Searching for a quiet place that hasn’t been trampled by a million tourist feet is worth the effort. The out-of-the-way destinations are unspoiled by tacky tourist trinkets, and the people who live there are real, refreshing and down-to-earth. Perhaps you’ve done the Costas, explored the Balearics or spent couple of weeks in Gran Canaria and want a change of pace and scenery from your next trip to Spain. If that’s you, here, then, is a selection of Spanish cities to check out where the odds are that you’ll rarely, if ever, meet another foreign tourist.
Old Castile Region
Boiling in summer and frozen in winter, Spain’s Old Castile region offers a group of scarcely visited cities in Spain. This mountainous area and fertile region acted as a generator of wealth for Spain’s mediaeval kingdoms. Tourists can visit ancient monasteries, castles, mountains, valleys, sierras and rivers that are bountiful with fauna and flora. Every provincial capital boasts an elegant Gothic cathedral and fine restaurants that offer visitors Spanish food at its most hardy and healthy.
Castilian food is simple fare where visitors can enjoy sopa castellana which involves dipping bread into a garlic and poached egg soup that’s served in a clay bowl. Castilian roast meats is part of the eating culture here, but the backbone is represented by Platos de cuchara, which translates into food you eat with a spoon. The wines are excellent, and none can be found like them in other regions of Spain.
Old Castile is the largest of Spain’s autonomous regions. The people are stoic and have developed a kind of austere spirituality that permeate their cities of Avila, Leon, Salamanca and Soria. Their ancestors grew up in brutal times where they had to fight Moorish emirates and caliphates. The numerous castles that dot this land stand as silent testimony to their harsh and violent lives. These are chivalrous people who are both religious and quietly dignified.
Avila is located on a windswept plain. Called the most mystical city in Spain, mountain peaks of 8,000-feet overlook the city. Only about 100,000 people live in the province. An 11th century wall surrounds the city, and the nuns at the convent sell chocolate, cakes and sweets to tourists. Scrumptious Iberian veal is served by the restaurants, and the lamb and piglet roasts are extraordinary. Tapa bars are located within the city walls. Tourists thinking of booking their holiday can find a choice of accommodation within the city walls. Golfing is available at other hotels.
The maquis resistance hid here after the Spanish Civil War. It’s a graceful and historic city. Time has simply passed it by, and it’s completely Spanish. The Barrio Humedo is dotted with taverns, bars and other pleasant cafes. The tapas and local wines are superb. An ancient Roman wall surrounds part of the city. The Hostal de San Marcos will take your breath away as a choice of accommodation.
Called the most graceful city in Spain, Salamanca is at the crossroads between Spain and Galicia. It’s filled with historic buildings of significance and is a blast when students here party.
Soria is for those who like nature and castles. Very few foreigners visit here, but the Spaniards on holiday know all about Soria. There’s wilderness here and flora and fauna. This is also farming country.