Little in life has ever been accomplished on an empty stomach. And perhaps lots of satisfied bellies is a key contributing factor as to why Spain has become one of the most progressive countries in the world; cuisine is given center stage in Spanish culture – so much so that your average Spaniard eats 4-5 times a day and lunchtime is a leisurely affair, stretched out over the better part of two hours.

This laidback attitude to food epitomizes the Spanish attitude to life in general – they like to relax, take it easy and welcome everyone to the table, metaphorical and otherwise. LGBTQ+ rights in Spain are some of the best in the world and, honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find any establishment that is unwelcoming to the LGBTQ+ community.

Inclusion isn’t a problem in Spain, yet navigating the tourist traps to find authentic Spanish restaurants can be. Taking a food tour does all that for you, providing you with the guidance of a passionate in-the-know local. Spanish food tours are also about more than just the food – as delicious as Spanish cuisine is. Every restaurant visit is an insight into the Spanish way of life, every morsel devoured comes with a story – food tours are the best way to learn them from the mouths – so to speak – of experts.

While there are many dishes typical to all of Spain – croquettes, tortilla (Spanish omelette) and cured ham being the ones most tend to think of – each region also has dishes unique to them. We take a look around the key cities of Spain and the best food tours to really get a taste of what makes Spain, well, Spain. 

Madrid LGBTQ+ Tapas Tour

Madrid is both Spain’s beating heart and its pleasantly satisfied belly. The capital city has some of the best restaurants in Spain – if not the world – serving an eclectic mix of Spanish cuisine from every corner of the country. Those wishing to really hone in on the Madrid LGBTQ+ experience, while still filling their bellies, might consider our very own Madrid LGBTQ+ Tapas Tour. Chueca is Madrid’s infamously fun gayborhood and – as locals ourselves who may have been known to frequent the area somewhat – we know all the best places to eat, drink and be merry. 

On the three and a half-hour hetero-friendly tour you’ll visit a contemporary Spanish tavern, a popular Galician tapas bar, Chueca’s bustling food market and the best tapas bars Chueca has to offer. You’ll sample everything from ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad) and gilda (an olive, anchovy and spicy pepper skewer) to Madrid’s trademark chipirones (battered squid) – all garnished with just a little queer history. Then – should you find the night calling to you after your five free drinks – we’ll recommend how to go about inserting yourself into Chueca’s spicy gay nightlife.

Madrid Tapas, Taverns & History Tour

There is a healthy quantity of food tours in the city to choose between, but some of the best are run by LGBTQ+ friendly Spanish food experts, Devour Tours. To “devour”, they say, is about more than just eating. It’s about seeing, smelling and experiencing both the food and the establishments that serve it. They believe in responsible tourism and taking their guests to the best of the best family-run restaurants all over the city.

On their Madrid Tapas, Taverns & History Tour you’ll peek into times past in the historic city center as you try tapas from century-old taverns, while learning about their histories and that of the dishes they serve – you’ll meet the owners and feel like a true local. You can expect all the favorites like croquettes or tortilla, but also some less obvious offerings like grilled stuffed mushrooms, fried padrón peppers and the mouth-watering morcilla (blood sausage). All this washed down with the best wines and a range of traditionally Spanish beverages.

The tour also includes a 45-minute history walk through the center, where you’ll see the Royal Palace, all the iconic plazas and learn all about how Madrid transformed from a collection of villages into the grandiose city it is today. Having worked up an appetite you’ll visit the restaurant where ‘gambas al ajillo’ was first invented – prawns cooked in the most delicious garlic and olive oil sauce you’ve ever tasted – and have a sit down meal in the best restaurant sequestered amongst the tourist traps off one of Madrid’s main squares, Plaza Mayor.

Madrid Tapas & Wine Tour

Devour’s Madrid Tapas & Wine Tour puts the emphasis firmly on the winning combination of wine and cuisine. On this tour you’ll stroll the peaceful cobblestone ‘Barrio De Las Letras’ – famous for being the home of famous artists, actors and authors like Cervantes himself. In fact, you’ll see their very words carved into the streets – quite literally. Away from the crowded center, you’ll uncover all the best taverns and wineries, usually only accessible by those in the know, or those who know how to get around needing a reservation! 

As well as all the delicious Spanish cuisine you’d expect, you’ll court a morning hangover with typically Spanish drinks such as vermouth (a sweet and fortified wine perfect to start any evening) and some of the best red and white wines across Spain. You’ll taste wines like the robust Rioja, aromatic Albariño and a couple others – seriously, there isn’t a grape that doesn’t grow somewhere in Spain. By the end of the tour you’ll be both tipsy and know how to tell your Riojas from your Riberas. 

