Spain & Portugal
Living and traveling through Spain the last few years has truly been life changing! Spain is a country full of vibrant colors, passionate people and a life loving atmosphere that runs into the early morning hours. As a great addition to a trip to Spain, Portugal has a rawness unlike anywhere else in Europe, with a sprawling rustic landscape & bold, earthy flavors on every plate. It's almost impossible not to fall in love with Spain & Portugal...
The Usual Suspects:
Barcelona & Madrid
Barcelona is one of those places that keeps changing and yet seems so familiar. It has really evolved into a dynamic and thriving city, for both the avid traveler and the locals that love them. With such impressive sites such as the Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, the Gothic Quarter, Passeig de Gracia and Boqueria market, you really can't go wrong here. Great also as a base for day trips to Girona, Cadaques, Figueres, Montserrat or the wine country.
After living 2 years in Madrid, I'm surprised how it's become hipper and more modern than ever! A gastromonic hub awaits you with trendy open air markets, buzzing nightlife and creative cuisine that goes beyond the standard tapas & paella. Nearby day trips include Segovia, Toledo, Avila, El Escorial, Cuenca and activities such as historical walking tours, museum visits, cooking classes, wine tasting & hiking trails.
Lisbon might be one of the most exciting cities in Western Europe. I find every time I go, it sheds a new light on why I personally love traveling. Nothing here feels blasé or routine, you can wander the old streets of the Baixa and feel the energy jumping off the cobblestoned streets. Or watch the sun set and the town come alive from the Castle São Jorge overlooking the city. There is so much to see in Portugal that is unlike anywhere else. The incredible castles and coastline of Sintra & nearby Cascais, Nazaré and Obidos are all an impressive attempt at luring us to this amazing country.
The medieval cities of Seville and Córdoba are unlike anywhere else in Spain. Brilliant cathedrals, sun-drenched courtyards & gardens and the vibrant local community of Andalucía are what make this region of Spain so special. Granada is more than just the gallant Alhambra watching over the city, with more highlights such as traditional mosques, palacios, a lively tapas & live flamenco culture to explore.
Porto & Douro Valley
You won't find a more a romantic town than Porto at sunset. The town's recent renaissance combines the colorful medieval architecture of baroque churches, bell towers and boats on the river with modern conveniences and inovative cuisine, perfect for those looking for a traditional setting with an out of this world edge. The Douro Valley has some of the most impressive and world renowned wines coming out of Europe to date, with modern producers remodeling family farmhouses to create state of the art tastings rooms and hotels nestled on the terraces amongst the vines.
With a regional pride that's well deserved, this area of north-east Spain, there is so much more to Catalunya than it's capital, Barcelona. From stunning beaches and world-class resorts of Costa Brava, to Dalì influenced towns of Figueres and Cataques, you'll find stunning monasteries and abbeys perched on hilltops, vineyards home to their world-renowned sparkling Cava & deep reds and tantalizing white wines of Priorat, a 2nd century Roman Amphitheater on the seaside of Tarragona to one of the Best Restaurants in the World located in the town of Girona, the region of Catalunya will win you over with every new discovery.
Beyond the Borders
Seville, Córdoba, Granada
Oh Galicia, how you won my heart over! Unlike any other place in Spain, this gem of a region on the north-west side of the country is paradise for anyone who loves to get away from it all. My days were filled exploring some of the countries most beautiful beaches, having drinks with locals in towns like Pontevedra, feasting local on seafood every meal while drinking a chilled white wine from their famous Rias Baixas wine region. I enjoyed greeting the Pilgrims arriving into Santiago de Compostella after their long journey on the Camino walking trail, and marveling at the typical hórreos or grain storage dotted throughout the seaside villages. Galicia is a must see!
A Spanish Gem
Food lovers beware, you'll never want to leave this magical place! With 7 Michelin starred restaurants in Spain, 3 are home to the town of San Sebastian in the Donastia Region of Northern Spain. This city is a true culinary delight! You'll find your nights filled with mouth-watering pinxtos and a never ending choice of traditional or ultra-modern dishes along with local txakoli wine. Day trips in the region include the Basque countryside and seaside villages, French Basque areas like Biarritz, with local activities such as hands on Basque cooking classes, cycling, hiking, sailing, fishing or lunch or dinner at one of the secret Gastronomical Societies. This part of Spain is a destination not to be missed!
For those looking to go a bit further, Southern Spain and the Costa de la Luz boast some of the most beautiful beaches and historic towns in the country. Heavily influenced villages such as Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Tarifa, Arcos & Vejer offer a perfect mix of Moroccan Spanish design and cuisine. Sunsets over the white-washed villages and North African coastline are unlike any other in the world.