Catalonia Culinary Tour: A Moveable Feast
Our feast starts in colorful, dynamic Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. Food, wine, art and architecture, and rich Old World history combine to create a vibrant culture and unforgettable Catalonia culinary vacation. The fantastical Sagrada Família Church —a work in progress since the 1880s—and other modernist landmarks designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi dot the city. The culinary scene might be anchored by La Boqueria in the Ciutat Vella, but deliciousness is everywhere in this city, and it goes on all day and all night. Tasty aperitifs, long and large lunches, dinners at all hours of the night—there is so much to love about eating in Barcelona. The Catalan city and its surrounding areas have become a favorite of foodies across the world, and in recent years, a new wave of experimental chefs, such as Ferran Adria, have brought the region to the world's attention. But it’s Catalonia’s traditional cuisine—cured hams, the freshest seafood, rich cheeses, and regional wines—that will steal your heart. Catalonia has much to offer beyond the treasures of Barcelona. Traveling north along the Costa Brava, you’ll go back in time as you explore undiscovered Catalonia. Charming fishing villages and pristine beaches offer a relaxing Mediterranean vibe and some of the freshest and most exclusive seafood in Spain. With charming Girona as your base (Game of Thrones fans will recognize Braavos in Old Town Girona!), visit some of the many medieval hilltop towns that still look and feel as they did in ancient times. Nibble on regional delicacies and sip Catalan wines at every stop—it’s a moveable feast.
Top 5 Catalonia Culinary Tour Experiences
Walk the Gaudi Route of whimsical architecture and the Sagrada Familia cathedral
Taste the most expensive and prized ham in Spain: jamon iberico de bellota
Spanish chefs guide you in preparing dinner paired with regional wines
Walk atop the medieval walls of Girona, also knowns as Braavos on Game of Thrones
Cooking class in Girona teaches you the secrets of authentic Catalan dishes
Our signature cooking classes, stellar local guides, and unique experiences provide exclusive access to Barcelona and beyond. We offer this tour as a private trip year-round. For more information, please call 1-800-567-9400 or email us today.
7-Day Catalonia Culinary Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Barcelona welcome dinner of regional cuisine and wines.
Your Catalonia culinary tour begins when you arrive in Barcelona. A dinner of regional cuisines and wines welcomes you to the chic and thriving capital of Catalonia, a perfect harmony of Catalan and Spanish, traditional and modern, and exciting and laid-back. Overnight in a four-star Barcelona hotel.
Meals included: Dinner
Day 2: Walk the Gaudi Route. Iberian ham and fine chocolate tastings. Spanish cooking class with dinner with wines.
The Gaudi Route showcases the whimsical buildings of Antoni Gaudi that have become monuments to this city’s culture. Along Barcelona’s major avenue, Passeig de Gracia, see Gaudi’s famous Casa Batllo and la Pedrera homes. Next, an exclusive tour of iconic Sagrada Família Church. Food stops include Iberian ham tasting with local cheeses and signature Catalan breads and the city’s finest chocolates at a boutique owned by famous chef Albert Adria. At an evening cooking class in the Gothic Quarter, Spanish chefs help you prepare a sumptuous meal to accompany regional Rioja red and Galician white wines. Overnight in a four-star Barcelona hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 3: Walk the Gothic and Born quarters. Artisan cheeses and legendary Iberic jamon. Tapas lunch with wines. Dessert tasting with sweet wines.
Tour the historic the Gothic and Born quarters, visitng markets bursting with colorful produce and “best of Spain” showcases, including legendary Iberian ham, rich cheeses, Spanish olive oils, and the iconic Catalan coca pastry of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Enjoy a delicious tasting lunch of these local delights with some of the finest priorat and penedes wines. Overnight in a four-star Barcelona hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Day 4: Country estate winery with traditional Catalan lunch with natural wines. Seaside Palamos, including fish market and museum. Local pastries.
Just outside bustling Barcelona, through fields, pine forests, and oak and olive trees with the Mediterranean Sea as the backdrop, your lunch spot awaits. A modern winery on a beautiful estate. Enjoy a traditional Catalan lunch accompanied by the estate’s natural wines. An afternoon visit to the fishing village of Palamós is a pescatarian’s delight, where the local shrimp are prized throughout Spain. Stroll the promenade to see small fishing boats come into harbor with their catch, and watch a fish auction. Stop at the oldest and most authentic bakery for sweets and pastries. Overnight in a boutique Girona hotel.
Drive Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Day 5: Medieval Girona. Unique Catalan cooking class with market visit, followed by lunch with regional wines.
