Modernista masterpiece, layered history, plaza-dotted . with its wonderful fusion of barris (neighborhoods) and one of Spain’s most exciting gastronomic scenes, the Catalan city is one of Spain’s most unique destinations.
Venture beyond the busy Ciutat Vella (old town) to emerging neighborhoods, such as Sant Antoni and Poblenou, both of which feature creative cafes, concept boutiques, independent restaurants, vermouth bars and lively markets. In Sant Antony, head to Italian benzina, brunchy federal and vermouth-loving bar Calders, as well as a revamped 19th-century market that has inspired other restoration projects throughout the city.
Poblenou’s Leafy Rambla is a cozy cafe-dotted hangout, with Little Ferns and Cane Recessions being the area’s favorite haunts; The arty Hoxton Poblenau Hotel has just opened in this part of town, and its silky, lesser-known beaches are decked out with seafood chiringuitos, including Rice Dish Heaven Xiringuito Escrib. In boutique-filled L’Eixample, a slew of flashy new restaurants have landed , Including Barcelona and farm-to-table Catalan-Japanese spot Brugrol, immortalized by Rafa Zafra.
For the most inspiring views of Barcelona’s urban landscape, head north of the city to the Parc Natural de Collserola, where mountain hikes weave along peaceful pine forests and the wonderfully beautiful Carretera de les Aigües.
Shopping in the capital of Catalonia? UK travelers can claim a tax refund of up to 15.7%, with additional benefits at department store El Corte Inglés – from a 10% reward to Avios points on all purchases loaded onto gift cards (see below for more details) See left) ) El Corte Inglis Barcelona, Avada. Diagonal, 617-619, 08028 Barcelona
Extending from its vibrant, entrenched Casco Viejo, the industrial powerhouse of the Basque Country has now doubled as one of Spain’s indispensable cities for art and architecture lovers, as well as anyone interested in exploring northern Spanish gastronomy. for the person.
Stroll along the Ria del Nervión, before diving into the stunningly designed Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, soaking up surprisingly diverse building styles, statement bridges (including the web-like Puente Jubizuri by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava) and waterside sculptures Wandering around. By Frank Gehry in the 1990s. then hit pintxos Under the arches Plaza Nueva ranges from classics (Guerre Toki, Casa Victor Montes) to Ensanche favorites like El Globo and La Via del Ensanche. At Mercado de La Ribera, you can go shopping for fresh ingredients, then dine opposite at the rustic chic Michelin-starred Mina. Book in at the 20th Century Hotel Carlton for a luxury retreat in the heart of the city.
If you’re willing to venture out into the wide-open natural spaces of the Basque Country, Urquiola Parque Naturala, just a 30-minute drive to the southeast, makes a rewarding day trip; You can hike up to 1,331m-high Ambato, one of the most adventure-packed peaks in the region, with its spine-tingling limestone ridge.
At El Corte Inglés – with all the benefits for UK shoppers – take the time between strolling the museum and indulging in Basque cuisine for some shopping. el corte ingleso Bilbao, Gran Via, 7 years 9, 48001 Bilbao, Vizcaya
No one can stop the stylish, food-loving Spanish capital, which has been busy welcoming a non-stop line-up of luxury hotels over the years: testament to the very chic shake-up of the city.
From the Madrid version (a new 1980s bank in Seoul) and the Mandarin Oriental Ritz (restored 20th-century beauty in front of the Parque del Buene Retiro) to the Four Seasons Hotel Madrid (with chef Danny Garcia in his swish brasserie Dani On board with ) ), all have amazing food and drink offerings that have become a hit with the local crowd.
Alternatively, join madrilenosy In the northern neighborhood of Chambery, home to the cafe-lined Plaza d’Olavide and the incredibly popular Calle di Ponzano, with its creative cocktail bars, craft beer hangouts and top tapas spots; Don’t miss the trendsetting Sala de Despis, the long-established bodega de la Ardosa or the innovative Le Qualitte Tusca. The surrounding streets are home to one of Madrid’s largest shopping pockets, with antique boutiques, specialty bookshops, and other independent jewellery.
Finally, in the northeast of the city, visitors will find DiverExo by Dabiz Muoz – a Madrid sensation with three Michelin stars. avant-garde madrid The chef is considered one of the world’s best – he has also expanded into the more accessible StreetXO and recently opened RaviXO, which you can find at El Corte Ingales Castellana.
Find StreetXO at El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience Serrano – Michelin-helmed restaurants at select El Corte Inglés stores across the country and part of an advanced culinary offering featuring artisan Spanish ingredients. El Corte Inglés Serrano, C/ Serrano, 47, 28001 Madrid; El Corte Inglés Castellana, C/ de Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, 65, 28003 Madrid
The Queen of Andalusia’s Costa del Sol, Marbella is also an ancient city in a naturally spectacular Mediterranean location, where Roman remains and Moorish architecture provide a foil to ancient yachts, smart shops and high-end hotels.
Savor a stroll through the impressively preserved, whitewashed old town, whose geranium-studded streets meander around the 15th-century Plaza de los Naranjos and a Moorish-era. Alcazaba Built back in the 10th century. A collection of new luxury boutique hotels, La Ciudadella is now sensitively bringing fresh life to the many centuries-old buildings here, all surrounded by dazzling restaurants and ultra-chic boutiques that flaunt Andalusian porcelain, boho glam fabrics and elegant Handcrafted straws flow with the basket.
The rugged Sierra Blanca mountains that rise right behind Marbella are filled with thrilling walks; Try tackling La Concha or Cruz de Juar. And Spain’s newest national park, the 20,000-hectare Parque Nacional Sierra de las Nieves, waits only a half-hour drive inland; Officially announced in 2021, this serene mountain playground is known for its rare forests pinasapos (Spanish fir), which are present only in southern Andalusia.
El Corte Inglés Marbella, C/ Ramón Areces, s/n, Puerto Banus, 29660 Marbella, Málaga With your VAT refund and that El Corte Inglés gift card – pick up a Puerto Banus-ready outfit, where you’ll also find it in southern Spain own gourmet experience
Recently named World Design Capital for its unstoppable Mediterranean-inspired creative scene, and with major sustainable tourism plans to become a carbon-neutral destination by 2025, Valencia is building a deliver in the headlines.
Spain’s third largest city combines a sunny vibe with an endlessly charming old quarter (especially around ancient El Carme), a thrilling plethora of museums and some of the best drinking and dining in the country. Catch a glimpse of Valencia’s artistic soul in lively Rasafa, south of the Ciutat Vella, where you’ll find vintage boutiques, state-of-the-art galleries, soulful bookstore-cafes, artists’ studios and local crafts (from hand-painted fans and artisanal wicker) Will meet. Baskets for Chic Spain Made Fashion. A 1950s rainbow-colored market (courtesy Julio Bellot Senet), Parc Central (a fresh green space sprinkled with old railway buildings), and some of the city’s best food and drink: the literary-themed Ubik From cafes, to innovative gourmets dos Estaciones and Ricard Camarena’s Canalla Bistro.
Elsewhere, cycling around the bustling Jardins del Toria—the 5.5-mile-long parklands created simply after being diverted in the 1980s from the city’s disused river—is the most rewarding way to explore Otherworldly Arts i les siencies in the Calatrava-designed Ciutat de les. For a five-star sleep with style, with interiors from Lazzaro Rosa-Violán, settle into Only U Hotel Valencia.
Visiting Valencia? Stop for a shop at El Corte Inglés Valencia, C/Pintor Sorolla, 26, 46002 Valencia for fashion brands (with tax refund for UK shoppers) and famous food courts