Most beautiful places in Spain - Discover top hidden gems Most beautiful places in Spain - Discover top hidden gems

Most beautiful places in Spain

Hidden gems in Spain

The white villages in Spain are located in Andalusia and are normally referred to as the “Pueblos blancos”. They are charming, white-washed, villages and towns with white walls and very special locations. The Pueblos blancos are perfect for a road-trip in Southern Spain and they make for one of the most romantic trips in Europe.

Pueblos blancos guide

Hondarribia or Fuenterrabia - Basque Country

Hondarribia from France

Hondarribia, Spain (Fuenterrabia in Spanish language) is a coastal town east of San Sebastian in the Spanish-basque country that faces France. it is a charming and typical Basque village which offers 2 different flairs. We have put together this Hondarribia to help you organize a day in the most effective way.

Where is Hondarribia?

Hondarribia is on the left side of the end of the Bidasoa river. It is the last coastal town in Spain. On the other side of the bay lies Hendaye, already France.
Hondarribia is located at 20 kilometers east of San Sebastian, 20 kilometers west of Saint Jean de Luz in France, or 35 kilometers from Biarritz.

Hondarribia´s strategic position made it an important fortress-town and the scene of many a battle. Picturesque medieval streets in the old part, beautiful basque style houses in the Marina district, a sandy beach, the seafront and many bars and restaurants make of Hondarribia a very popular tourist destination.

How much time to spend in Hondarribia?

Our recommendation would be to spend half day in Hondarribia, though you could spend one full day with no problem, specially if you decide to enjoy a beach day in its beach.
Your time in Hondarribia should include a walk in the old quarter, a walk in the Marina district, time for pintxos (either at lunch time or for dinner) and time to enjoy some of the fantastic view points available in Hondarribia.


The old part of Hondarribia

The old town has a medieval atmosphere, largely due to its narrow streets since the area inside the defensive walls was too small to allow for anything wide.

The old town can be accessed through different areas but it is mostly enjoyed through the Puerta de Santa María, a 15th century gate decorated wit the town´s coat of arms and an image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

The Calle Mayor (Kale Nagusia) or Main street still has old mansions and they are one of the most attractive things to enjoy in Hondarribia. These old mansions have coats-of-arms, wought iron work and charming bay windows. The Town Hall, The Zuloaga palace (today the library) and some of the houses in the street like Torrealta and Casadeavante are fantastic.

On the right side of the main street you will find the Gothic church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion. Originally from the 11th century, it was rebuilt in the 16th century in renaissance style. The bell tower platform and the balcony in the sacristy both provide splendid views over the town and the area. A very important historical event took place at this church: the Pyraneean alliance was concluded in 1659 by the marriage of Louis XIV of France to princess María Teresa.

The Royal palace of Charles V (today a Parador hotel) is located at the Plaza de Armas and is probably the top attraction in Hondarribia. Its construction begun on the 12th century and it continued under the influence of Ferdinand and Isabella. It was completed by Charles V. The facade is from the 15th and 16th century. This explains the name of the castle.
Its location made it the perfect place for defensive purposes. Charles V himself stayed at the castle-palace while they waited for the marriage of the King´s daughter, Maria Teresa, with Louis XIV.


The Marina district

The second “face” of Hondarribia is found in the noisy Marina district. Hondarribia was for centuries an important fishing harbour and it is at the Marina district where we can find the typical and colouful Basque houses. These houses share colours with the typical Basque boats.

Through all pedestrian Calle San Pedro you will find bars and restaurants alike that stand below the colourful balconies, all of which share a gaily decoration with flowers.
Two of the best things to enjoy in the Marina district are the terraces that many bars open up and to enoy a walk along the bay in the Paseo del Butron from where you will enjoy fantastic views of Hendaye.


Beach in Hondarribia

Most locals from Hondarribia used to spend their beach days in Hendaye. The beach in Hendaye is huge and totally opended to the ocean, whilst the beach in Hondarria used to be very small. But the beach is today 800 meter long and offers a great experience. Many people still prefer the beach in Hendaye (less crowded) but the beach in Hondarribia is perfect for children (very calmed waters) and very easy to access, with a paid parking area next to it.


Best views in Hondarribia

There are different view points not be missed.

Our favorite is from Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. This church is located 5 kilometers west of Hondarribia in the shadow of the Jaizquibel mountain. The miraculous image of the Madonna of Guadalupe, the city´s patron saint, is surrounded by a golden altarpiece. The painting shows a number of model ships and sailors surrounded by sacred objects. The views are fantastic all the way up the road and from the view point ourside the church.


The Alarde of Hondarribia

If you happen to be in the area or visiting San Sebastian around September 7th you should seriously consider a trip to Hondarribia.

Each year since 1683, on September 7th there is a feast in honour of the Madonna of Guadalupe. A Renaisance story describes the historical event that was the start of this feast. In 1683 the city was heavily besieged for two months by the army of Prince Conde de Saint-Simon. Exhausted and nearly at the end of its strength, the city of Hondarribia was relieved by the arrival of the Spanish army on the eve of the holy day of the Madonna of Guadalupe. Thus the people of Fuenterrabia (hondarribia) felt theyr faith in the Madonna had been rewarded.

The Alarde is one of the top Spanish festivals in the basque country (and the North of Spain) and it is also one of our favorite things to enjoy in Spain in September 

Bermeo - Basque Country

Harbor of Bermeo in Spain

Bermeo is one of the hidden gems of the Basque coast. Located just half an hour from Bilbao, Bermeo is a small fishing village, brimming with charm and history. It is one of the essential day trips you can take from Bilbao and a great place to enjoy the views, the coast, and a bite to eat. 

Although Bermeo has countless tourist attractions, few people dedicate a whole day of their trip to the Basque Country to discover all the charms of this fishing village. Bermeo is the closest town to the famous Game of Thrones site, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, it is home to La Tala Park, old school canneries, a casino, shipyards and the boat and sculpture routes.

A bit of history

Bermeo, one of the most important towns on the entire Biscayan coast, preserves a large part of our history and culture intact between its streets and cliffs. This town was founded in 1236 by Don Lopez Díaz II de Haro and was the capital of Bizkaia until 1602.

Fishing industry in Bermeo

Bermeo is one of the largest and most populated towns in the Busturialdea region. It’s a town that is the second most important fishing port in Bizkaia thanks to the municipality’s fishing and canning activity. Today, Bermeo stands as one of the few fishing villages that continues in the same way its ancestors did. This is attested to by a large number of canning companies in the area and the colorful fishing boats found in its port.

The town of Bermeo is located above the old port. A space that, thanks to the colorful fishermen’s houses, brightens the passage along the coast. Although small in size, the historic center of Bermeo was declared a Cultural Asset in the category of Monumental Complex in 1996. It’s a beautiful space, which seems mandatory to visit and enjoy.

Today, the fishing industry is still one of the pillars of Bermeo. Although whales are no longer hunted, they are still one of the great attractions of our coast. A trip to the high seas to enjoy their company has become one of the most exciting experiences at Ekoetxea (Torre Madariaga). We recommend you sail aboard the Hegaluze boat if you are interested in whale watching.

