Best Foodie Getaways
The splurge destination: Barcelona, Spain
When to go: May to June and September to October, when the weather is the mildest and sunniest
Sample economy airfare: $1,200 from New York City to Barcelona
The allure: Catalan food is incredibly eclectic and communal—every meal is a social event, which is what makes it Seshadri’s splurge pick. Regional specialties include Serrano ham and paellas made of seafood and botifarres, locally made sausages. To sample some of these goodies, check out the famous La Boqueria food market. Barcelona-bred chefs, like the Adrià brothers, owners of the famed El Bulli restaurant, are also whipping up some of the most innovative dishes in the culinary world that are paired with some of the best wines, to boot. Would you expect any less from the region that brought you cava?
Add lauded architecture (Gaudi, anyone?), high-end properties like the Hotel Arts (from $370 per night), museums and festive nightlife—and you’ve got enough to keep you busy in between meals.
The budget-friendly alternative: Bangkok, Thailand
When to go: November to February, when there’s less rain and humidity.
Sample airfare: $1,100 from Los Angeles to Bangkok
The allure: “Thailand is über-cheap, and Bangkok is the epicenter of the nation,” says Seshadri. This means that hotels are simultaneously luxurious and affordable—like the Sofitel So Bangkok (from just $150 per night!)—and meals won’t pinch your wallet, either.
In this foodie mecca, travelers can sample all types of Thai cuisine—from the traditional to the reinvented, hawker stalls to five-star eateries—as well as some of the best international restaurants. One don’t-miss food experience? The world’s highest open-air restaurant, the Greco-Roman-style Sirocco, which is as known for its breathtaking views (63 floors up!) as it is for its Mediterranean food and signature Hangovertini, a green-tea-liquor-based cocktail.
In between meals, check out other unique local activities, like the ancient Wat Pho temple, khlong rides down the river, and the Nang Loeng market, which also provides ample opportunity for capturing the local flavor.