Skip to main content

Spain has so many wonderful destinations on the Mediterranean coastline and in the south, it’d be a shame not to see all of them! A good place to start is the Costa del Sol and Andalucia, which makes for a great road trip route for you and your travel crew. Grab some beautiful seaside places to stay, sip some sangria and just relax. And what’s the most perfect part about exploring Spain’s sunny spots?


Now some of Spain’s cuisine can be wonderfully complex and beautifully presented, but I think the best stuff comes from the tapas bars. From a small villa in Costa Dorada with a bar to a large café in the center of Seville, there are endless places to poke around for wonderful Spanish bites. Although tapas, or small plates are often simple, ingredients tend to be fresh, rich and perfect for sharing when traveling with friends. What’s even better is a car can allow for multiple city stops to try different delicacies, like we did recently with Auto Europe for an indulgent week. Here’s a few to keep an eye out for on the menu!

Here’s a big guide to tapas all over Spain if interested in the country as a whole!


paella homemade eileen cotter wright

Try to not get paella outside of Spain – it’s never done quite right. Spanish paella is a rice dish usually made with sausage, seafood and saffron. It takes a little longer to prepare, so plan on a few drinks while ordering a large pan for the table.

Jamon Serrano y Manchego


When I was a student, you could get beautifully cured ham, mature cheese and olive oil inside a fresh bakes baguette for about a dollar. Most of the time, you can order the ham and cheese on a palt alongside a cold beer or glass of wine. Up north there is ‘Iberico’ ham that is a little more famous, as the pigs are given a diet of acorns, but I think ‘Serrano’ is much better.


You may have heard of gazpacho – a cold tomato soup. This is a little bit like the cousin of gazpacho. It’s smoother, served chilled and has great hints of garlic. You can order fresh bread or ‘pinchos’ to dip in it.

Spanish sweets

Spanish sweets eileen cotter wright

As an au pair in Spain, I had to sample my fair share of junk food with the kids. You know, for quality control. I loved ‘turron’ around the holidays, a nougat and nut round circle you break into pieces. While more of a British thing, I really loved finding these funny friend eggs everywhere as a gummy snack too.


churros seville eileen cotter wright

Another well-known treat, you can find churros con chocolate almost anywhere. Granted, more touristy bars will carry these, as tapas don’t usually include sweet things. They are basically long fried dough sticks with sprinkled sugar and melting chocolate for dipping.

Lomo y patatas

paella and tapas in spain eileen cotter wright

This is a staple on almost all tapas menus. It’s prepared a zillion ways -just slices of pork loin and potatoes. I like the version plain with chunky home-style potato cubes that goes great in the summer with a ‘rebujito’ shot!


tortilla espanola via flickr

Not like the Mexican version, the Spanish tortilla is thick and made with eggs and potatoes. It’s often served in slices, hot or cold, with mayonnaise. Nice, quick, simple snack with drinks in the afternoon or evening.

“Tapas Sorpresa”

tapas sorpresa eileen cotter wright

You might see this on the menu at several bars or restaurants. For a flat fee, the chef will bring out a round of tapas for the table at his discretion. If you’re feeling adventurous this is the way to go! You could get anything from ‘patatas bravas’ (fried potatoes) to ‘boquerones fritos’ (fried anchovies!)

Looking for more food options? If you make it north of the Costa del Sol, here’s a great food market in Barcelona to check out!

Have you had Spanish tapas before? Which are your favorite?


Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA local and a former London, UK expat. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for more than 16 years. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Instagram @CrookedFlight.

More posts by EileenCotterWright

Join the discussion 4 Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.