Independent travelers should drive or take the train to Olhão (once an hour, journey time of 10 minutes.) The park starts on the eastern edge of town.

    Travel Tip: Take a look around the center of Olhão before heading back to Faro—the attractive white flat-roofed buildings look like they belong in northern Africa, not Europe.

  • 02 of 09

    Ilha da Barreta / Ilha Deserta

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Valter Jacinto / Moment / Getty Images 

    Just south of Faro, but accessible only by ferry or private boat, Ilha da Barreta is the place to go for unspoiled beaches and no crowds. Accurately called Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island) by the locals, the island has no full-time residents, and most tourists stick to more easily-accessible beaches.

    The beach on Ilha Deserta runs for five miles, with a boardwalk running along part of it from the ferry pier, but you won’t need to go far to find an empty patch of sand.

    There's a restaurant on the eastern edge of the island, beside the pier. It serves drinks, snacks, and meals, and rents sun loungers and umbrellas.

    Getting There: A ferry runs from Faro during summer months, costing around 10 euros for a return ticket. The last service leaves at 5:30 pm, and it’ll be a costly speedboat ride back to the mainland if you miss it.

    Travel Tip: Pack a picnic lunch if you’re on a budget–the island’s restaurant has no competition, which is reflected in the price of its meals.

  • 03 of 09

    Loule: Perfect for Souvenir Shopping

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Sabine Lubenow/Getty Images

    The Algarve is more than the beaches on the coast. If you’d like to take in some history and get a taste of Portuguese life in the Algarve interior, take a trip to Loule.

    The town has a Moorish castle and a labyrinth of narrow medieval streets full of craft workshops, but the biggest highlight for many visitors is the historic covered market in the center of town. On Saturday mornings, the regular market expands to include a farmers market as well, and the whole area comes alive with locals and tourists alike.

    The covered market is the perfect place to pick up local handicrafts such as handbags, shoes, and metalwork, as well as regional food and drink specialties.

    Getting There: Loule is about ten miles from Faro, and easily accessible by car or bus. The journey takes 40 minutes and costs around 3€, but services are limited at weekends. Organized day tours are also readily available.

    Travel Tip: The covered market is closed on Sundays, and most government-run sites are closed on Mondays.

  • 04 of 09

    Praia da Quinta do Lago: Sand and Flamingos

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Roetting / Pollex / LOOK-foto / Getty Images

    Praia da Quinta do Lago is a stretch of golden sand backed by delicate wetlands, making for an interesting alternative to other beaches in the area. A 1,000-foot wooden footbridge crosses the marshes, connecting the beach to the mainland, with a restaurant and bar at the beach end for when you’re feeling peckish.

    Flamingos and other bird life are abundant in the wetlands, and lifeguards are on duty during summer for those braving the chilly waters. Whether you’re there to swim, sunbathe, or birdwatch, you’ll likely have plenty of space to yourself—the beach rarely gets busy.

    Getting There: It takes around half an hour to drive from Faro to the start of the footbridge, or you can walk the two miles along the sand from Faro’s main beach instead.

    Travel Tip: Only consider the walk from Praia de Faro on cooler days—it’s a long way, with very little shade! 

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.

  • 05 of 09

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Stuart Black / robertharding / Getty Images

    Tavira lies on the Gilão river, around twenty miles east of Faro. It’s regularly called “the prettiest town in the Algarve,” all beautiful churches, old whitewashed buildings with terracotta roofs, cobbled streets, and small fishing boats bobbing in the current.

    Other than a Roman bridge and ruined castle on a hill above town, Tavira isn’t really a place for ticking off major tourist attractions. Instead, it’s ideal for experiencing a relaxed slice of small-town Algarve life that’s largely missing from the resort areas.

    Enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the excellent restaurants along the river, enjoy a drink at a shaded bar in one of the town’s many plazas, and keep snapping photos of picturesque buildings until you’ve filled up your memory card.

    Getting There: Tavira is a 35-minute drive from Faro, along the A22 motorway. The train takes around the same length of time.

    Travel Tip: Check the train schedule before your return trip, as service frequency varies depending on the time of day.

  • 06 of 09

    The Western Algarve: History and Rugged Beauty

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Alan Copson/Getty Images

    Lagos is a popular beach destination on the western Algarve coast, with plenty of restaurants, beach activities, and an active nightlife. There’s more to the region than that, however, with plenty for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

    Silves, twenty miles northeast of Lagos, was once the capital of the region. A ticket for Silves Castle costs under three euros, a bargain to visit this impressive fortress. Be sure to check out the cathedral as well—this former mosque is now a national monument.

    Head to the rugged and isolated Cabo de Sao Vicente, the westernmost point of mainland Europe, which was once believed to be the end of the world. Nearby Sagres is a good spot to grab a meal and visit the 15th-century fort atop a nearby headland.

    Getting There: Trains and buses run regularly between Faro and Lagos, taking under two hours, but you’re better off renting a car if you plan to visit several different parts of the western Algarve in a day.

    Travel Tip: Pack warm clothing if you’re visiting Cabo de Sao Vicente, even on hot days. The wind off the Atlantic makes the headland noticeably colder than even a mile or two inland.

  • 07 of 09

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

    The capital of Spain’s Andalusia region, Seville makes for an easy and rewarding day trip from Faro. Controlled by the Moors for 700 years, their legacy is easily seen throughout the city.

    There’s far more to see than you can cover in a single day, but must-do highlights include visits to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world (entry: €8) and the Alcázar royal palace (entry: €7.50,) currently famous for being a Game of Thrones shooting location. They’re both in the gorgeous barrio (neighborhood) of Santa Cruz, which is an attraction in its own right.

    Seville is the home of flamenco dancing, so try to take in a show while you’re there, and be sure to spare a leisurely hour for watching the world go by as you enjoy a drink and tapas at a local bar.

    Getting There: Seville lies around 125 miles east of Faro, and it takes around two hours to drive there. The bus takes three hours and costs about fifty euros round trip. It’s worth checking the price of guided day tours as well, as they often don’t cost much more than the bus.

