San Sebastian, also called Donostia in Basque, is a city located in the north of Spain but also the capital of the province Guipuzcoa belonging to the Basque Country. The city was an important military and naval base during the Middle Ages. Nowadays San Sebastian is a lively university town and a major economical pole.
San Sebastian counts 3 of the 7 Restaurants in Spain that hold the highest distinction in the gastronomy world , which is to say the coveted Michelin 3 stars. This is a true testimony and proof of the know-how of the culinary artists of San Sebastian.
- Akelare - Pedro Subijana:
This Michelin 3 star restaurant is located 7km west from the train station so you will need a car to reach it . If you have never been there, you may legitimately wonder why the restaurant is decentralised. Once you have seen this breathtaking location, you can understand all the magic of this place which is overlooking the Bay of Biscay. The famous chef Pedro Subijana is an emblematic figure of the gastronomy world and his numerous awards speak for themselves. He has been working and improving a base of three menus that will help you to discover his culinary world. You will explore a variety of new tastes in an incomparable setting.
- Restaurante Martín Berasategui:
As for our previous recommendation, this other Michelin 3 star restaurant is not centrally located, it is a 20 minutes car ride away from the centre which is totally worth the detour. In 2016, Tripadvisor has ranked his restaurant the best in the world for the second year in a row; not only for the unquestionable quality of his food but also his work ethic and philosophy.
- Casama Cámara:
The restaurant is situated in the east part of the city and is found inside a seventeenth century house at the entrance of the Pasajes harbour. Casama Cámara was founded in 1884 and has always belonged to the Cámara family. The perfect geographical location has allowed the restaurant to develop a strong reputation for its catering which is exclusively composed of fresh fish and sea food. Even if the restaurant does not have any Michelin star, the authentic and traditional setting combined to products of quality will leave you a lasting memory.
- Hotel Arrizul Center:
The Hotel Arrizul Center is located in front of the Kuursaal Congress Center. The traditional style of its exterior façade gives a charming first impression and is just a few steps away from the city centre. There are 12 beautiful well-groomed rooms available. During the Film Festival of San Sebastian you will see the artists come to present their films or as you have a direct access to the centre you can also enjoy the tapas bars and shopping centres at the local rhythm.
- Hotel Niza:
This 3 star hotel offers a wonderful view of La Concha beach as well as its surroundings. You will enjoy a panorama of the beach surrounded by hills and beautiful houses with a typical Basque style, overlooking a passage through which the sea flow into the Bay. The central location will allow you to walk everywhere in the city, and the multilingual, attentive staff will advise you of their top tips of the town.
- Hotel Maria Christina:
The Hotel Maria Christina was built in 1912 and is an institution of San Sebastian as it is a magnificent 5 star hotel contributing to the international outreach of the city. This is an exceptional hotel with a customer satisfaction rating of 96%. The hotel is just a few blocks away from La Concha beach. However, what really distinguishes the Hotel Maria Christina is its environmental awareness and, in 2016, it was awarded the gold medal of the project ICARIUS from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
As we have just launched our new bike tour in Andalousia, here is a second blog article complementing the first in order to provider a wider range of choices while staying in this wonderful city.
- Hotel Alfonso XIII:
Originally built in 1920’s on the order of the sovereign Alfonso XIII, this 5 star hotel was, since its construction, meant to be the most luxurious hotel in Europe to offer the very best to its customers. This hotel is the reference point of the city for a luxury accommodation and was not only renovated in 2012 in order to sustain the original spirit of this institution, but also to adapt its offerings to the demand of the new generation of travellers. The Hotel Alfonso XIII is located in the historic quarter of Santa Cruz which is a great starting point to begin your exploration of the city!
- Coral del Rey:
Coral del Rey is a luxurious hotel located at the heart of Seville, a short walk away from the cathedral. Its seventeenth century exterior façade contrasts with its freshly renovated interior, where you will find 5 categories of rooms presented in incredible settings. Indeed the designer Kuky Mora-Figoera has individually decorated each room by preserving the historical identity of the place without neglecting the modern dynamism. Each room is equipped with cutting-edge sound and vision systems and has a creative design. You will surely also appreciate the rooftop terrace with pool and their great bar serving delicious tapas all day long.
- Abades Triana:
The perfectly situated restaurant Abades Triana will, besides its exquisite cuisine, provide you one of the best settings in Sevilla where you will notably have the occasion to contemplate the Golden Tower or Guadalquivir river. The restaurant offers different dining rooms with different degrees of exclusivity which will be perfect for a romantic dinner, an outing with friends or with colleagues. The chef Elías del Toro delivers a contemporary refined cuisine which will guide you through the Andalousian savours and undoubtedly satisfy the most demanding palates.
