World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. The aim – to protect and preserve National Heritage.

Mosque Cordoba

Spain accepted the convention on May 4, 1982, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the World Heritage List.

In 1984 five sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List: the Mosque of Córdoba, the Alhambra and the Generalife of Granada, Burgos Cathedral, the Monastery and Site of the Escorial of Madrid and the collective Gaudi works of Park Güell, Palau Güell and Casa Milà in Barcelona.

There are currently 44 World Heritage Sites in Spain listed by the World Heritage Committee on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Spain is the 3rd country with the most World Heritage Sites behind Italy with 49 and China with 45.

World Heritage Sites in Spain LIST, with their first year of inclusion:

39 Cultural World Heritage Sites in Spain:

• Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada (1984)
• Aranjuez Cultural Landscape (2001)
• Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida (1993)
• Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco (2000)
• Archaeological Site of Atapuerca (2000)
• Burgos Cathedral (1984)
• Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí (2000)
• Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville (1987)
• Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain (1985)
• Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana (2011)
• Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija (2012)
• Historic Centre of Cordoba (1984)
• Historic City of Toledo (1986)
• Historic Walled Town of Cuenca (1996)
• La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia (1996)
• Las Médulas (1997)
• Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid (1984)
• Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias (1985)
• Mudejar Architecture of Aragon (1986)
• Old City of Salamanca (1988)
• Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches (1985)
• Old Town of Cáceres (1986)
• Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct (1985)
• Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona (1997)
• Palmeral of Elche (2000)
• Poblet Monastery (1991)
• Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (1998)
• Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza (2003)
• Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula (1998)
• Roman Walls of Lugo (2000)
• Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain (1993)
• Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe (1993)
• San Cristóbal de La Laguna (1999)
• San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries (1997)
• Santiago de Compostela (Old Town) (1985)
• Tower of Hercules (2009)
• University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares (1998)
• Vizcaya Bridge (2006)
• Works of Antoni Gaudí (1984) Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí 1852–1926: Parque Güell; Palacio Güell; Casa Mila; Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; Crypt in Colonia Güell.

3 Natural World Heritage Sites in Spain:

• Doñana National Park (1994)
• Garajonay National Park (1986)
• Teide National Park (2007)

2 Mixed World Heritage Sites in Spain:

• Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture (1999)
• Pyrénées – Mont Perdu (1997)


Visit Spain’s World Heritage gems on one of our Private Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country and taste fine wine, local foods and much, much more!



  • The capital city of Spain is Madrid
  • There are 50 provinces in Spain
  • There are 17 autonomous communities in Spain – Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile- La Mancha, Castile and León, Catalonia, Extremadura,  Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre and Valencian Community. There are also 2 autonomous cities, Ceuta and Melilla.
  • The Spanish language is spoken by around 420 million natives and apart from Spain it is the official language of 19 countries in America.
  • Other official languages in the country of Spain are : Basque “Euskara”, Catalan and Galician
  • The dialing code for Spain is (00) 34
  • Before the Euro was introduced Spain’s currency was the Peseta
  • Spain is the World’s main producer of Olive Oil
  • Spain has many wine regions or “DO’s” (Denominaciones de Origen). 2 are classed as “qualified” DO’s, meaning their quality standards are a bit higher than the rest – DOC Rioja and DOQ Priorat.
  • There are over 400 grape varieties planted throughout Spain
  • Rioja is the most famous and most productive wine region of Spain
  • Spain is home to the World’s Number One Restaurant – El Celler de Can Roca, Girona
  • There are 174 Michelin Starred Restaurants in Spain (8 ***  /  20 ** / 146 *)
  • The National Anthem of Spain has no words
  • Henry VIII’s 1st wife, Catherine of Aragon, was Spanish
  • Since the beginning of the Modern Olympics in 1896 Spain has hosted 1 Olympic Games – Barcelona 1992
  • The World’s oldest restaurant is in Spain. Other restaurants claim to be older, but the Guinness World Records awarded the title to Restaurante Botín in Madrid, open since 1725. Roast suckling pig is their signature dish.
  • There are 44 UNESCO sites in Spain
  • Spain was neutral in World War 1 and World War 2

panoramica plaza mayor

Visit Spain on one of our Private Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country and taste fine wine, local foods and much, much more!

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and List started in 2002 and each year is organized and compiled by the British “Restaurant” Magazine.

