Join us in Barcelona, Spain for hands-on cooking, tapas, scenic tours & a food-lovers’ tour! With its rich culture and affinity for both food and wine, this Catalan city is the perfect spot to unwind, wander down winding cobblestone streets and, best of all, get cooking
Tie on your apron strings and prepare to learn the secrets of cooking one of Spain’s most popular dishes in a hands-on paella class, all while sipping and swirling delicious local Spanish wine. Become immersed in Barcelona’s unique history and culture during a tapas tour, as you explore some of Barcelona’s more bustling streets with our local English-speaking guide, tasting and learning about the city’s heritage and culinary history as you go.
You will also get a feel for the more artistic and spiritual sides of Spain, visiting the breathtaking, yet unfinished, La Sagrada Familia church and the serene, yet mysterious, Montserrat Abbey mountaintop monastery. We can’t wait to meet you in Barcelona – salut!
Barcelona Cooking Classes
Executive Chef Marco, who has experience cooking in Michelin Star restaurants, will lead your culinary journey in Barcelona with an approachable and enthusiastic energy. In his kitchen, you are family! After greeting you with a welcome glass of Cava, a refreshing Spanish sparkling wine, he will teach you the ten secrets of cooking an authentic paella in your Hands-on Paella Cooking Class focusing on the Spanish specialty using locally sourced ingredients while refilling your wine glasses as you sear, stir, and soak up scents of saffron, rich broth, garlic and onions.
When your paella is complete, you will enjoy a five-course meal with your Chef and the small group of guests. The first course is pa amb tomàquet, tomato bread, a Catalan combination of bread, sweet tomatoes, garlic and salt. Course two is a seasonal entrée of roasted cauliflower and saffron soup, followed by the famous paella that you prepared in the cooking class, always with a perfect socarrat – the crispy, caramelized bottom part of the rice that boasts a full-of-flavor bite every time. Course four is a pre-dessert and includes for example, escalivada, Catalan roasted vegetables with eggplant, peppers and onions soaked in oil and sherry vinegar. Course five concludes with crema catalana, a Catalan dessert delicacy similar to crème brûlée. During the meal, you can sip on bottomless local wine and chat with the Chef.
The next day, you will return to the kitchen for a Walking Tapas Tour through the streets of Barcelona, led by our English-speaking guide. In Spain, dinnertime is traditionally served between 9pm and 11pm, leaving plenty of time between work and dinner. As a result, many Spaniards will go to bars and order tapas, for small plates of food and drinks in the early evening. Some traditional tapas include: papas bravas (fried, diced potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce), aceitunas (olives, often stuffed), or boquerones en vinagre (anchovies marinated in vinegar). On your Walking Tapas Tour, you will learn about the country’s heritage through food, while sampling some delicious bites from the different regions of Spain and also understanding how these small plates are part of the Spanish culture. You will conclude your tapas tour with an amazing dinner in an ancient underground wine cellar.
Benvingut, welcome to your home away from home in Barcelona – a charming 3-star boutique hotel with everything to make your stay comfortable! Located in the heart of Barcelona, the property is just steps from the Arc de Triomf, an impressive red-brick arch built as the entryway to the 1888 Barcelona World Fair.
Originally a grand Catalan home, your property has been lovingly restored in Barcelona’s signature modernist style while maintaining its original beauty and charm. The best of both worlds, each room has unique antique mosaic floor tiles and traditional yet understated decor, with all the modern amenities: a private ensuite bathroom, hairdryer, air conditioning and heat, safe, flat-screen televisions, and free WiFi. A room with a street-view balcony is available as an upgrade option. To start your mornings off like a local, breakfast is provided at the property each morning, including coffee, tea, juice, traditional breads, cakes, fruit and jams.
Barcelona is a large metropolitan city on the northeast coast of Spain. Now the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, it has been occupied since 5000 BC. In the modern era, the Romans redrew the city – the Roman grid layout is still visible today in Barcelona’s historic city center, the Gothic Quarter, and some remaining pieces of ancient Roman walls were incorporated into the Cathedral of Barcelona. During the Middle Ages, the city was conquered by the Visigoths, the Arabs, and then Charlemagne’s son Louis – each culture leaving its mark on the city’s architecture, art and cuisine.
Take a walk through the Gothic Quarter to truly step back in time and see Barcelona as it looked in the Middle Ages. Stroll down narrow stone streets with stone façades climbing high on both sides, while Catalan flags hang from windows and the sweet scent of garlic and tomato bread waft out of quaint neighborhood restaurants. Make sure to visit the gothic and imposing Cathedral of Barcelona, a 13th century marvel with vaulted ceilings, gargoyles and even a secluded cloister where 13 geese are kept – Barcelona’s patron saint Eulàlia was 13 when she was martyred.