- Restaurante Oriza:
Restaurante Oriza offers a sumptuous mix of Basque-Andalousian cookery based on fresh high end products. The staff thrive for excellence and will provide you with the best services and with the utmost professionalism in order to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Moreover, the cellar contains an impressive selection of 300 outstanding local as well as foreign wines. The restaurant will indeed provide you a memorable moment!
- Cathedral de Sevilla:
Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the first step inside the cathedral, you will have the occasion to contemplate the majestic design and proportions and you will understand why this monument has no equivalent in the world. Indeed its magnificent interior as well as its numerous treasures will directly charm you.
- Barrio Santa Cruz:
The barrio Santa Cruz was basically the Jewish quarter under the reign of the Moors and is full of charm. It is the perfect place to wander around and appreciate the beauty of those buildings loaded with history. While being here you can visit the Centro de Interpretación Judería de Sevilla retracing the history and role of the Jewish people in the city or also go to the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes where major Spanish masterpieces are exhibited. After visiting those interesting museums, you could head to the Jardines de Murillo to relax and enjoy its beautiful and quiet gardens or go in one of the several cafés!
- Real Alcázar:
Real Alcázar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a true historical wonder. It was first a major stronghold of the Moors then the Christians took it over. This is a splendid style confrontation between the Oriental and Western culture which is translated by the architecture which survived throughout the centuries. This a really inspiring place which is totally worth visiting during your stay in Sevilla.
As it would not be fair to limit the description of this beautiful city to a single blog post, here is our second article filled with other complementary recommendations.
- Hotel Omm:
Hotel Omm is a modern 5 star establishment of Barcelona. The hotel adopts an approach where every details are taken care of. A minimalist style preserving a strong personality is what make the identity of this sublime hotel. At Hotel Omm you can enjoy the Michelin one star restaurant, the outstanding Spa as well as an outdoor rooftop pool and terrace with a unique view on Gaudi’s Casa Milla.
- Mercer Hotel:
This 5 star hotel is at the heart of Barcelona’s historical Gothic barrio (quarter) allowing you to reach some well-known locations with a pleasant walk. Mercer Hotel offers a subliminal contrast between its state-of-the-art interiors and its impressive historical architecture.
- Hotel Claris:
The luxurious 5 star Hotel Claris is settled in a a former nineteenth century palace at the centre of a quarter with several cultural and tourist attractions. The hotel has a very close link with the arts as multiple fascinating art works are exhibited throughout the hotel and rooms. A Spa and an inviting restaurant, as popular with locals, are at your disposal to make your stay more enjoyable and authentic.
Disfrutar, meaning enjoy in English, is a Michelin one star restaurant run by three chefs who have already been collaborating together for a long time. This experienced and innovative top-team is considered to be the heir of the molecular gastronomy movement. Eating at Disfrutar is discovering a surreal culinary universe based on sophisticated products and strong Mediterranean origins.
- Perellò 1898:
Perellò 1898 is, as its name indicates, a place where the tapas tradition has been fostered since the nineteenth century. This is a tapas bar without any extravagant detail - it is a place you go to for a taste sensation. Only the best quality ingredients are served and even if their speciality is tapas made of cod (bacallà in Catalan), you will also have a good range of tapas with meat.
Tragaluz is a modern looking restaurant although it has been providing Barcelona tasty meals for more than 25 years. The contemporary design mainly due to the glass ceiling letting the sun light spread into the dining room and the open kitchen allows the customer to watch the professionals in action and gives a dynamic look to the place. Besides the cool and trendy atmosphere, you will spoiled for choice as the menu card is very complete.
- Torre Bellesguard:
Torre Bellesguard is a less known though not less significant masterpiece of the Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí. It is a former manor house which belonged to Martin, King of Aragon. Torre Bellesguard is a little bit different from the usual Gaudí style, but it is wonderful. It can be visited with organized guided tours.
- Fundació Joan Miró:
Located on the hill called Montjuic, Fundació Joan Miró is a museum of modern arts named after and dedicated to Barcelona’s born painter Joan Miró. Many of the works were donated by the artist himself. Here you will have the chance to discover Miró's creative mind through several of its sculptures and paintings. In the museum there is also an area called 'Espai 13' where you will find the works of some young experimental artists.