    Travel Tip: Seville can get extremely hot in summer, with temperatures regularly well over 100 °F. Try to visit in shoulder season, or be prepared to limit the amount of time you spend outside.

  • 08 of 09

    Lisbon: Crumbling Beauty and Great Food

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

    You don't have to choose between the beach or the city for your vacation. Lisbon can be easily visited on a day trip, allowing you to base your beach holiday in the Algarve, but still enjoy the Portuguese capital.

    You could easily spend a week exploring Lisbon, but fortunately the old town is relatively compact and easy to explore on foot for day trippers. Be sure to wander through the narrow streets of Alfama, explore the grand, crumbling architecture of the Baixa/Chiado shopping district, and enjoy a drink beside the river at any one of the numerous bars and restaurants.

    When you’re getting hungry, the Time Out Market hosts outposts of some of best restaurants in the city in its sprawling food hall, or you could simply follow your nose and drop into a family-run restaurant for a menu do dia (meal of the day).

    Getting There: Lisbon is three hours by car or high-speed train from Faro. Day excursions by minivan are also available, with hotel pick-up and drop-off, that visit many of the city’s major sites.

    Travel Tip: The hills in Lisbon are steep, and it often seems like everywhere you want to go is uphill. Wear comfortable shoes!

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.

  • 09 of 09

    The 9 Best Day Trips From Faro, Portugal

    Michael Zwahlen / EyeEm/Getty Images

    Strategically located on the tip of Spain at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, the British territory of Gibraltar makes for a fascinating, albeit long, day trip from Faro. Enjoy the views of the famous Rock, and check out the Barbary apes, the last remaining wild monkeys in Europe. Don’t get too close, though, especially if you’ve got food or drink – they’ll be only too happy to take it from you!

    Gibraltar’s tax-free status means things like cigarettes and alcohol are cheaper there than in Spain. If you want to buy some, you’ll need to change some money, since Gibraltar uses pound sterling as its currency.

    Getting There: You can visit Gibraltar by guided tour from Faro, or drive the nearly four hours to the Spanish border (La Linea de la Concepcion) and walk the few minutes into Gibraltar instead. There are no direct public transport links, with buses going via Seville and taking most of the day to get there.

    Travel Tip: As you’ll be leaving and re-entering Spain, don’t forget your passport!

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How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

  • 01 of 12

    The Perfect Gin and Tonic Recipe (Like They Do it In Spain)

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    1. Take a large wine glass with a long stem. 
    2. Fill it with ice. We're talking five or ten cubes here, depending on the size of your glass. A good G&T is COLD.
    3. Choose a garnish. The more imaginative the better (more on which garnish to pick further down the page).
    4. Pour the gin onto the garnish, so as to properly flavor the gin, followed by tonic poured from a freshly-opened bottle or can. Though tastes vary, you probably want a ratio of 2:1 or 3:2 (tonic to gin). This might be more than you're used to. See below on why the Spanish can make their G&Ts so strong and so tasty.
    5. Give it a light stir and hear the ice cubes jangle, add a straw and serve.

  • 02 of 12

    The Best Gin for Gin & Tonic

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    G&T needs a London gin – which is most gins in the world. Don't go near Gordon's, which is nowhere near the quality it was when James Bond would drink it. Avoid the subtle Plymouth, which is not a London gin (put that in your martini instead) or the back-in-production classic Old Tom gins (they're for your Tom Collins).

    The standard premium gin in bars in Spain is Tanqueray which has a great fruity flavor and is pretty cheap. At home, the best drink is the one that can be easily followed by another one, so the excellent value of Tanqueray makes it my best gin for a gin and tonic.

    If you want to drink a Spanish gin, go for the premium Larios 12, or the standard Larios if you need to save a bit of money.

    Thankfully the Spanish haven't fallen for the marketing might of Bombay Sapphire, which tastes like perfume and is responsible for so many people saying they don't like gin.

  • 03 of 12

    What Is the Best Tonic Water for the Perfect Gin and Tonic?

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    Schweppes is the standard brand of tonic for a G&T, of course, but the Spanish obsess over Fever Tree, an all-natural tonic water from Britain. I compared the two brands both side-by-side at a bar in Malaga (the one mentioned below) and I have to say that in comparison to the Fever Tree, the Schweppes has a very synthetic aftertaste.

    However, in isolation, it's not different enough to warrant making it my go-to tonic.

    Remember: always use a freshly opened bottle of tonic for every drink! The freshness of the tonic is more important than the brand you use.

  • 04 of 12

    Why Do Bars Pour Their Tonic Down a Spoon?

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    Because it looks cool!

    I was once in a bar in Spain where two bartenders disagreed on the effect that pouring the tonic down the spoon has on the drink. One said it was to preserve the bubbles, the other said it was to kill some of the bubbles!  

    The first bartender argued that there is no splashing as the tonic reaches the glass, whereas the second (and myself) pointed out how much the tonic is disturbed as it travels down the spoon.

    Tonic poured down a spoon makes it look fizzier when the drink is presented to the drinker. But the more bubbly something looks, the quicker the drink will go flat.

    Unfortunately, most bars in Spain do this. On the plus side, it doesn't affect your drink that much.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.

  • 05 of 12

    How to Pick Your Garnish for the Perfect Gin and Tonic

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    There are two ways to garnish a G&T – the classic way, and the Spanish way.

    First, let's answer the classic question – lemon or lime in a gin and tonic?

    There are two contradictory schools of thought here. It's all about the 'botanicals', the flavors in gin that differentiate it from vodka. Juniper is the main one, but lemon, cardamom, and cassia bark are among other frequently included flavors. So, there's lemon already there. Now, the question is: do you want to 'bring out' the lemon with more lemon, or complement the flavor by adding one that's not already present – in this case, lime?​

    There'll be some sciency-stuff that would prove one way or another whether you can 'bring out'flavors in this way, but we're not doing science here: this is art.

    Ultimately, it's down to taste. So, if there is no right or wrong way to garnish your G&T, why stick with lemon or lime in the first place?

    Enter the Spanish!

