All ready for your Spanish holiday? Suncream, swimming trunks, towel? Check, check, check, right? Add a camera to take something home with you that you don’t need to buy in a shop, photos of one or more of the following Spanish towns.
Green Spain extends virtually all the way to the shore, as the above photo of Costa Verde resort Cudillero shows. Where Babylon had hanging gardens, Cudillero has hanging houses. Will you just look at them, clinging precariously on to the mountainside.
Cadaques, Costa Brava, Catalonia
What started out as a small fishing village has grown into a town. During the summer, this Costa Brava’s 2,000+ population can swell to ten times the size. So enamoured of the area was the legendary artist Salvador Dalí, who visited Cadaqués on childhood holidays, that he built a permanent residence in the neighbouring bay of Port Lligat.
Nerja, Balcon de Europa
Welcome to the eastern Costa del Sol, a more refined place than its wild west equivalent. 50km from Málaga airport, Nerja’s a resort in its own right or a town you might want to set aside a day to visit. The Sierra de Almijara mountain range stands guard over an impressive collection of sandy coves.
Just under 15km from Málaga’s coast and you enter a very different world altogether. After turning off the A7 near Torre de Sal, the beautiful scenery won’t quite prepare you for your first glimpse of Casares. Which sees your eyes extend to the heavens as they take in the majestic splendour of the medieval fortress above the town.
Every September 8th, thousands of locals make their way to Teror to carry offerings to the Virgen del Pino, Gran Canaria’s patron saint. Many travel on foot from capital Las Palmas de Canaria. You can make your own pilgrimage any time of year, however, and it needn’t be on Shanks’ Pony.
You’ll need to ascend 638 metres above sea level to reach the giddy heights of this Axarquía town. Where Pisa’s famous Tower leans, this municipality slopes down the foothills of La Maroma, Sierra Tejeda’s highest peak. Every 15th August Cómpeta celebrates its Noche del Vino, Night of Wine. It’s always been this hedonistic, dating back to Roman times where it was a popular setting for feasts.
Although it boasts architecture dating back to the 17th century, Cantabria’s Líerganes doesn’t sag. That’s thanks to its two pert breasts, as it’s positioned between the Marimón and Cotillamón hills. Which perhaps explains why, possibly in penance, it also houses two churches and a pair of chapels.
Hondarribia, Pais Vasco
This Basque Country and Atlantic resort is also a river port. A seven-minute ferry ride across the Bidasoa concludes in France’s Hendaye. San Sebastián down the road boasts some fabulous Michelin-starred restaurants, but you can eat some cutting-edge cuisine at a fraction of the price in the rather more provincial Hondarribia.
Although it looks like it hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages, Catalonia’s Besalú is well served by modern transport links. Arrive by train courtesy of Renfe, bus (TEISA), or car with the medieval town just over 30 minutes away from Girona airport. And then switch to the classic feet-and-legs combo to explore the amazing Romanesque architecture at a more leisurely pace.
Trujillo, Caceres, Extremadura
If you want town, head to the Plaza Mayor to explore the cluster of iconic religious buildings and show-off properties of the gentry. Country? A few kilometres north you enter dense forest broken up every now again by meadow, pond, and reservoir.