Things to see in Bermeo

Lamera Park

Lamera Park is located in the center of town next to the port and the train station. This park has open leisure areas and is one of the most emblematic places in Bermeo.

The port of Bermeo

The historic center of one of the most important fishing villages in Bizkaia, was created around it’s lively, busy port. The best place to take in  the port of Bermeo is from the old breakwater, next to the sculpture of the wave. Photographers will get great shots from this vantage point.

Fisherman’s Museum

The Fisherman’s Museum is located above the port of Bermeo in the Ercilla Tower, a noble building that was declared a National Monument due to its great historical and architectural value. The museum, established in 1948, will take you on a journey through the history of Bermeo and its union with the sea. It’s one of the few museums in the world dedicated exclusively to Basque fishermen and their way of life and well worth a visit. We recommend reading our article on the Bermeo Fisherman’s Museum before you go.

Bermeo Sculpture Route

Scattered throughout Bermeo we find a beautiful and varied collection of sculptures that show us the history, culture and traditions of this Biscayan municipality. Some works of art, which, with the “Monument to the fishermen” at the top, provide us with a beautiful route through the streets and squares of the town. The largest number of sculptures can be found around the port, in the historic center. A number of works symbolize the different aspects that were once part of the daily life of our ancestors. Nestor Basterretxea and Enrike Zubia are some of the artists chosen to give life to the different works of art scattered throughout the municipality.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

San Juan is one of the most visited places located on Bermean soil. A place where a hermitage, an islet, and a bridge take center stage to create a complex never seen before. Without a doubt, one of the wonders of our coast and the jewel in the crown. We recommend the route that connects the Eneperi Restaurant with the San Juan hermitage, a short walk that we detail in our article on San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.  Find out how to get there, where to park, and much more.

How to get to Bermeo 

The easiest way to make your way to Bermeo is by car. You can get there by public transportation taking the A5327 bus line, but it is somewhat of a hassle. If you are staying in San Sebastian, it will take you a bit longer, around 1 hour and a half, but your best option is also to go by car. 


Santillana Del Mar, Cantabria

manor in Santillana del Mar in Cantabria

A few meters from the sea sheltered by gentle hills and from the bloody, relentless passage of time, sits the historic town of Santillana del Mar, in Northern Spain. It’s a magical crossroads that has inspired artists, poets, philosophers and writers. The town possesses a charm that is difficult to express in words. It’s best experienced first hand.  When you stroll through the streets lined by buildings from the14th to 18th centuries and feel the ancient cobblestones under your feet, you’ll understand. This unique sensation is shared by all those who visit.

Santillana del Mar is undoubtedly the center of historical and artistic interest in Cantabria and one of the most visited towns. From the time of the first-known settlement, La Cueva de Altamira, to the present day, this town has amassed a formidable heritage presided over by the Romanesque jewel in Cantabria “La Colegiata de Santa Juliana“.  It’s history is displayed in houses, palaces, and shields of noble inhabitants. If the visitor looks closely, every detail will spark his or her imagination to form an impression of what life was like in prehistoric, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, modern and current Santillana.

Historical legacy 

Santillana del Mar arose around the monastery of Santa Juliana, whose origins date back to the 8th century.  It was transformed into a town thanks to the jurisdiction granted by King Alfonso VIII in 1209, to become the capital of the Asturias de Santillana. This meant important economic, demographic and urban changes. The town was built around two streets forming a Y, and divided it into two sections: the civil one centers in the  Plaza Mayor, formerly known as the Market Square.  The religious one, through Calle del Cantón, features the imposing and captivating Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana. Most of the buildings were built from the XVIII century with capital from the new world. It was brought by many inhabitants of Santillana who emigrated to the Americas after the decline in the XVI century and returned to their homeland with great wealth.

Day trips 

Santillana’s historical legacy is evident but it is not the only reason for a thorough visit. The town is well-connected but away from the daily stress of the city. Its relaxing natural environment allows you to enjoy a unique landscape that combines the blue sea with green fields.  Fans of both beaches and hiking trails will enjoy the surroundings.

The artistic and natural wealth of Santillana del Mar 

The artistic and natural wealth of the town is augmented by its cultural and festive life. Traditional and religious festivals and numerous activities dot the town’s calendar. The hospitality of its people and a wide range of quality establishments make Santillana del Mar a place to discover.  There are hotels, charming inns, and restaurants where you can taste the gastronomy of the region. There are cabinetmakers, artisans and potters who treasure traditional crafts with a touch of modernity. These all add their particular virtues to this privileged enclave. 

The town of the three lies

An essential appointment for the tourist visiting Cantabria. Santillana del Mar is undoubtedly one of the towns with the greatest historical and artistic significance in Spain. Everything in it is a monument. Known as “the town of the three lies”, since it is neither “holy”, nor “flat”, nor does it have a “sea”. Santillana del Mar is the capital of a municipality of 4,000 inhabitants dedicated mostly to agricultural and livestock activities, and above all, to tourism.

Altamira Cave

To speak of Santillana del Mar is to also speak of the Altamira Cave. Known as the “Sistine Chapel” of rock art, this cave contains probably the most famous prehistoric paintings in the world. The discovery of the Altamira cave, at the end of the 19th century, caused a deep controversy and subsequent commotion among the scientific community. Initially they were reluctant to admit the real age of the paintings (14,000 years). The cave was found by chance in 1868 by Modesto Cubillas on land owned by Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, who happened to be an amateur archaeologist.  He studied the paintings extensively with Juan Vilanova y Piera from the University of Madrid. The most famous part of the cave, known as the “room of the polychromes”, was not discovered, however, until 1879, during a visit in which Sanz de Sautuola was led to the chamber by his daughter María.

During the century after its discovery, the massive influx of visitors to the cave began to unsettle scientists who worried about a possible deterioration of the paintings. This led to the total closure of the Altamira Cave in 1979. Subsequently it was reopened under strict controls in order to preserve its valuable content. Due to the fragility of the cave art of Altamira, a replica of the cave was created in 2001 to the delight of visitors. The current museum headquarters was also inaugurated. It houses the Neo-cave, a reproduction that allows the Altamira art to be appreciated without endangering the originals.

Although Altamira Cave is a fundamental part of Santillana del Mar, there is much more to see. In the 9th century the Monastery of Santa Juliana was a prominent town fixture in the 9th century.  It gave way to the prestigious collegiate church of Santa Juliana in the 12th century, which was the first and most important exponents of Romanesque art in Cantabria. From the late 12th-early 13th century, the population grew around the collegiate church and its beautiful cloister. The inhabitants obviously lived through times of great economic splendor, as evidenced by the wealth of the many large houses and palaces that make up this town.

The Merino and Don Borja towers

The Merino and Don Borja towers (now the headquarters of the Santillana Foundation) are among the oldest civil constructions in this cobbled town. It is essential to tour on foot to fully admire the beauty of its streets and medieval buildings, such as the houses of Águila and la Parra (where the Regional Government has installed an exhibition room), the palace and the tower of Velarde, the house of Leonor de la Vega, the palaces of Barreda, Tagle and Villa and many others too long to list.