Girona is a step back in time—literally. Passeig de la Muralla offers a walk atop the medieval walls that span the eastern border of the Old Town. Meander through the Jewish Quarter “El Call,” a maze of narrow, winding, cobblestoned lanes still very much like they were over 500 years ago. Fans of “Game of Thrones” will recognize the imposing Girona Cathedral and its magnificent views. The city’s Arab baths are modeled after Roman baths and Jewish mikvahs of the 11th century. Specialty shops and homes are in medieval buildings have been passed down through generations. In the heart of Girona´s Market Quarter is your cooking class where you’ll learn the best kept secrets of authentic Catalan dishes. Get your ingredients at local markets. Pair your meal with Catalan wines. Overnight in a boutique Girona hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Day 6: Medieval Emporda villages. Tastings at a local goat cheese producer. Authentic farmhouse lunch with wines.
Two picturesque hilltop medieval towns, Pals and Peratallada, were among the best fortified medieval villages in Spain. Strolling their narrow, windy streets you can easily imagine life in medieval times. Stop for fresh honey and goat cheese from a local grandma, and try her iconic recuit de drap, a traditional dessert cheese from the Empordà region. Nearby, lunch is served at a farmhouse turned restaurant: Catalan country fare served with Emporda wine. Along the coast are Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc, two of the prettiest ancient seaside villages on the Costa Brava. Enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean as you walk to an afternoon coffee stop at one of the beach bars. Overnight in a boutique Girona hotel.
Drive Time: 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Day 7: Your Catalonia food tour ends as you return to Barcelona.
Sadly, your culinary tour of Catalonia ends today. We’ll return you via group transfer to Barcelona to continue on your journey or return home.
Drive Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Meals included: Breakfast
This Catalonia itinerary is an idea of what to expect, but what we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.
What Foodies Love About Catalonia
Barcelona and its surrounding areas have become popular for foodies across the world. While there’s no shortage of gourmet delicacies from Spain, Catalonia’s traditional dishes are unique. Not paellas but fideuas. Similar to a seafood paella but made with short noodles instead of rice. Monkfish, squid and prawns are usually added before cooking. The presentation of a fideua is always spectacular. And for meats, not chorizo but butifarra, an uncured spiced sausage used both in cooking and for tapas. Barcelona’s location on the Mediterranean offers a generous and varied ingredients, and tomatoes, red peppers, eggplants, mushrooms, and artichokes are in abundance. The surrounding hills provide pork and lamb and cheeses that are the envy of the world. It’s a Catalonian trait to have fish and meat on the same plate.
Got a sweet tooth? Who doesn’t! Make sure to hunt down regional desserts. Crema Catalana is similar to the French crème brulée. Mel i mato is a soft, unsalted goats cheese served with honey and walnuts. Panellets are small round sweets made with almonds, sugar, eggs and pine nuts that are rolled in any number of coatings.
Cava is the official name for Spanish sparkling wine, and it’s making a name for itself as a rival to France’s champagne. Spain is home to more than 70 different recognized wine regions, 11 of which are in Catalonia. That means that all around Barcelona, exciting things are happening in the world of wine. Locals tend to drink regionally, often ordering wines that are produced right in Catalonia. So when you’re not having a bubbly, refreshing copa de cava (glass of cava), then try a Priorat, Penedes, Montsant, Conca de Barbera, or Alella—and don’t forget to say “Salud!”
Boutique Catalonia Hotels
We’ve scoured the region for hotels that are upscale, in walkable neighborhoods, and reflect the culture, and we think you’ll love what we found. In Barcelona we have found the perfect hideaway for the first part of your Catalonia food tour. Located in the historic center of Barcelona, within steps of the famed La Rambla pedestrian street and La Boqueria market, is our beautifully renovated 19th century modernist hotel. The hotel’s restaurant is run by Chef Martín Berasategui, who holds more Michelin stars than any other Spanish chef - although we can’t promise you’ll be hungry for dinner after your food touring! Our 4-star Barcelona hotel features complimentary wi-fi and a rooftop pool with views of the Ciutat Vella, or old city.
We’ve chosen Girona as the town to base ourselves in for the second half of our Catalonia culinary tour. You’ll spend three nights centrally located in Girona’s old town, just steps from the River Onyar and exceptional cafes and restaurants. Our lovely 4-star hotel has retained the character of a typical Catalan building while offering sophisticated, well-appointed rooms. It offers the only garden with a swimming pool in the center of town, as well as complimentary wi-fi.
All hotels are subject to availability and may be changed as needed.
Catalonia Travel Information
Arrival and Departure Travel Information
You should make your flight arrangements to arrive at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport (BCN). We suggest arriving by 4pm in order to participate in the orientation and welcome dinner.
Please plan to depart from Barcelona’s El Prat Airport (BCN).
Pick-up & Drop-off Information
As guests will be arriving for the tour via various transportation methods, the trip does not include built-in arrival airport transfers. You should plan to arrive mid-afternoon to check into our four-star Barcelona hotel.
For departure, we will provide group transfers back from Girona to Barcelona. For those arranging departure flights, we recommend departing Barcelona in the afternoon.
