20 Hidden gems in Spain | Off-the-beaten-path destinations worth visiting

Spain is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. It has an incredible history, delicious food, welcoming people and some of the most charming villages you’ll ever visit.

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path
Ribadesella, Spain

I’ve already written an article about the most beautiful villages in Europe but in this post I want to talk about 20 hidden gems in Spain that you should add to your itinerary when visiting this stunning country. Let’s get to it!

Top 20 Spain hidden gems

1. Arcos de la Frontera

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If you love to travel for historical and cultural purposes or you’re always seeking new breathtaking scenery, then Arcos de la Frontera (Andalucia) is totally worth your attention! 

As one of the non-touristy places in Spain, you might not know that Arcos de la Frontera was declared a national historic monument, thanks to its spectacular architecture, which combines Christian and Muslim elements. More than that, nearby is a lake where you can enjoy many exciting water activities.

2. Zumaia

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Located in Basque Country, which is famous for its specific geology, Zumaia has an important place on Spain’s hidden gems list. Although it’s not as popular as San Sebastian, for example, Zumaia is considered one of the most important geological sanctuaries in the world, covering more than 4000 hectares of both land and sea. 

Before planning your next successful trip to Spain, you should know a few things about the flysch natural phenomenon, found in Zumaia. The “flysch” refers to a rock formation created through the combination of different sediments. To enjoy an unforgettable and picturesque sunset, I recommend you visit Sakoneta beach.

3. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

One of the less-known places in Spain is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a beautiful island located in the northern part of the country. To get to it, you’ll have to cross a bridge with breathtaking views and climb no less than 241 steps. You might recognize this island from the famous Game of Thrones TV series where it was portrayed as Dragonstone Fortress.

Once you reach the island, you can admire the Chapel of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, which has an incredible legend. If you ring its bell three times, you can make a wish. What do you think, do you believe in legends?

4. Olvera, Andalucia

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Although it’s not as famous as Seville, Cordoba or Granada, Olvera could be a great destination for you if you want to (re)visit the southern part of Spain and you’d prefer to enjoy a quiet holiday. 

Located in the Province of Cádiz, Olvera is known for its historical and cultural gems, such as Castillo de Olvera or Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación church. As you see, this destination could be perfect for you especially if you are looking for secret places in Spain with a lot of history. So, it’s time to put on your anthropologist hat and prepare for the next cultural adventure in your life! 

5. Beget, Girona

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

When it comes to the most beautiful secret villages in Spain, Beget is surely worth a mention. Located at the source of the Llierca River, Beget is one of those picturesque Spanish villages in which you’ll discover many streets similar to those you probably read about in childhood novels. Once you get to Beget, you’ll immediately notice the small houses’ balconies decorated with a lot of colorful flowers. 

More than that, here you’ll be able to visit the Church of San Cristóbal de Beget, which was declared an Asset of National Interest or enjoy hiking/biking – Beget’s natural surroundings are simply amazing. 

6. El Rocio

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

If you’re simply in love with the small, but lively towns’ charm, then you must add El Rocio to your itinerary! Located in the center of Donana Park, El Rocio is one of the hidden places in Spain which perfectly combines the picturesque landscapes, the regional Andalusian food and the well-known Romeria del Rocio (which is considered the most traditional Spanish religious festival). 

So, whether you get used to traveling for cultural purposes or you adore discovering new, but not-so-popular beautiful scenery, you must visit El Rocio at least once in your lifetime. 

7. Taganana, Tenerife

Taganana Village Tenerife

Tenerife is a beautiful island with a lot to offer. As I’m always looking for off-the-beaten path destinations whenever I’m traveling, I discovered Taganana during my trip to Tenerife.

Tourism is not very well developed in the area and only a few people reach this remote part of the island. However, I loved the nearby Benijo Beach and the views surrounding Taganana. Everything about this place is wild and still untouched.

8. Antequera

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Antequera is one of the most impressive destinations I’ve ever seen and it has many exciting and diverse experiences to offer. For example, here you can visit the Alcazaba, a spectacular Moorish fortress built in the 14th century that will most probably delight you with its interior architecture. 

Besides visiting the Alcazaba and Antequera Dolmens Site (which is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site), I totally recommend you try the delicious mollette, a famous Spanish type of bread that you can fill with anything that pampers your taste buds. 

9. La Alberca

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When it comes to the most lively off-the-beaten-path places in Spain, La Alberca, situated in the western region of the country, is worth a special mention. Here are just a few relaxing activities you should try when visiting La Alberca:

  • enjoy a good coffee at a small and cosy restaurant; 
  • visit Plaza Mayor (the most vivid place in the village);
  • simply admire the stone and granite houses, while walking on the narrow streets (by the way, I’m sure you’ll take some good instagrammable pictures of the numerous balconies decorated with flowers).

10. Alcalá del Júcar

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Did someone ask about the most beautiful Spanish landscapes? Yes? Well, if you’re looking for places that highlight the beauty of nature, then you must see Alcalá del Júcar, a unique destination that will delight both your eyes and your traveler’s heart. 

Placed on a sloped rock with views towards Jucar River and having a Roman bridge crossing it, Alcalá del Júcar is an incredible destination. You can visit the castle and enjoy the splendid panoramic view or you can spend the night in one of the guesthouses built in caves.