    How the Spanish Garnish the Perfect Gin & Tonic

    Ever since the marketing guys at Hendrick's thought of putting cucumber in their self-styled 'unusual' gin, the Spanish have been experimenting with G&T garnishes that aren't citrus fruits beginning with the letter 'l'. Any gin bar in Spain worth its juniper will offer you a variety of garnishes.

    Gin is a varied beast, so why not vary your garnishes? Below are the garnishes I saw at San Telmo's in Barcelona. I chose this bar's selection because it had the most extensive list I've seen; that doesn't mean all their choices were good!

    • Citrus fruits Lemon, lime, pink grapefruit, orange.
    • Herbs and Spices Coriander, mint, cardamom, cinnamon, parsley, nutmeg, pepper, curry powder(!)
    • Roots Ginger, licorice
    • Berries Grapes, raspberries, juniper.
    • Other Cucumber, chocolate.

    A lot of bars in Spain try to match garnishes to particular gins. I think this is going a bit over the top. Experiment and find your favorite garnish for your favorite gin.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that there are now many sweet gins in Spain now in Spain and it is with these gins that you might expect to see some of the more unusual garnishes. With the huge hype around gin and its crossover into mainstream bar culture in Spain, manufacturers are makings gins 'for people who don't like gin'. If you are in a good gin bar, you'll be able to guess what the gin is like from the garnish they use. If you can't imagine you'd like a gin with strawberries in it, don't order it. On the other hand, if your favorite drinks tend to have strawberries in them, maybe you'll like this G&T.

  • 06 of 12

    How Can the Spanish Make Their G&Ts So Strong?!

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    A Spanish bar will usually pour you between 70ml and 90ml of gin, using most of (or all of) a 200ml bottle of tonic to complete your drink.  This is a ration of between 2:1 and 3:1. Try that in your average British pub and you'll get something that tastes largely of alcohol. The difference is so marked that I've heard people suggest that Spanish bars water down their gin. In fact, the reason is the complete opposite!

    So how can Spanish bars make their gin and tonic so strong?

    Our tastebuds have evolved to pick up bitter over anything else (because, in the wild, bitter often means poison). If you water down an alcoholic drink too much, it is the bitter flavor of alcohol that will shine through the most. (There is a good level of dilution required with drinks such as a dry martini, but in a long drink like a G&T the gin is already diluted with the tonic so there is no need for any more dilution.)

    But it is not devious bar owners outside Spain that are diluting your G&T. The real culprit is the ice. This is why Spanish bars fill their oversized glasses with so many cubes: the more ice cubes, the slower it will melt. Slower melting means less water in your drink and so less bitterness coming through.

  • 07 of 12

    Where Can I Get a Good G&T in Spain?

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    Serving a G&T in a big glass with lots of ice and a nice garnish is fast becoming the norm in Spain (in fact, it's starting to spread around the rest of Europe too!). Look behind the bar for the oversized balon glasses and you know you've got an appropriate bar.

    However, as I hope this article has shown you, there are still pitfalls to making a good G&T. Plus, there are bars in Spain that take the gin and tonic to an even more impressive level. Check out my favorites below. 

  • 08 of 12

    1. Bobby Gin, Barcelona

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    Bobby Gin is the best bar in the world to drink a G&T in. Not only do they have an extensive range of gins, tonics and garnishes, but their gin and tonic cocktails are the next step in pimping your drink. My favorite was the one spiked with barrel-aged chartreuse and lime juice. 

    Address: Francisco Giner 47, Barcelona

    Bobby Gin on Facebook

    See also: How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Barcelona

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.

  • 09 of 12

    2. Gin-Tonic, Malaga

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    The first place I had a gin and tonic made properly. What makes this bar stand out is the passion both the staff and the patrons have for gin and tonic – this bar is so renowned for its preparation of the drink that you'll find few people there drinking anything else.

    They also have a machine that chills the glass with carbon dioxide – useful and cool looking!

    Address: c/ Sancha de Lara 4, Malaga

    Gin-Tonic on Facebook

    See also: How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Malaga

  • 10 of 12

    3. Martinez, Madrid

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    This is one of the few bars I've seen that dispenses with the silly and flamboyant pouring of the tonic down the spoon and the only bar I found carefully pouring their tonic on the back of a spoon, to reduce the splash of the tonic as it goes into the glass.

    They also use their own house-made 'elixirs' (probably 'bitters' to you and me) to flavor their G&Ts, which is a nice and unusual touch.

    Address: Calle del Barco, 4, 28004 Madrid, Spain

    Martinez on Facebook

    See also: How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Madrid

  • 11 of 12

    4. Bernardo Cocktail Bar, Bilbao

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

     A cocktail bar that won a local award for the best gin and tonic, their laborious G&T preparation involves tea (again), but this time infused first in water, with the infused discarded (or drunk) and the fresh tea leaves then added to your G&T. Worth the wait!

    Address:  Calle Gran Vía, 69, 48011 Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain

    See also: How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Bilbao and San Sebastian

  • 12 of 12

    5. Gin&T Bar, Ronda

    How to Make the Perfect Spanish Gin & Tonic (and Where to Get One)

    (c) Damian Corrigan

    Two things stand out about this bar. Firstly, Ronda is a small city, so far removed most populated areas of Spain that it was pretty much the last Moorish stronghold to fall during the reconquista, largely because everyone had forgotten about it. For such a good G&T bar to exist here is unusual.

    Secondly, when I was there they had an assortment of 'Tea tonic' teabags, which are intended to be infused in your gin before the tonic is added. I'd never seen this before (or since) and I am dubious about the Tanqueray branding on the teabags but it's an interesting idea, nonetheless.

    Address: For some reason, their address is given on Facebook and Tripadvisor as “junto a la cerveceria cero grado [next to Cero Grado Cerveceria], 29400 Ronda, Spain”. The location didn't seem so unusual when I was there as to require such a description.

    For the record, the address of Cero Grado Cerveceria is Calle Comandante Salvador Carrasco, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain  

    Gin&T on Facebook

    See also: Which are the Best Cities to Visit in Andalusia?

