We’re Spain bound very soon and cannot wait to return to the fantastically fantastic city of Madrid. We’ve already visited Barcelona as well, but there’s so much more of Spain to explore and we’re looking forward to taking trips around the country as we dive into Spanish culture for a few months. Matt from Skyscanner shares some excellent cities to explore that you may not have yet considered.
When people think of travelling to Spain, they think of the bustle of Barcelona, the gastronomy of San Sebastian, and the sunburnt tourists crowding the beaches of the built up Costas. There’s so much more to Spain than the main tourist hubs, though.
These five cities are overlooked by the main tourist trail. You’re more likely to get cheap flights to less popular destinations so you’ll have more cash to splash on cerveza.
Real bad tourists will skip the Guggenheim Museum and head straight to the pintxos bars. Basques are famous for their love of food, and you’ll find that most hotels in Bilbao are within stumbling distance of excellent places to grab a drink and a bite. Don’t miss out on Semanan Grande, Bilbao’s annual festival. It starts on the third Saturday of August and features strongman games, live music, street entertainers, bullfighters, and fireworks every evening.
This clean and picturesque city was featured heavily in Woody Allen’s film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but is surprisingly overlooked by travellers. There are plenty of ancient monuments and gothic buildings, most of which are located on the Monte Naranco. Oviedo is so proud of its cider that there’s a street in town known as the Bulevar de Sidra (Cider Boulevard), which is well worth exploring.
So good they named a car after it. Toledo has plenty to offer tourists (good and bad) on its own merit. The beautiful River Tajo running alongside the city walls, ancient buildings, winding streets, and ancient monuments have cameras clicking during the high season. Toledo is famous for its steel, but you’ll probably get in trouble if you try to take a sword home as a souvenir. Opt for some tasty local wine instead.
This pretty town is famous for its university; and the accompanying nightlife. Salamanca is one of the few towns left in Spain that offers up free tapas with a drink, meaning more money in your pocket. Look out for the lucky frog on the Universidad Civil: he’s hidden within the carvings, and according to legend everyone who finds him will be blessed with good luck. For more quirky carvings, look for the astronaut and ice cream cone at the Catedral Nueva.
Sandwiched between tourist traps Seville and Granada, Cordoba is the perfect base for exploring. Andalucia was under Moorish rule for seven centuries, so when you’re in Cordoba you’ll notice a lot of Arabic influences: from the Mezquita (Spain’s biggest mosque) to the arabic baths where you can really pamper yourself. There are lots of pretty gardens in Cordoba, and the Spring patio festival sees the city come alive with flowers.