Other activities 

Santillana del Mar provides a wide range of cultural activities that take place throughout the year in its different exhibition halls and museums.

In its cobbled medieval streets there are multiple artisan workshops and tasty “milk with biscuits”, the most popular snack in the town.

Nature has been generous to this municipality that enjoys a magnificent coastline that includes the quiet beaches of Santa Justa and Ubiarco. In the vicinity of the capital there is a charming zoo that delights young and old.

Santillana de Mar is due to its history and natural wealth, one of the most attractive sights in Cantabria and deserves its place in this list of the most interesting villages in Spain!

Laguardia, Rioja Alavesa. Basque Country

Laguardia in the Basque country Spain

Located in Alava, in the Rioja Alavesa wine region and 15 minutes drive from Logroño (the largest town nearby), Laguardia is one of those small villages that despite seeing the number of tourists increase, it is not yet overrun by them.  Cars are not allowed inside and you will enjoy not just amazing landscapes of the surrounding wine country, but also narrow cobbled streets, fantastic manors and palaces and 2 beautiful churches.

Laguardia (Basque: Guardia) is a town located in Álava, the Basque country, in the north of Spain. Its old part is fortified and cannot be accessed by cars.  This explains why visiting it is so special!

It has a population of around 1500; but in the past it  used to be an importat defensive town and had more than 2500.

A bit of history first

This small town was founded in 908 by Sancho Abarca of Navarre to defend the frontier, when it was known as La Guarda. It was originally laid out in the shape of a ship, with the bow facing North. and the stern South. In 1164 it achieved town status under Sancho el Sabio. In 1194 its fortifications were extended by King Sancho el Fuerte.
From 1367-1461 it was taken many times by the Kings of Castile. In 1461 it finally fell to the Crown of Castile hrough Ferdinand and Isabella.

San Juan Bautista church in Laguardia

This church was begun in Romanesque style and work continued through the 13&14C in Gothic. It was extended in the 16C and further in the 17&18C. On of a Latin cross ground plan, it has a nave, two aisles, three apses, and a large Gothic chapel.

The Southern portal is 12C Romanesque with sculptures of the Annunciation. The Gothic tower is fortified and may have been part of the town defences. The baroque high altar dates from 1694 and is by Francisco Jimenez. There are many interesting works of art in the church, including a Christ, a Mater Dolorosa and a St John baptistery, all 15C. The Renaissance choir stalls are by Esteban Bertin and Nicolás von Harlem and date from 1558. The sacristy, which has wall paintings by Pedro Baldini, has some fine Renaissance furniture. The Capilla Nuestra Señora del Pilar stands on the site of the original main entrance; it is an octagonal baroque structure of 1732-40 by Juan Bautista de Arbaya There is a 14C image of the Virgin M (painted in 16- 17C) over the original portal.

Santa Maria de los Reyes and its amazing Portico

The site was probably originally occupied by the monastery of a military order of monks. The church tower of the building visible today looks as if it was once part of a fortification. The church itself was begun in the 12C in Romanesque style and has a nave, two aisles and a cloister. Building continued into the 13&14C, when Gothic elements were introduced. The unusual portal is late 14C and a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic carving.  It is this portal that brings many of the tourists to Laguardia and also the reason to a large extent why it is considered as one of the most beautiful places in Spain. There are larger than life-size statues of the Apostles sanding on intricately decorated pedestals and covered by splendid tabernacles. The tympanum is in three parts and depicts scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The high altar of 1618-22 is by the sculptor’s Lope de Mendieta and Tomás Manrique, Juan de Bascardo also collaborated on it. These are two more altars, which are late-17C baroque, by Diego Jiménez and Mantin de Arenalde. The choir stalls (1720) are by Antonio de Herrera. The church treasure is kept in the sacristy. The furnishings are 18C.

Where to stay in Laguardia?

A family owned hotel located at the heart of the walled city of Laguardia. Each of the 18 rooms is decorated in a different way and every corner of the hotel is full of small details for an unforgettable experience. The hotel features a deluxe spa which needs to be booked for a private experience.. It also offers spa treatments which can be enjoyed in the bedrooms. The hotels boasts two restaurants with very different atmospheres, one of the restaurants is dedicated to fine dining, and the other hand for more casual dining. The hotel has made a great effort to ensure a good balance between history and modern comfort. A good example of this is the central glass-roof at the courtyard. The ancient stone co-exists with the modern frames used for the reconstruction. Our favorite option in Laguardia

San Millán De La Cogolla

Laguardia in the Basque country Spain

In San Millan de la Cogolla you will discover two fascinating monasterios: Suso (the old monastery) and Yuso (the new monastery). Besides fascinating landscape, get ready to enjoy some of the most amazing medieval books in the world. 

Located at less than 1 hour´s drive from Logroño, the capital of Rioja, San Millán de la Cogolla is a very important tourist destination in Rioja and Northern Spain. The Monasteries are a cultural gem, located at a beautiful location and with great treasures inside, including the first books written in the Spanish language. 

The Monastery of Suso

The monastery of Suso contained the tomb of Saint Millan and was a major place for pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. This is a small monastery, located at the top of a hill in a magical and mystical area. The oldest parts of the monastery have kept their simplicity and design. The exterior has eaves with old Mozarabic rafters.

The Yuso Monastery

Yuso is the “modern” monastery or the one “below” as locals also refer to it. It is easier to visit Yuso monastery than the one in Suso as there are guided tours every day. Its library is a real gem and the place where the Emilian Glosses are found; they contain the first words written in the Spanish language.

The 3 neighborhoods in San Millán de la Cogolla

Walking around San Millan is very pleasant. There are 3 different areas or districts. The Santurde neighborhood, the oldest part of San Millan. The Barrio Nuevo or new district, which was developed for the workers who worked in the construction of the Monastery, and the Barrio del Río, quieter and more rural, located next to the River.

San Millán offers some of the best trekking options in Rioja. The enclave where San Millán de la Cogolla is located is beautiful and a good number of paths allow you to enjoy it on foot. Among the best-known routes is the GR-93 Ezcaray- San Millán, which allows you to go to the town of Ezcaray in the Sierra de la Demanda and where is the only ski resort in La Rioja is located.

The Route of the Cueva del Santo, and the Route of Gonzalo de Berceo are also very popular. You will find panels in San Millan that indicate the difficulty level and length of the different options available. If you enjoy walking and you always look for options to enjoy treks during your vacations, we recommend you have a look at our best trekking in Spain guide

The Fiestas in San Millán are religious festivals. On Pentecost Sunday there is a Pilgrimage to the Monstery of Valvanera, patron saint of La Rioja. On the third Saturday in June there is a Pilgrimage to the Cueva del Santo (traditionally only men can enjoy it)
On July 16th there are festivals in the Rio area. On September 26th the transfer of the remains of Saint San Millán is celebrated and on November 12th, it is the day of the Saint San Millán himself. From June onwards, there is a local Fiesta nearly every month!