Posted on

Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips from Barcelona

  • 01 of 05

    Colonia Guell

    Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips from Barcelona

    Stefano Politi Markovina / Getty Images

    A throwback to the 19th-century industrial revolution, Colonia Guell was built as living accommodations for the large community of factory workers that lived there at the turn of the century. As such, Guell might be of interest to history buffs and tourists looking for a glimpse into Spanish life during that time period. ​Go to the official Colonia Guell website for information on its industrial museum.

    Of course, our man Gaudi was also on hand in Guell, and more of his breathtaking architecture is on display there. You can even visit a Gaudi crypt!

    Getting Around

    Colonia Guell is easily accessible from Barcelona by train. It leaves from the Espanya metro stop, in the same direction as Montserrat, so look for FGC trains leaving in that direction. You can book a rail journey in advance here.

  • 02 of 05

    Reus

    Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips from Barcelona

    De Agostini / M. Armengol / Getty Images

    Most travelers have only heard of the tiny town of Reus because of its Barcelona satellite airport, but it has so much more to offer than a shuttle commute to its bigger neighboring city. First of all, it's the birthplace of Antoni Gaudi, the famous modernist architect that gives Barcelona much of its unique cityscape. You can view more modernist buildings in Reus without succumbing to the throngs of tourists at many of the Barcelona sites.

    If you fancy a drink or three, there's a Vermouth Museum, but if you're traveling with your family, check out the PortAventura theme park! 

    Getting Around

    Since Reus has its own airport, you can easily just fly directly and call it a day. Transportation to and from Barcelona can be a little tricky, as buses (run byHispanico Igualadina) take two hours and may be infrequent. We recommend spending the night in Reus to get the full experience before heading back to Barcelona.

    Of course, you can always rent a car and be the master of your own destiny.

  • 03 of 05

    Montseny

    Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips from Barcelona

    Artur Debat / Getty Images

    Montseny is a small (and we mean small—population 332) village located in Catalonia's Vallès Oriental. Surrounded by mountains and lush greenery, its known for its hiking trails. You can book a private tour of the landscape, or the more outdoorsy of you can grab a rucksack, lace up your boots and hit the trail.

    Getting Around

    Did we mention Montseny was small? The only way to get there is by car.

  • 04 of 05

    Besalú, Tavertet and Rupit

    Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips from Barcelona

    Luca Quadrio / Getty Images

    Besalú, Tavertet and Rupit are a collection of small villages that date back to medieval times. Might not be worth visiting just one of them, so take an interesting day trip and do them all together. You can take a Medieval Villages Tour from Barcelona if you feel so inclined.

    About 130km north-east of Barcelona, just past Girona, a little to the west of Figueres and close to the French border.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.

  • 05 of 05

    Olot & Banyoles

    Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Trips from Barcelona

    Guy Moberly / Getty Images

    Olot's biggest lure is its volcanic craters, which are among the best preserved in Europe. There is a church in one of the craters, from which there is a beautiful view (you can see as far as Andorra!).

    Getting Around

    There is a direct bus from Barcelona but it takes over two hours, so you're better off going via Girona. There is a bus from the Girona bus station that goes to Olot via Banyoles and Besalú, two towns which are also worth seeing while you're at it. For the bus timetable, see Teisa Bus website (click on “Horaris” to bring up a list of timetables).

    Driving from the center of Barcelona takes two hours, so feel free to rent a car as well. 

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Top 10 Spanish Dishes

  • 01 of 11

    Cochinillo Asado (Roast Suckling Pig)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Addy Ho/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Cochinillo Asado is roast baby pig. Its fatty outside is crisp and perfect for those who like pork rind, while its meat is tender and juicy.

    Where to Try Cochinillo Asado:

    Segovia is famous for Cochinillo Asado.

    • More about Segovia
    • Find out what is Segovia's No.1 Must-See Sight

    Alternatively, El Botin restaurant in Madrid is a popular place to try the dish. El Botin is the world's oldest restaurant, a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, and it features in my list of the 13 Best Madrid Restaurants That Won't Break the Bank.

    There is also a great bar in nearby Salamanca (called 'Don Cochinillo', appropriately) on c/Van Dyck (on the western end, near the cinemas) where a glass of wine and a piece of excellent Cochinillo will set you back under 3€.

    The nearest airports to Segovia and Salamanca are Madrid and Valladolid.

    See also:

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Continue to 2 of 11 below.

  • 02 of 11

    Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Octopus)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Oliver Strewe/Getty Images

    Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician octopus) is Galicia's signature dish. The octopus is boiled and then garnished with paprika, rock salt, and olive oil. The flavor is subtle and inoffensive but the texture might put some people off.

    Octopus actually has two textures – the inner muscle is slightly chewy, while the exterior (where the suckers are) is very slippery.

    Pulpo a la Gallega is the same thing as Pulpo a la Feria (or Pulpo á Feira in Galician). The addition of potato is optional, though when potato and vegetables are added it is normally grilled on a hot plate and called pulpo a la plancha or pulpo a la parilla.

    Though Galicia is most famous for the gallego version of the dish, this is actually the most popular way of eating it throughout Spain. The grilled version is harder to find, easier for octopus novices to try (less slimey) and, in my opinion, a lot nicer!

    Read more about Galician Food.

    See more about the Best of Spain, including Spain's best things to do, festivals to experience, cities and see and regions to visit.

    Where to Try Pulpo a la Gallega:

    In Galicia, either in a city like Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña or in one of the region's beautiful villages.

    • What is Santiago de Compostela's Must-See Sight?
    • More about Santiago de Compostela

    The nearest airports are in Santiago de Compostela and Oviedo.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Continue to 3 of 11 below.

  • 03 of 11

    Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelet)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    imv/Getty Images

    Omelet with potato and (usually) onion. Sometimes it will have prawns, mushrooms or squid inside and it will occasionally be served with cheese on top.

    Where to Try Tortilla Española:

    Any bar in the country! A cafeteria in Spain that doesn't have a tortilla on the bar just doesn't feel right.

