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I did research for my Master's thesis in Madrid on my third visit to Spain 6 years ago. Heading back this summer with my mother (who has never been to Spain or much of Europe) -- collecting some ideas because I know a lot can change in 6 years... Hoping to see Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Seville, Cordóba, and/or Valencia... We love cooking classes, architecture, and food :)
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Plaza de San Miguel, 1, 28005 Madrid, Spain
The Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid is one of the best places to go for a little of everything local, or tapas-style shopping. They are always busy. Whether you are looking for ham or oysters, fresh fruits or desserts, coffee or wine, they have it...
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Plaza de España, 28008 Madrid, Spain
If you visit Madrid, don't miss the famous Don Quixote and Sancho statues, located close to the Metro stop in Plaza de Espana. They are situated right in front of a fountain and early in the morning the water mirrors the statue—making it feel...
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Plaza Murillo, 2, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Real Jardin Botanico, the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, is a peaceful place to get out of the city streets and stroll around in nature. Fountains and sculptures are scattered throughout the 5,500 species of living plants, trees and flowers....
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28028 Madrid, Spain
A trip to Las Ventas is a must in Madrid. Tickets are available for those who wish to attend un corrido and tours are available for others who don't care for the bullfight. If you decide to watch this Spanish tradition in action, buy a seat and...
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Cmo. de Perales, 23, 28041 Madrid, Spain
I went to Madrid on business and discovered the new Madrid Rio ... opened in May 2011 and in an area alongside the Manzanares River and highway that was converted into 15km of parks, historical moments, outdoor concerts, & gardens. It's for sure...
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Calle de Alcalá, 39, 28014 Madrid, Spain
The Metropolis Building in Madrid claims dominance over the intersection of Calle de Alcalá and Gran Via. The topping sculpture of Phoenix and Ganymede, like an architectural hood ornament, keeps a watchful eye over the busy boulevards below.
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Plaza de la Independencia, 7, 28001 Madrid, Spain
Don't miss Parque del Retiro—a stunning area complete with a lake, playgrounds, gardens, and fountains. It's the perfect public space where anyone can enjoy the day by taking a walk, playing a game, going on a boat ride, or exploring to your...
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Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Anyone with an iota of interest in art will certainly visit the Prado while in Madrid. But be sure to save some time to visit another nearby museum, where there's something wonderful to see before you even get inside. Just a 5-minute walk down...
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Calle Ferraz, 1, 28008 Madrid, Spain
Stone by stone, second-century BC Debod Temple was reconstructed in Spain in an effort, called to action by UNESCO, to save its demise when the site was threatened by the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan. As a sign of gratitude for the help...
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Paseo República de Cuba, 4, 28009 Madrid, Spain
No matter what the season, it's worthwhile to wander through the exquisite Retiro Park when you're in Madrid. Here you can find a tranquil escape from crowded streets and museums. The unrivaled architecture of Madrid is echoed here in the...
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Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28014 Madrid, Spain
When in Madrid, I highly recommend to visit Circulo de Bellas Artes. The views from the rooftop of the Fine Arts Circle is breath taking. Buy a ticket at the reception, speed up to the roof and stand by the feet of Goddess Minerva. Highly...
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Calle del Príncipe de Vergara, 92, 28006 Madrid, Spain

My hotel was in aneighbourhood called "Salamanca", just north of the centr - I stayed at the NH Principe de Vergara. It was just renovated and re-opened Sept 2010 - it was great! Fresh, clean, modern, a great rate, and good service. I had studied...

