Looking to discover some of Spain’s more quirky attractions? Then you can’t miss these six places to help discover Spain off the beaten path.
The good news: most of these places are far off the trodden track, away from what most travelers see when they see Spain.
But, there is some bad news too: A lot of these types of places are out of the way or hard to get to, but I can help you weave some of these (or other quirky Spain attractions) into your itinerary. Use the “contact me” form on this page to reach out to me.
1. Torrevieja’s Pink Lake (Alicante)
On Spain’s Costa Blanca, you expect to find many British and Northern European tourists. But Torrevieja, in Alicante province, has a population of flamingos. Where do these flamingos live? In a matching pink salt lake, of course!
There are two salt lakes that makeup Las Salinas de Torrevieja. One of them is Torrevieja’s famous pink lake.
This part of Spain used to be home to a thriving salt industry. These days people also visit the lake for its natural healing properties. There have been reports that the mud at the bottom can alleviate certain respiratory issues, as well as lead to healthier skin.
A trip to this lake is a true way to discover Spain off the beaten path.
2. Escalators on the Street in Santander (Cantabria)
Santander, the capital of the Cantabria region is home to some very steep hills. To lessen some of the hassle of getting around on foot, the city installed public escalators on the sidewalks going up these hills.
These escalators are perfect for hauling your bags of groceries up the hill. And they’re quite handy in getting to some of the City’s best miradors for those of you who love a great view (hey, that’s me too!)
Even better, ff you happen to live (or stay) on one of Santander’s hills, these escalators are a godsend after a long night out. And thanks to them, Santandar is one of Spain’ss most walkable cites.
Cities like San Francisco, California should take note of this concept. Santander’s street escalators make exploring this off the beaten path destination so easy!
3. The Town of Bulnes (Asturias)
Speaking of hills, how about another hilly town? This one, unlike Santander, doesn’t only have hills. It’s actually on the top of a mountain. And the only way to get there is by a funicular-like train. Welcome to Bulnes where you can truly discover Spain off the beaten path.
There are no cars in the town as there are no roads. The funicular is the only way to the town (other than walking). Managed by ALSA, one of Spain’s largest bus companies, it also transports goods from the base of the mountain up Bulnes. For passengers, the ride to the top (and then back down) only takes seven minutes.
Once in Bulnes, after having a beer or Asturian sidra, the town makes a great starting point to hike the Picos de Europa. For a shorter hike, there is a mirador just a few minutes walk from the center of the village.
A return ticket on the funicular will set you back around €20 (it’s free for locals as it is the only way for them to access their town). But visiting quirky Bulnes is very worth it.
4. The jumbo jet airport in the middle of Aragón (Teruel)
Driving through the Argónese high plains outside of regional capital, Teruel is the last place you’d expect to see an airport full of jumbo jets. But this is randomly where Europe’s largest industrial airport is.
Here you will see planes from just about every airline company in the world, both still operating and now defunct. The planes here are in need of serious maintenance or refurbishment. Some will eventually be resold.
Believe me, for a true Spain off the beaten path experience, there is nothing like seeing a 747 on its final approach while driving from Teruel to Albarracín (one of my favorite of Spain’s off the beaten path towns).
5. Las Médulas (León)
Is this Arizona or is this Spain? The redish/golden jagged rock cropings look like they could be in the US Southwest. But nope, Las Médulas is in the province of León.
When Spain was part of the Roman Empire, this area was one of the most important gold mining sites. Las Médulas was formed from the methods the Romans used to get gold out of the hills. These mountains were actually excavated and rearranged by the Romans.
Las Médulas is also one of Spain’s 47 UNESCO World Heritage sites. If your dreams are of UNESCO and to discover Spain off the beaten path do not miss Las Médulas!
6. Setenil de las Bodegas (Cadíz)
Andalucía gets incredibly hot during the summer months. And in a country where air conditioning is not widespread, this heat can be insufferable.
So why not build your town underneath a cave? That is exactly Setenil de las Bodegas, one of Spain’s pueblo blancos, is – a town built into a cave, to keep it cool during the summer. Or at least as cool as possible.
Visit Setenil de las Bodegas and discover Spain off the beaten path while having a cold Cruzcampo beer in a terrace cafe. On a street that sits under a cave.
Looking to discover Spain off the beaten path even more?
But you don’t know where to start, how to get there, or really what else there is to see. Great, because I can help! Hit me up via the contact form on this page. I want to help you discover Spain off the beaten path!
My name is Karen & travel is not only my passion but also my profession.