    Tortilla is usually vegetarian and features in my list of the best Vegetarian Dishes in Spain.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Continue to 4 of 11 below.

  • 04 of 11

    Jamon Iberico and Chorizo (Iberian Ham and Spicy Sausage)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Holger Leue/Getty Images

    Ham is Spain's second religion (a little behind football but probably slightly ahead of Catholicism); it is cherished as much as champagne is in France. The process for curing Iberian ham is a lengthy process that takes a couple of years. There are various grades of quality, the best being 'pata negra' (black hoof) or 'de bellota', which is made from pigs that are reared on acorns.

    Jamon Tasting in Madrid

    The picture above was taken on the Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour from Madrid Food Tour. Join their excellent tour to learn about the various types of Spanish ham as well as Madrid specialties such as Cocido Madrileño and Bocadillo de Calamares.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.

  • 05 of 11

    Gambas Ajillo (Garlic Prawns)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Ernst Wrba/Getty Images

    Delicious large prawns, cooked in olive oil with garlic and spicy chili flakes.

    See more about the Best of Spain, including Spain's best things to do, festivals to experience, cities and see and regions to visit.

    Recipe: ​

    Recipe for Gambas Ajillo

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Where to Try it:

    Originally a Catalan dish but enjoyed throughout the country. Common in Madrid.

    • What is Madrid's No.1 Must-See Sight?

    Continue to 6 of 11 below.

  • 06 of 11

    Paella (Spanish Rice Dish)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Juergen Richter/LOOK-foto/Getty Images

    It had to turn up in this list somewhere, didn't it?! Paella is synonymous with Spanish cuisine. Read more about Paella in Spain.

    See more about the Best of Spain, including Spain's best things to do, festivals to experience, cities and see and regions to visit.

    Paella can be served as a vegetarian dish and features in my list of top Vegetarian Dishes in Spain.

    Where to Try Paella

    In Valencia, particularly in the village of El Palmar, where it is said that paella was invented. You can also learn to make it on a Spanish Cookery Course in Barcelona (book direct).

    Paella is the 'sight' I chose for Valencia in my article Spain's Must-See Sights – City by City.

    Valencia has its own airport, though there is also an airport in nearby Alicante.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown
    • Origin of the Word 'Paella'

    Continue to 7 of 11 below.

  • 07 of 11

    Pescado Frito (Fried Fish)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Federica Gentile/Getty Images

    Though it is a stereotypically British dish, fried fish is done best in Andalusia, or Cadiz to be precise. In Cadiz, they serve a number of different types of fish, not just the cod and plaice you get in the UK. It is also very cheap – I asked for one of each type of fish you see in this picture and I paid just 5€!

    See more about the Best of Spain, including Spain's best things to do, festivals to experience, cities and see and regions to visit.

    Where to Try Pescado Frito 

    In Cadiz, in particular in the Las Flores Freideria in Plaza Topete/Plaza de los Flores. In fact, I chose this place as Cadiz's 'sight' in my Spain's Must-See Sights – City by City. It's also very common in Malaga and Granada.

    You can visit Cadiz along with nearby Jerez as a convenient day trip from Seville: Cadiz and Jerez Day Trip.

    • More about Cadiz

    The nearest airport to Cadiz is in Jerez. Seville and Malaga also have airports.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Continue to 8 of 11 below.

  • 08 of 11

    Gazpacho (Cold Tomato Soup or Liquid Salad)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    LatitudeStock/Stuart Pearce/Getty Images

    Often described as a cold soup, I prefer to call it a 'liquid salad'. Tomato based, with cucumber, green pepper, garlic, olive oil and salt. Delicious in the summer.

    Gazpacho is of course vegetarian and features in my list of the best Vegetarian Dishes in Spain.

    Where to Try Gazpacho: 

    Anywhere in Andalusia

    • More about Seville
    • Book a Guided Tour of Andalusia that takes in the region's best cities (Granada, Cordoba and Seville) in four days.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.

  • 09 of 11

    Queso Manchego (Spanish Sheep Cheese)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Juanmonino/Getty Images

    A hard cheese from the Castilla-La Mancha region. Made from sheep milk, it is slightly salty and often served with jamon ibérico (see previous page).

    Where to Try Queso Manchego

    Anywhere in Spain, though it is made in Castilla-La Mancha.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

     

    Continue to 10 of 11 below.

  • 10 of 11

    Patatas Bravas (Fried Potatoes in Spicy Sauce)

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    Arx0nt/Getty Images

    About as spicy as Spanish food can get (though some really wimpy places serve you thousand island dressing with paprika and try to pass it off as 'spicy'!). Chopped potatoes are fried and covered in a spicy tomato sauce.

    Patatas Bravas is also sometimes served with aioli garlic sauce.

    Where to Try it:

    Anywhere in Spain. There is a tapas bar with several outlets called 'Las Bravas' just south of Sol in Madrid where they have a nice patented bravas sauce.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

    Continue to 11 of 11 below.

  • 11 of 11

    Chorizo

    Top 10 Spanish Dishes

    NATALIA JAYNE Villena/Creative Commons

    Chorizo is a spicy sausage, either sliced thinly and served cold in a bread roll or cut into chunks and cooked in wine (al vino) or cider (a la sidra). Sometimes you will be served mini chorizos, called 'choricitos', which is similar to chistorra.

    Where to Try Chorizo

    Chorizo is available all over Spain, though to get it cooked in cider, you'll want to look out for it in Asturias.

    See also: 

    • What You Should Be Eating in Spain: City by City
    • Guide to Eating and Drinking in Spain Breakfast, lunch, tapas, when to eat, paying the bill and whether to tip – get the full lowdown

Posted on

The Best Ferries to Morocco From Spain

  • 01 of 04

    Tarifa, Gibraltar, or Algeciras to Tangier

    The Best Ferries to Morocco From Spain

    Matthew Scholey / Getty Images

    Tarifa to Tangier is the best ferry route to Morocco in the congested Strait of Gibraltar. There are three ports on the Spanish side (Tarifa, Algeciras, and Gibraltar) and three on the Moroccan side (Tangier, Tangier Med, and Ceuta), with four routes connecting them.