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Calle Cronista Lecea, 11, 40001 Segovia, Spain
If you find yourself in Segovia, Spain, the restaurant Jose Maria is an incredible place to feast. It's motto is "The Altar of Wine".
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Palos de la Frontera, Madrid, Spain
This station is unlike any I've ever seen—there is a market among the trees, a pond of turtles, benches to unwind and a cute restaurant on the other side overlooking the scene. It's the perfect place for a family to explore for free. If you find...
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Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24B, 28004 Madrid, Spain
Madrid's multi-level Mercado San Anton is a sight to be seen. Rows of gorgeous produce, local specialties, Italian deli favorites, briny seafood and locally-farmed meats line the perimeter of each floor, each stall more enticing than the one...
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Carrera de S. Jerónimo, 30, 28014 Madrid, Spain
My last full day in Madrid, I was walking around the city, exploring the winding side streets that stretch out from the center of Puerta del Sol. I was moving along at a relatively quick pace when I came upon a group of people lined up outside the...
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Calle Duque de Medinaceli, 12, 28014 Madrid, Spain
I once heard that eating tapas while standing builds character. Going into a tiny dark tapas bar in Madrid and ordering parts of a pig that aren't normally consumed does too. Toni, owner and cook at Casa Toni in Madrid, sautées this...
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Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain
Founded in 1894 and set in the center of Madrid, not far from Puerta del Sol, San Ginés is a local favorite and a don’t-miss stop during any visit to the capital. No excuses; it never closes. Pasadizo de San Ginés 5, Madrid, 34/91-365- 6546 This...
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La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain
Great all-day dining option. This place was recommended to us by many, even the bellboy at our hotel. The food is very good and their specialty is tapas. Waiters are friendly enough and it's usually very crowded but there are plenty of seats with...
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Barcelona, Spain
Marta, a petite Barcelona native fluent in three languages, welcomes any and all into her home for the joyous culinary experience of paella. The Spanish dish often frightens many due to its overwhelming nature of ingredients, but Marta brings such...
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Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
The mysterious rooftop of Casa Mila both charms and haunts visitors. The glorious October sky above frames the organic forms, each sculpted face watching as I creep up and down the rolling ramps. Children can't resist playing here, and fortunately...
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Rambla de Catalunya, 61, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
This was one of my best experiences in Barcelona. You can by and eat in small tables the best pata negra Jamon and get a wine or champagne. Very good prices!!!!!
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locales 466- 470, Mercat de la Boqueria, Carrer la Rambla, 89, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Pinotxo, which stands for Pinocchio in Catalan, is a longtime family-owned restaurant in the Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona's most important central market. Reasonable prices and fresh produce entice tourists and locals for breakfast, lunch, or...
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Carrer del Vidre, 8, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is home to countless tapas joints. They sit on street corners and back alleys all over the city. Many are commercialized and target tourists, while others are homegrown, centuries-old locations. There are plenty to choose from. After...
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Carrer de Tamarit, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
Not a secret any longer, but still a great surprise. We ended our brief stay near Barcelona recently at Lolita, Taperia in Barcelona. Outstanding food, and tons of fun. We felt like adults, even with three kids under age 6 in tow.
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Baixada del Monestir, 9, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
This Gothic monastery houses collections from Barcelona's City History Museum, but if you've got only an hour or so, skip the exhibits in favor of a walk around. Founded by King James II of Aragon in 1326, the monastery (or monestir in...
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Rabla de las Flores, s/n, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Amble down La Rambla, stopping to admire fresh flowers, original artwork, and Barcelona souvenirs at your leisure. Watch living statues come to life when you drop a euro in their cups—most will pose with passersby, for a price, of course....
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Carrer de Pau Claris, 192, 08037 Barcelona, Spain
"First stop in Barcelona is Bar Mut. Great vibes, wine, and this house classic of egg yolk, prawns, and crispy potatoes. Hot damn, it's good to be here."—Matt Duckor
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Carrer de Còrsega, 231, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
Despite this restaurant's claims of "low-cost haute cuisine," 3 Food's tapas are elegant—but considering the tiny portion sizes, fairly expensive, especially if you want try a variety of the restaurant's more creative dishes. There is a very...
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Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 33, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
The Catalan capital has plenty of places to cozy up with your loved one and enjoy your drink of choice, be it a meaty Tarragona red or a café carajillo—the Spanish spin on Irish coffee. Lean your elbows on the marble tables of Casa Almirall,...
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Calle de José Ortega y Gasset, 75, 28006 Madrid, Spain
The family-run El Pescador is not only down-to-earth fun, but also a very good seafood restaurant, with great tapas and a smart choice of Albarino wines. Try a glass of Mercado San Miguel. —Alessia Antinori Jose Ortega y Gasset 75, 34/91-402-1290,...
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Carrer d'Aribau, 23, 08011 Barcelona, Spain
Some of the best tapas I had in Barcelona where at a place called La Flauta. This restaurant has been around for years and came highly recommended by a local guide. Not only did I love the food and plan a work lunch there, but I also went back on...
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Paseo Neptuno, 6, 46011 València, Valencia, Spain

Even if time was limited, you cannot go to Valencia without trying their traditional Paella! La Pepica is a restaurant right on the sea side with amazing views of the Mediterranean, friendly atmosphere, and a killer paella.

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Mercado de La Boqueria, La Rambla, 91, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
La Boqueria is known for its incredible selection of fresh fruit, amazing ham, and uber fresh seafood. Wandering around the market is a foodie's dream but make time for a meal at one of the many fantastic restaurant counters. My favorite meal of...
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Known for their Andalusian-style trout and asparagus, La Trucha tapas keep the locals coming back for more. The food is excellent (their omelet is absolutely amazing) and the place is always crowded with both locals and tourists, a good sign!
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Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
Forget Google Maps: You’ll quickly locate this venerable tapas bar in El Poble-Sec by the line out the door. With standing-room-only space for just 20 people, this sliver of a spot fills up fast—and stays that way until closing time....
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Calle Cava de San Miguel, 17, 28005 Madrid, Spain
Tasty mushrooms from the Meson de Champiñones, a cave bar, under the Plaza Mayor.
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Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, 4, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Renowned chef Paco Roncero re-interprets everyday Spanish food without crossing the line into pretentiousness at Estado Puro; here, flavor matters more than presentation and dishes are perfectly portioned. Patatas bravas, fried potatoes spiked...
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Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
The immense Gothic Cathedral of Seville was built on the site of an ancient Muslim mosque. It was completed in the early 16th century and was designated a Roman Catholic cathedral. Since 1987, this cathedral has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site...
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Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001 València, Valencia, Spain

I was in Valencia for literally five hours before having to hop on an Iberia flight to Paris ... So I made the best of getting to know the city. Heres a picture from a fresh food market that seemed to have been inside of an old train station ......

