Amongst holidaymakers, Spain is one of the most popular destinations with the likes of Benidorm and Barcelona packed with sun-seekers lying on loungers and discovering sights which millions before have already uncovered.
But whilst Spain has made its name for tourists through offering holidays to Ibiza, Majorca, and Madrid, there is plenty more to explore. In fact, right across the nation there are dozens of towns and cities that you simply must visit.
With so many to choose from, we’ve shortlisted five to consider and exactly what you can discover. You’ll be packing your bags in no time…
You probably won’t know this, but Jaén is the World Capital of Olive Oil, and if that’s not enough to make you wish to go, we don’t know what is!
We’re joking of course, but aside from olive oil Jaén really does have a whole heap on offer. At the centre of the city lies the cathedral, a Renaissance-style building and one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in all of Andalusia.
Throughout the year there are dozens of festivals that parade through the city including Feria de San Lucas which lasts for a week throughout October which includes dancing, food, and plenty of great Spanish traditions.
The city itself is fairly simple to get to with a high-speed line between Jaén and Madrid as well as connections to Cordoba and Seville. Additionally, with Malaga and Marbella just over a two-hour drive away, it’s ideal for a day away from the beach and poolside.
Ribadesella is no stranger to the alpharooms blog, thanks to its magnificent beach, lined by simply gorgeous houses and hotels. Unlike anywhere else in Spain, the Indiano mansions which line the seafront are simply beautiful and add plenty of colour to the northern coast of Spain.
Tucked away just a stone’s throw from Santander and two hours from Bilbao the town is popular amongst the Spanish enjoying a break, but less known by international tourists. One of its biggest draws are the caves of Tito Bustillo which are some of the most important caves in Spain with prehistoric wall paintings dating back around 29,000 years ago.
The town itself is rather quaint, and if you’re looking for a beach holiday in Spain without fuss or hordes of people, then Ribadesella is most definitely for you.
Walk around Mérida and you’ll start to wonder if you boarded the Tardis rather than an airplane and landed in Ancient Rome. Located in western central Spain, close to the border of Portugal, Mérida was once the capital of Lusitania, a Roman province and the remains of the empire are prominent throughout.
The town was founded in 25 BC and was at one stage one of the most important cities in the empire. Today the amphitheatre and Roman theatre are two of the city’s main draws with the grounds perfect for a stroll in the afternoon sun.
In every nook and cranny there are remnants of a previous life in the city from the impressive arch of Trajano to the Templo de Diana Merida which stands prominently in the centre. However, whilst history is a key part of its appeal, so is the food with some of the finest tapas in the region available.
Located just a few hours from Valenica, the home of paella, is Albarracin, a village which is like nowhere else in Spain. Almost carved into the stony hillside, the village is like being transported back to the Middle Ages, with its half-timbered houses, stunning cathedral, and steep walls surrounding what was once the kingdom of Azagras, a small independent state.
The town is named after Al Banu Razin, a Moorish family who settled in the area during the period of Muslim domination of the region and the town has barely changed since.
There are many tours which offer trips to this splendid village and not even the large amounts of coaches which pass through can take away its beauty. During September the Santa Maria de Oriente festival takes place, bringing the whole village together for fireworks, dancing, and music.
Now, you’re probably thinking Salamanca is simply the name of a Breaking Bad character, but it also happens to be a major city in Spain, and one, when it comes to tourism, overshadowed by Madrid and Barcelona.
Around 100 miles to the west of the Spanish capital, Salamanca is a student city and includes the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest in the western world. Students flock from across the world to learn at the prestigious establishment creating a really vibrant city and one of the most diverse in Spain.
As you can imagine it is awash with fantastic bars and eateries with Barbacoa La Encina out towards the bull ring one of the finest places in the city. In 1988 The Old City was declared a World Heritage Site and is a worthwhile spot to just soak up the history of this fantastic country, if you find yourself missing the serenity of the beach, you’ll find a place to relax by the banks of the Tormes to while away the hours.