If you’ve visited Spain before, chances are it was to Madrid or Barcelona – two magnificent cities that don’t tire of return visits for the paella and sunshine. However, if you’re in the mood for a bit of an adventure, Spain has plenty to offer in its outer reaches. Its stunning coastline has attracted international festivals and its mountains are host to unique little pockets of culture and history, which is why everyone should seek out these top hidden gems:
If you’re based in Madrid, this is a great little place to visit. The Jardín de la Isla hosts stunning woodlands and marble fountains to walk around and the Jardín del Parterre has a stunning display of flowers. The Old Quarter is also a delightful display of Baroque architecture, which was designed in 1747 by Giacomo Bonavia. Aranjuez is the perfect place to take a cultural breather outside of the bustling cities.
Bassella is hidden among the Catalonian mountains and is a perfect place to get away to if you’re looking for a quiet retreat. As well as being able to roam the mountainous countryside, there are plenty of villas that are perfect for families looking for some peace and quiet. Whether you spend the day lying in the pool or going for an outdoor hike, beautiful wildlife flourishes in this abundantly green part of Spain.
Cabo de Gata-Níjar
Not only does Cabo de Gata’s natural park have some jaw-dropping mountainous landscape views to take in, but its shoreline is truly something to behold. It’s a great place to visit if you enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, as it has an abundance of coves and beaches.
Balearic Island bars
Some people associate island bars with the teen club-life party world, but that isn’t necessarily the case. For example, the ornate paintings and bowls of over-spilling tropical fruit in Bar Abaco will leave you feeling as if you belong in a decadent Pre-Raphaelite painting. If you’re looking for clubs that tailor themselves to something for the more liberal crowd, such as the LGBT+ community, then Mr Hudson Explores has plenty of suggestions. Formentera, Menorca and Mallorca are all host to some interesting and unique forms of nightlife, whether you decide to reside on the mainland or book a trip out to the islands.
Although this town is infamous for its bull-run in July, Pamplona is otherwise a very modest, historical town. Visiting this town outside of the summertime festival guarantees to provide an abundance of culture and beauty. One of the most important places to visit is Santa Maria Cathedral, which is not only visually stunning, but is also home to plenty of historical and artistic artifacts.
Driving a rental car is one of the best and more effective ways to navigate your way around the more rural parts of Spain. Whether you decide to base yourself in one of the larger cities and travel outside, or book yourself a large villa with a pool, you certainly won’t be deprived of culture and beauty. Thinking outside of the box also means thinking outside of the shoreline – the Balearic Islands are well worth investigating whether it’s just for a day or a full holiday.
5 interesting facts about Pamplona
- The local dish of Pamplona is Pisto, which is a variety of Spanish ratatouille and spicy sausage.
- The famous Running of the Bulls festival used to be held in the Autumn, this was changed in 1591 due to people fed up with the wet weather.
- The famous author Ernest Hemingway loved the San Fermin festival, which includes the bull run and was fascinated by bullfighting so spent much time in the city.
- The nearby Roncal Valley is surrounded by several mountains which are more than 2000m high and offer some fabulous photographic opportunities.
- Being so far north Pamplona benefits from a more fertile environment than much of Spain.
Recommended Accommodation in Pamplona
The 5 star Gran Hotel La Perla is one of the best luxury hotels in the region. Located just a short walk from the cathedral this elegant hotel has 44 traditional rooms and a fine in-house restaurant offering local-inspired meals. The hotel is within a minutes walk of mnay of the cities attractions, tapas bars, restaurants and charming pubs. Reviewer Rating: 9.8
An excellent choice of mid range accommodation is the 4 star Hotel Pompaelo Plaza del Ayuntamiento & Spa located in the heart of the city close to all the top attractions. The hotel has been recently refurbished and has 44 modern bright rooms as well a spa centre and modern lounge dining area. Reviewer Rating: 9.9
The Aloha Hostel is an ideal choice for backpackers on a budget. This fine hostel offers 4 comfortable rooms, a sun deck, free wifi, shared bathroom and is located just a short walk from the historic old quarter of the city. Reviewer Rating: 9.0