Spain is one of my favorite countries that I’ve ever visited, because of its fascinating cities, beautiful landscapes, warm people, and fun nightlife. But Barcelona, Madrid, and the other big cities will only give you part of the picture. If you really want to know the Spanish lifestyle and immerse yourself in the “tranquilo, tranquilo” attitude, you’ll need to get off the beaten path. Here are the most incredible places that you could visit during your trip:
This Catalonian town is not far to the north of Barcelona, but it packs a punch that few other cities in Spain can live up to. From the medieval bridge to the cobblestone streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right back into some sort of fairytale land during your visit. The place is everything you might think of when you think of a medieval town. But one of the most interesting things to note here is the Jewish heritage, which you’ll see evident in the Jewish synagogues and the Jewish bath—one of only a few surviving bathhouses from that time period in all of Europe! I can’t imagine taking a bad photo here…
The whitewashed, narrow streets of Frigiliana will send you home with photos upon photos to impress your friends with. The town is located down in the south of Spain, meaning that the climate remains comfortable year-round—so it can be a great place to head during the frigid winter months! The so-called white village of Spain is consistently voted one of the prettiest places to visit in the entire country, and it’s no wonder why. It’s an artsy town as well, so if you’re looking to do a gallery-hop, this is the place to do it. Best of all? Many of the restaurants and bars have rooftop spots where you can look out over the amazing views while you’re sipping on sangria and nibbling on tapas.
The Basque country has stolen my heart, because of its friendly people, delicious pintxos, and stunning scenery. And although San Sebastian, Bilbao, and Vittoria are definitely worthwhile places to visit, you’d be amiss if you didn’t take the time to visit Lekeitio during your trip. Originally a small fishing village, today you’ll find plenty to delight you, from the Gothic basilica to the beaches. And then there are the bars and the food, which are absolutely divine. Of course, there are plenty of other small Basque towns in the area, and I recommend you get out and explore as many as you can during your time there!
I’m a bit of a history nerd, and Ronda appeals to all the best of me. There’s two different parts to the town: the Moorish section and the later Renaissance town that dates to the 15th century CE. For the past few centuries, the two towns have been connected by a stone bridge that makes for impressive pictures across the canyon, but you’ll still find distinctive flavors in each part of the town. Definitely don’t miss the Arabic baths, which are some of the best-preserved in all of Spain! But head less than fifteen miles out of town and you’ll also find an impressive Roman amphitheater and more. If you’re really looking to immerse yourself in the layers of Spanish history, I can’t recommend better.
Mallorca and other beachside locations in Spain can frequently be known for their drunken tourism and partying, but this doesn’t seem to have hit Sóller yet, fortunately, despite the fact that the town is an easy hop over from Palma. And between the beaches, open-air cafés, and more, you’re sure to find plenty to love in this little vacation spot. In fact, if you’re looking for European charm, there are few places that come close! Don’t forget to try the amazing seafood while you’re here and soak up some rays—you’re sure to make all your coworkers jealous.
These are, of course, just a few of the small towns in Spain, but they’re some of the most authentic, interesting, and fun to visit. From the food to the cultural experiences, you’re sure to have a great vacation. As the Spanish would say, buen viaje!