Spain is one of Europe's leading tourist destinations. But there is more to the country than cities like Madrid, Barcelona, or Seville. Read on to discover Spain's most unique destinations.
Teruel is one of the most overlooked and underrated tourist destinations in Spain. The province is landlocked and encroached between Valencia and Madrid. The capital city (also called Teruel) is a charming provincial town known for its exquisite examples of Mudejar (Moorish) architecture. The old town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. The rest of province is peppered with picturesque little villages, the most notable of which are Calaceite, Valjunquera,and Penyaroja. Teruel is 3.5 hours east of Madrid and 2 hours west of Valencia.
2- Palencia province
Located in the northern half of the country, Palencia sits atop a high plateau where mountains can reach 8,500 feet. The provincial capital is home to 85,000 people, and it offers visitors a nice setting on the banks of the River Pisuerga. There are numerous examples of Roman, Gothic, and Rococo architecture in town, all of which are conveniently located in or around the city centre. The local tourist office offers free guided walks during the summer months. It is convenient to rent a car in Palencia in order to access the province's highlights, like the Cerrato county, known for its excellent cheese, wine, healthy environment, and its extensive fields of barley.
Palencia can be easily reached by bus, car, and train from Madrid (1.5 hours south on the high speed train), Galicia, and the north of the country. The nearest airport is in Valladolid, approximately 1.5 hours west, which is now served by several budget airlines.
3- Almeria's desert
The southern province of Almeria was the setting of numerous western movies during the 1960s, including the iconic “For a few dollars more”, “Once upon a time in the West”, and “Red Sun”. This arid region offers unique photography opportunities, as well as the chance of spotting several animal species that are not found anywhere else in Europe. The desert can be reached from the capital city, Almeria, which is only 18n miles away.
4- Irati forest
This marvel of nature is located in Navarra (northern Spain). Irati is one of Europe's largest beech and fir forests, and it is currently a protected nature reserve. The best time to visit is the autumn, when the thousands of trees begin to change their colour, presenting visitors with a unique spectacle. The nearest towns are Ochagabia and Orbaitzeta, both worth a visit in their own right.
5- Montserrat, Barcelona
Montserrat is a mountain range located 30 miles north of Barcelona. The mountains here have special significance to the locals, and they are one of the icons of Catalan nationalism. The mountains take on bizarre needle-like shapes, which are the result of millions of years of erosion. There is a monastery on the way up to the mountain, as well as a museum and a cable car, which takes visitors to a viewpoint.
The medieval city of Avila is located 55 miles north of Madrid. Avila boasts one Europe's best preserved Roman wall complex, which surrounds the city in its entirety. Inside the walled city, visitors can admire numerous churches, mansions, and typical town squares lined with century-old speciality shops.
Visitors should not miss the hearty local gastronomy, in particular dishes like “cochinillo asado” (roasted pork), jabalí estofado (wild boar stew), and the traditional dessert called “yemas de Santa Teresa”, made with egg yolks.
7- Delta de l'Ebre
This region, located in the southernmost tip of Catalonia, is home to a national park and numerous examples of protected wildlife. Birdwatchers in particular are guaranteed to love the area. The River Ebro wetlands occupy 20,000 acres, which are most easily reached through the town of Amposta, where guided tours through the marshes and beaches can be arranged.