For a more modern experience, the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, designed by local famous architect and leader of the Catalan modernism movement, Antoni Gaudí, is a stunning work in progress. Construction began in 1882 but Gaudí’s design is so intricate and over-the-top that it is still being finished today, though it is nearly done and accepting guests. The stained glass surrounding the basilica is a more modern take on the traditional church window, using geometrical prisms in varying shades of blue/green and orange/red. When the sun shines through the windows, the stone ceilings are dyed the richest hues and the building takes on new life, letting the brilliant architect’s vision come to life. It is especially beautiful to visit in the morning, when the sun shines brightest through these stained glass windows, and their vivid colors paint the church.
To experience more works of the great Antoni Gaudí, visit Park Güell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This public park was designed by Gaudí in the early 20th century and contains many elaborate gardens, quirky walkways, and magnificent buildings, including Gaudí’s own home.
Montserrat: A Monastery in the Clouds
Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey is an abbey of the Order of St. Benedict on the mountain Montserrat. Just an hour outside of the bustling Barcelona, you will ascend the mountain by car, climbing higher and higher through the clouds, soaking in the view, until the peak and abbey (equally impressive) become visible. Founded in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 19th century, the abbey is still functional today, with 80 monks in residence.
The view from the top of Montserrat is simply breathtaking. You are in the clouds, looking over mountains made of pale pink bulbous rock and grassy hills below. By the Basilica, there are magnificent stone arches and religious statues framing the view, as if you are looking at a first-rate painting. The air is crisp and clear, and you can sense the wonder and weight of your surroundings.
The interior of the Basilica of Montserrat is covered in ornate gold details and treasured frescoes, but the church is best known for the Virgin of Montserrat, a 12th century Romanesque carving of the Virgin Mary, housed in the upper part of the basilica’s apse, surrounded by an intricate silver throne. The Virgin holds the infant Jesus on her lap and a sphere in her right hand, signifying the cosmos. To some, it is considered a pilgrimage to trek to Montserrat and touch the orb to receive the Virgin’s blessing. If you are lucky enough to hear the Escolania, one of the oldest boys’ choirs in Europe, on your visit, you will think you are being serenaded by angels.
Considering the mystical location of Montserrat, with the rounded mountain rocks surrounding a basilica in the sky, it is perhaps unsurprising that it is the place of many legends. Local lore has it that the Virgin of Montserrat was found in a cave on the mountain in 888, after fireballs were seen shooting out of the cave. The monastery was built where that cave once was, and many miracles have been attributed to the statue. Additionally, many believe that the Holy Grail is hidden on the mountain, leading many adventurers to search Montserrat, including notorious Nazi Heinrich Himmler.
Itinerary: 4 Days, 3 Nights
Day 1: Benvingut & Chef’s Tasting Dinner
- Welcome to Barcelona! Arrival transfer from the Barcelona airport or train station to your hotel.
- Check in and relax.
- Welcome dinner at our favorite tapas locale with a Chef’s Tasting Menu. Wine not included.
Day 2: Sagrada Familia & Cooking Class
- Breakfast is served.
- Enjoy a morning visit to Sagrada Familia, walking inside and outside Gaudi’s masterpiece of a basilica and taking in the spectacle of modern stained glass on stone vaulted ceilings, aided by an English audioguide. Take your time exploring each detail of architectural brilliance and cultural identity that plays out over the interior and exterior. The morning is the best time to visit – the angle of the rising sunlight on the stained glass is breathtaking. The basilica should be completed by 2026, after 144 years of construction.
- Afternoon free. Suggestions: visit the Cathedral of Barcelona, Gothic Quarter, or Park Güell.
- In the evening, tie on your apron with a welcome aperitif and get ready for your Hands-on Paella Cooking Class. Your chef will teach you the 10 secrets of perfecting the art of the Spanish paella.
- Dinner follows and includes the paella that was made in the cooking class with four other prepared courses and bottomless local wine.
Day 3: Montserrat & Tapas Tour
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, meet your English-speaking private driver for a half-day excursion to Montserrat. You will be enchanted by the monastery in the clouds, surrounded by stunning views and steeped in lore. Visit the Madonna of Montserrat and light a candle for a loved one in the stone walkway behind the church. After, your driver will return you to your hotel.*
*If you would like to add on a private English-speaking guide for your Montserrat drive and as you explore the Abbey grounds, please contact us for pricing information.
- Late afternoon, meet your English-speaking private guide for a 3-hour walking tapas tour of Barcelona, with tastings all the way. Stroll though the busy streets of Barcelona, learning about its culture and food heritage, all while sampling small plates from different regions of Spain.
Day 4: Adéu, Barcelona!
- Breakfast is served.
- Check out and departure. Your driver will transfer you to the Barcelona airport.
• 4 days, 3 nights in boutique hotel, based on two guests.
• Daily breakfast and maid service included.
• Tapas welcome dinner featuring the Chef’s Tasting Menu. Wine not included.
• Sagrada Familia tour with English audioguide.
• Hands-on paella cooking class with dinner to follow including the food that was prepared in the class, wine included.
• Half-day excursion, with private driver, to Montserrat. (Option to add-on English-speaking guide.)
• Walking tapas tour through the streets of Barcelona with English-speaking guide.
• Round-trip transfers from the Barcelona airport to your hotel.
• Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag.
$2195 per guest, based on 2 guests.
For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.