Recently, I got back from my first solo trip, a 3-week backpacking excursion around Spain. And, guys? It. Was. AWESOME. I definitely have the travel bug now, and I’m already dreaming about when I can get back to Spain.
My trip began in Madrid, and, if I had to pick, it was probably my favorite city (But please don’t make me pick). So I thought today I’d talk about one of my favorite things that I did while I was in Spain: going on Devour Madrid’s Tapas, Taverns, and History Tour.
For those of you who don’t know, tapas are small portions of food served with a drink in Spanish bars. While traditionally tapas are given free with a drink order, this practice is dying out in Spain. Still, tapas are generally inexpensive and are a great way to cheaply sample a lot of different types of food.
I went on the tour on my second night in Madrid. I’ll be honest, before I left my hostel that night I briefly considered just staying in bed. I was still jet-lagged and feeling a little sick. Apparently, long flights don’t agree with me. That being said, thoughts of my bed were quickly forgotten once we started the tour.
The tour began in Plaza Isabel II, where myself and nine other people met up with our tour guide, Sean. Sean’s passion for Spain and its culture and cuisine became immediately apparent as we headed off to our first stop, a bar where we were able to sample some classic Iberian ham.
“We may be a Christian Catholic nation,” Sean told us. “But this is our true religion: jamón.”
Honestly, I understand why. Because that ham? A downright religious experience, that’s what. If you’ve never tried Iberian ham definitely put it on your bucket list because it is THE BEST.
After eating our fill of ham, the group was lead through what felt like a labyrinth of streets that I never would have been able to navigate on my own without getting lost, stopping every now and then to look at sights of historical significance. Sean was an enthusiastic tour guide; his love of Madrid and knowledge of the city was obvious, and he really brought all the sites to life.
In total, we stopped at four different tapas bars and I don’t even remember how many sites. Food that we got to try included grilled mushrooms, fried peppers, shrimp, and a whole host of other classic Spanish dishes (all of which were delicious). We also got to sample a variety of alcoholic drinks, like tinto de verano and vermouth.
Overall, the tour was really fun, and I got to meet a lot of interesting people in my group who were from all over the world. The tour had a nice mix of historical information and food tasting, and Sean was informative, funny, and seemed to genuinely care about making sure everyone had a good time.
That being said, the price tag is a bit steep: 95 euros for an adult. If you are traveling on a tight budget, this could be hard to swing. But, you are getting a lot for your money. All the food and drinks are included, and it’s enough for a filling dinner. Plus, you get a nice introduction to the city with a guide who truly knows their way around. You also get tips on other great places to eat and things to do in Madrid.
For me, the price was worth it. The introduction to tapas culture alone was something I really appreciated. On the tour, we were taught the basics of tapas etiquette and how to go about ordering tapas like a local. As an anxious person, I may have never had the confidence to enter a Spanish bar on my own in search of tapas if I hadn’t gone on this tour.
(The tapas scene is seriously intimidating! Well at least for me, a person who is easily overwhelmed.)
If you are considering taking a tapas tour while in Madrid, I would recommend going on the Devour Madrid Tapas, Taverns, and History Tour. They also have other tours, like the Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour and the Hidden Madrid Food and Market Adventure. If I’m ever back in Madrid (fingers crossed) I would be interested in taking another tour with them.
And, if you are headed to Barcelona, Sevilla, Galicia, Malaga, or Granada, the same company offers tours in those cities as well.
Have you ever taken a food tour in Spain? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments!