The Best 10 Unknown Places to Visit in Spain by Ivan, Founder

The Best 10 Unknown Places to Visit in Spain by Ivan, Founder

There is no doubt that every average traveler has heard of or even visited Sagrada de Familia in Barcelona, white sandy beaches in Granada and Museo del Prado in Madrid. However, Spain hides hundreds of little gems all over the country that are worth exploring. If you are tired of huge crowds and would like to learn more about the vivid local culture, turbulent history and delicious food, check out our comprehensive guide. We will talk about ten unknown places to visit in Spain that you have likely never heard of. Once you read about the hidden gems in Spain, you will have the urge to pack your bags and discover these places yourself. Learn about unique foods, desert climates, hiking trails, incredible beaches, art museums and free tours in Spain


1. Enjoy the beautiful nature of Cabo de Gata, Almeria

Cabo de Gata is a heavenly cape located in the Southeastern part of Spain and comprises Natural Park with a unique desert climate. Since 2006, the park belongs to the Global Geoparks Network and attracts millions of tourists every year. The park is known for its extremely dry climate that fosters flora and fauna that are unique to the European subcontinent. Many parts of Cabo de Gata are left relatively untouched by humans due to somewhat harsh climate conditions which makes it a perfect spot for nature enthusiasts. At the same time, you can dive into the past by strolling through abandoned villages and immerse yourself in authentic local architecture. 


Cabo de Gata Natural Park

The significance of the park is vast and attributed to the volcanic rock formations, endless beaches, dry desert climate and exceptionally well-preserved local architecture. In fact, the area is so remote and untouched that it has drawn the attention of quite a few filmmakers: movies “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” were shot in Cabo de Gata Park. Additionally, the location is covered with plants that are unusual to Europe such as agave, snapdragon, jujube and various types of palm trees. 


Cabo de Gata Beaches

Another reason for visiting this hidden Spain location is the endless beaches, some of which are covered in gorgeous sand while others are engulfed in the hardened volcanic magma that turned into breathtaking rock formations. Most beaches such as Playa de Negras and Playa de Charco have access to multiple local restaurants, shops and bars. Don’t forget to travel to the Playa de Las Salinas to watch thousands of flamingos and other waterbirds roaming around in the ocean. Finally, active tourists can enjoy windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and other physical activities. 

Unknown places in Spain: Cabo de Gata, Almeria

Cabo de Gata Lighthouse

Situated near the Playa de Las Salinas beach, the Lighthouse is a local tourist attraction. Built in 1863, the building itself will not likely impress an avid traveler but the ocean view that opens up from the tower will astonish even the pickiest visitor. 

Unknown places in Spain: Cabo de Gata, Almeria


2. Taste the best pintxos in the Old Town of San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa

The city with the second most Michelin stars per capita in the entire world, San Sebastian is one of the main Spain locations for gourmets. Pintxos (pronounced as peen-chos) are smaller versions of Spanish tapas that derive from the Basque culture. Fastened with a toothpick or skewer, they are served as a small dish consisting of bread and a mixture of different ingredients. Although pintxos can be very diverse, they are commonly prepared with fish like cod, hake, anchovy, various vegetables, seafood, meat and other ingredients. Used for socializing, pintxos are shared with a group of friends over a bottle of local wine. 


Old Town

These and many other tasty treats can be found in the Old Town, the cultural center of San Sebastian. Located at the foot of Mount Urgull, Old Town is an adorable Spanish place with a few museums, churches and endless bars and restaurants. Walk through the streets to visit the 16th-century San Vicente Church known for its Romanesque interior and the 18th-century Baroque-style Basilica of Santa María. You can also brush up on Basque history at the San Telmo Museum ranging from the 16th century "Boabdil"s sword to the modern-day Athletic Club Bilbao football jersey collection. 

Unknown places in Spain: Old Town of San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa

Tamborrada of Donostia

The focal point of the Old Town is the Plaza de la Constitución with numerous restaurants and gorgeous colorful buildings. If you happen to be in town on 20 January, you can witness an annual San Sebastian Day celebration or Tamborrada of Donostia. The festival begins at midnight when the town mayor raises the flag of San Sebastian and lasts 24 hours. The entire city gathers to watch the march, listen to the drums and celebrate their small town. 