Image credit: Devour Tours

Barcelona Tapas, Taverns & History Tour

Barcelona is more than just beaches, nightlife and Sagrada Familia: it also has an exquisite foodie scene for those who know where to look. As Spain’s most popular holiday destination, the city is full of tourist traps, waiting to snap shut on the unwary – landing you with a big bill and a grumbling stomach.

Devour's Barcelona Tapas, Taverns & History Tour offers the solution, taking you to all the most authentic locales in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. The legendary ‘barrio’ is an atmospheric labyrinth of medieval streets filled with churches, monuments, bars and eateries. Devour’s tour will take you to a 100-year-old bar for not one, but two aperitifs paired with cured meat, Spanish cheeses and tapas. Then you’ll take a guided tour through the winding backstreets of the historical Gothic District, including a visit to ancient Roman ruins, learning about Barcelona’s evolution through the centuries. 

Having worked up an appetite visit a tapas bar, whose menu is so good it hasn’t changed since 1945, and have a sit-down meal in an iconic wine-shop-turned-tapas-bar – sampling homemade Catalan-style cannelloni—along with local red wine and finishing the tour with a classic dessert: the Catalan precursor to crème brûlée. 

Seville Tapas & Flamenco Tour

Seville, in the southern region of Andalucia, is undiluted Spain at its rawest. There really is no city in Spain that’s more quintessentially Spanish than Seville. ‘Fuego’ (the fiery passion of Spain) manifests in both the unrelenting sun and the electric palpable energy on Seville’s streets – where locals drink and dine on busy terraces while serenaded by flamenco from street guitarists.

On Devour Tours' Seville Tapas & Flamenco Tour, you’ll get right to the core of the city’s two pillars – food and flamenco. The tour begins at an abacería (a part shop, part bar unique to Andalucía) to get a lowdown on all the local tapas, once more with an aperitif in the form of vermouth – I mean, what good food tour doesn’t start with one?

From there you’ll go to a bona fide Flamenco show in a 15th century building sequestered in the beautiful Jewish Quarter. Despite what the tourist trap Flamenco shows might have you believe, true Flamenco is all about improvised passion, and this show is completely authentic and improvised. A touch of sherry served with a flamenco flair, will certainly amplify the experience. Finally, you’ll head to a modern family-run local bar to discuss the experience as you tuck into a creative range of tapas and fine Seville wine.

Image credit: Devour Tours

San Sebastian Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour

Conversely, San Sebastian, up in Northern Spain’s Basque Country, couldn’t be more different from Sevilla. The Basque Country has its own distinctive style, worlds apart from flamenco and paella. 

The picturesque town is tucked within the shell shaped Bay of Biscay and its gorgeous old town is a foodie’s wet (mouthed) dream. However here, ‘pintxos’ replace tapas – essentially small slices of bread with any exciting combination you could possibly imagine piled on top – and it’s as if every Basque restaurant tries to outdo the others in originality. Lonely Planet even ranked going out for pintxos in San Sebastian as their #1 foodie experience in the world.

No, in San Sebastian the problem isn’t tourist traps. It’s that you’re spoilt for choice. Devour’s San Sebastian Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour helps prevent getting overwhelmed by the options and is easily the best way to learn how to navigate the gastronomical paradise like a local while braving the crowded – yet atmospheric – pintxos bars.

Image credit: Devour Tours

Beginning strong at one of the city’s best bars, you’ll try the best mussels in town and participate in a strange tradition from the north involving a rather novel way to drink cider – I hope you have a steady hand. From there you’ll head into the Old Town and visit several family-run businesses, devouring the tastiest variety of pintxos made from local ingredients. The Basque Country is also well-known for its grilled steaks and the tour will take you to find the very best washed down with a glass of barrel-aged Navarra wine. Finally, your “dessert second stomach” will be sated with San Sebastian’s legendary burnt cheesecake – the best cheesecake you’ll ever eat.

Taking a food tour in Spain not only opens up a whole new world of delicious cuisine and rich culture, but also immerses you in the true spirit of the country. Spanish mealtimes are about more than just the food – as delicious as every morsel is. Food tours in Spain open you up to the world of “sobremesa” – the experience around the table after a meal, when tongues loosen, the conversation flows like the wine and true connections are made.

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