3 Small Towns That Will Make You Fall in Love with Lesser-Known Spain

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Bucket List Worthy  

Photo credit: Albert Torello

Madrid, Barcelona, Seville. Ask any intrepid traveler, and they’ve probably been to one or more of Spain’s largest cities. After all, a country’s biggest cities are usually the easiest to access, with bustling airports and public transportation systems.

But it’s often a country’s little-known towns that offer the most authentic culture, freshest cuisine and most unique places to stay and play — and that’s undoubtedly the case in Spain. These three Spanish small towns are ones that will steal a piece of your heart and hold it until you make your way back again.

Xalo

Photo credit: Erik Brockdorff

Xalo, also known as Jalon, is a picture-perfect wine making town along Spain’s Costa Blanca region. While many travelers associate the stretch of Mediterranean coastline with partying beach-goers, the area has a much softer feel away from the high-rise hotels on the sand. Xalo offers a laid-back atmosphere, ideal climate and some of the country’s best tapas and wine. Shop the bodegas and artisan shops, gaze at the surroundings of the Sierra Bernia peaks, or relax in the comfort of an elegant hotel (we suggest the charming Cuatre Finques rural retreat). This walkable, historic town simply makes time move more slowly.

Cudillero

Travelers seeking a Spanish beach escape without the crowds will fall head over heels for the small fishing village of Cudillero. Sitting at the edge of the Bay of Biscay, the town offers access to mellow beaches and some of the country’s freshest seafood. The Iglesia El Pito, Fundacion Selgas-Fagalde palace ground and other ancient buildings topped with red clay roofs add a heaping dose of charm to this small waterfront town.

Olite

Photo credit: Martia Arias Lopez

Travel back in time in the historic small town of Olite, found in the Navarra province of Northern Spain. It is said that the town was founded by the Visigoths in the 7th century, but truly came to life several hundred years later in the 1300s. Visitors can explore the Palacio Real de Olite, dating back to the 13th century, the Iglesia de Santa Maria la Real, the Museo del Vino (where you can taste wine too), and several other museums displaying the unique history of the region. While the city is rooted in hundreds of years of history, you don’t have to be a history buff to fall in love with its ivy-covered castle walls, winding alleyways, vineyards and green spaces.

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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