At some point, you probably had Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia or Sevilla on your bucket list, right?
We get it. Spain is a country rich in culture, history, and stunning landscapes, so many of its cities usually rank high in people’s lists of top places to visit and explore.
But the country’s unique culture and natural sights deserve more than a couple of days’ visit. With so much to see, affordable traveling costs and destinations that delight all types of travelers, a trip to Spain is even better when taken at a slower pace.
If you have time to spare or decide not to hop from one country to the other while in Europe — or even if you’re a digital nomad — then a slow trip through Spain might be just the thing for you.
Extending your stay in Spain and experiencing it from a unique perspective will give you a chance to fully absorb the local culture and discover hidden gems that are usually reserved for the locals.
And if you need help getting started with your plans to slow travel in Spain, here are a few alternative routes to discover Spain’s best-kept secrets.
1 – Walk the Camino de Santiago
Also known as the Way of St. James, the Camino de Santiago is an extraordinary pilgrimage that weaves its way through the stunning landscapes of northern Spain, ultimately leading to the sacred city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
More than just a physical journey, the Camino de Santiago is a spiritual experience that captivates the hearts of countless travelers. Along the route, pilgrims have the opportunity to engage in deep introspection, fostering a profound connection with their beliefs and values. The camaraderie among fellow pilgrims, regardless of their nationality or background, creates a sense of unity and shared purpose.
Here’s what makes it extraordinary:
- Spiritual Journey: The Camino offers a profound spiritual experience, allowing pilgrims to connect with their beliefs and values while fostering unity among fellow travelers.
- Diverse Routes: Choose from various routes, such as the popular Camino Francés with its historic towns or the rugged Camino del Norte along the stunning coastline.
- Iconic Landmarks: Encounter awe-inspiring cathedrals, medieval bridges, and ancient monasteries, like the Cruz de Ferro and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
- Unforgettable Experiences: Discover the beauty of fishing villages along the coast, explore the untouched landscapes of Asturias, and immerse yourself in the vineyards of the Rioja region.
- Life-Changing Journey: With each step, the Camino de Santiago promises personal growth, cultural richness, and a transformative experience in the footsteps of countless pilgrims.
Whether you embark on the Camino de Santiago for spiritual reasons, personal growth, or a love of adventure, this ancient pilgrimage route promises to be a life-changing experience. Each step taken on this demanding path brings you closer to the essence of Spain’s rich history and the indomitable spirit of pilgrims who have passed through before.
These are the best places to start your journey:
- Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France: This picturesque French town is a popular starting point for the main pilgrims route. The journey from here covers 764 km in 33 days.
- Oviedo, Spain: the starting point of the Camino Primitivo is a great spot to start your journey. Expect to walk 313 km in 14 days.
- San Sebastian (Donostia), Spain: the route along the Camino del Norte offers a breathtaking coastal route. You’ll walk along the beautiful Basque coastline through about 800 km in 34 days.
- Ferrol, Spain: the Camino Inglés offers a shorter alternative for pilgrims. This route provides a unique coastal experience and is ideal for those with limited time, as it takes only 6 days to cover the 119 km on this route.
2 – Feel the Costa del Sol breeze
The Costa del Sol is a popular route stretching along the Mediterranean coast from Málaga to Almería. The region is renowned for its sunny climate (with over 300 days of sunshine per year!), beautiful beaches, cool coastal vibes, excellent food, and vibrant cities, which is why it tends to be a popular destination for travelers seeking a mix of sun, sand, and culture.
The route extends through 150 kilometers, connecting the cities of Nerja and Sotogrande, and crossing through amazing coastal towns, such as Marbella, Mijas, Torre del Mar, Rincón de la Victoria, and, of course, Malaga, the main town in this region. Each of these locations offer a unique blend of Spanish landmarks and cultural attractions, as well as a lively atmosphere, warm sandy beaches and delicious cuisine.
Discover the Costa del Sol, a sun-soaked route along Spain’s Mediterranean coast from Málaga to Almería. Here’s what makes it special:
- Sunny Paradise: Enjoy over 300 days of sunshine per year in this region known for its beautiful beaches and coastal vibes.
- Vibrant Cities: Explore lively cities like Malaga, Marbella, and Mijas, offering Spanish landmarks, cultural attractions, and a warm atmosphere.
- Historical Gems: Immerse yourself in history at sites like Malaga’s Alcazaba fortress and the ancient Roman Theatre.
- Art and Culture: Visit the Picasso Museum in Malaga and indulge in the region’s rich artistic heritage.
- Gastronomic Delights: Indulge in fresh seafood, traditional tapas, paella, gazpacho, and pescaíto frito (fried fish).
- Comfortable Travel: Hop on modern and comfortable buses to effortlessly explore the stunning coastal towns and inland gems.
To travel within this captivating region, you can embark on a delightful journey by hopping on modern and comfortable buses or trains that effortlessly connect the stunning coastal gems and captivating inland destinations. Traverse the picturesque landscapes, from the glamorous Marbella to the charming Nerja, as these buses whisk you away to idyllic beaches, vibrant city centers, and hidden corners brimming with cultural treasures.