A bit of history

The history of this village in Rioja is intimately connected with the life of Saint Millan. Saint Millan was a shepherd who had devoted his life to solitary prayers and penance in the countryside. He lived in a cave and he became very famous for helping people who sought support and advice.

Saint Millan died in 574 in this area of Rioja. Legend has it that he appeared in a white horse to help the Christians in a battle against the Moors.

Weather in San Millan de la Cogolla

Due to its location next to the mountains, San Millan de loa Cogolla is one of the areas in Rioja where you can expect more rain. Even in July or August you could find rain 8 to 10 days in a month. (from November to April you could expect to find rain 1 out of each 2 days)
The temperatures area also cooler than in the rest of Rioja (some 2-3C cooler) Average highs in winter are around 8-9 C, with averge lows at 2C and in they get to 25C in summer and average lows in summer at 11-12C.

Ainsa, Aragon

Ainsa is far from any main touristic roads. The old town is full of narrow streets, slopes and stone houses and palaces. It is famous thanks to the views it offers of the Pyrenees. Locals actually refer to it as a balcony to the mountain range. Ainsa is a beautiful village to stop during a natural trip in the pyrenees, or on a road trip to Lourdes in France.

Ainsa is the former capital of the medieval kingdom of Sobrarbe, which extended over the valleys of Bielsa, Broto, Gistain and Puértolas. The town is surrounded by defensive walls and today is a protected monument.

Besides the beautiful Colegiate church that dates back to the 12 century, you will encounter the castle.  The ancient Moorish system of fortifications was seized by Sancho el Mayor de Navarra in the 11C. The castle was the residence of the Aragonese court in the early days of the Reconquista. A square courtyard is surrounded by high arcades. A five-sided tower has survived. There is a passage from the underground vaults to the Plaza Mayor.

Burgo de Osma, Castilla Leon

Walls and Cathedral at Burgos de Osma in Soria

Burgo de Osma. This little town in the Duero valley was founded by Visigoths and is one of the oldest diocesan towns in Spain. Every corner in El Burgo de Osma offers a lttle suprise.

The Villa was declared of special cultural interest due to the historical importance of its monuments: the Cathedral, the Plaza Mayor, the Walls and the Calle Mayor, where you get the feeling that you can get to know the local way of life. … El Burgo del Osma is one of those places where you can comfortably travel back in time.

The cathedral is the main highlight in El Burgo de osma. Few remains of the original 12C Romanesque church have survived, as materials from it were used in the construction of the 13C Gothic cathedral. The latter consists of a nave and two aisles and has a Latin cross groundplan. The cathedral has a most beautiful Gothic cloister dated 1512.

The Plaza Mayor and the Calle Mayor are great examples of Castilian way of live. El Burgo de Osma is famous for some of its hotels and restaurants and a small size, high quality weekend tourist destination for locals.

Sepulveda, Segovia. Castilla Leon

Main square in Sepulveda, Spain

Sepulveda is a beautiful Segovian town that offers the opportunity to enjoy not just the town, but also great trekking opportunities in the natural reservoir of Hoces del Duraton, home to many vulture families, and one of the most interesting natural parks in the region of Castilla Leon. As part of the Hoces del Duraton you will also be able to enjoy La Ermita de San Frutos and its fantastic scenery.

The old town of Sepulveda, known back in Roman times, is located in the region of Segovia in Castilla Leon. It is located at 60 kilometers from the city of Segovia, capital of the region, and it still has remnants of the medieval town walls and castle, as well as numerous monuments besides its beautiful Plaza Mayor and churches, palaces and mansions. The castle, built by Fernán González, was on several occasions the scene of violent battles, particularly during the war between Alfonso I and his wife Doña Urraca!

The Romanesque church of El Salvador dates back to the 11Century and it offers a beautiful apse and has blind round-arched windows on the outside. The tower also has two round-arched windows. The portico is a typical good example of porticos of the region.

From Sepulveda you will  be able to enjoy trekking in different areas of the Hoces del Duraton park. A great opportunity to combine culture and nature (and gastronomy! in a day)

Getting to the Ermita the San Frutos demands a detour to enjoy small villages and storks… At the end of it a bumpy dirt-road starts. This ends at a parking. The detour is however worth making. The Ermita de San Frutos is located 1 kilometer from the parking. The setting is spectacular: the church is located at the end of a rocky peninsula surrounded by the Hoces.
The 12C Romanesque church of San Frutos was built by Maestro Miguel. It is decorated with blind arcades. You will also find a necropolis next to the castle.
If you enjoy bird watching this is a place for you. One of the easiest ways to enjoy some of the animals in Spain. Make sure you bring your camera!

Pedraza, Segovia. Castilla Leon

A walled village where cars are not permitted,  Pedraza, located at 40 minutes drive from Segovia, is said to be the birthplace of the Emperor Traian himself! and is the most beautiful village in  Segovia and near Madrid with a highly individual character.

Pedraza is reknown thanks to its well-preserved beauty, its main square, its many restaurants (asadores) and artisan shops. Many local visitors arrive every weekend to enjoy a walk, meal and quality shopping…

The Plaza Mayor, a typical example of architecture from Castile Leon, with its fine colonnades, is one of the most beautiful squares in Castile and together with other smaller squares, streets, mansions and palaces, make Pedraza a really worth seeing spot in Segovia.  Some restaurants offer the chance to enjoy a meal in gardens or terraces next to the well-preserved medieval town walls.

The castle of Pedraza is a massive, austere castle that stands on an enormous outcrop of rock. It was built in Gothic style and restored around 1430 by Don Pedro Fernández de Velasco. There is a long row of embrasures in themassive, bare outer walls. Inside are various sculptures, paintings and antique furniture, including a few works by famous painter Ignacio de Zuloaga.

This church of San Juan, with a tall Romanesque tower, was rebuilt in the 17&18C and contains interesting 17C .

Where to stay in Pedraza?

We recommend you stay either in nearby Segovia where there are many hotels or at the Hotel Hospederia de Santo Domingo

This is a very romantic hotel inside a very romantic village. Pedraza is one of the favorite destinations for couples from Madrid that look for a romantic getaway outside of the bustle of the big city.

We recommend you book a room with mountain views. The breakfast at the hotel is of very high quality and the overall experience of staying at this small hotel is special.

La Alberca, Salamanca. Castilla Leon

main square in La Alberca Spain

La Alberca is the most visited villages in La Sierra de Francia and is located at 1 hour drive from the historical city of Salamanca Local tourists arrive on weekends to enjoy its natural environment and artisan and food shop (which specialise in local ham). Time seems to pass by slowly in the streets of La Alberca….

This village of some 1,500 inhabitants lies at an altitude of 3,444 ft. and is one of Spain’s most charming spots. It has kept much of its medieval character and is now under national protection. Outside the idyllic village, with its narrow streets and fine squares there are some fine farmsteads with canopy roofs and bay windows. Most impressive of all, however, is the village’s main square with its arcades of wood and granite. Many of the interesting village customs have survived.