Unknown places in Spain: Old Town of San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa


3. Go hiking in Timanfaya National Park, Las Palmas

Located on Canary Island, the Timanfaya National Park stretches over 51 square kilometers (20 sq mi) and consists entirely of volcanic soil. This unique structure gives the park an incredible look, filled with different colors on terrain layers which many tourists describe as “extraterrestrial”. This is one of the unknown places in Spain that will leave you flabbergasted. The local guides often demonstrate how hot the underground is by splashing water down the holes allowing the visitors to witness violent steam geysers. Due to the dangerous terrain, it’s not recommended to walk around the area completely unguided. There are two hiking trails you can take and a camel ride that will allow you to stroll around the desert through the Montañas del Fuego. 

Unknown places in Spain:Timanfaya National Park, Las Palmas

Hiking trails

Ruta de Los Volcanes is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Spain and is taken by bus. The second tour is called Ruta Larga del Litoral which can be booked with or without a guide. Prepare yourself for the hike as it takes up to five hours from start to finish and involves walking in the rugged terrain. This practically free walking tour will introduce you to local flora and fauna as well as gorgeous views of mountains, beaches and cliffs. The park is home to over 200 species, including rare animals that are protected by laws. The fauna is diverse and consists of camels, Canary shrews, numerous lizards and salamanders and even birds that migrate from Northern Africa. 

Unknown places in Spain:Timanfaya National Park, Las Palmas

The island can be visited at any time of the year as the weather ranges from 20°C (68°F) in the winter to 30°C (86°F) in the summer. 


4. Explore the narrow streets of El Albaicin, Granada

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994, El Albaicin is famous for its well-preserved medieval street plan and architecture. The traditional house, carmen, derives from the Arabic word karm (vineyard) and refers to a small construction with an orchard or garden. The two most significant houses are Casa de Zafra and Dal al-Horra which date back to the Nasrid period and were built in the 14th and 15th centuries. 


El Banuelo and narrow streets

The original mosques from the 13th century were decimated in 1492 after the reconquest of Granada and replaced by Catholic churches. However, this undiscovered Spain town still has the baths from the 11th century (El Banuelo) that were left intact and are now a National Monument protected by the government. While roaming the streets of this ancient city, you will notice how narrow they are. The construction was intentional and was thought to keep the inhabitants cool by protecting them from the sunlight and providing shade. 

Unknown places in Spain: El Albaicin, Granada

Historic landmarks 

The list of landmarks in El Albaicin is truly remarkable and comprises numerous museums, city walls, Islamic-era monuments, Catholic churches, historic houses from the 14th, 15th and 16 centuries and palaces, cisterns aging back to the 11th century and 1505 chancellery. You can also delve into Arabic culture by visiting the Calle Caldelería Nueva or New Caldereria Street. You will discover multiple tea venues, Arab cuisine restaurants, small shops with Arabic carpets, clothing and other items. The street is also full of international cafes, teas, juices, desserts and even hookah. 

Unknown places in Spain: El Albaicin, Granada


5. Chill on the paradise beaches of Formentera

The smallest island of the Pityusic Islands, Formentera is home to slightly over 10,000 residents. The island is famous for its marvelous white beaches, nude sunbathing and widespread scooters and bicycles. Formentera is an ideal destination for a relaxing beach holiday as well as exquisite Mediterranean food tasting. 


The numerous beaches

The most popular beach in Formentera, Playa de Ses Illetes is located in the north of the island and is referred to as the pink beach due to the combination of white sand and coral dust residue. Right next to Ses Illetes, you will find the Llevant beach that is known for its great waves that attract surfers from all over the world. Both beaches also offer windsurfing, snorkeling, stand-up paddling and sailing. 