    Tarifa to Tangier is the best of these as it has the most voyages per day, some of the cheapest tickets and you arrive in Tangier city itself. Tarifa is also a nicer place to visit than the other ports on the Spanish side.

    As a comparison, there are three ferries per day with FRS and five with Trasmediterranea from Algeciras to Tangier Med, with most voyages in the morning. The journey takes 30 minutes but it's an hour from Tangier Med to Tangier.

    Getting from Tangier to Fes takes four and half hours by train, but there are no direct trains after around 10.30am, though there are buses. Consider staying the night in Tarifa and getting an early ferry. Find more information on the Moroccan Trains Official Website and the Moroccan Buses Official Website.

  • 02 of 04

    Malaga or Almeria to Melilla

    The Best Ferries to Morocco From Spain

    Universal Images Group / Getty Images

    Convenient if you're already in Malaga (or making the trip from Granada), especially if you can get the overnight Trasmediterranea ferry, as this leaves you in Morocco bright and fresh for your onward travel to Fes or other cities in Morocco. Unfortunately, the day ferry leaves you inconveniently late in Melilla.

    Melilla is not Morocco, but a Spanish enclave, so transport is tricky. You have to take a taxi to Nador, the nearest Moroccan city. From there, there are a couple of trains per day but your options are limited as some depart very early and some arrive very late. The bus situation is even worse.

  • 03 of 04

    Almeria to Nador or Melilla

    The Best Ferries to Morocco From Spain

    Fotografia digital / Getty Images

    If you're traveling from the east coast of Spain to get to Morocco, Almeria is your most convenient port. Though there is only one ferry per day (Trasmediterranea), it leaves you at a convenient time in Morocco, though getting to Almeria in time for the ferry may require a night's stay in the city.

    You can also travel from Almeria to Melilla, but this leaves you not in Morocco but in a Spanish enclave. Better to arrive in Nador.

  • 04 of 04

    Ferries to Morocco: Barcelona to Tangier

    The Best Ferries to Morocco From Spain

    Rachid Dahnoun / Getty Images

    If traveling from Barcelona to Morocco, you are better off flying or visiting the south of Spain before crossing to Morocco. But it is possible to take a GNV ferry all the way from Barcelona to Morocco, though the timetable is infrequent and irregular.

Posted on

Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: Itineraries and Tours

  • 01 of 06

    Guided Tours of Madrid and Barcelona

    Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: Itineraries and Tours

    PNC/Getty Images

    Usually guided tours tend to merely depart from one city and guide you in the other.

    If you would like a tour of both cities, consider booking a walking tour in the city where you start.

    Barcelona Tours From Madrid

    • Barcelona Day Trip From Madrid
    • Four-Day Tour of Barcelona and Valencia From Madrid

    Madrid Tours From Barcelona

    • 5-Day Tour of Madrid and Andalusia From Barcelona
    • 6-Day Tour of Madrid and Andalusia From Barcelona

  • 02 of 06

    How to Visit Madrid and Barcelona in 2 or 3 Days

    Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: Itineraries and Tours

    Damian Corrigan

    You can't spend much time in each city with such a short visit, so you'll need to stay in one city and do a day trip to the other.

    • Stay in Madrid: You'll find it a little more convenient as there are more hotels near Atocha, the main station. This will help minimize travel time for getting to Barcelona. It is also very close to Madrid's main art museums and is a short walk from Sol, the center of Madrid.  
    • Visit Barcelona as a Day Trip: Yes, it's possible, thanks to the AVE high-speed train. See Guided Tour of Barcelona From Madrid.
    • Take Tours: It's the only way to get much out of such big cities in such a short period of time.

    Day 1: Madrid 

    Explore Madrid with a combination of guided tours and exploring by yourself.

    Morning: Do a Madrid Walking Tour or take the Madrid Hop-On-Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus for an overview of the city.

    Lunch Visit El Botin, the oldest continually functioning restaurant in the world and Hemingway's favorite.

    Afternoon: Check out Madrid's Golden Triangle of Art Museum. Pick the one that most suits you.

    Alternatively, take a half-day tour. You can still fit in a walking tour of Madrid or a visit to one of the big museums.

    • Visit El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen, two sights that offer a stark reminder and both the glory (the former) and the horror (the latter) of Spain's past.
    • The city of Toledo is just 30 minutes away by high-speed AVE train, giving you enough time to explore by yourself or on a Half-Day Tour of Toledo From Madrid.

    Evening: Tapas, perhaps? Either by exploring the area just south of Sol or on a Madrid Tapas Tour. Or perhaps see a flamenco show at one of several good flamenco tablaos in Madrid.

    Day 2: Day Trip to Barcelona

    Morning: The high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona means that, yes, you can do a day trip to Barcelona. There are guided tours designed especially for this, but you can do the trip by yourself too.

    Afternoon: The Barcelona hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus will fulfill all of your transport needs for the day. It will take you up to Parc Guell and the Sagrada Familia, as well as into the downtown Gothic Quarter, Ramblas, and El Born areas.

    Evening: Return to Madrid.

    What to Do With Your Third Day: A Day Trip From Madrid

    Though both Madrid and Barcelona warrant more than a day, a suggestion for your third day would be to go on a day trip from the capital, or even a half-day trip, and spend the rest of your day in Madrid.

    • A Half-Day Tour: The aforementioned Half-Day Guided Tour of Toledo or El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen fit the bill here.
    • Full-Day Tour From Madrid: If there's nothing left in Madrid for you, you could do a Day Trip to Segovia and Avila.
    • An Extra Day in Madrid: Visit the Royal Palace or explore the La Latina and Lavapies quarters.

    For the options below, you'll want to stay in Barcelona and flip the itinerary around, visiting Madrid as a day trip, or going through the hassle of checking into hotels in both Madrid and Barcelona.

