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Those Places (Most of) You May Be Missing in Spain

Those Places (Most of) You May Be Missing in Spain

Old May 5th, 2014, 05:48 AM
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Those Places (Most of) You May Be Missing in Spain

I´ve been contributing in Fodor´s for about 10 years now, starting in quite an amateur way and having become a guide, I´ve been closely following posts about Spain. I understand that the standard is going to a country and visit the most visited places (well, there´s normally a reason why those places are so crowded). In Spain, a huge number of posts ask about Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Seville, a few about the North (San Sebastian) and little else. A first comer, obviously, wants to see those places. But what about the places that, if time and money allow, are extraordinary and go unvisited?

Here´s a small list of some places (I´ll start with province capitals, then to smaller places in future posts) that I love as a local:

- Burgos, in Castilla y León, its magnificent Gothic Cathedral and Atapuerca prehistoric site, one of the most important in the world. The old town, the bars and the Human Evolution museum.
- Oviedo, in Asturias, and its cider houses and cider culture, the prerromanic churches of San Miguel de Lillo and Santa María del Naranco, the Jurassic museum in front of the sea, the mining regions
- Vitoria, capital of the Basque Country, with the restoration of the ancient cathedral of Santa María and its incredible Old Town, a jewish quarter in the old times. Europe´s Green Capital and Gastronomy Capital in 2014.
- Jaén, in Andalucía, unspoilt city with an incredible cathedral and close to Úbeda and Baena, two hidden jewels in the Andalucian mountains.
- Cáceres, in Extremadura, a beautiful Old Quarter, full of churches, a jewish quarter and a great Parador. A must see.

5 on this post, more to go if interested.

Saludos,

Mikel
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Old May 5th, 2014, 05:58 AM
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Yes, thanks.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 06:02 AM
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(it´s Baeza, not Baena, sorry)
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Old May 5th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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Mikelg:

Thanks! And waiting for more! We spent a few hours last year in Burgos, and found the Cathedral really magnificent, and the food excellent.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:07 AM
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Good input---gracias !
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:10 AM
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Yes! Please keep going! And thanks.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:53 AM
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I would second the suggestion of Jaen. We had a fantastic stay in the Parador in the castle atop the hill overlooking the city. It was part of a three night parador deal and the other stops of Ubeda and Cazorla were equally impressive. All were very different Paradores but the one thing they all had in common was the great food!!
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Old May 5th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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mikelg - our first trip to Spain was to many of the "lesser" places you mention! This was our third of our big trips round western europe [the first two had been France and Germany, and Italy] when we were young and green and didn't realise that we were supposed to go to Madrid and Barcelona first.

this time we drove down through France to the Pyrenees, then hopped over the border to San Sebastien, and set off round northern Spain via Burgos, Valladolid, Salamanca, Leon, the Picos, Avilles, and then back home on the ferry from Santander. it was a wonderful trip, with fabulous food, great scenery and surprisingly good and reasonable hotels [and clean bathrooms, unlike in France!]

children interfered with our making any further lengthy explorations, but over the years we've racked up not only Madrid and Barcelona, but Granada and Seville as well as a fortnight on Mallorca with the kids [and how rarely do we see the Balearics mentioned here!]

another place to add to your list - Valencia. We're giving it a try at the end of the month.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 08:09 AM
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Great post...we go next year, so keep 'em coming. Thanks.

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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:20 AM
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Thank you...5 more capitals that are really worth a visit:

- León, in Castilla y León, absolutely wonderful Parador de San Marcos and the painted walls in San Isidoro de León. The Cathedral is awesome and the Barrio Húmedo is the place for tapas and wines.

- Logroño, normally ignored as most visitors go directly to Rioja wineries in the vicinity. Great atmosphere at Calle Laurel for pinchos and wines.

- Valladolid, great place for cochinillo asado and pinchos, all over its old quarter. Lots of atmosphere on this clean, well kept city. Beautiful Plaza Mayor.

- Girona, in Cataluña, beautiful old quarter and riverfront, amazing walled area and cathedral.

- Murcia, a city I never cared for...but on my last visit I fell in love with its baroque cathedral and its wonderful elaborated tapas.

I´ll keep it going, your comments are welcome.

Mikel
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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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Oh I love Girona, plan to go again next week when we go to Begur for the week.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:50 AM
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Definite vote for Leon.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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funny - my post about our stay in the Parador at Leon got lost.

but it was so nice it's worth doing again; I doubt that the monks ever slept between linen sheets! the Cathedral was impressive too.

In Valladolid we were extremely impressed [if not to say a little worried] by the museum of polychromatic sculpture - you could really feel those arrows thudding into poor St. Sebastian.

Maitai - Mikel is dead right that the north of Spain is well worth exploring, and the food [which I know is close to your heart, along with the wine] is very good.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:58 AM
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Thanks, we have visited Girona and plan on seeing Vitoria on a day trip from SS .
Since we don't drive, moving around form place to place take s more time and planning.

Our friends who live merat Madrid took us to Chinchon....what a charming town.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 10:08 AM
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annhig - maitai just got through sorting out an itinerary for southern Spain, don't confuse matters!
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Old May 5th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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annhig - maitai just got through sorting out an itinerary for southern Spain, don't confuse matters!>>

oops, missed that - I'll go and have a look!
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Old May 5th, 2014, 10:18 AM
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I'm in trouble now!!

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Old May 5th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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Mike, maybe cut this short and just say anywhere in the north of Spain, but that would be easy but keep posters guessing. ;-)
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Old May 5th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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Well, I live in northern Spain and am obviously biased...the point I want to make is that Spain is a enormously heterogeneous country in terms of languages, landscapes, meals, climates, dialects, ways of living, customs, etc...and most people tend to go to Barcelona and Madrid or the South.

This country is full of marvellous, yet untouched places that do deserve a visit...but I understand that time and money are scarce and we all tend to go to the most accesible and
known places.

By the way, I´m not a big Valencia fan...and think that Castellón is probably the ugliest city in Spain. But love the inland of Málaga (Sierra de las Nieves and its quaint towns) and Córdoba (except in summer, it´s incredibly hot)
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Old May 5th, 2014, 10:37 AM
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By the way, I´m not a big Valencia fan.>>

mikelg - we wanted a short break somewhere that was not going to cost us an arm and a leg, that we could fly to from Bristol, with nice food and sunshine. 4 nights in Valencia fits the bill!
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