Top places to start your trip:
3 – Explore the Meseta Central
The Meseta Central, a vast high plateau nestled in the heart of Spain, offers travelers a captivating journey into the country’s rich rural landscape. Often overlooked by tourists, this region beckons those seeking an authentic, off-the-beaten-path experience, where ancient history merges harmoniously with Spanish landscapes.
Stretching across the regions of Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, the Meseta Central reveals itself as a treasure trove of wonders. Majestic cities, such as Salamanca, Segovia, and Ávila, proudly display their architectural splendor, with Gothic cathedrals, ancient city walls, and grand plazas that speak to centuries of Spanish heritage. Here, you can lose yourself in the charming ambiance of these historic cities, where time seems to stand still and the echoes of a rich past can still be heard.
Discover the Meseta Central, a captivating high plateau in Spain’s heart, for an authentic rural experience. Here’s what awaits you:
- Majestic Cities: Explore Salamanca, Segovia, and Ávila with their Gothic cathedrals, ancient walls, and grand plazas showcasing centuries of Spanish heritage.
- Enchanting Castles: Visit the iconic Alcázar of Segovia and the majestic Castillo de Coca, immersed in pristine countryside.
- Remarkable Monasteries: Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo and the UNESCO-listed Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe.
- Toledo’s Fusion: Experience Toledo’s unique blend of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim influences through its cathedral, synagogues, and Alcázar fortress.
- Natural Beauty: Explore the vast plains, golden wheat fields, and rugged mountains of the Meseta Central, including the Hoces del Río Duratón Natural Park for outdoor activities.
But the allure of the Meseta Central extends beyond its historical and cultural offerings. The vast expanses of its plains, golden wheat fields, and rugged mountains create a gorgeous backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts. This includes the natural beauty of the Hoces del Río Duratón Natural Park, where dramatic cliffs and meandering rivers invite you to hike, kayak, or simply absorb the tranquility of the surroundings.
For those yearning for an authentic Spanish experience and a deeper connection to the country’s rural heritage, the Meseta Central offers a compelling invitation, beckoning travelers to embark on a remarkable journey off the tourist trail and into the soul of Spain.
Top places to start your journey:
4 – Explore the Andalusian wonders
The Andalusian Route spans the southern region of Andalusia in Spain, and its highlights include the cities of Granada, Seville, and Cordoba, among other stunning destinations. Here’s what awaits you:
- Marvel at the UNESCO-listed Alhambra palace, an architectural masterpiece blending Moorish and Spanish influences.
- Explore the Alhambra’s ornate gardens and opulent halls, showcasing the rich heritage of Islamic art and architecture.
- Ascend the iconic Giralda Tower for breathtaking views of the city’s terracotta rooftops.
- Visit the Royal Alcazar Palace, a stunning blend of Moorish and Renaissance styles, displaying opulence at its finest.
- Be captivated by the Mezquita mosque, where Islamic and Christian influences intertwine.
- Admire the intricate horseshoe arches, serene prayer halls, and the remarkable Mihrab.
- Discover charming white-washed villages, such as Ronda with its breathtaking gorge and Mijas with its traditional charm.
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant streets, secret courtyards, and Andalusian culture of Cordoba’s old town.
The Andalusian Route is a true celebration of Spanish diversity, where history, architecture, natural beauty and culture seamlessly converge. Slow travel along this route allows you to savor each moment and create memories that will stay with you long after your journey ends.
Where to start your trip:
5 – See the Catalonia sights
The Catalonia Route meanders through the captivating region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain, offering a captivating journey filled with vibrant cities, picturesque coastal towns, and breathtaking natural landscapes. Here’s what awaits you:
- Barcelona: Immerse yourself in Gaudí’s architectural wonders, from the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia to the bustling Las Ramblas.
- Sitges: Explore this charming coastal town known for its sun-kissed beaches and vibrant cultural scene.
- Girona: Step back in time in the city’s well-preserved medieval walls, visit the iconic Eiffel Bridge, and wander through the atmospheric Jewish Quarter.
- Tarragona: Uncover Roman ruins like the impressive Tarragona Amphitheatre and the intricate passages of the Pont del Diable aqueduct.
- Costa Brava: Indulge in the stunning rugged coastline with secluded coves and picturesque fishing villages, including the bohemian towns of Cadaqués and Lloret del Mar.
- Pyrenees: Experience outdoor adventures amidst majestic peaks, hiking through verdant valleys and marveling at breathtaking landscapes.
The Catalonia Route offers a blend of history, culture, and natural splendor, ensuring an unforgettable journey through Catalonia’s captivating allure.
The region is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural splendor. Whether you’re captivated by the artistic wonders of Barcelona, the coastal charm of Sitges, the medieval allure of Girona, or the natural beauty of the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees, this journey offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you with cherished memories of Catalonia’s diverse and captivating allure.
Main cities in this route:
Start planning your trip today
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