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With stunning natural landscapes, quaint fishing villages, and many, many historic monuments, Spain is brimming with amazing sights just waiting to be discovered.

Yes, Barcelona is overcrowded (to the point where they’re considering a limit of tourism), and every corner of Madrid has been uncovered, but there is much more to the country. 

Whether you’re staying in a hotel or a luxury Spanish villa such as these from Oliver’s Travels, go beyond the popular resorts, towns and villages to see what hidden gems you can find.

Here are some of the fantastic places you can discover.

Secret Spain: 5 Hidden Gems to Discover

Las Medulas

Las Medulas Spain

Not so much a hidden gem for its scale, but Las Medulas is a mesmerising sight to explore. A historic gold-mining site near the town of Ponferrada, the area is recognized by UNESCO for its historic and breathtakingly beautiful landscape.

A blend of archways and rocky trails, the landscape was shaped by the ancient Romans, who mined the land over 2,000 years ago. It is believed that over two centuries, the Romans extracted more than 800 tons of gold from these mountains.

The process of mining back then involved building seven massive aqueducts to force the water from the nearby river into the mines, creating a series of channels, tunnels, chambers and craters within the clay mountains.

You can visit the Las Medulas viewing platform to look out over the sandy rock formations against the lush treetop landscape.  This natural site can be reached from Leon and is around a two hour and a half drive from Galicia and the coast.

Once there you can hike, mountain bike or take horses through the ancient channels, keeping an eye on the walls for marks left by the Roman miners 2,000 years ago (they believe over 60,000 laborers worked in the mines).

Image credit: Anual / CC BY-SA 4.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Cudillero Asturias

Cudillero Asturias

In Northern Spain, tucked in a narrow valley in Asturias, Cudillero is a charming fishing village that’s often overlooked due to its lively neighbours of Gijon and Bilbao.

Rows of colourful townhouses shelve through the hills and offer a pleasant atmosphere to unwind in. Take a stroll through the sloping alleyways that take you past the narrow townhouse with terracotta rooftops and quaint seaside restaurants and shops.

Image credit: Jose Luis Cernadas Iglesias / CC BY 2.0 / via Flickr

Trujillo

To the west of mainland Spain, Trujillo is built around its castle. The town is known as Spain’s most romantic village; a truly unspoiled gem, and historic town where the modern world feels a million miles away.

Trujillo is part of the Extremadura region, in the province of Cáceres. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, visiting feels as though you’ve stepped back in time, or at the very least, onto the set of a medieval movie.

The cobbled medieval streets, 12th-century Moorish walls, towers, and fortified houses of Cáceres made it a perfect fit for several episodes of Game of Thrones during its seventh season. Fictional places such as Casterly Rock were shot at Trujillo’s Arab castle.

Related Post: UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Extremadura, Spain

The Medieval Castillo looms over Trujillo, partly due to its hillside location and its grand, stone structure and widely-spanning barracks. Visit the Plaza Mayor Square for regular farmers markets and outdoor festivals throughout the year.

There are a number of picturesque manor houses with angular balconies and historic churches in Trujillo including the church of San Francisco which dates back to the 16th century. Read this post for more things to do.

Onati

Onate Spain

Experience rural beauty in the Basque Country in the quaint Onati valley, which is at the foot of the Aloña Mountain. Scattered through the lush green hills, there are a number of stunning buildings and religious sites to admire.

With its Renaissance tower, explore the Gothic and Baroque church of San Miguel that was built during the 16th century and the idyllic town hall with its ruby wrought-iron balconies.

Image credit: Zarateman via Wikimedia Commons

Sa Dragonera Nature Reserve

Off the coast of Majorca, on the Dragonera Island, you’ll find the fantastic Sa Dragonera Nature Reserve. Take a 20-minute boat from Sant Elm to the reserve that spans over 2200 acres and is brimming with natural beauty and wildlife.

At certain times of the year such as in autumn, you can see thousands of migrating birds, including several species of falcon who head to Africa for a warmer climate.

This island is famous for its lizard population, so don’t miss out on a trip to see the creatures in their natural habitat and to hike in the beautiful surroundings.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    4 Comments

  1. It’s like a dream to come to Spain and stay for a couple of years and get somebody to teach me Spanish music

    • Agreed! Ultimately, living there for a good period of time will always beat traveling through in terms of immersing yourself in the landscapes and culture :)

      Thanks for reading :)

  2. I always found the small towns away from tourist areas the most intriguing

    • Totally agree with you Mzako – I would much prefer a smaller town off the tourist trail, there’s a lot more cultural authenticity in these places :)

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