The Best Secret Getaway Spots in Spain
Maybe you’ve eaten tapas in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, marveled at Guadís Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and toured the intricate works of the Moor’s Alhambra fortress in Granada. While these attractions are certainly spectacular and a very integral part of Spain’s history and culture, they also lure in hordes of tourists. If you’re looking to get a cheap holiday to Spain and experience the country void of boisterous tourists and long lines, then check out some of the hidden gems.
There are numerous quiet places along the countryside and coast that are great for escaping the masses. Next time you’re in the “empire in which the sun never sets,” rent a car and seize the day’s light as you start from one end of the country to the next, exploring its best kept secrets.
In the quiet, northwest corner of Spain lays a region that is brimming with dramatic beauty and a rich Celtic culture. On most days, rolling mists gives way to rugged cliffs breathtaking coastlines and a verdant interior. But, don’t let the condensation deter you, as locals agree that one of the most magical times to walk the streets of the capital city, Santiago de Compostela, is when it’s raining. Outdoors enthusiasts will love exploring the wildlife along the trails in the O Pindo Mountain or the Spindrift walk along the two northern rias of the Costa de Norte (Coast of Death). Artists will find themselves engrossed in the diverse works in the town of A Coruna. Foodies will be in utopia as they taste the wines of Ribeiro and the superb seafood such as the local delicacy percebes which are also known as goose barnacles.
This seemingly unknown city in the province of Andalucía boasts nearly unsoiled beaches, centuries-old buildings and a delectable cuisine. The Alcazaba citadel, which was named Al-Mariy-yat (watchtower), is one of the largest fortresses built by the Arabs inSpain. The grand mosques and palaces which are encased by the Walls of Hayrán rival those of Granada. In addition to the palaces, visitors can marvel at the Muslim Medina at the bottom of the Alcazaba and the grandiose cathedral. The historic quarter’s narrow streets framed by white-washed facades make for picturesque views, while the area’s two nature reserves boast excellent beaches and nature trails. Quiet evenings can be spent strolling under the palm trees and taking in seaside views in Nicolás Salmerón Park. The food has a strong Arabic influence and there is an abundance of produce, fish and a variety of olives.
Dubbed “best kept secret” by many, Valencia is truly a hidden treasure. Sure, there are the more popular spots such as the city center, El Carmen, the gorgeous La Malvarossa beach and the grand Turia garden. However, these are just teasers for to what the rest of the city has to offer. Mix in with the vibrant, local crowd at the Ruzafa district. Filled with small shops, bars and art galleries, it’s an easy way to mingle and meet local Spaniards. The Canova area is more high society, but still void of tourists. The Compte d’Altea is perfect for an evening stroll as you take in the sunset and beautifully crafted terraces. If you’re looking to soak up some sun, then head to the less crowded El Saler beach or drive a little ways down the coast to Javea where there are several small and quiet beaches that are perfect for snorkeling and diving.
Photo by cuellar on Flickr