Although it’s known for its siestas and easy-going lifestyle, Spain is also famous for its nightlife, art, and, of course, cuisine (tapas anyone?!). Travelers from all over the world head to Spain to admire Gaudi’s legendary architecture, go for a stroll through La Rambla, or peruse the Museo Nacional – but just be sure that there are a ton of lesser-known sites that you won’t want to miss out on.
Before you jet off to the colorful land of rabbits, consider adding one of these secret stops to your itinerary.
One of the country’s many World Heritage Sites, this cultural and natural park features a wide range of things to do such as walking, biking, and driving automobile routes that can be accessed with or without a tour guide. Originally built from Roman mining sites, this beautiful backcountry landscape is situated in the Bierzo region less than 20 miles from the city of Ponferrada. The most impressive views are best accessed by car, so consider renting one or hiring a driver for this leg of your trip.
Bilbao has been steadily rising in popularity in the past decade, but that’s not the only place worth visiting in Basque Country. Coined the “Basque Toledo” by painter Ignacio Zuloaga, this quaint town is a great representation of the country’s gothic and baroque architectural style. Located in the mountains, the town sits right above a series of caverns and waterways. This small city is also a short distance away from Aizkorri Natural Park, making it an ideal hub for nature lovers and city travelers alike.
Spain is its own entity, but it also includes 17 autonomous regions within its borders. One of these is the urban epicenter, Andalusia, which is home to almost a fifth of the country’s total population. This is also one of Spain’s most economically prosperous areas, but its true claim to fame is the historic churches, castle, and walled old city. This community is perfect for a photo-ready vacation that packs in world renowned wineries, flamenco dancers, and even dancing horses.
If you want to take a look into the past while enjoying a local delicacy, Chinchon is a picturesque central plaza that is sure to wow any traveler. Simply spend an afternoon people watching or enjoying a meal in one of the many cafes. Soak in the sights, like the 15th century homes, or plan your visit during one of the three major festivals that are held each year. No matter what you’re looking for, Chinchon is the missing piece to complete your Spanish vacation.
Sure, Ibiza is hard to beat when it comes to thriving island life, but Spain has a variety of exotic islands all along its coastline – as well as Northern Africa’s western coast. The Canary Islands are a seven-island territory that includes Fuerteventura, Tenerife, and Lanzarote. Each island has something different to offer, such as pristine beach cliffs and wine tasting. This region can be reached by flying, and local budget airlines offer multiple routes from Spain and other European countries. For shopping, great food, and relaxation, just head offshore!
Spain is a large country that has an immense array of activities, history, and experiences to offer its visitors. Check out one of these stops to stray from the beaten path for an unforgettable Spanish experience.