Are you looking for the best hidden gems in Spain? Here’s your ultimate guide to the most underrated places in Spain. Get ready to discover Spain off the beaten path.
Spain, a country famed for its lively cities and popular beaches, holds many more treasures that often escape the typical tourist radar. This guide shines a light on 12 of Spain’s hidden gems, each offering a unique and enriching experience far from the crowded hotspots. These lesser-known destinations provide a glimpse into the quieter, yet equally captivating, aspects of Spain.
In this exploration, travelers will find themselves wandering through untouched natural landscapes, exploring quaint villages rich in local culture, and uncovering historical sites that tell stories untold. Each location has been carefully selected to showcase the diversity and depth of Spain’s cultural and natural beauty.
This guide is designed for those who seek to venture beyond the mainstream and experience Spain in a more authentic, intimate way. It’s perfect for adventurers looking for undiscovered paths, as well as culture lovers who wish to dive deeper into the local lifestyle. These hidden gems of Spain offer a fresh perspective on a country known for its vibrant life and rich history. So let’s set out on a journey to discover Spain’s lesser-known wonders.
Hidden Gems in Spain
Eager to uncover the best-hidden gems in Spain? As mentioned earlier, this country is brimming with destinations beyond the typical tourist paths, appealing to a diverse range of travelers. Venture further to uncover some of the most underrated places in Spain.
Are you searching for serene mountain retreats for relaxation? Or perhaps you’re drawn to historic city adventures that invigorate the spirit? Whatever your preference, Spain has something special to offer. Immerse yourself in this guide to discover the coolest Spain sights and attractions off the beaten path.
1. Albarracín, Aragon
Located in the hills of Aragon, Albarracín is a real hidden gem in Spain, offering a unique escape from the more crowded tourist destinations. This medieval town is a haven for those seeking a quieter, more authentic Spanish experience.
Spend at least a day here to wander through its winding streets and admire the terracotta-colored houses. While exploring the town is free, some attractions, like the historical castle, might have a small entrance fee. The panoramic views from the castle are breathtaking and well worth the visit.
Albarracín is about a two-hour drive from Valencia, making it an accessible yet secluded destination. Its off-the-beaten-path location keeps it peaceful and unspoiled. The best times to visit are during spring or fall when the weather is mild and the town isn’t too crowded.
As one of the best-hidden gems in Spain, Albarracín offers travelers a chance to step back in time and enjoy the country’s rich history in a serene setting. It’s perfect for those who appreciate the charm of old-world architecture and the tranquility of a small town.
2. Cudillero, Asturias
Cudillero is one of the most unique places to visit in Spain, tucked away in the northern region of Asturias. This charming fishing village, with its brightly colored houses cascading down to the sea, offers a picturesque escape from the typical tourist destinations.
In just a day, Cudillero lets you experience its magic, but you might find yourself wanting to stay longer. Its narrow streets are perfect for wandering, leading to quaint cafes and restaurants where the seafood couldn’t be fresher. And definitely try the fabada – it’s a local favorite.
An hour’s drive from Oviedo brings you to this hidden gem. Consider an overnight stay to fully enjoy the peaceful evenings. Cudillero is beautiful year-round, but each season offers its own unique charm.
Finding secret spots in Spain that offer peace and seclusion is no easy task, but Cudillero provides a tranquil, authentic experience. It’s ideal for those who appreciate the beauty of a small coastal town and the laid-back lifestyle it offers.
3. Setenil de las Bodegas, Andalusia
When exploring Spain’s hidden gems, Setenil de las Bodegas in Andalusia should be at the top of your list. This isn’t your typical Spanish town; it’s something straight out of a fantasy book. Houses and shops are built into the rock, creating a scene that’s both surreal and beautiful.
You can explore Setenil de las Bodegas comfortably in a day. It’s small, but every corner has something new. The town is famous for its unique architecture, where buildings are nestled under overhanging cliffs. It’s a photographer’s paradise and a history buff’s dream.
Getting there is part of the adventure. It’s about a two-hour drive from Seville, making it a great day trip. But if you stay overnight, you’ll see the town in a different light, quite literally. The streets light up beautifully at night.
