If you’re planning a visit to Spain off the beaten track, you definitely chose the right country to travel to. Not only is Spain a paradise in summer, as everyone knows. But it’s also a perfect place to stay for a few days during the colder months, especially taking into account the more than 18.000 timeless villages you can find here. Keep reading to know my (really special and affordable) picks!
The Mudejar Olmedo (Valladolid)
Olmedo is a great pick for spending some days at a typical Spanish village, away from the crowd and enjoying the narrow streets that still preserve that charming Muslim style. Really lovely Mudejar churches and wineries where Rueda wine is made are waiting for you in a village that gets very, very cold during the winter, but can comfort you with the most delicious like garlic soup, roasted lamb, tortilla de chorizo or Tudela asparagus.
The Medieval Pedraza (Segovia)
This one has to be one of my favourite ones. The Medieval charm you get in Pedraza makes you feel like you left 21st century and entered a whole new period of time (in the most flattering way!). It’s located two hours away from Madrid and wandering around its beautiful streets is like getting into a stone labyrinth where typical lamb dishes are going to be your best plan! Plus, the beautiful Pedraza castle is also worth a visit!
The Photogenic Santillana Del Mar (Cantabria)
Are you looking for the perfect Instagram Village to take some incredible pictures in? Well, if you head to Santillana del Mar, that’s what you’re going to get, especially during the cold months. It’s a place where the rain is usually present, but it makes the streets and green areas to stand out like you’re in a fairytale. If you’re interested in history or archeology, you can even make a visit to the Altamira neo-cave, which is a loyal replica of the original one.
The Coastal Palafrugell (Girona)
Let’s do some Catalonia wandering now! Maybe you’re not into the old-style picture perfect villages and want something a bit nearer to the sea. Palafrugell is full of short stone houses and impressive turquoise coves with little boats anchored all over the place. Keep in mind that winter is an off season for this village, so it won’t be as crowded as it is during the summer. But this is actually something good. Make the most out of this “loneliness” to interact with locals and learn how they live in an everyday basis.
The Snowy Capileira (Granada)
This charming village is located in South Andalusia, inside the Sierra Nevada National Park, so you can imagine how amazing the landscape must be. Snowed roofs and stoned small houses fill Capileira with a wintery feeling for those of you who love a good cup of hot chocolate and the ski season. Mulhacen and Veleta peaks are great if you want to make some excursions surrounded by the most stunning hills and mountains. If you want to eat something typical from here, look for roasted chestnuts. They’re really tasty!
The White Zahara De La Sierra (Cadiz)
Once you see just one picture of this village, you’ll understand why this belongs to the series of “pueblos blancos” that dot all the Southern area of the country. It’s amazing to see how all those white houses gather together on the side of a hill to create a Muslim-inspired landscape. One of the musts you have to visit is the Santa Maria de La Mesa church (as you can see little Spanish towns and villages have a pretty strong religious culture) and try the typical “gañotes”, a sweet made of cinnamon and chestnut. Yummy, yummy for those colder days!
The Dream Ronda (Malaga)
This town is literally called “the dream city” and is one of the best-known around Malaga and Spain in general for good reasons. All the town is built up upon a plateau and has an original peculiarity: an impressive bridge that connects a huge gap in the actual plateau that’s actually making a lot of foreign visitors come here to defy heigh. If you want to try something typical, go for some “ajoblanco” (it’s a garlic soup made with olive oil and almonds), bull’s tail or beans with ham and veggies. This last one is great for soothing your body after a cold day of local tourism!
Spain is a wonderful place to go local and interact with insiders, doing some qualitative tourism. Based on my experience, they’re always so willing to help you, even if you don’t speak proper Spanish, they’re so kind and joyful, especially if you travel to smaller villages or towns. Just keep in mind to be respectful with your environment, with anything around you that’s valuable for them, such as natural landscapes, the town themselves or even the activities you’ll do for fun. Traveling sustainably is always the smartest option! Comment below if you’ve visited other charming Spanish villages during the winter!