Albarracin, Teruel. Aragon

Landscape in the Sierra near Pampaneira

Albarracín is a small medieval town on a hill above the river Guadalaviar in the Montes Universales, about 37 km. from Teruel. Its alleys, streets, plazas and palaces have kept their medieval character and the town is so typical of its kind that it has been listed as a national monument. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain.

During Visigoth rule, Albarracín was known as Santa María de Oriente. In the 11C it was the seat of an Arab ruler, who owed feudal duties to El Cid Campeador. The town gained independence under the rule of the Azagras, who called themselves ‘Vassals of the Virgin Mary and Lords of Albarracín’. The town has fortifications dating from two different periods. The oldest part was probably built before 1000 and stretches from the church of Santa María and the Alcazar across the Portal del Agua to the town. The later part, with nine squares and the Torre del Andador, was built in the 11C. The defences as a whole exemplify the military architectural style of the

Walls and castle

The main landmark of Albarracín are its walls, which are among the most famous walls in Spain (Number 1 in the ranking are the Walls of Avila). An impressive construction that climbs to the submit of a hill and reaches its highest point at the tower of el Andador. The castle boasts 11 towers and dates back to the 9th century. Albarracin was a very important military post for the islamic troops. 

Santa María church

Santa Maria is the town’s oldest church and was begun by the Mozarabs (although it is impossible to tell the exact date of construction). The church was given its present form in the 16C by the architect Quinto Pierres Vedel. It consists of a single aisle to which several chapels were added. The chapel of Saint Francis has a Plateresque vault. The main altar, which is not of particular artistic interest, is decorated with 16C paintings of the mysteries of the rosary. In 1599 the church was affiliated to a Dominican monastery. Of this building there remains only the Torre de Doña Blanca. Its origins go back to the Middle Ages.

El Salvador, the cathedral

Built around 1200 by Bishop Don Martín as a modest church. It was rebuilt towards the end of aic lếC and again in 1532. The tower was built with Romanesque foundations towards the end of the 16C. The main chapel and altar date from 1533. The chapel of Mary Magdalene has a Renaissance altar con secrated to St. Peter. There is a cathedral museum in the chapterhouse and the col- lection of 160C Flemish tapestries is worth seeing. The treasury contains a processional cross of  the 11-12C and other fine things. Despite this is not one of Spain´s most impressive cathedrals it is a must see once in Albarracin. 

Begur and Cala Aiguablava, Catalonia

Beach of Aiguablava near Begur in Spain

Definitely one of the Costa Brava’s hidden treasures, Begur, in Catalonia is just a 50 minutes drive from Gerona and about 90 minutes from Barcelona. It’s a magical little haven filled with amazing beaches, wonderful food and a vibrant nightlife. Definitely worth the trek if you are staying in Barcelona or Gerona. 

The village of Begur is beautiful, vibrant and elegant filled with amazing places to eat and spectacular beaches where you can kick back, relax and forget your worries.  Begur has several well-known beaches and coves that are consistently featured on Spain’s top beaches list all across the internet. In particular Aiguablava cove and Sa Tuna are considered the best Begur has to offer.

Begur is blessed with an amazing nature reserve consisting of 7 small islands, known as the Medes Islands. The reserve is home to a wide array of marine life and features a number of underwater caves.  The islands have been protected by the government since 1983 and they have been growing in importance in the past years.


In town, you will find a spectacular Medieval Castle, an old quarter packed with boutiques, bars and restaurants and a collection of mansions belonging to the many residents who braved the Atlantic Ocean headed to Cuba looking (and achieving) their own little fortune.  

Cala Aiguablava

This for sure one of the best beaches in Catalonia. It is surrounded by sheer cliffs and pine trees which is an odd setting for such a picture-perfect cove. The beach itself has fine white sand and perfect crystal clear water, and it is one of the top beaches in all of Catalonia. Begur is a beautiful village with lots to offer, great hotels and gastronomy.

Aiguablava means blue water in Catalan, which speaks to the pristine quality of the water.

The beach is only 100 meters long and it is locaated at less than 8 minutes drive from Begur in Girona


Cadaques, Catalonia

Mediterranean landscape in Spain

Cadaqués is 2 hours from Barcelona and just 1 hour from Gerona. If you are thinking of visiting either of these cities, Cadaqués makes for an awesome day trip.

Cadaqués is one of Catalonias best kept secrets.  What was once the summer residence of Dalí, this small coastal village has everything you could ask for from a small Mediterranean town: beautiful white houses, turquoise water and all the charm and delicious food you can handle. If you are planning on visiting Barcelona or Gerona, Cadaqués makes for an excellent day-trip option.

The Mediterranean coast of Spain is simply amazing, there is no getting around it: amazing beaches, delicious food, perfect weather, there is nothing not to like. Along the western coast there are many famous cities and villages that are well worth a visit, but Cadaqués is one of those lesser know places that rivals more “touristy” options on the map.

First, and less impressively, the village is Spain’s most eastern point, and as close as your going to get to Italy without taking a boat or a plane. More of a fun fact than anything else.

Secondly, and much more impressive, Cadaqués was where Salvador Dalí spent most of his summers and much of his later life. The surrealist painter built an otherworldly home in nearby Port Lligat which is still there to this day. Dalí attracted many other famous friends who came to visit him to Cadaqués and the village is still a magnet for celebrity guests.

The town of Cadaqués is small and charming. The houses are white, the water is turquoise the streets are narrow and winding, every thing you want out of a village on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. There is a beautiful bay and several pebble beaches you can enjoy and of course many quaint and delicious sea-side eateries one must partake in.

Sitges, Catalonia

Sitges in Barcelona

Located just south of Barcelona, Sitges hoasts the prestigious Sitges Film festival and there are a plethora of museums and monuments to visit and at the same time, there are also plenty of bars and clubs to party the night away, and Sitges’ pride week is world-famous. Read on to discover everything Sitges has to offer.  Together with Montserrat mountain, Sitges is one of the top day excursions from Barcelona. 

Sitges is the type of place where most people want to visit when the city comes alive. For Sitges, this is either during the Sitges Film Festival which takes place in October, or during Carnaval which takes place in February. These are the two events during the year when Sitges is percolating. Of course, during this time the town is crowded and hotel prices go up. 

If you are looking to avoid crowds, we would also suggest avoiding the summer months, when beach-goers flock to Sitges. 

If you want a laid-back Sitges experience, try March, April, and May, you might even get lucky and the weather might be nice enough to enjoy the beach. 

The Sitges Film Festival

The exact dates vary slightly from one year to the next, but around the first week of October, the city hosts the famous Sitges Film Festival, a festival dedicated to recognizing fantasy films from around the world. The week is filled with all sorts of events and movie showings.

The festival has gained international notoriety thanks to the quality of the movies selected, of course, but also because of the stars the festival has attracted. From Quentin Tarantino, to Sir Anthony Hopkins to Cameron Diaz, all have participated in the festival. The fantastic venue helps in attracting many visitors to the festival (something shared with the San Sebastian film festival

Another quirky highlight of the festival is the Zombie Walk that is organized every year where thousands of people show off their zombie skills, shuffling mindlessly through the streets of Sitges. The walk ends with a living dead, live music ball.