If you would like us to arrange transfers that fit your travel plans, please contact us.
We do not book international flights to or from Spain for our guests. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flight or travel insurance, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR SPAIN
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.
Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.
We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website here.
Passports & Visas
Travel to Spain requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and US citizens do not require a tourist visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Spain, please check out the State Department’s website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.
HEALTH & SAFETY IN SPAIN
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.
We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in Spain: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/spain
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours.
Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals. For more information on safety and security in Spain please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.
Spain is a nation marked by both distinct regionalism and a strong and unifying national history. Spaniards are known for their strong social ties and an open and lively communication style.
Out of respect for the culture we are visiting, please note the following etiquette tips:
Try to learn a bit of Spanish beforehand – this demonstrates respect and your effort to connect with the people of Spain
Be respectful when visiting churches. Shorts and sleeveless tops are often discouraged. Casual dress is fine as long as it’s relatively conservative, although many Spaniards are smart dressers.
Dining and daily life are on a different time schedule in Spain. Lunch for Spaniards is generally eaten after 1:30 or 2pm, dinner after 9 or 10pm. Be prepared that many shops and businesses close in the afternoons between about 2 and 4pm for a daily siesta.
Spaniards are generally friendly and helpful to strangers. Simple greetings such as hola (hello) and buenos días (before noon), buenos tardes (good afternoon) or buenos noches (good evening), and pleasantries (gracias) are always appreciated by locals, especially when entering or exiting shops.
It is impolite to waste food, so you should only put on your plate or order what you can eat.
Be sensitive around difficult subjects such as local nationalism (Catalan independence), Francoist Spain, and the economy, and be prepared to receive locals’ opinions on the matters, even if you didn’t ask.
Although most people in Spain do speak and understand Spanish, regional languages are quite prevalent, especially outside of big cities. On our tour, you’ll see and hear Catalan throughout the Catalonia region.
Spain’s climate varies between inland regions and the coast. Our tour is based in the coastal region of Catalonia, which boasts a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The best months to visit Spain are in the spring and fall, from April to June (generally between the upper 60 and lower 80 degrees F) and September and October (between 70 and 80 degrees F). July and August tend to be quite hot, and busy with lots of travelers.
If you are looking for warm weather and the convenience of peak season, our summer departures are a great idea. However, this is also the busiest time of year for Catalonia. Therefore, if the tranquility of a slower season interests you, we recommend our fall departures.
CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN SPAIN
Spain is part of the eurozone and therefore uses the Euro. There are exchange bureaus in airports, certain hotels, and most banks. Counters require your passport for the transaction.
For the latest currency exchange information please go to: https://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter
ATMs are available in all cities and major towns. It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.
Meals in Catalonia: All breakfasts, five lunches and two dinners (including the meals we cook during classes) and the farewell dinner are included. Please plan to bring at least $10-$20 per lunch and $20-$30 per dinner for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks and drinks.
Tipping is not always expected in Spain, and many Spaniards leave no tip or a few small coins. Should you feel the need, small change at a bar or 5% at a very nice restaurants is sufficient. Taxi drivers, hotel porters, and others who provide services can be tipped in small change, if at all. We’ve included some additional guidelines below should you need to tip.
Tour Guide/Drivers: If you are pleased with the services provided by your tour guide and driver, then a tip for their hard work will be very much appreciated. In general, we recommend around US $10 -15 per day, per traveler for guides and US $5-7 per day, per traveler for drivers if less than 4 people in a group. We recommend around US $5-10 per day, per traveler for guides and US $3-5 per day, per traveler for drivers if there are 5 people or more.
Hotel & Restaurant Staff: In restaurants, the tip is usually included in the final bill (IVA or Impuestos sobre el Valor Añadido). However, we recommend checking the bill first to make sure. If it is not included, a tip is not customary at cheaper restaurants but a tip of up to 10% will suffice at nicer ones. For cafes or bars, just round up to the nearest euro on the bill. In hotels, a tip of €1 per night is appropriate for exceptional housekeeping. A tip of about 1-2 euros is customary for porters.
Other expenses: There are no required additional expenses for this trip, but you might like to take spending money for such things as souvenir shopping and nightlife.
ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN SPAIN
In Spain the power sockets are of type C and F. The standard voltage is 220 - 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Wi-fi access is available at our Spain hotels.
Most US cell phones will not work in Spain, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.
WHAT TO TAKE
We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane. We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.
We suggest that you bring the following items:
Clothing & Equipment
Season specific clothing including items to layer with
Clothes to wear for optional upscale restaurants
Comfortable walking shoes
Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Passport (with photocopies)
• Travel insurance (with photocopies)
• Airline tickets (with photocopies)
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!
FINAL NOTES ON YOUR catalonia TOUR
This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.