Planning a trip to Spain and want to explore the country beyond the famous attractions? Keep scrolling for my list of the best hidden gems in Spain worth adding to your itinerary!
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Even people who have never visited Spain are aware of what the main tourist highlights are in the second most visited country in the world.
Over 85 million tourists flock to Spain every year to take a look at the stunning Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, el Prado Museum and the Cibeles fountain in Madrid, or one of the world-renowned beach towns and resorts.
If you, however, are looking to experience the country in a more local way, you may want to consider checking out some hidden gems in Spain.
Traveling the off-the-beaten in Spain will not only help you escape the crowds whenever they get to be a bit overwhelming. It will also help you discover some of the most amazing destinations in the country, which is a tapestry of beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and history.
From eco destinations to hidden beach towns, here are some of the best hidden gems in Spain you might consider adding to your bucket list.
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Hidden Gems in Spain
1. Arcos de la Frontera (Andalucia)
The village of Arcos de la Frontera is literally a town balanced on a rocky limestone cliff that features a labyrinth of cobblestone streets that look as though they hug the mountainside.
This stunning little village is one of the so-called Pueblos Blancos or White Towns in the Cadiz area in southern Spain, and visiting it is an absolute treat not only because of its striking beauty, but also because it rarely sees any crowds.
Overlooking the Guadalete River, Arcos de la Frontera offers some of the most spectacular views in the region.
The St. Peter’s Church, built over an old Muslim fort, is one of the most imposing structures in town. But the whole place is dotted with splendid architecture, including the Palacio del Mayorazgo and the overlook at El Parador.
Of course, the miniature white houses that make Arcos de la Frontera one of Cadiz’s white towns are Instagram eye candy. You can easily organize a day outing from Cadiz or Seville, but there are good lodging options available too in case you want to spend a night or two here.
2. Cies Islands (Galicia)
If you are into eco-tourism and want an idyllic Spain experience that entails very close contact with nature, the Cies Islands are just what you’re looking for.
With the pristine blue waters of the Atlantic, forested mountains, and tree-filled coasts, the Cies Islands archipelago makes up a natural park that has no hotels, wifi, or noise.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, head to Vigo to board one of the ferries or private boats that will transport you to this little slice of paradise.
Even though you can visit the islands as a day outing filled with nature hikes and beach lounging, there is one campsite with excellent amenities available, which is perfect for stargazing at.
You do need to make previous online reservations as it has limited capacity, so make sure to plan ahead.
3. Murcia City (Murcia)
The region of Murcia is one of Spain’s best-kept secrets.
Boasting over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and warm Mediterranean waters on its beaches, there is a whole array of coastal towns on the Costa Calida (warm coast) waiting for you to explore.
With so many wonderful beach towns in the region, it is easy to overlook historic Murcia City, which is a lot more than just a gateway to the coast.
Located only 28 miles from the nearest sandy beach, the city has a rich history and wonderful architecture that dates all the way back to the beginning of the bronze age.
Best of all, you won’t find the somewhat overwhelming crowds that flock to more touristy destinations in Spain. Whether you are looking to relax on the beach or want to get some water sports into your vacation, the province of Murcia will deliver.
This is the perfect spot to enjoy fascinating history, admire the stunning baroque architecture, and fill up on tasty food while sipping sangria in a tapas bar.
Santa Maria Cathedral on the Plaza del Cardenal Belluga, the majestic Real Casino de Murcia, and the Floridablanca Gardens are must-see highlights.
4. Albarracín (Aragón)
Overlooking the Guadalaviar River from high above, Albarracín is a striking little village in Aragón. Medieval walls encompass the town at the river bend, protecting the pink-hued stone buildings that line the winding centuries-old streets.
Everything here speaks of history, including the ruins of a fortress that go back to the 11th century and the Torre de Doña Blanca, a stone tower that offers the most splendid view of Albarracín and its surroundings.
Take a stroll through town to feel like you are stepping back in time several centuries while you admire the beautiful details that make Albarracín so picturesque.