    An Extra Day in Barcelona

    If you don't want to leave the city but want an experience that is different from the typical hustle of central Barcelona, head up to to Gracia, the village-like district on the other side of the Eixample area. There are also plenty of excellent Day Trips From Barcelona, with two trips that stick out as being particularly worth considering. These are in fact both half-day trips, which means you can spend the other half of the day checking out the city.

    A Visit to Montserrat fantastical rock formations and a famous monastery await you after some gorgeous views on the rack railway and cable car. Visit by yourself or on a half-day tour, but I would recommend combining it with a stop at the Gaudi Crypt and Colonia Guell.

    The Dali Museum in Figueres: Salvador Dali is one of the world's most fun artists in the world, and that is well represented in his Disney-like museum, just a short ride by high-speed rail from Barcelona. Visit by yourself in a half day trip, or combine it with a visit to Girona with this Dali Museum and Girona Guided Tour.

    An Extended Stop in Valencia

    You could also use your extra day to visit Valencia en route between the two larger cities. Either check your luggage at the train station and spend just the day in Valencia, or stay the night and leave in the morning. At the bottom of the page there is more on visiting Valencia.

  • 03 of 06

    4-Day Madrid and Barcelona Suggested Itinerary

    Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: Itineraries and Tours

    Damian Corrigan

    Four days gives you long enough to split your time evenly between the two cities, meaning you don't need to choose between the options in the 2- and 3-day itineraries—you can do them all! Bear in mind, though, that 4 days is still not really enough time.

    Where to Stay: Find a hotel in Madrid close to the train station for the first night, and transfer to Barcelona on the evening of the second night.

    Day-To-Day Suggested Itinerary

    For more details on the individual parts of this itinerary, see above.

    Day 1: Explore Madrid.

    Day 2: Visit Toledo or El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen in the morning and see more of Madrid in the afternoon. Transfer to Barcelona.

    Day 3: Explore Barcelona.

    Day 4: Visit the Dali museum in Figueres, or go to Montserrat Montserrat.

    Alternatively, take a 4-Day Guided Tour of Barcelona and Valencia from Madrid, but bear in mind that there are no days in Madrid on this tour, so you'll need extra time to explore the capital by yourself.

  • 04 of 06

    5- or 6-Day Madrid, Barcelona (and Valencia?) Itinerary

    Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: Itineraries and Tours

    Damian Corrigan

    A 6-day itinerary allows you to conveniently divide your trip into 3 days in each city. If you can only spare 5 days, then drop the extra day from either Madrid or Barcelona.

    Most of this suggested itinerary is similar to the 4-day version, with 2 extra days.  This gives you the option of either spending more time in one of the two cities or adding in an extra stop between the two.

    • Day 1: Explore Madrid. Visit El Prado 
    • Day 2: Visit Toledo or El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen in the morning and see more of Madrid in the afternoon. Transfer to Barcelona.
    • Day 3: Extra day in Madrid. 
    • Day 4: Explore Barcelona.
    • Day 5: Visit the Dali museum in Figueres, or go to Montserrat.
    • Day 6: Extra day in Barcelona

    Alternatively, day 3 or 6 could be spent in Valencia.

    For the days outside of Madrid, consider a 4-Day Guided Tour of Barcelona and Valencia from Madrid.

    How to Spend Your Extra Day in Madrid

    Suggestions for this day include:

    • Explore Lavapies: Cheap rents here have brought artists and immigrants into the same barrio, giving you a fantastic mix of ethnic stores and fashionable stores. You have the Reina Sofia here as well as a cat cafe!
    • Go for breakfast, or a late night snack, at the Chocolateria de San Gines.
    • Visit the Retiro park.
    • Get a classic calamare baguette at El Brillante.

    How to Spend Your Extra Day in Barcelona

    • Visit Montjuic: The hill that overlooks Barcelona, home to the Catalan National Art Museum and the Olympic Stadium. 
    • Visit Tibidabo: The other hill you can see from Barcelona. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.

  • 05 of 06

    How to Add in Valencia and What to Do There

    Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: Itineraries and Tours

    papagnoc/Pixabay

    Madrid and Valencia are connected by the high-speed AVE railway. The whole journey takes just over 90 minutes (sometimes a bit longer) and costs around 45€. But consider adding in Cuenca on the way (see below). 

    How to Get to Valencia From Barcelona

    The train route between Barcelona and Valencia isn't as quick as the Madrid-Valencia route, with journeys taking over three hours, sometimes a lot more.  

    Stay the Night or Visit en Route? With 4.5 hours of train travel ahead of you, it might be tempting to stay the night in Valencia. However, it's preferable to travel from Valencia to Barcelona in the evening—say from 6pm until 9pm—and then get a late dinner in Barcelona, rather than waste your morning in transit.

    What to Do in Valencia

    Paella! The famous rice dish is at its best in Valencia. If you thought paella was a seafood dish, you'll be pleased to know paella valenciana is actually made with meat (while vegetarians will easily find a version for them too).

    The old town area has a great small-town feel to it (but you'll get that in spades if you visit Gracia in Barcelona). 

    There is also the Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias—a huge modern art and science exhibition complex—and the beach.

  • 06 of 06

    Alternatives to Valencia: Other Detours Between Madrid and Barcelona

    Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia: Itineraries and Tours

    Damian Corrigan

    Consider these options if you do not want Valencia as your third stop:

    San Sebastian or Bilbao: The Basque Country is an excellent place to visit. San Sebastian is renowned for its tapas (known locally as pintxos) while Bilbao is home to the Guggenheim museum. But, if you're already trying to cram big cities like Barcelona and Madrid into a short tour, adding one of these two is probably biting off more than you can chew. Choose somewhere smaller.

    Logroño: This city has all of the gourmet food of San Sebastian, but it's cheaper and closer to Madrid and Barcelona. This would be my choice.

    Seville: You can take the high-speed train down to Seville from Madrid and then fly to Barcelona. But again, this is a big city—do you really want to be adding it to an already hectic itinerary?

    Zaragoza: This convenient stop is on the same train line as Madrid and Barcelona, but there's little to see apart from its two cathedrals.