Museu Cau Ferrat

What was once the home of acclaimed artist Santigo Rusiñol, ha snow been turned into a beautiful and charming museum in the heart of Sitges.

Rusiñol was one of the leading figures of the Catalan Modernist movement. Before he died, Rusiñol determined he wanted to leave his home and all of its contents (that included drawings, paintings, ceramics, etc.) to the city of Sitges under the condition that it be opened to the public as a museum. The museum currently is home to a variety of different collections and is well worth a visit if you are in town. 

Casa Bacardí

Yes, THAT Bacardí. The founder of the ultra-famous Cuban Rum brand was actually born in Spain, in Sitges to be more exact.

Facundo Bacardí was born back in 1814 in what is known today as Casa BacardíFacundo’s childhood home is now a museum that chronicles the brands history and the life of its founder. The of course cover the rum-making process as well as offering guests a variety of different, delicious cocktails in the bar at the back.

Sitges Carnival

Towards the end of February, mayhem is unleashed onto Sitges. Barcelona has it’s own Carnaval celebration, but everyone knows that the real party is down in Sitges.

Sitges boasts one of the most vibrant and spectacular Carnaval celebrations, much like the Carnival of Cádiz. The Sitges Carnival is well known across Spain for its colorful floats, amazing dresses and costumes, and the roaring after parties. 

Explore the Old Town centre

Sitges’ historic city center is small, charming, and definitely worth a couple of hours of exploration. In particular the old fishermen’s quarter with its with blue trimming and the 15th-century, Baroque style Church of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla.

Combarro, Galicia

Combarro Galicia

Combarro is a tiny little fishing village on the Galician coast, in Northern Spain. The village is located very close to the beautiful city of Pontevedra, and it makes an excellent day trip if you are visiting the city. Check out all the history, charm and hidden goodness Combarro has to offer. 

Combarro is located in the heart of what is known as the Rias Baixas. This is a section of the Galician coast, characterized by the many estuaries that form in this area. It is a strikingly beautiful and unique landscape, and Combarro is the most charming town located in this well-known area of Galicia. 

Combarro is consistently included on Spain’s official list of the most beautiful villages in the country and it has been declared a Historic/Artistic Site as well.

 Combarro is located just a few kilometers from other great tourist destenitaions such as Cambados, Sanxenxo, O Grove, Isla de la Toja and Pontevedra. So there is much more to explore in the area. 

Horreos or granaries

One of the main characteristics of Combarro is the many granaries you will see scattered across the village. These distinct constructions are emblematic of the region of Galicia. They were historically used as a complementary construction to people’s residence in which corn and cereals are normally kept. They are built on stilts so that neither mice nor moisture could get in. Without a doubt, these constructions are one of the hallmarks of Galicia, and Combarro is a great place to get up close to these historical constructions.

Currently in the town of Combarro there are a total of 68 granaries, half of them are right on the shore of the estuary. That is the reason why I recommend you, if possible, visit Combarro at low tide.

One of the best tips is to try and plan your visit to Combarro during the low tide hours. This way, it will be possible to walk along the beach and you will be able to see the granaries from another perspective. A more beautiful view and with less people.

Rúa do Mar

Rúa de Mar is one of the most beautiful streets in Combarro. Once you have parked your car near the Marina and the Paseo Marítimo. This is where most of the Combarro granaries are located. It is a great place to for a picture and there are plenty of restaurants, craft shops and souvenirs to explore.

The hórreo is a construction made of granite and wood very typical of northern Spain. Especially from Galicia, but you can also find them in Asturias and in the north of León. But the granaries of Combarro have an added purpose and that is that most of them are right next to the sea because they also dry the fish.

Plaza da Fonte

If you continue walking through the center of Combarro you will arrive at the crossroads of Plaza da Fonte, probably one of the most important squares in Combarro. In one of the main axes of this square is one of the oldest crosses in Combarro. The other of the main elements of this square is its stone fountain. Formerly, this was where the stone cross was located, but the location was modified to replace it with the source.

Cruceiros de Combarro

In addition to being the town of the granaries, Combarro is the town of the Cruceiros. In Combarro there are a total of nine crosses, of which seven are located in the heart of the historic center. Most of them are from the 18th and 19th centuries and are carved with granite. In addition to the religious value they have, they symbolize the crossroads. They are very curious. If you look closely, they usually have a virgin facing the sea and a cross on the opposite side.

Beach do Padrón

It is the urban beach closest to the center of Combarro. Right next to the beach, in the area closest to the old town there is a crossroads in a square from which you have a very beautiful view of the estuary and the town, one of the best viewpoints to see is Combarro.

Marine houses

After having seen the granaries and the crosses, I now suggest that you take a look at another of the most typical buildings in Combarro. Leaving the first line of granaries a bit and going down the back street you will be able to find the fishing houses where the fishermen of the town lived and live.

It will not be difficult for you to spot them. They differ from other constructions because they usually have a ground floor, where fishing utensils were stored and stairs that take you up to the residential area. Normally these houses have a balcony that looks directly to the sea full of flowers.

Rúa de San Roque

There are two essential streets to see in Combarro, one is Rúa da Mar, and the other is Rúa de San Roque. On Rúa San Roque we find at every step small squares with a lot of charm. We are also going to find the Church of San Roque, the parish church of this fishing village.

Where to eat in Combarro

O Bocci Restaurant. This traditional Galician restaurant features a terrace and views of the sea and specializes in fish and seafood. You cant go wrong by ordering the ordering rice, squid, octopus, or scallops.

Bar Pedramar. I also recommend you book in advance. This elegant restaurant also features a terrace, a varied menu, and views of the sea.

How long does it take to visit Combarro?

Combarro is a very small town of just 1,500 inhabitants. You can visit it perfectly in a morning or in an afternoon.

Where to park your car in Combarro?

I recommend you park near the Combarro marina or near the Paseo Marítimo.

How to get to Combarro?

Combarro is 8 kilometers from Pontevedra and 65 kilometers from Santiago. The best way to access Combarro is from Pontevedra.

Trujillo. Extremadura

Main square in Trujillo Spain

Trujillo is a picturesque town that lies on a granite hill and is the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro (1475-1541), conqueror of Peru. Trujillo, the Roman Turgalium, is a small town full of history, good restaurants and hotels and a perfect stop on your way to Caceres, Portugal or a trip from Madrid to Seville. We love its amazing main square, one of our favorite squares in Spain for sure!

Trujillo was fortified under the Arabs (town walls have survived in part) and given the name Torgiela or Truxillo. After the town was recaptured under Ferdinand III in 1232 it became the seat of the Trujillo Order of Knights.