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Calle Conde de Miranda, 1, 28005 Madrid, Spain
If you're in Madrid and in the mood for tapas, you might not know exactly where to go or what to taste. The Mercado San Miguel (metro Sol) takes away all that decision-making by providing you with a taste experience all under one roof. The old,...
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Calle de la Cruz, 14, 28012 Madrid, Spain
One of the best things you can do in Madrid is go on a guided tapas crawl. If you don’t know much about Spain and/or don’t speak Spanish it’s best to have someone that knows what’s going on with you. Here are a few high notes from the crawl. My...
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Plaza de la Trinidad, Granada, Spain
Granada is one of the few cities in Spain that you can expect to get a free tapa with your drink. When I lived in Seville I never thought twice about picking the most appetizing tapa and paying for the little delicious dish. However in Granada I...
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Calle Núñez de Arce, 3, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Aroubd te Writers Quarter in Madrid my favorite place for TAPAS in traditional taverns or Fine Food at the trendy Gastrobars. I like mix the food with a bit of history on this charming pedestrian quarter
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Granada, Spain
Crispy stacks of churros and a cafe con leche in the Spanish morning sun. Welcome to Granada.
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Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001 València, Valencia, Spain
Centrally built in the middle of the Ciutat Vella, Mercado Central, or Mercat Central if you want to stick to the local version of Catalan is Valencia's go to market for Paella produce. Set in a magnificent Art Deco Building, it is home to about...
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Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
It is hard to find a more authentic tapas bar in the Old Town than this one. Founded in 1929, now the 4th generation of the same family is starting to take over bringing a happy freshness to the always busy but still smiling staff. When I take...
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28012 Madrid, Spain
For local, authentic dining paired with a tour of the city's hidden gems take a cooking workshop from Rafaela. While just a tourist in Spain, I had no idea how much of a local I would feel like after touring and dining with her. The evening began...
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Calle Pelay Correa, 32, 41010 Sevilla, Spain
The atmosphere is special because it is located in a building typical of Seville, inside a courtyard of a building. Surrounded by azulejos and colored tiles. I recommend eating in the courtyard as we did. They serve the sausages with the "picos"...
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Calle Primavera, 23, 18008 Granada, Spain
You may know Granada for the spectacular Alhambra palace, but chances are you didn’t know about the Granada province LAW that every bar, cafe or restaurant is required to give customers a FREE Tapa with purchase of beverage. This is The Best part...
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Passeig de Neptú, 34, 46011 València, Valencia, Spain
Valencia claims to be the birthplace of paella, so where better to try this richly indulgent meat-and-rice dish? Paella can include a variety of meats, beans, and vegetables—along with saffron—the spice that delivers its distinctive golden-yellow...
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Carrer de Josep Benlliure, 69, 46011 València, Valencia, Spain
The tavern's curving wood and glass doors only hint at the building's centurion history. Inside, creamy, tiled walls provide a contrasting background for mahogany-colored barrels advertising spirits like brandy, anise, and manzanilla for sale....
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Calle Pintor Ricardo Verde, 1, 46010 Valencia, Spain
Fusion cuisine (served generously) reigns at this charming eatery. Creative tapas like croquetas made from Thai chicken, or Brazilian bean stew also surprise tastebuds. The menu changes frequently, enticing diners to return time after time....
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28005, Calle de Toledo, 21, 28005 Madrid, Spain
El Rastro is overwhelming. As one of the largest outdoor flea markets in Europe, you're going to need a break at some point. Enter El Capricho Extremeño, a Sunday afternoon institution in Madrid. The line will be long, but it's part of the...
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Carrer d'Aribau, 158, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
I can't resist their bread creations, and I never leave without buying a chocolate bread bun. Soooo god!
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Carrer de l'Arquitecte Mora, 2, 46010 València, Valencia, Spain
The rustic interior belies modern eats at Les Graelles, where you can choose from a mixture of Valencian and Spanish soups, stews, and meats, along with creative fusion fare like crunchy eggs with mushrooms, or angel-hair pasta paella. With a...
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Plaça de Cánovas del Castillo, 1, 46005 València, Valencia, Spain
Savor some of Valencia's best salads and tapas on the fly at this cozy eatery, or call ahead to reserve your favorite rice dish or paella. In the authentic tradition, some of the larger meals can literally take hours to prepare, so make...
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Carrer d'Aragó, 67, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
While the food isn't as exquisite or beautiful as in some of Barcelona's more expensive traditional restaurants, portion sizes are generous and the food is inexpensive and freshly prepared. The restaurant is closed on Saturdays, and weekday...
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Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 3, 46002 València, Valencia, Spain
Arriving in Valencia after a long train ride from Madrid literally one day before the 2004 bombings, we experienced Valencia quietly. We stopped at the market for the most delicious avocados I've ever tasted, and threw together a makeshift dinner...