Discover the spicy, sophisticated heart of Spain, from sun-drenched beaches to unparalleled mountain views. Though tourists flock to Madrid and Barcelona (with good reason), the country is so much more than the sum of its main attractions. If you’re willing to lace up your hiking boots or rent a car, you can find thousands of secret places awaiting exploration. Blaze a new path and visit these seven destinations that many tourists pass right on by.
Uncover the Mysteries of Almería’s Alcazaba Fortress
Granada’s Alhambra is an incredible specimen of Moorish architecture, but it can get quite crowded during tourist season. Fear not! The southern beach town Almería is home to a fortress just as spectacular, and without the thronging masses. Dating back to the 10th century, the Alcazaba is the largest Moorish fortified complex in Spain. Wander its ornate interior and admire the nearby terraces of fig and carob trees. Fans of Conan the Barbarian and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade will recognize scenes from the movies as they explore the fortress grounds.
Soak up the Sun on Formentera’s White Beaches
Ibiza has some of Spain’s most famous coastline, but you don’t have to brave the island’s crowds to have an authentic Spanish beach experience. Instead, hop a boat to the lesser-known, picturesque island of Formentera. At just twelve miles long, the glittering stretch of land is perfect for exploring every nook and cranny. Formentera’s famous Playa de Ses Illetes is a white-sanded, turquoise-watered beach oasis. The island has also lent inspiration to a number of artists and musicians. Joni Mitchell wrote her 1971 hit album “Blue” while visiting.
Discover Spain’s Glorious Past in Puebla de Sanabria
Walk through time in Puebla de Sanabria, a medieval town in the province of Zamora on the Portuguese border. The town features an impressive collection of architectural wonders, including a 15th-century hilltop castle and the 13th-century Romanesque Church of Nuestra Señora de Azogue. Sanabria remains balmy and breezy even in summer due to its high elevation (a little over 3,000 feet), making it an ideal destination year-round.
Celebrate the Grape in Spain’s Famous Wine Country
Italian and French wines may get all the buzz, but Spanish vintages are in a league of their own. The steep, fertile slopes of the Ribeira Saca region were first seeded with grape vines by the ancient Romans. They’ve continued to produce some of the finest wines in the world ever since. Due to the high altitude of the region, the flavors of its wines are unusually strong yet smooth. After touring the local wine cellars, take a stroll around the winding riverbanks or visit the numerous churches and monuments that dot the hillsides.
Lose Yourself in the Natural Wonders of Els Ports National Park
People who love the outdoors will lose their hearts to the Els Ports National Park. Stretching over 148,000 acres, this rugged and wild landscape features craggy limestone formations, cascading rivers, hidden caves, and the towering centuries-old Monumental Trees. Trekking and birdwatching are the most popular activities in thepark, and if you’re lucky, you may spot goats, wild boars, and foxes roaming the countryside. If you’re up for a challenge, you can tackle the highest point in the park. Mount Caro, at 1,447 meters high, rewards hikers with unparalleled panoramic views of the landscape and the Ebro River far below. Keep an eye out for eagles, Griffon vultures, and a handful of other majestic birds of prey.
Taste Your Way Through Antequera
Spanish cuisine is hot nowadays, and not just for its bold use of spicy flavors. Chefs combine local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques with modern twists, delighting the palates of residents and tourists alike. Nowhere is this more evident than in the vibrant town of Antequera. One of mainland Spain’s most southern cities, Antequera is as famous for its laid-back atmosphere as it is for exquisitely prepared dishes, both traditional and experimental. But Antequera is much more than just a paradise of gastronomy. It’s also home to medieval castles, verdant forests, and a vibrant nightlife. Don’t miss El Torcal Natural Reserve and its unique karst rock formations and varied flora and fauna.
Discover the “Lost” Canary Island
When you set foot on El Hierro, you step into a world of rugged natural beauty that most visitors miss. This island, the smallest and most remote of the Canaries, is largely untouched by tourism. There are no towering buildings or endless stalls of wares. Here you’ll find windswept forests and over 500 dramatic volcanic peaks—not to mention glittering beaches that you’ll have all to yourself. Keep an eye out for the rare beaked whales as you watch the sun set on the westernmost point of Spain.
Grab your sunscreen—it’s always summer in Spain
Whether you have a few free days or are planning the month-long vacation of a lifetime, Spain has plenty to offer. You can lounge on world-class beaches, explore breathtaking art galleries, challenge yourself with a hike or whitewater rafting, and broaden your cultural horizons the country’s astounding cuisine and traditional dances. Are you ready to explore the best of Spain’s secret places? Call the travel experts at go-today or start planning your dream Spanish getaway online now.