Unknown places in Spain: Formentera

Calo des Mort is a tiny beach located in a cove where you can enjoy a calm day without any food vendors or restaurants around. Located in a small local village, the Ses Platgetes beach is one of the secret places with soft white sand and a dune system. Finally, if you are looking for an isolated and authentic experience, visit the Playa Migjorn beach. The longest and wildest beach on the island, it stretches over six kilometers and comprises coves and bays. This is only a fraction of everything the island has to offer and you can learn more during the Formentera Island Paradise tour

Unknown places in Spain: Formentera


6. Discover Mijas - a beautiful town in Malaga province

Founded in prehistoric times, the city walls of Mijas still partially contain the original fortification. After centuries of occupation by Romans and Arabs, modern-day Mijas is a prominent tourist destination in Spain. The town has accumulated quite an expat community which prompts widespread English-speaking services. This is the place where you can explore local culture and history in the morning and have a relaxing afternoon on the beach. 



Museo Histórico Etnológico is a local attraction where you can learn the tools and methods of centuries-old carpentry, winemaking, baking, tillage, fishing and oil-pressing. Another peculiar museum was founded by a Spanish hypnotist and magician named Juan Elegido Millán who is better known as Professor Max. The museum holds the name Museo de Miniaturas Carromato de Mijas and exhibits miniature findings that Professor Max has collected throughout his life. For example, the collection includes The Seven Wonders carved on a toothpick or a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on a pinhead. 

Unknown places in Spain: Formentera

Senda Litoral Mijas

This ambitious Spain tours project intended to build a 160 km long coastal path by 2020 but was delayed multiple times. However, tourists and locals can enjoy a 105 km path along the coast which is impressive in itself. While walking down the coastal path, you can take a closer look at the four watchtowers dating back to the Moorish times. The initial purpose of the towers was to look out for pirate ships and send warning signals to alert locals. 


Plaza de Toros de Mijas

Located in the center of the historic village, Plaza de Toros is an oval-shaped ring where locals and visitors gather to watch bullfights or traditional dances. Whenever the place is unoccupied by an event, tourists can enter the ring to take photos and explore this centuries-old construction. 

Unknown places in Spain: Formentera

Mijas is a town for everyone, encompassing amazing cultural monuments, a quirky miniature museum, pristine beaches and delicious local food. 


7. Walk through the promenade of Cadaqués, Girona

Notably, the biggest appeal of Cadaques is its diverse art scene. The local museum is an absolute must-see in Spain as it is full of artworks by famous modern artists who used to reside or vacation in the city, including Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Rene Magritte and many others. This adorable little town was also featured in "Tramontana" by Gabriel García Márquez. Cadaques has several art galleries, including a Salvador Dali residence as well as hosts an annual music festival. 


Church of Santa Maria

Overlooking the entire town, this 16th-century church is the focal point of the city. The first mention of the church dates back to the 13th century but it appears to have been damaged by pirates in the 15th and 16th centuries which led to the late 16th century late-Gothic style renovation. 

Unknown places in Spain: Cadaqués, Girona

Cadaques beaches

The town offers numerous beaches depending on what your preferred activities are. Playa Grande will greet you with a tall statue of Salvador Dali and a large sandy beach with easy access to bars and restaurants. If you are traveling with children, the Es Llané beach is ideal due to its gradually increasing water depth. Overlooking stunning cliffs on the horizon, Playa Sa Conca is the closest to the city center nudist beach. Punta de S'Oliguera is a cape with several beaches ideal for diving and exploring local flora and fauna as well as investigating an English shipwreck abandoned in 1917. 

Unknown places in Spain: Cadaqués, Girona


8. Tapas in Malasaña, Madrid

Malasaña is a counter-cultural center of Madrid, one of the most popular parts of Spain to visit, inspired by the 1980s La Movida movement. The area is populated with hipster bars, cafes, street food vendors, local shops, musicians, galleries and more. 


Traditional food

The best way to see Spain is through its diverse, delicious and affordable cuisine. Tapas are appetizers in Spanish cuisine that have long spread outside of the country. Originally used to cover the drink to prevent fruit flies from getting inside the glass, tapas have become an integral part of the local food experience. In the beginning, tapas were mostly bread or meat but the palette was extended after the discovery of the New World which introduced Spaniards to tomatoes, corn, peppers and potatoes. 

Unknown places in Spain: Malasaña, Madrid

Best Tapas in Madrid

The best restaurant for seafood tapas is El Puerto de Cabreira where you can treat yourself to Galician-style octopus tapas or crunchy calamari tapas. 