Quaint street lanterns, fantastic stone arches, proud coats of arms, and carved wooden balconies filled with flowers adorn the medieval streets. You’ll find a nice variety of restaurants and cafes to fill up on tasty Spanish fare and relax.
5. Cabo de Gata Natural Park (Andalusia)
Parque Natural Cabo de Gata is one of the most striking hidden gems in Spain’s Andalusia province. Over 83,000 acres of rocky coastline bathed by clear turquoise waters, salt flats, hidden coves, and desert make up this striking natural reserve.
A few whitewashed villages dot the almost unspoiled coastline of seemingly deserted beaches and amazing hiking trails, offering a nice slew of water adventures. Snorkeling, diving, sailing, and kayaking are all on the menu during the summer months.
The closest city to Cabo de Gata is Almeria, a bustling port city with great lodging and dining options and a few worthy highlights, including the Alcazaba Moorish fortress.
6. Lekeitio (Basque Country)
Halfway between Bilbao and San Sebastián, the fishing town of Lekeitio is Basque Country’s most picturesque town.
This charming port village sits above sandy beaches on the Bay of Biscay, offering a postcard-perfect scene of brightly painted wooden buildings and boats. The main historic and cultural attraction is the gorgeous church, Basilica de la Asuncion de Santa Maria.
Even though its gorgeous scenery is reason enough to attract visitors eager to escape more crowded destinations, there’s a lot more to Leiketio than meets the eye.
Think of a gorgeous beach, a mountain, and an island you can access on foot!
San Nicolas island is very close to the harbor, and during low tide, it is possible to walk across the sandbar to get there!
7. Cadaques (Catalonia)
Like many coastal towns on the Mediterranean, Cadaques is characterized by whitewashed walls with colorful doors and window sills, and cobblestoned streets.
This beautiful town close to the French border is pretty unique due to a series of tiny hidden bays that create a few private beaches that are ideal if you’re aiming to enjoy some seaside solitude.
Backdropped by mountains that seem to almost run into the sea, Cadaques is a former fishing village that turned into an important cultural and artistic hub.
This is due to the surrounding landscape and sublime sunsets that attracted important artists such as Chagall, Garcia Lorca, Picasso, and most importantly, Salvador Dali, who grew up in Cadaques and kept returning all his life.
8. Cazorla (Andalusia)
In fact, one of the main attractions is the Salvador Dali’s House Museum, a quirky place where you can get a glimpse of his life and art. Another must-see highlight is the impressive church of Santa Maria, which dates back to the 16th century.
Backdropped by mountains and surrounded by fields of olive trees, Cazorla is an adorable white town on the edge of the Parque Natural Sierras de Cazorla.
This is a huge natural protected area that is home to mountains, forests, waterfalls, and rivers. Even though Cazorla is considered a base point for visiting the park, it is worth exploring in and of itself.
Home to three lively plazas or squares and steep charming streets lined with incredible grand houses, Cazorla goes back to Roman times. Its main historical landmark is the stunning Castillo de la Yesca, which also served as a fort.
Other points of interest are Castillo de Iruela and the ruins of the ancient church of Santa Maria. Plus, you’ll also find plenty of charming hotels, restaurants, and bars to keep you entertained when you’re done sightseeing.
9. Cerdania (Catalonia)
One of Europe’s most stunning valleys, Cerdania is a region of the Pyrenees that stretches through Spain and France.
Home to the Cadi-Moxeiro Natural Park, Cerdania is an ideal spot for hiking and biking during the warmer months of the year. Come wintertime, snowboarders and skiers take over and enjoy the taste of Spain and France in one single place.
Beyond nature and exercise, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore medieval towns, Romanesque churches, museums, and other stunning highlights. The town of Puigcerda is a popular place to stay, with plenty of accommodations on offer for travelers.
Unique Places to Visit in Spain Wrap Up
Do you know of any other hidden gems in Spain? If you have any other recommendations that are worth a visit, please feel free to drop them in the comment section below!