- Plaça de Catalunya:
Plaça de Catalunya is the beating heart of Barcelona where all of its most famous avenues converge. It is the oldest part of the city and well-known for its outstanding fountains and sculptures. While visiting Barcelona, it is almost impossible not to have a walk around this square, a very good way to experience the Catalan culture.
Here are our Top Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Seville, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
Gran Melia Colon:
Member of “The Leading Hotels of the World”, Gran Melia Colon 5-star hotel in the heart of Seville is a sumptuous building which allows you to immerse yourself into the luxurious Spanish lifestyle. Rooms are spacious and with the latest technology to fully relax and enjoy your night. Views from rooms of the street, and the Cathedral, are wonderful. The Majestic Restaurant offers you Andalusian cuisine with unique aromas which allows you to enjoy a lovely dining experience.
Hotel Palacio Villapanés:
Near Santa Cruz neighbourhood, 5-star Hotel Palacio Villapanés is a warming and luxurious baroque authentic building. The patio is fabulous, also ideal to drink a cocktail to refresh yourself or have breakfast each morning. The spa is designed to give the very best of aquatic sensation. I advise you to dine in their Mediterranean restaurant " Los rincones del Marqués" which combines Andalusian gastronomy products and a surprising but tasty selection of wines.
Hotel Casa del Poeta:
Hotel Casa del Poeta is an elegant 4-star housed in an authentic architectural building from the 17th century with its central patio. A few steps away from the Cathedral of Seville, you will appreciate the spacious, comfortable and very luminous rooms. No doubt, this hotel gathers all of Seville’s warming aspects.
Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla:
The hotel’s rooftop is fabulous to enjoy a drink, and relax in the swimming pool, with a breath-taking view of the Cathedral.
Few steps from La Giralda, in the historical centre of Seville, Alminar Hotel is an affordable but lovely 3-star hotel which allows you to visit all best attractions of the city by foot. Rooms are comfortable and cosy. According to TripAdvisor, this hotel is one of the best in the city.
Mesones del Serranito:
Here’s the review of the restaurant by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“This was without a shadow of a doubt my finest meal while in Seville. The place is very local and is beautifully authentic. Service was top notch and unfussy and the food…exceptional in all regards. I had a series of fish plates but the standout was shrimp in oil and garlic (Gambas Ajillo) which arrived sizzling to my table and was simply divine. I would have eaten this every day for the remainder of my trip (and in fact did return the next day at lunch…but they were too busy). Treat yourself; go here… its super affordable also!”
Abantal is a Michelin Star restaurant in Sevilla. Chef Julio Fdez. Quintero offers you the finest Andalusian cuisine experience in the city. Recently awarded as “Mejor cocinero Andaluz”, the chef will surprise you with his unique and artistic presentations and the sommelier will advise you on the best wine to fully appreciate your gastronomic Spanish experience.
Here are our Top Attraction, Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Barcelona.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Located on the Passeig de Gracia Avenue, the Mandarin Oriental is one of the most prized Hotels of the city. It offers wonderful views on its gardens or in front of the modern architecture of the Casa Batllo. This 5 star hotel is a perfect mix between elegance and luxury. I suggest you enjoy the 2 star restaurant of the hotel for lunch or dinner before or after your Fresh Eire Adventure in Costa Brava.
Located in the North of El Raval neighbour, the Axel is the most famous “Heterofriendly” Hotel of Barcelona. Loyal to the Axel concept (design, comfort, cosmopolitan atmosphere and good value for money), the hotel offers 105 rooms that combines modernism, comfort and warmth. Thanks to its luminosity, soundproofing, air conditioning and art-deco design, the Axel hotel is a perfect place to spend a few days in Barcelona.
Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures, stayed here to evaluate it for future guests. Here is his review from TripAdvisor :
‘’I have stayed at another Axel (Buenos Aires) and was not terribly impressed but tried my best to come with an open mind to their property in Barcelona. I was suitably impressed. Firstly, the level of professionalism of the staff is far and away in another league to what I was anticipating. Secondly, the cleanliness of the communal areas such as pool etc was far greater. I won't say immaculate but very very clean and certainly presentable. Thirdly the rooms were immaculate and followed the style ethos of "less is more". I loved the glass wall shower in my room, the wonderful bed and crisp white sheets and top quality pillows. My room had a balcony overlooking the street but noise was not a problem owing to the soundproofing. Minibar charges not out of this world either. Fourthly, the roof top bar is lots of fun in the evening with a great party atmosphere if that's what you're after...its big enough however to have a quiet drink if that's your preference. Finally i had dinner in the restaurant one night; great food, great wine; fantastic service and outlandishly stylish (think Barbarella) furnishings and decor. Top marks. I did not have breakfast however so I can't comment on this. This is a beautiful old 19th century building lovingly restored with few original interior features so don't be expecting that. The exterior is wonderful however and the location is hard to beat. Top drawer! I loved it and will certainly go back. I have no hesitation in recommending this.’’