Visiting Setenil de las Bodegas is like stepping into another world. It’s perfect for travelers who are looking to discover Spain off the beaten path. The town is quiet, the pace is slow, and the experience is unforgettable. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to see a different side of Spain.
4. Ronda, Andalusia
Ronda in Andalusia is a gem that’s often missed by the typical Spain itinerary, yet it’s a destination that leaves a lasting impression. This town, perched atop a deep gorge, isn’t just scenic; it’s steeped in a rich blend of history and natural beauty.
Exploring Ronda is an experience in itself. The town’s iconic Puente Nuevo bridge, spanning the gorge, offers views that are nothing short of spectacular. While Ronda is compact enough for a day’s visit, staying overnight allows you to experience its evening charm. For those seeking unique places to visit in Spain, Ronda stands out with its dramatic landscapes and historical depth.
Traveling to Ronda is straightforward, with regular bus and train connections from major cities like Seville and Malaga. The journey itself is part of the adventure, with each route offering picturesque views of the Andalusian countryside. Spring and autumn are ideal for visiting, with comfortable temperatures and fewer tourists.
Ronda is a haven for those who appreciate a mix of natural wonders and historical intrigue. Its quieter atmosphere compared to Spain’s coastal hotspots makes it an ideal destination for a relaxed yet enriching travel experience. If you’re looking for beautiful places in Spain and want to discover something truly special, Ronda is the place to be.
5. Zahara de la Sierra, Andalusia
Ever heard of Zahara de la Sierra in Andalusia? It’s an underrated destination in Spain that’s a real treat for anyone looking to explore mountain villages. Located in the hills, Zahara de la Sierra is known for its stunning views and a charming, laid-back vibe.
You can easily explore Zahara de la Sierra in a day, but you might want to stay longer. The village is small, but it’s packed with character. Walk around, snap some photos of the whitewashed houses, and check out the castle ruins. The views from up there? Absolutely worth the climb.
Getting to Zahara de la Sierra is a bit of a drive, around two hours from Seville, but the journey is part of the fun. The roads wind through some beautiful scenery. Spring and fall are the best times to visit, with great weather and fewer tourists.
Zahara de la Sierra is perfect for travelers looking for something a bit different. It’s quiet, it’s picturesque, and it feels like you’ve stepped into another world. If you’re into small towns with a lot of history and great views, this place is a must-visit.
6. Luarca, Asturias
Tucked away in Asturias, Luarca is a gem that’s quietly making a name for itself as one of Spain’s off the beaten path destinations. This coastal town, with its charming harbor and traditional white houses, offers a tranquil escape from the usual tourist hotspots.
Exploring Luarca doesn’t require a rushed itinerary. Its charm unfolds in its leisurely pace. The town’s small, yet vibrant fishing port is a hub of local activity, perfect for people-watching and enjoying a relaxed afternoon. Seafood lovers are in for a treat with the town’s fresh offerings, often caught the same day.
For those traveling to Luarca, consider using public transport options like buses or trains from major cities, which offer a scenic journey through Asturias’ landscapes. The town is also a great starting point for exploring the surrounding areas, known for their natural beauty and hiking trails.
Luarca stands out for travelers who seek peaceful, scenic, and Instagrammable spots in Spain. It’s an ideal destination for those wanting to experience coastal life without the commercialization of larger tourist areas. Whether you’re a solo traveler or with family, Luarca provides a peaceful yet engaging seaside experience, making it a hidden gem worth visiting.
7. Aínsa, Aragon
Ever stumbled upon a place that feels like a well-kept secret? That’s Aínsa in Aragon for you. It’s this cool medieval town that’s somehow stayed under the radar, making it one of the secret spots in Spain that’s just waiting to be explored.
Walking around Aínsa is like stepping into a different era. The main square, Plaza Mayor, is where it all happens. Grab a coffee at one of the cafes there and just soak in the vibe. And you’ve got to check out the castle – the views up there are something else.
If you’re driving from Zaragoza, Aínsa is about two hours away. It’s not a big place, so a day or two is plenty to get the full experience. But honestly, it’s the kind of town where you might want to hang around a bit longer.