Trujillo attracts many location experts in their search for the perfect venue for their movie. A good number of Spanish movies and TV series have chosen Trujillo as part of their settings. Trujillo has been recently featured in Still Star Crossed, or the more famous Games of Thrones: part of the final battle of season 7 was filmed in Trujillo. Jammie Lannister and Bronn scanned the horizon from the heights of the “castle of Trujillo” worried about the attack by Daenerys’ hordes. If you are interested in the best movies in Spain 

Guadalupe monastery

Before we start with the top highlights in Trujillo we should also mention the amazing Monastery of Guadalupe, located at one hour drive from Trujillo. The monastery of Guadalupe is one of Spain´s best monasteries and it is a Unesco heritage site. 

Santa María la Mayor:

This church was built in Romanesque style on the foundations of a mosque in the 13C and altered in Gothic style in the 15&16C. It stands at the North West edge of the old ring of walls and has a beautiful portal in transitional style and late 15 Century San Martín is the church on the Plaza Mayor. It dates from the 15&16C. It is a single aisled church with Gothic vaulting and a Renaissance portal.

The castle of Trujillo

The castle has its massive square towers of Moorish origin. The semi-cylindrical towers were added after the Reconquista. On the keep (Torre del Homenaje) stands he 16 Century statue of the Virgen de la Victoria, patron saint of the city.

Plaza Mayor of Trujillo

The Plaza Mayor in Trujillo is without a doubt one of the most impressive squares in Spain! with arcades and beautiful mansions. The bronze equestrian statue of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru born in Trujillo in 1475) seems to control everything that happens in Trujillo!

Palacio del Marqués de la Conquista:

This palace was built by Hernando Pizarro, son-in-law of the Conquistador. It has a Plateresque façade with a coat-of-arms, window grilles, and twelve statues on the cornice, which depict the months of the year. The medallions on the corner balconies depict Pizarro and his wife, the Indian princess Inés Yupanqui, as well as the builder Hernando Pizarro and his wife Francisca.

Zafra, Badajoz. Extremadura

Zafra, Badajoz Spain

The charming small town of Zafra is regularly referred to as Sevilla la chica (little Seville). Despite Zafra is located in Extremadura, its character is mostly Andalusian, and the nickname takes from this Andalusian character. The two old squares with their dedicated arcades and balconies provide with a truly old-world character. Zafra is a place full of history, as its many names prove: Segida for the Iberians, Julia Restituta for the Romans, and Zafar or Safra for the Moors. Two gates from the old Moorish wall have survived to our date, and many fantastic streets, squares, and monuments await the intrepid traveler who stops in Zafra.

In Zafra you will discover a fascinating  town with surprising heritage. Probably its main attractions and interest lies in the charm of its squares, streets, churches and convents at Zafra´s historic center.

Zafra became a very important town during the Moorish occupation when it was named Safra and when it was a strategic town between Seville and Badajoz. 

Parador, the palace of Dukes of Feria

One of the top things to enjoy in Zafra (and a place where you can actually stay!) is the Palace of the Duques de Feria. This is the old Alcazar. It has high battlemented walls with towers at the corners and also at the front. It was extended in 1437 and then partly modernized in the 16th Century. The top highlight is the two-story, white marble patio dates from the same time and it is attributed to Juan de Herrera. The Salon Dorado, in the main tower, contains paintings and has an artesunate ceiling. The chapel, of Mudejar style, is also worth mentioning.

Nuestra señora de la Candelaria church

This collegiate church dates back to the 14th and 16th centuries. It is a single aisled church, with a short transept and a Herrera-style portal. Inside there is a treasure: a retable with ten.

Plaza Grande y Plaza Chica

These two squares are the perfect spots to enjoy a walk and relax in Zafra. This is also an area with more bars, terraces, and restaurants.

House of Ruy Lopez

Ruy Lopez was a priest and the most important chess player of his time. He was the first chess world champion in 1575! Ruy Lopez introduced many classical openings to the game.

Alcala de Jucar, Albacete, Castilla la Mancha

Alcala de Jucar Spain

Alcalá del Júcar is located in the northwest of the province of Albacete, in the La Machuela región Castilla la Mancha. This magical little village was declared a Historic site in 1982. It is one of the most spectacular and picturesque villages in the province of Albacete (and of Spain for that matter).

Aside from the village’s history, and quaint vibes it is surrounded by the singular landscape of the Júcar river gorge, which takes Alcalá’s beauty to the next level. Alcalá del Júcar is one of Spain’s most breathtaking hidden gems that you just have to experience. 

Castle of Alcalá del Júcar

At the top of the hill, overlooking the village, is the Castle of Alcalá del Júcar. This defensive fortification dates back to the 12th century. The castle has suffered many transformations over the centuries, and little is left of the original edification. 

The Castle of Alcalá del Júcar can be visited all year round and offers the best views in town. If you don’t want to have to park your car in the village below, the castle does have its own small parking lot, but the road to get there is steep and narrow. 

Alcalá del Júcar Church

If there is another monument in Alcalá that can rival the castle, it is the temple of San Andrés built in the 16th century. The church is also easily visible from any point surrounding the village. Like the castle, it has also suffered various transformations over the centuries, but they are more evident, and you can easily see the evolution. The church’s tower stands 70 meters tall, with a green dome.

Roman Bridge and Júcar River Beach

Crossing over the winding waters of the wonderful Júcar river is the deceptively named Roman Bridge. It is not actually a Roman-era bridge, it gets its name from its appearance. It was actually built in 1771, and it is one of the most Instagram-able spots in the village. 

During the sweltering summer months, it becomes the best place to cool off and take a break. It has a small river beach. An area enabled for swimming on the bank of the river Júcar with exceptional views. It is not the only river beach in the area. 

Caves of Alcalá del Júcar

Much of the town of Alcalá is actually underground. There are hundreds of meters of caves bored into the side of the mountain on which the town is built. These tunnels date back centuries and most have survived intact ever since. 

The most famous of these tunnels is the so-called Devil’s Cave. The Devil’s Cave today serves as a restaurant/bar/nightclub combo. The tunnel crosses the hill from end to end. You can enter on one side and exit on the opposite side with a beer in your hands. 

It is not the only bar or cave that can be visited within Alcalá del Júcar.  the Masagó and El Duende Caves or the Garadén Cave are all popular options.

Where to stay in Alcala de Jucar?

You can also spend the night in these caves. Undoubtedly the most authentic Alcalá experience. Check out the Casa Rural las Colmenas or the Cueva de la Abuela María which are literally built inside the hill. 

Weather in Alcala de Jucar

Alcalá del Júcar is located 590 meters above sea level. The climate in Alcalá del Júcar is referred to as a local steppe climate. Throughout the year there is little rainfall in Alcalá del Júcar. The average annual temperature in Alcalá del Júcar is 14.2 ° C or 57,2ºF. In summer temperatures can reach 25ºC or 77ºF.

Almagro, Castilla la Mancha

Almagro Spain

Almagro, of Roman origin, in the great plain of La Mancha, was the headquarters
of the Order of Calatrava, the oldest and most important Spanish Knightly Order.

After the Moors invaded, it was a border town, alternately in the hands of the Arabs and the Christians. In 1214 the Archbishop of Toledo, Don Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, settled the old Roman Castrum miraculum with seventy old noble Christian families.

