Hola frequent fliers! Have you been to Spain one too many times? If you’ve already seen Gaudi’s architectural marvels in Barcelona and know every Plaza in Madrid and every beach in Costa Brava like the back of your hand, then it’s time to delve deeper and visit some of Spain’s hidden gems. If you, like us, are impossibly in love with Spain, then you need to go off-the-beaten track and pencil these offbeat destinations into the itinerary of your next trip. These little-known gems will have you swooning in no time.
1) Rio Frio
A tiny hamlet with cottages and a gushing stream flowing through it – no it’s not a figment of our imagination. Rio Frio is a tiny fishing village in Southern Spain that specialises in trout and caviar. Fly into Malaga and take the old road to Granada. You will reach Rio Frio within an hour.
Spend your day exploring the alleys of the village and watching fishermen patiently go about their work. When you are hungry, head over to one of the restaurants in the village. Choose from dozens of trout-based delicacies. The trout salad and grilled trout are par excellence – highly recommended.
Antequera is the perfect day trip from Granada or Malaga. It is famous for the surreal rock formations at El Torcal and you will quickly see why. It is easy to spend hours marvelling at the arid landscape and the strangely symmetrical rock formations here.
But that isn’t all. The picturesque white village of Antequera provides the perfect excuse for experiencing the culinary culture of Southern Spain. It is dotted with rustic Tapas Bars serving local specialities such as Porra Antequerana, a tomato-based dip made with tomatoes, olive oil, boiled eggs, and tuna and Berenjenas con miel de cana – aubergine fritters served with a dash of sugarcane molasses.
Another place that should be on every gourmand’s itinerary is Besalu. This medieval town, close to Girona Airport, is spectacular to say the least. It has a number of stunning monuments including a crumbling Jewish bath-house, Roman ruins, and a twelfth century monastery.
The alleys of Besalu might be endlessly fascinating but it is the food that draws people to the town. There are a number of Michelin starred eateries, boasting rustic cuisine and superb views, hidden in its narrow passageways. Feast on Catalan specialities as you contemplate the heritage of this little town.
The city of Figueres is home to one of the most fascinating museums in the world – Theatre Museu Gala Salvador Dalí. Dali spent years designing the museum and the facade itself is the largest surrealist object in the world. It is easy to spend the better part of the day exploring Dali’s weird and wonderful paintings, sculptures, and installations at the museum.
Figueres is usually sold as an easy day trip from Barcelona. However, we would suggest staying there for 2-3 days. Spend your time exploring the scenic countryside surrounding Figueres, especially the endless sunflower fields that seem to run for miles.
This village is Costa Brava’s little secret. Its alleys are lined with Moorish and Spanish architectural marvels. There are a number of boutique hotels which are perfect for an offbeat holiday – spend your time exploring the surrounding vineyards, sampling local wine and olives, and taking in panoramic views of the coastline. Begur is the perfect recipe for those who like calm and unhurried holidays.