(photo by: Shaun Dunphy)
You’ll find the Spanish must-eat delicacy tapas even off the beaten path!
5 Incredible Places in Spain That You’ve Never Been To
I’ve written a few blog posts about Spain, because it is definitely one of the must-visit European countries. If you’ve already visited Spain, you most likely realize that many people share my passion for this warm and wonderful country; it places second in the world in annual tourism income. If you haven’t visited Spain, you might be thinking now that you’d prefer to avoid such a popular “tourist trap.” Trust me, whether you’ve been or not, Spain isn’t a tourist trap, and there are plenty places in Spain off the beaten path. Do you want to avoid the crowds yet still see Spain? Visit these five incredible places.
- Almeria – Almeria invites its visitors to enjoy several different landscapes. From the white, sandy beaches, which consistently rank as some of the best in Europe, to its mountainous regions, to the deserts in between, you’ll find it all in this incredible Spanish hideaway. Almeria sits in the southeast region of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. Every August, Almeria hosts the “Feria de Almeria” festival, which encourages attendees to dance, drink, and be merry. In addition to the festival, Almeria is home to many historical sites reflective of Spain’s Phoenician and Greek past. While in Almeria, visit the Alcazaba citadel, Almeria’s 16th century cathedral, and the Rodalquilar gold mines. Once you’re done enjoying Almeria’s rich history, wind down with a leisurely nature walk on one of its beautiful trails.
- Galicia – Let’s make a diagonal trek across Spain to Galicia, a Spanish off-the-beaten-path gem on the northwest side of the country. “If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain…” Seriously, if you like walking in the rain, even the Galicia locals say this is your kind of town! This area is often called “Green Spain.” The Celts have history in this Spanish region, and in many ways, it will remind you of Ireland and Scotland with its misty, rugged coastline and heavy precipitation. If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, Galicia is the perfect place. The region boasts plenty of wildlife and plant life throughout the nature and hiking trails to enjoy them. Of particular note are the O Pindo Mountain and Costa Norte walks, with breathtaking mountainous and coastal views, respectively.
- Murcia – We’re journeying back over to southeast Spain to check out Murcia, for those of you looking for a more traditional tourist experience without the crowds. Murcia is a small Spanish hideaway filled with wonderfully friendly locals. You can pretty much walk anywhere in Murcia to see the sites, and there are plenty of sites to see. As with nearly every Spanish city, Murcia is home to a cathedral; its cathedral from the Baroque period. Shoppers will find plenty of ways to spend their souvenir dollars on Murcia’s Platería and Trapería Streets, where you can also enjoy traditional Spanish tapas bars. Speaking of gustatory heaven, Murcia also has numerous cake shops that serve a local and traditional delicacy: sweet meat pies.
- Tarragona – We’re heading up north to Tarragona now, found in Spain’s northeast region. Of course, you’ll find plenty of wonderful Spanish beaches in Tarragona, but this city also holds the proud distinction of housing a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spain has ties to numerous ancient civilizations, and the Ancient Romans were a biggie. Tarraco, which means “city” in ancient speak, is home to the Roman ruins over which UNESCO went gaga. There are also the remains of the Roman aqueduct in the area, as well as plenty of architecture and the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona to complete your well-rounded education of this region’s history. What’s that? You brought Fido along on your vacation? No worries, the Camp de Mart has a wonderful dog-walking trail.
- Valencia – I’ve saved the “best” for last. Valencia is often called Spain’s “best kept secret,” even though it is Spain’s third largest city. Located in the central east portion of the country on the Mediterranean Sea, you’ll find more than enough to do in Valencia without having to fight a ton of other tourists. This continental city has it all: arts, culture, food, nightlife, and some of the best, uncrowded beaches in the world! Notable Valencia districts include the Ruzafa district, where you’ll find plenty of art galleries through which to browse and bars in which to meet Valencia natives; the Canova district for those looking for a high-society experience; the Compte d’Altea for sunset terrace strolls that will astound you. Speaking of astounding, don’t forget to snorkel at Valencia’s beaches!
If you’ve already been to Spain, you simply must go back to visit these five lesser-known Spanish cities. If you haven’t been to Spain, you simply must go – period! Spain isn’t the second largest grossing tourist destination in the world for nothing. It’s a rich, cultural, and historical country filled with warm people who promise visitors they won’t be disappointed. In fact, I bet you’ll go back again… and again… and again!