Located in the Gothic neighbourhood of Barcelona, the Serras is one of the best luxury hotels in the city. The balconies offer a stunning view in front of the new Port Vell along the Mediterranean Sea. The Serras has a wonderful roof terrace. The 30 rooms are exceptionally spacious and you will want for nothing during your stay.
Established in 2013, this 1 star Michelin restaurant offers excellent value for money in a wonderful location (Cram Hotel). The Chef – Jordi Cruz – native to the region (Manresa) is the youngest chef ever in the world to receive a star in the Michelin Guide at only 26. The Angle offers a stunning gastronomic experience with exquisite attention to detail while delivering a customer service which is second to none.
Already awarded 2 Michelin stars, Chef Ruscalleda and her son Raül Balarm continue to seduce their guests with healthy, creative and refined food. The Ruscalleda success is unquestionable thanks to her 7 stars throughout her gastronomic empire which includes different restaurants in Spain and in Japan. Today, in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, MOments rewards both the novice and experienced gourmande with a creative feast of the senses using a global interpretation of Catalan flavours, textures and culture. Be sure to check out Raul's Instagram.
Located in the Eixample neighbourhood, one minutes walk from the Museum Egipci de Barcelona, the Cerveceria Catalana is a delicious brewery and an excellent Tapas restaurant. It’s considered one of the best places where we can savour Tapas in the city. The Cerveseria also serves excellent beers (local and international). You might need to wait for a table but if you are happy to eat at the bar, you will be rewarded by the spectacle on display there. The restaurant is always full thanks to its excellent value for money and frenetic atmosphere.
Located in the El Raval neighbourhood (midway between the Illusions Museum, the Contemporary Culture Centre and the Contemporary Arts Museum), the Dospalillos restaurant is a wonderful place to enjoy an original Asian take on “Tapas” like never seen before. Each course is a taste and texture sensation – we recommend that you take the Chef's menu as the 19 courses are perfectly manageable and offer exceptional value for money. Dospalillos restaurant received it’s first Michelin star in 2012.
Located in the Eixample neighbourhood, only 50 meters from Axel hotel (on the street corner), La Flauta is a rustic restaurant that offers a wonderful menu composed of local Catalan products. The restaurant is spacious and the decor completely authentic. The feedback of this restaurant is especially great and it’s a perfect casual dining option if staying at The Axel Hotel.
Padraic, founder andMmanaging Director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
‘’Excellent casual lunch in this authentic and competent restuarant in Barcelona's trendy Eixample neighbourhood. A casual lunch which was truly wonderful - gambas cooked to perfection, spicy patatas bravas and a delicious glass of vina sol. Great value for money. Recommended.’’
Located in the heart of the Gothic quarter, the Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Spain followed by the Alhambra (Granada) and the Prado Museum (Madrid). In 2012, more than 3.2 million tourists visited the temple, an icon of the city. This unfinished Antoni Gaudi’s artwork whose the construction started in 1882 is considered as one of the most famous examples of Catalan modernism.
Considered as one of the most prestigious theatres in the world, the Liceu is also the oldest theatres in Barcelona. Located on “La Rambla” and opened in 1847, the Liceu has welcomed the best singers, actors and Opera singers for more than 150 years. The theatre offers around 2.300 seats spread over 6 floors. The theatre was rebuilt twice in 1862 and in 1999 because of fires in 1861 and in 1994.
As the Sagrada Familia, the Park Güell is one of the famous Antoni Gaudi’s creations. Built between 1900 and 1914, this beautiful Park has a natural originality due to the important relief of the region that Antoni Gaudi tried to preserve by allowing his imagination and his creativity run wild. Every year, the Park receives visits from a massive number of tourists.
Located in the street Montcada in the Born neighbourhood, the Picasso Museum attracts more than 1 million of visitors every year. Indeed, with 4.251 of Picasso’s artworks exhibited throughout its 11.000 m2, the Picasso Museum is one of the most complete permanent collection of his works. The Museum opened in 1935 thank to Jaime Sabartes (Pablo Picasso’s secretary). The majority of the art exhibited dates from the period 1890 to 1917.