11. Albarracin

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Voted as the most beautiful small town in Spain several times, Albarracin gives you the feeling that you’re living in a fairytale. Therefore, if you love those trips that make you feel like you’re escaping reality (at least for a few hours), you should add Albarracin to your bucket list. 

Wandering through the paved streets, while simply admiring the peachy-colored houses, is probably more than enough for delighting your soul. Anyhow, if you want to also visit some tourist attractions, here are my recommendations: Casa de la Julianeta, Casa de la Calle Azagra, Playa Mayor and Torre del Andador.

12. Cudillero

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

As you’ve already seen, there are A LOT of impressive hidden gems in Spain, but I must admit that only a few of them are perfect for remote work. Cudillero is surely one of the best options if you want to travel, relax and work remotely during the same holiday.

How would such a day look in Cudillero? Well, imagine you’d wake up and go to a coffee shop (or maybe a cosy restaurant) from where you’d admire the lively people passing by. In the afternoon, maybe you’d order delicious seafood or visit some historical sites, such as Cudillero Lighthouse Cabo Vidio, La Garita or La Atalaya. 

13. Potes

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Many cultural sites and beautiful streets to wander – this would be the perfect description for Potes, another hidden gem in Spain that is worth your attention. 

Strategically placed at the confluence of four valleys, Potes hides a fascinating history. For example, you should know that the old town was almost completely destroyed by a fire, during the Spanish Civil War, in the late 30s. Even after the rebuilding, Potes is keeping its specific medieval atmosphere, so I’m sure that you’ll come back home with a lot of memories and cool pictures. 

14. Picos de Europe

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Someone said ‘hiking’? Was it you? Well, I have very good news! Picos de Europe is surely one of the most impressive places in Spain for hiking.

Some of the best trails include Bajo Los Picos Trail, an easy 9-km trail, Vega de Ario Plane, a moderate trail for more advanced hikers and Ruta de Torres de Orcado Rojos. No matter which trail you choose, you’ll be welcomed with breathtaking views and stunning natural wonders.

15. Porto Colom Mallorca

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Situated in the south-east of the well-known Mallorca island, Porto Colom is surely one of the most beautiful hidden European gems and one of the most colorful cities in Europe.

Besides the natural beauty you will find here, Porto Colom amazes tourists around the world with its traditional cuisine and the Cala Marcal Beach. However, if you prefer less crowded beaches, you should know that there are plenty of options for you too.  

16. Besalu

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When it comes to small Spanish towns that are still keeping a medieval atmosphere, Besalu is surely one of them. Nowadays, its medieval vibe is completed by the multitude of coffee shops and artisan shops – especially found in the center of the town, which is also known as Placa de la Lliberat. 

Here are a few of the historical places that are worth a visit when going to Besalu: Sant Vicente (considered one of the most important Romanesque churches) and The Church Of Sant Pere, also known as Saint Peter. 

17. Cala Figuera Mallorca

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Cala Figuera, a picturesque fishing port located in the southern part of Santanyí, is another hidden gem in Mallorca. The amazing harbor, the utterly beautiful turquoise water and the rich history (by the way, the town was first documented in the 14th century) are just three reasons why you should visit Cala Figuera. Besides them, you should also take into account the delicious Mediterranean gastronomy and, of course, the budget-friendly hotels.

18. Comillas

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Are you a fan of spectacular architecture? Then you have all the reasons in the world to add Comillas to your future travel destinations list. Although it’s a small village, Comillas has two main superb sites: Gaudi’s El Capricho and Sobrellano Palace.

Now, a small history pill: El Capricho is a summer villa built by Gaudi for his wealthy client, Maximo Diaz. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to enjoy it, because he died a year before the construction was finished. 

19. Juzcar

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Juzcar has a specific atmosphere that’ll somehow remind you of your childhood. Juzcar is known as Smurfs Village, because of the blue houses found here. By the way, did you know that all the houses were painted blue for The Smurfs movie? Although they were initially white, the locals decided to keep them blue, thanks to tourists’ increasing interest in this destination.

Would you like to experience – at least a few nights – in a Smurf house? I have great news: for this, all you have to do is to book a hotel room in Juzcar! 

20. Masca, Tenerife

hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path

Tenerife is well-known for its beautiful beaches and for its breathtaking scenery that includes the majestic Teide Volcano, but few know the little village of Masca. Tuked away between abrupt valleys and dense vegetation in the northern part of the island, Masca is an incredible destination for those looking for off-the-beaten track destinations in Spain.

The village only has about 100 inhabitants and the road to reach it is not for the faint-hearted. However, once you reach Masca you’ll be delighted to see one of the best views in Tenerife!

Final thoughts

Spain is one of the most colorful destinations in the world, a place perfect for history buffs and fun-loving travelers alike. There are many secret destinations in Spain that are worth mentioning, but I did my best to select the best 20 of them.

Which is your favorite place in Spain? Do you know any hidden gems worth visiting? Let me know in the comments section below. May the travel bug bite you!

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hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path
hidden gems in spain, secret places in spain, spain off-the-beaten-path
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Aurelia Teslaru

Aurelia Teslaru is a professional travel blogger and the writer behind Daily Travel Pill. With a 4-year experience as a travel writer and photographer, Aurelia only shares travel guides about destinations that she visited.

She has been to more than 40 countries during the past 10 years and aims to explore 50 countries before turning 30 years old. Aurelia is a digital nomad who transformed her passion for travel into a lifestyle. Read more about her here.

To follow her adventures, check out her Instagram and Facebook pages!

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