It is an annual recollection of the opinions and experiences of over 900 international restaurant industry experts.  Today, this prestigious list is awaited each year, with baited breath, to find out WHO is considered THE BEST Restaurant in the World!!! Over the last 14 years just 5 restaurants have received the Number 1 spot as Best Restaurant in the World!!  Spain has headed the prestigious Worlds 50 Best Restaurants List 7 times at Number 1, Denmark 4 times, USA twice and the UK once.

worlds best 50The first EVER restaurant to be awarded the prestigious title of World’s Number One Restaurant in the World was in 2002 –  El Bulli, by Spanish born, Catalan, chef  Ferran Adrià.  El Bulli, as a restaurant,  closed its doors in 2011 to transform into a creativity center. El Bulli sat proudly at the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants  List, in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Now it is the turn of Spanish born, Catalan Brothers, Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca, Girona. First awarded the Number 1 spot in 2013, the Boys are Back for a second time in 2015 – Current World Number One Restaurant!

El Bulli

Here are the World’s Number 1 Restaurants over the years, as awarded by Restaurant Magazine in the World’s Best 50 Awards Ceremonies:

2002: El Bulli – Ferran Adrià – Spain (currently closed)

2003 + 2004: The French Laundry – Thomas Keller – USA (currently, 2015, at Nº 50)

2005: The Fat Duck – Heston Blumenthal – UK (currently, 2015, at Nº 73)

2006, 2007, 2008 + 2009: El Bulli – Ferran Adrià – Spain (currently closed)

2010, 2011 + 2012: Noma – René Redzepi – Denmark (currently, 2015, at Nº 3)

2013: El Celler de Can Roca – Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca – Spain (currently, 2015, at Nº 1)

2014: Noma – René Redzepi – Denmark (currently, 2015, at Nº 3)

2015: El Celler de Can Roca – Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca – Spain

Can Roca

Here are the FULL 2015 RESULTS of the World’s Best Restaurants 2015 from Number 1 – 100, Best Female Chef, Best Pastry Chef, One to Watch, Continetal results etc ..


In 2016 the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants Awards Ceremony will leave it’s home,  in London, and will be presented from New York City. The world ceremony will, for the first time ever, leave the English capital. It will be the first time in 14 years that the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants awards has left the UK.


El Bulli is currently closed and El Celler de Can Roca has a loooooong waiting list that far exceeds it’s capacity, but great restaurants are rife in Spain!! Why not join us on a Private Food, Wine and Culinary Tour of Spain (you could even combine with Portugal) covering foodie Spanish hotspots like San Sebastian, Barcelona, Madrid …. to indulge in some sublime Spanish dining.

Heading to Portugal and want to visit some of the great wine areas?  Here’s an easy and straight forward map of  The Wine Regions of Portugal,  courtesy of “Wines of Portugal”, to point you in the right direction.

Join us on a Private Tour of Portugal (or a combined tour with Spain) like our  Luxury Tour of Portugal – Wine and Culture  to experience the beautiful Douro Valley, among others, to enjoy winery visits and tastings as well as a relaxing picnic in a vineyard and a cruise along the Douro River.

More info about Portuguese wine on the Wines of Portugal website 

Park Guell, Gaudi Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia in Spain

Barcelona is situated in the North East of Spain, on the Mediterranean coast

Barcelona city has a population of around 1.7 million people

The country dialing code is 0034 and the Barcelona prefix is 91

The official currency is the Euro. Before the Euro was introduced the Peseta was used

The official language of Spain is Spanish although in 1975 the official language of Barcelona was declared Catalan

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city, behind Spain’s capital Madrid

The most walked along street in Spain is in Barcelona. Each hour an approximate 3500 pedestrians walk down Portal d’Angel

The most famous street in Barcelona is Las Ramblas – 5 boulevards making up 1 – which starts at Plaça de Cataluya and 2kms later ends at the Columbus monument

Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992

Before 1992 Barcelona had no beaches for public and local use. The area was purely industrial but after redevelopment 7 beaches are now in use along 4.5kms of coastline

Barcelona Port is the no 4 worldwide and is Europe and the Mediterranean’s leading cruise port.  2.6 million passengers embarked or disembarked in Barcelona in 2013

Surprisingly Barcelona city has no Michelin 3 star restaurants although there are many Michelin 2 and 1 stars.

Barcelona’s world famous Football Club – F.C Barcelona – is nicknamed the ‘Blaugrana’ after the colors they most commonly wear namely blue (blau) and maroon (grana)

F.C Barcelona is also represented in other sports such as Basketball, Handball and Hockey

Antoni Gaudí was Barcelona’s most famous architect and 7 of his works have been declared UNESCO world heritage sites

Gaudí’s most famous Sagrada Familia was started in 1882 and is still being built today long after his death in 1926

The patron saint of Barcelona is the Virgin of Mercy. The day is declared a bank holiday and La Mercè festivities are held on (and during the week of) the 24th of September.

Many of our Private Food, Wine and Cultural tours include stays in Barcelona to discover this fantastic city via private tours and/or giving you free time for your own sightseeing.

  • Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, after Lisbon, and is an important Atlantic port.
  • Porto is located in Northern Portugal on the Douro river estuary and follows the river up until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Porto is approximately a 320km drive from Lisbon.
  • The Country Dialing Code is 00 351 and Porto’s Area Code is 22.
  • In Portuguese the name of the city is spelled “o Porto (with a definite article) which translates into English as ‘the port’.
  • The English name of the city  – Oporto – evolved from a misinterpretation of the Portuguese oral pronunciation.
  • The Latin name for Porto is Portus Cale from which the country, Portugal, takes its name.
  • Porto’s most famous export is Port Wine, to which the city gives its name. Although, most Port wine that is exported from Portugal is exported from Vila Nova de Gaia, in the Greater Porto area which is actually across the river from Porto.
  • Cork, fruits, olive oil, and building materials are also exported.
  • Porto is one of the oldest European cities, and was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, for its historic buildings and outstanding monuments.
  • The first evidence of settlers in Porto emerged at the end of the Bronze Age, in the 8th century B.C., situated near the present Morro da Sé. This ancient village is known as Cividade, but any traces left of this area were demolished in 1940.
  • One of the most traditional dishes of Porto is the ‘Tripas à Moda do Porto”. In the 15th century, the people of Porto gave a great quantity of meat to the military forces, keeping only tripe (tripas) for themselves. This is the reason why the people of Porto are called ‘Tripeiros’
  • In 1958 and 1960, Porto’s streets hosted the Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix on the Boavista street circuit.
  • In 1807 Porto suffered a violent invasion by Napoleon’s troops but, with the help of the British, the city banished the general. In 1809 Napoleon invaded Porto again and during these invasions the terrible Bridge of Barques disaster took place, resulting in the loss of hundreds of panic-stricken people, trying to escape from French soldiers, and drowning in the Douro.
  • The most striking landmark of Porto is the Torre dos Clérigos (1754-1763), a baroque tower.
  • Other highlights of Porto include the formidable 12th century Sé cathedral, the two-storied Dom Luis Bridge (1881-1887), the Crystal Palace (1865), the Serralves Museum of Contempory Art (1999) Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (1999) and the prominent Port wine lodges dominating the hillside of Vila Nova de Gaia.



More about Portugal: Some fascinating facts about Portugal

Visit Porto and Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country, taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!

Spain is a big country enjoying diverse cuisine, culture and scenery. From North to South, with a fantastic climate, fresh local produce is grown on the land and great wine is lovingly made from the vines. It’s no surprise, therefore, that with Good Food and Fine Wine Superchefs abound here! Love Food? Love Wine? Love Spain!

With the recent publication of the World’s Best 100 Restaurants for 2014, Spain is home to 10% of the acclaimed list.  But, that’s not all!  When the Michelin Stars Awards for 2014 were announced, Spain was left sparkling with 8 Michelin 3* Restaurants, 17 Michelin 2* Restaurants and well over a hundred Michelin 1*Restaurants.

If you love Good Food and Fine Wine, what are you waiting for? Spain is the Foodie place to be!

So, with 10% of the World’s Best Restaurants being in Spain, who’s placed where on the prestigious World’s Best 100 Restaurants List?

Nº 2. El Celler de Can Roca. Girona, Spain  Last year’s Nº1 and home to the Best Pastry Chef in the World 2014 – Jordi Roca

Nº 6. Mugaritz. Errenteria, Spain

Nº 8. Arzak. San Sebastián, Spain

Nº 26. Azurmendi. Larrabetzu, Spain Winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award for 2014

Nº 34. Asador Etxebarri. Atxondo, Spain

Nº 35. Martín Berasategui. Lasarte, Spain

Nº 41. Quique Dacosta. Denia, Spain.

Nº 57. Tickets – Barcelona, Spain 

74. 41 Grados – Barcelona, Spain 

Nº 94. Diverxo – Madrid, Spain 

Celler de Can Roca

And, as for Michelin Star Restaurants in Spain? Take your pick:

The Eight Michelin 3 Star Restaurant Wonders in Spain for 2014 (in alphabetical order) are:

Akelarre. Pedro Subijana (Guipúzcoa)

Arzak. Juan Mari Arzak (Guipúzcoa)

Azurmendi. Eneko Atxa (Vizcaya)

DiverXo. David Muñoz (Madrid)

El Celler de Can Roca. Joan Roca (Girona)

Martín Berasategui (Guipúzcoa)

Quique Dacosta (Alicante)

Sant Pau. Carme Ruscalleda (Barcelona)

Michelin 2 Star Restaurants in Spain for 2014 (in alphabetical order):

Abac. Jordi Cruz (Barcelona)

Atrio. Toño Pérez (Cáceres)

Calima. Dani García (Marbella)

Casa Marcial. Nacho Manzano (Asturias)

El Club Allard. Diego Guerrero (Madrid)

El Portal. Francis Paniego (La Rioja)

Enoteca. Paco Pérez (Barcelona)

La terraza del Casino. Paco Roncero (Madrid)

Lasarte. Martín Berasategui. (Barcelona)

Les Cols. Fina Puigdevall (Girona)

M.B. Martín Berasategui (Santa Cruz de Tenerife)

Miramar. Paco Pérez (Girona)

Moments. Raül Balam (Barcelona)

Mugaritz. Andoni Luis Aduriz (Guipuzcoa)

Ramón Freixa (Madrid)

Santceloni. Óscar Velasco (Madrid)

Sergi Arola Gastro (Madrid)


There are so many Michelin 1* Restaurants in Spain, here is the Complete List


With Spanish Chefs taking the World by storm, now is the time to visit Spain with 10% of the World’s Best Restaurants and numerous Michelin starred Restaurants!  On one of our Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours you can indulge in the Best Michelin Starred Restaurants in Catalonia, Madrid and The Basque Country.  Contact us for your personalized quote.

  • Lisbon is the Capital City of Portugal.
  • Lisbon is situated on the north bank of the estuary of the Tagus (Tejo) River.
  • The Country Dialing Code is 00 351 and Lisbon’s Area Code is 21.
  • The Moorish castle, now called São Jorge (St. George) was built in honor of the English alliance of 1386.
  • The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) long, making it the longest bridge in Europe.
  • The world record for the largest dining table was set when some 15,000 people were served lunch on the Vasco da Gama bridge as part of the inauguration celebrations. Construction began in 1995 and the bridge was opened to traffic in 1998, in time for Expo 98.
  • The Tagus is Iberia’s largest river and its estuary at Lisbon, which is up to 14km wide, is thought to be big enough to hold all the warships in the world.
  • Lisbon was struck by an immense earthquake (approx.  9.0 magnitude) on the 1st of November, 1755.  It was followed by a tsunami and fires that brought the city to rubble! The tremors were felt as far away as Scotland and Norway!
  • The Alfama area of Lisbon is the city’s oldest district and was the only area of Lisbon to survive, relatively unscathed, in the 1755 quake.
  • Fado (fate in Portuguese) is a music genre that originates in urban Lisbon. It’s a type of mournful and heart-touching folk music sung by the common people. The music genre was recently added to the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
  • Lisbon’s trams were originally called “americanos” and the first operational route was inaugurated on 17th November 1873.
  • Lisbon is also known as “the town of seven hills” which are comprised of the seven hills: Castelo, Graca, Monte, Penha de Franca, S.Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Catarina and Estrela.
  • ‘Sport Lisboa e Benfica’ or simply, Benfica, holds the Guinness World record, since 2006, for the most widely supported football club in the World.
  • The Santa Engrácia church is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the church that took the longest time to construct:  started in the 17th century, the last dome was completed  in 1966.


 More about Portugal: Some fascinating facts about Portugal

Visit Lisbon and Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country, taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!

  • Portugal is named after its 2nd largest city, Porto


  • The capital city of Portugal is Lisbon


  • The Portuguese language is spoken by about 230 million people and is the official language of 9 countries


  • The dialing code for Portugal is (00) 351


  • June 10th is Portugal’s National Day


  • The country of Portugal was founded by Alfonso Henriques, in 1152


  • The main religion in Portugal is Roman Catholic


  • Portugal abolished slavery in 1761


  • Portugal is a democratic republic and joined the EU in 1986


  • Before the introduction of the Euro, Portugal’s currency was the Portuguese Escudo


  • Portugal is most famous for its Port Wine, Azulejos (tile painting and glazing) and Salted Cod


  • As of 2014, Portugal holds NO Michelin 3* restaurant, but does have two Michelin 2* restaurants and ten Michelin 1* restaurants


  • As of 2013, Portugal has 15 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list, of which 14 are cultural sites and 1 natural


  • Over half the World’s cork is produced in Portugal


  • The most popular sport in Portugal is football (soccer) with Benfica holding the Guinness World record for the football club most widely supported in the World


  • Portugal is one of the world’s top surf spots with a coastline of 800 kilometers


Visit Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country and taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!