Casa Macareno is another popular tapas bar that serves a special tapa with jamon Iberico and truffles. The bar is over 100 years old and conveys the atmosphere of an old-timey speakeasy with vintage decor. 

Cheese lovers should visit La Carbonera to try their extensive cheese selection paired with local wine. The restaurant also offers traditional simple tapas with vegetables, meat and fish. 

Unknown places in Spain: Malasaña, Madrid


9. Watch a Flamenco show in El Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville

A Jewish district, Santa Cruz is a charming area with narrow streets in between small white-colored houses. Although most of the Jewish population left by 1492 after the failed attempt of forcing them to convert to Christianity, to this day, the district is known as the Jewish quarter. Much like in Albaicin, the town was also built with narrower streets to protect locals from harsh direct sunlight. 

Unknown places in Spain: El Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville

La Casa del Flamenco

Arguably one of the most unique places to visit in Spain, Santa Cruz, is the House of Flamenco where you can watch the show every night. Hosted in a 15th-century palace, this daily event attracts hundreds of tourists and local citizens. The central stage of Flamenco in Spain, this venue features renowned artists from all over the world. The seats are placed around the courtyard which allows everyone to hear authentic local music and songs as well as enjoy the passionate Flamenco dance. If you are interested in learning some Flamenco moves on the spot, check out the Flamenco dance lesson with show offer. 

Unknown places in Spain: El Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville


10. Go for drinks in Cadiz Old Town and meet super fun locals!

Cadiz is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe with an astonishing 3,000 years old history. Another reason this is one of the secret places to visit in Spain is its most significant monument, the Cathedral of Cadiz which still contains a part of the wall from the 1st century. The architecture consists of a mixture of Gothic and neo-classical styles which you can explore by walking through the narrow streets. The local art museum features paintings of Rubens and Miro while you can see an original El Greco mural in a hospital chapel. Explore more gems during a free tour in Cadiz

Unknown places in Spain: Cadiz Old Town

Bar scene in Cadiz

Chupiteria is a shot bar that transforms famous cocktails into shots. The drinks range from light to strong and come in different tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, spicy. 

If you would like to enjoy marvelous ocean views while having a nightcap, visit Marama. An extensive cocktail menu will help you choose exactly what you are craving and a hookah selection will complement the beverage.

Beer drinkers will definitely enjoy the Woodstock bar with a large beer selection from all over the world. On weekends, you might even catch a live music show with local bands playing rock or indie. 

Unknown places in Spain: Cadiz Old Town


Extra tip for Seafood lovers: Enjoy the most delicious seafood ever in Galicia!

If you enjoy seafood and fish, Galicia is waiting for you to try out the very unique cuisine. This Northwest town is famous for its amazing food, especially ocean creatures. 

  • Octopus

Pulpo or octopus is slowly boiled, cut into little pieces and garnished with olive oil, salt and paprika in copper cauldrons. Locals claim that the taste cannot be replicated without the cauldrons which makes it unique to the region. 

Unknown places in Spain: Galicia

  • Goose barnacle

A local delicacy, barnacles can be quite expensive as they are manually collected from rocky cliffs. Remove the leathery tube, or “gooseneck” and ingest the juicy insides. Although not something you can feast on every day, barnacles are definitely worth trying. 

  • Razor clam

Navajas or Razor Clams taste a lot like mollusk meat and visually resemble plants more than clams. But when you pry them open, you will see clam-like insides. Be careful when opening navajas as the shell can be extremely sharp. 

Unknown places in Spain: Galicia

  • Mussels 

If you are on a budget, we recommend trying mussels, or mejillones, served with lemon or marinaded in escabeche, a type of paprika sauce. 

  • Variegated scallops

Zamburiñas, variegated scallops in English, are small scallops that you can taste at local markets cooked in small savory pies, better known as empanadas. 

  • Oysters

Traditionally, oysters are served with lemon and olive oil to preserve the original taste of the sea creature. You can be sure that Galician oysters are freshly made and served as they are caught right here in town. 


If anything in our guide spoke to you and piqued your interest, get a Spain free tour and pack your bags. The climate throughout most of the country is perpetually warm so you can hop on a free tour at any time of the year!
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