Two years later building began on the Fortress of Calatrava la Nueva, the fortified
headquarters of the Order.

Dominican Monastery

The most important architectural monument in the province, with interesting cloisters in Ionic and Doric style. Pillars were cut from a single piece of Carrara
marble. The rooms have beautiful panelling and carving. The Gothic church has a very fine transept and tombs of the priors. Elements of Renaissance, as well as
Graeco-Roman styles, can be seen on the portals.

Corral de Comedias

A 16C theatre,  which is a protected monument and one of the town’s most important art treasures.Regular productions were mounted here Spanish classical theatre began to develop. With its decorated wooden galleries, stage and dressing rooms, the theatre is a memorial to the golden age of Spanish theatre. On the Feast of St.Bar-
tholomew (end of August) classical plays are still performed.

Plaza Mayor

An elongated plaza in front of the Town Hall (1372); it is surrounded by stone arcades and small wooden balconies.

Quarter of the Nobility

The original atmosphere of this quarter has been perfectly preserved in its streets, squares, coats-of arms and courtyards. Outstanding is the Palacio Maestral, in which Alfonso X Wise, allowed the Cortes to hold an assembly in 1273.

Madre de Dios

Majestic church with stone pillars by the architects Enríquez (1546). In 1797 the architect Toraya made some alterations.

San Agustín

Former Augustinian house (1635-1821) with fine paintings of the Zurbarán school on the ceilings and walls.

Capilla del Salvador

Built for the famous Augsburg banker Jakob Fugger (1459 – 1525), who had warehouses in Almagro for the mercury and silver mined in Amadén. His coat-of-arms is to be
found inside and on the portals. The building is single-aisled with ribbing and beautiful rose-windows.

Former University of Santo Domingo

The UNiversity begun in 1534. Degrees were conferred between 1597 and 1824. The stone figures in the Capilla del Rosario are of interest, as are the shields of the founder, Fernando Fernández de Córdoba, the Order’s Master of the Keys, and the coats-of-arms of the Counts of Cabra and the Dukes of Infantado, as well as of the Emperor Charles V.

Town Hall

The beautiful stone staircase and the assembly hall are worth seeing. Inside there is a splendid chest, which is said to have held Fugger’s money.

Tarifa, Andalusia

Tarifa is the closest city to the African continent in Spain, just 14 kilometers from the coast of Morrocco, where the waters of the Mediterranean meet those of the Atlantic. 

Tarifa enjoys excellent weather year-round and is a city brimming with history. Due to its unique location, it became a highly coveted place by different civilizations over the millennia.

In Tarifa, you will find relics left behind from prehistory, the Phoenician, the Roman ruins, and medieval Spain.

Tarifa has a unique cheerful and carefree atmosphere, and although its average temperature is 17 degrees, there is one characteristic Tarifa is best known for around the world: the wind. Tarifa is Surfing and Kitesurfing heaven.

Tour the old town of Tarifa

One most iconic site in Tarifa is the 13th century Puerta de Jerez. the Puerta de Jeez is the old entrance gate to the city and it is still located between the Medieval Walls, and declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 2003. This gate is the only remaining gate from that era after the other two gates that the city had, the Puerta del Mar, located in the west, and Puerta del Retino to the east were lost.

The best way of getting to know the city of Tarifa is by getting lost down its winding streets, strolling leisurely. Lovers of history and culture will find their little paradise in Tarifa.

Its old town with is nothing but narrow cobbled-stone streets adorned with colorful carnations and full of monuments that tell the story of a defensive, fortress-city

Tarifa is filled with excellent little bars where you can enjoy some tapas, small boutique shops and a lively nightlife. Typical gastronomy from the region of Cádiz is on display in Tarifa, of which the Almadraba red tuna is the star.

Castle of Guzman el Bueno, Tarifa

Another very emblematic historical site in Tarifa is the Castillo de Guzmán el Bueno (The Castle of Guzmán the good), who in a heroic act that is still remembered to this day, gave the life of his son to the Muslims to protect the castle and the city of Tarifa.

The castle was built in 960 by Caliph Abderramán III and passed through the hands of the Almoravids, Umayyads, Benimerines and finally conquered by the Christians.

A few meters from the castle we find the Plaza de Santa María, also known as “Plaza de las Ranitas”. The Plaza is surrounded by old and important buildings such as the Casa del Pósito, an old grain warehouse.

The plaza is also home to Tarifa Town Hall (a beautiful, white neo-Arab building) the Municipality Library, the Tarifa Museum, and the Church of Santa María built in the 13th century where the Islamic mosque once stood with a neoclassical facade.

The historic city center is one of the liveliest areas with bars and taverns where you can take in the characteristic bohemian atmosphere of the city.

The Beaches of Tarifa

Tarifa is home to some fo the best and most pristine beaches in the region of Cádiz: Playa de los Alemanes, Playa de Valdevaqueros, Playa de los Lances or Playa Bolonia, 

Playa Bolonia, in fact, was warded in 2015 by TripAdvisor in the Travelers Choice awards as the tenth most beautiful beach in Europe and the second in Spain.

These beaches are famous around the globe, however, both for their natural beauty and for their perfect conditions for practicing water sports such as windsurfing and Kitesurfing, so much so that the world championships of both these modalities are held here every year.

Baelo Claudia archaeological site: Roman ruins by the sea

Just a few meters from the fantastic Bolonia Beach, surrounded by an enormous dune, we find the ancient Roman city of Baelo Claudia. A unique archaeological site, due to the beauty of its location in front of the sea and how well preserved its remains are. The city was built in the second century BC, near the nearby slat factories the Romans had established. 

You can still see certain features of the city that give us insight into how life must have been in Baelo Claudia: The pools where they allowed the fish to ferment, the cities forum, the theater, aqueducts, or temples. A place that will undoubtedly transport any visitor back into the past. 

Castle of Santa Catalina

Located just 400 meters from the Castillo de Guzmán El Bueno, at the top of a small hill, we find one of the unique buildings in the city, the Castillo de Santa Catalina. The castle sits at 24 meters above sea level and overlooks the city.

The castle was once a small hermitage to which it owes its name, but because of its strategic location, it soon became a military outpost.

Whale watching  

Tarifa is one of the best places in Europe for the sighting whale watching. The straight that Tarifa creates with Morrocco is the only crossing point for many whales and dolphins into the Mediterranean Sea. Killer whales in particular are habitually sighted off the coast of Tarifa, chasing tuna into the warm waters of the Mediterranean. 

In the city, there are many companies that make boat trips to see these curious animals, whales, dolphins, sperm whales, and pilot whales.

Learn more about Spain´s amazing white villages in our dedicated sections

White villages in Spain

White villages in Spain

One of the best experiences to enjoy in Spain is to leave the big cities and get to know the small villages spread throughout Spain´s geography. The white villages in Spain is the most famous option. Located in Andalusia, southern Spain, these villages are located in fantastic landscapes and share white in their houses as a way to fight against the heat. In this guide we recommend you a road trip amongst some of the most beautiful white villages in Spain. … Read More