Aínsa is perfect if you’re into history but also love getting out in nature. It’s right near the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, which is great for hiking. So if you’re looking for a spot that’s off the usual tourist track, with a bit of everything, Aínsa should definitely be on your list.
8. Frigiliana, Andalusia
Tucked away in the hills of Andalusia, Frigiliana stands out as one of Spain’s beautiful destinations that’s often missed by the typical travel guides. This charming village, with its maze of cobbled streets and stunning Moorish architecture, offers a tranquil escape from the more crowded tourist spots.
In Frigiliana, you’ll find yourself lost in its beauty, and honestly, a weekend here might just be what you need to fully appreciate its charm. The village is small, but it’s filled with hidden nooks and crannies that are perfect for exploring at a leisurely pace.
If you’re coming from Malaga, Frigiliana is just a 50-minute drive away, making it an ideal spot for a quick yet refreshing break. The village really comes to life during its annual festival in August, celebrating its rich cultural heritage, but it’s equally enchanting throughout the year. It’s no wonder, Frigiliana is one of the top pick places to live in Spain.
Frigiliana is a gem for those who love discovering beautiful places in Spain that are a bit off the radar. It’s not just about the stunning views; it’s about experiencing a slower pace of life and enjoying the warmth of a small village community. If you’re after a place that combines breathtaking scenery with a rich cultural backdrop, Frigiliana is the one for you.
9. Llastres, Asturias
If you’re on the hunt for a coastal town that’s not swamped with tourists, Llastres in Asturias is your spot. This little village, clinging to the hillside with views of the Cantabrian Sea, is a breath of fresh air.
Spending a day in Llastres is like taking a mini vacation from the real world. The streets here wind down to the harbor, and every corner offers a new, picturesque view. It’s small, so you can see most of it in a day, but it’s the kind of place where you might want to linger.
Llastres is about an hour’s drive from Gijón, making it a great escape from city life. While it’s beautiful all year round, the summer months really show off its charm, with longer days to enjoy the seaside.
For those who love a bit of adventure, Llastres has some great hiking trails nearby. And the local seafood? It’s as fresh as it gets. This village is one of the coolest places to go in Spain if you’re after a mix of natural beauty, tranquility, and authentic Spanish culture
10. Alquézar, Aragon
Alquézar in Aragon is a hidden gem that truly stands out among the best places to go in Spain. This charming village, nestled in a stunning canyon, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and medieval architecture that’s simply captivating.
As you wander through Alquézar, you’ll be transported back in time. The village’s well-preserved buildings and narrow streets are a delight to explore. Each turn reveals a new piece of history or a breathtaking view.
While Alquézar is relatively small, it’s packed with things to see and do. The local guides offer fascinating walking tours, providing insights into the village’s rich history and culture. For those who enjoy outdoor activities, the nearby Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park is a haven for hiking and canyoning enthusiasts.
In Alquézar, you’ll find a range of cozy accommodations, from traditional guesthouses to modern hotels, ensuring a comfortable stay. The village is also known for its exquisite local cuisine, with restaurants serving traditional Aragonese dishes that are a must-try.
For travelers seeking unique and memorable places to go in Spain, Alquézar is an ideal destination. It’s a place where history, culture, and natural beauty come together to create an unforgettable experience.
11. Capileira, Andalusia
If you’re looking for a place in Spain that’s off the typical tourist track, Capileira in Andalusia is a real find. This village, perched high in the Sierra Nevada mountains, is a breath of fresh air with its stunning views and traditional charm.
Capileira is one of those places where you can truly disconnect and enjoy the simpler things in life. The village streets, lined with whitewashed houses and bursts of colorful flowers, are perfect for leisurely strolls. It’s small, so you can easily explore it in a day, but the relaxed pace might tempt you to stay longer.
For those who love outdoor adventures, Capileira is a gateway to some fantastic hiking trails. The village is actually one of the starting points for treks up to Mulhacén, the highest peak in mainland Spain. And after a day of exploring, the local taverns are great for sampling some hearty Andalusian cuisine.
