5 Lesser-Known Cities Worth Exploring in Spain
5 Lesser-Known Cities Worth Exploring in Spain

5 lesser-known cities worth exploring in Spain

When we think of traveling to Spain, popular destinations and famous movie locations often come to mind. However, this means we sometimes overlook charming corners of the country that have much to offer. Here are five lesser-known Spanish cities that are true treasures waiting to be discovered.

Soria: A Historical Gem

Soria is a magical destination that receives few visitors. It’s the least populated provincial capital in Spain, yet it’s brimming with history and culture. Many of Spain’s greatest writers found inspiration in Soria’s landscapes and architecture. Although it’s off the main routes and straddles the border between Aragón and Castilla, its charm is undeniable.

Highlights of Soria:

  • Plaza Mayor: Featuring the iconic Fuente de los Leones, the 18th-century Casa de los Doce Linajes (now the Town Hall), and the neoclassical Palacio de la Audiencia.
  • Iglesia de Santo Domingo: A Romanesque masterpiece.
  • Concatedral de Soria: A Gothic structure with a remarkable cloister, preserving three of its four original galleries.
  • San Juan de Rabanera: Another must-visit Romanesque church.
  • Palacio de los Condes de Gómara: Now the Palace of Justice, this 16th-century marvel was once envied by King Philip II.
  • San Juan de Duero: Known for its unique cloister with intertwined arches influenced by Arab, Byzantine, and Mozarabic styles.
  • Ermita de San Saturio: A beloved hermitage named after the city’s patron saint, nestled in caves by the Duero River.

Ciudad Real: The Forgotten Jewel of Castilla-La Mancha

Often overlooked, Ciudad Real is one of Spain’s least visited cities, but a two-day trip will prove it’s worth the visit. The city’s late Gothic cathedral and historic Plaza Mayor are just a couple of its many attractions.

What to See in Ciudad Real:

  • Plaza Mayor: Featuring the 15th-century Casa del Arco and the controversially styled 1976 City Hall.
  • Catedral de Santa María del Prado: A late Gothic temple with an impressive 53-meter-long nave.
  • Iglesia de San Pedro: A Gothic church from the 14th and 15th centuries.
  • Puerta de Toledo: The only remaining gate of the city’s medieval wall, declared a National Monument in 1915.
  • Palacio de la Diputación: A 19th-century monumental building with an imposing facade.
  • Old Gran Casino: Inaugurated in 1887, it was a social hub for the local bourgeoisie.
  • Museums: Including the Museo de Ciudad Real, Museo del Quijote, and several others showcasing the city’s rich archaeological and cultural heritage.

Badajoz: The Underrated Treasure of Extremadura

Badajoz might be overshadowed by nearby Cáceres and Mérida, but it hides impressive treasures. It’s a mystery why it remains one of the least visited cities in Spain.

Must-See Spots in Badajoz:

  • The Alcazaba: One of the most important fortified Arab citadels in Europe and the largest by size.
  • Torre de Espantaperros: A symbol of the city, it inspired the construction of the Torre del Oro in Seville. The nearby 16th-century Palace of the Counts of Roca is now the Provincial Archaeological Museum.
  • Plaza Alta: One of Spain’s 20 most beautiful squares, featuring the old Town Hall and views of the Torre de Espantaperros.
  • Cathedral of Badajoz: An impressive Gothic and Romanesque building from the 13th-16th centuries.
  • Puerta de Palmas: The city’s most iconic monument, located at the end of the Puente de Palmas.
  • Puente de Palmas: This 16th-century bridge crosses the Guadiana River with 32 arches, 582 meters long, and 13 meters high.

Valverde (El Hierro, Canary Islands): The Mountain -Top Wonder

Valverde, the capital of El Hierro, is just 10 minutes from the airport but remains a less visited city, possibly due to its location atop a mountain 600 meters above the coast.

Highlights of Valverde:

  • Santa María de la Concepción Church: Built in the 18th century, featuring a Genoese statue of Christ at the Column.
  • Town Hall: A typical Canarian-style building started in 1910 and completed in 1940.
  • Ethnographic Center Casa de las Quinteras: Dedicated to the island’s artisan work, located in a restored house in the Tesine neighborhood.
  • Pozo de las Calcosas: A unique bay enclosed by a cliff, forming a natural pool.
  • Mirador de La Peña: Designed by artist César Manrique, this viewpoint is a Cultural Heritage site.
  • Protected Landscape of Timijiraque: Covering 383 hectares, it was declared a Protected Natural Area in 1994.

Huesca: The Undiscovered city of Aragon

Huesca is often overlooked, but this city has an extraordinary monumental heritage.

Highlights of Huesca:

  • Cathedral of Santa María: The city’s most important and recognized monument, a Gothic structure built in the 13th-14th centuries.
  • Diocesan Museum: Located in the cathedral’s cloister and the Episcopal Palace, featuring a vast collection of sacred art, silverware, codices, and medieval sculptures.
  • Huesca Walls: Originally a fortified city since Roman times, now only several sections remain, including the Septrión tower and one gate, La Porteta. Declared a Cultural Heritage site in 2006.
  • Convent of San Miguel: Known as “Las Miguelas,” this beautiful Romanesque site sits by the Isuela River.
  • Plaza Luis López Allué: Also known as the Plaza del Mercado, this rectangular square with arcades on all four sides is a central hub of city life.
  • Monastery and Church of San Pedro el Viejo: A Romanesque site from the 12th century, declared a National Monument.
  • Casino of Huesca: A modernist building from the early 20th century, inspired by the works of Gaudí and Domènech.
  • Ultramarinos La Confianza: The oldest grocery store still in operation in Spain and the fifth oldest in Europe, opened in 1871.
  • Miguel Servet Park: The city’s green lung, featuring seven hectares of parkland, including a music kiosk, statues, and a Snow White house that hides a library, perfect for kids.

Explore these hidden gems and discover a side of Spain you’ve never seen before!