    Cuenca and Valencia: Visit Cuenca's stunning ravine and hanging houses en route from Madrid to Valencia; round off your day with paella near your hotel in Valencia; and head off to Barcelona the next day: Cuenca and Valencian paella is better than just Valencia.

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Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

  • 01 of 11

    Eat Free Tapas

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

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    “Going for tapas” is an essential part of life in Spain. It isn't so much what you eat but how: That is, a morsel food with every drink, and each each one in a different bar. Lots of bars, lots of drinks, lots of great food. They say you don't get anything for free in this life. In much of Spain this is indeed the case, but in Granada (and a few select other cities) your tapas come free with your drink.

  • 02 of 11

    See a Flamenco Show

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

    Thomas Roche/Getty Images

    Flamenco is virtually unique in present day music. It's a traditional form of folk music that is still as alive today as it has ever been. Flamenco can be heard backed by a full orchestra in the gardens of the Alcazar in Seville, played by a pair of drunken gypsies in a seedy tavern or blaring from the stereo of a youth's turbo-charged sports car. The best flamenco can be found at a gypsy wedding, a spontaneous bar sing-a-long or in one of Spain's prisons. These are hard to come by, so you'll need to go and see a show; the best ones are in Seville or Madrid.

  • 03 of 11

    See the Architecture of Antoní Gaudí

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

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    Antoní Gaudí's architecture is famous, daring and unique, but not everyone likes it. Of course, landmarks like La Sagrada Família and Parc Güell are still must-sees for many. Other Barcelona must-sees: Gaudí's Casa Milà, Casa Calvet, and Colegio Teresiano de Barcelona. 

  • 04 of 11

    Watch a Bullfight

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

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    Animal rights activists in Spain will be up in arms about bullfighting's inclusion in this list, while many Spaniards will groan. Bullfighting is no longer anywhere near as popular as it once was; however, bullfighting is an inescapable part of Spain's history and remains an anachronistic curiosity. Ritualized animal cruelty in a progressive Western democracy or an endangered art form? You have to see it for yourself to decide. Choose carefully which city you go to see your bullfighting in, since just because a city has a bullring, doesn't mean the city has a tradition of bullfighting. Bullfighting is originally from Ronda, but Seville is its spiritual home while Madrid has the most supporters today. In Madrid, the bullring part of town, called Las Ventas, is not the most exciting part of town, but it is well connected to the center of the city.

    TripSavvy trusts its readers to make their own decisions on the ethics of bullfighting as an attraction.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.

  • 05 of 11

    Eat Gourmet Cuisine in San Sebastián

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

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    San Sebastián, in Spain's Basque Country is fast emerging as the foodie destination in not only Spain but the whole of Europe. So, what can you expect of San Sebastian food? Pinxtos, for one, the local name for tapas, as well as Michelin-starred restaurants, and steak and cider. Basque cider is the lesser-known sister of Asturian cider. Experience it at a Basque cider house, along with some excellent steak. 

  • 06 of 11

    Visit the Alhambra

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

    Mark Horn/Getty Images

    In the hills of Granada is the Alhambra Moorish fortress, which protected the city's inhabitants from invasion by the Christians for hundreds of years. It certainly worked: Granada was the last city to fall during the Reconquista, the Spanish leg of the Crusades. You can image what to expect at the Alhambra with this simple equation: Take the most beautiful gardens in the world, add a beautiful fortress and multiple by ten. Most people get around the Alhambra in under four hours, but many have been known to stay longer. Avoid busy times of year as tickets are in short supply.

  • 07 of 11

    Visit Madrid’s Three Essential Art Museums

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

    Ingolf Pompe / LOOK-foto/Getty Images

    Spain produced two of the most important artists of the past hundred years: Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Find work by both artists in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, one of Madrid's three essential museums. But many would say that these two artists are not the best that Spain has to offer, and even more would say that the Reina Sofia is not the best museum in Madrid. Instead, that accolade goes to the Museo del Prado, which houses excellent art from the 14th to the 19th centuries from the likes of Velázquez, Goya and El Greco. The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza completes the triumvirate of essential Madrid museums.

  • 08 of 11

    Study Spanish in Spain

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

    Image: Will Ockenden (Some Rights Reserved)

    If you have a little extra time on your hands, why not learn Spanish? Spanish is one of the four most useful languages in the world (along with English, Chinese, and Arabic), spoken throughout Spain and South America and quite the in-vogue language to learn in Europe at the moment. It is also a surprisingly simple language to learn. With the varying accents and other regional languages spoken in Spain, it is important to pick your city wisely. Accents in the south, such as in Seville or Malaga, can be tough to decipher for a beginner (but could be a great test of your skills once you get past the basics) and the other languages you'll hear spoken in Barcelona and, to a lesser extent, Bilbao, distract a little from the advantages of learning in Spain.

     

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.

  • 09 of 11

    Eat Paella in Valencia

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

    Vanessa Gavalya/Getty Images

    It's another cliché, but when in Spain, you have to try the paella. Unfortunately, unscrupulous Spanish restaurants know this and often serve paella which is frankly unpalatable. For this reason, you have to choose your restaurant carefully. Remember that there are several paella varieties: Bypass the seafood version and go for paella Valenciana. Made from meat instead of seafood, this is the original paella and so is the most “authentic.”

  • 10 of 11

    Visit the City of Seville

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

    Damian Corrigan

    Seville is a treat, providing you can avoid the sweltering heat in August and that they've finished the Metro by the time you get there (should be sometime this century). Seville at its best is truly captivating, including its cathedral with its Giralda tower, the neighboring Alcazar castle and garden complex and the Plaza de España. 

  • 11 of 11

    Take a Trip Along the Camino de Santiago

    Top 11 Things to Do in Spain

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    The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage to the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela. For most people this involves walking up to 800-kilometer across northern Spain, though you can start from anywhere you like. For those who embark on the most popular route, the Camino Frances, this involves a walk through the Pyrenees, through Pamplona and the wine country of La Rioja, before a long stint walking across the Spanish meseta. After reaching Leon, a city renowned for its tapas, you cross into the wonderful green countryside of Galicia.

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