Capileira is one of the hidden gems in Spain where you can enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery, explore charming streets, and immerse yourself in the local culture. If you’re after a tranquil, authentic Spanish village experience, Capileira ticks all the boxes.
12. Santillana del Mar, Cantabria
Hidden away in Northern Spain, Santillana del Mar is a slice of the past, preserved in the present. This little town in Cantabria is a world away from the usual hustle and bustle, making it a unique stop on any Spanish adventure.
Walking around Santillana del Mar feels like you’ve stepped onto a movie set. The town’s medieval architecture is remarkably well-preserved, and every corner seems to tell a story. It’s small enough to explore in just a few hours, but its old-world charm might just capture your heart for longer.
Don’t miss the Altamira Museum, just a short drive from the town center. It’s home to replicas of famous prehistoric cave paintings, offering a rare peek into ancient art. Back in town, the local cheese is something you’ve got to try – it’s as authentic as it gets.
Santillana del Mar is perfect for travelers who love to dive deep into history and enjoy a slower pace. It’s a quiet, almost untouched secret spot in Spain, offering a glimpse into Spain’s rich past.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Hidden Gems in Spain
Are you searching for more content about where to go in Spain? Here are some common questions (and answers) I often receive about the most underrated places in Spain.
Where to go in Spain to avoid tourists?
To avoid tourists in Spain, consider visiting hidden gems like Alquézar in Aragon, known for its stunning canyon views and medieval architecture, or Luarca in Asturias, a serene coastal town with a charming harbor. These lesser-known destinations offer a peaceful experience away from crowded tourist spots.
What are some of the best hidden gems in Spain for nature lovers?
Nature enthusiasts should explore Capileira in Andalusia, situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, perfect for hiking and enjoying breathtaking landscapes. Another great option is Santillana del Mar in Cantabria, close to the Altamira Cave, offering a blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue.
Are there any underrated destinations in Spain that are also family-friendly?
Yes, Frigiliana in Andalusia is a family-friendly underrated destination. Its safe, pedestrian-friendly streets and the engaging history make it ideal for families. Additionally, Zahara de la Sierra offers outdoor activities like hiking, suitable for families looking for adventure.
How safe are the off-the-beaten-path locations in Spain?
The off-the-beaten-path locations in Spain, such as Llastres and Aínsa, are generally very safe. These small towns have low crime rates and a welcoming atmosphere for tourists. However, as with any travel, it’s advisable to stay aware of your surroundings.
What are the typical costs for visiting hidden vacation spots in Spain?
Visiting hidden vacation spots in Spain like Luarca or Alquézar can be quite cost-effective. These areas typically have lower accommodation and dining costs compared to major tourist cities. Entrance fees, if any, for local attractions are usually minimal.
Can I easily access these hidden gems in Spain using public transport?
While some hidden gems like Frigiliana can be accessed via public transport, others like Capileira might require a car rental due to their remote locations. It’s best to plan ahead and check available transportation options for each destination.
What is the best time of year to visit Spain’s less-known destinations?
The best time to visit Spain’s less-known destinations varies. For instance, Zahara de la Sierra is best to visit in spring or early summer for ideal weather in Spain. On the other hand, Santillana del Mar is great to visit throughout the year, with each season offering its own unique charm.
Final Thoughts on Spain’s Hidden Gems
If you’re planning a trip to Spain and looking to steer clear of the usual tourist-packed places, these hidden gems are definitely worth your time. Spots like Luarca and Aínsa offer more than just stunning views; they give you a taste of Spain that’s hard to find in the more crowded areas. Imagine chilling in a peaceful mountain village like Capileira, or taking a leisurely stroll through the historic streets of Santillana del Mar. Each of these places has its own unique charm and story to tell.
These destinations are perfect for travelers who really want to get under the skin of Spain, to see what makes it tick beyond the usual tourist traps. So, when you’re plotting out your Spanish journey, consider making a detour to these lesser-known spots. They’re not just dots on a map; they’re the kind of places that leave a lasting impression, the ones you’ll be telling stories about long after you’re back home.