While most travelers like to focus on big cities and beach resorts, there are certainly also many nice small towns in Spain. Here is a top 10 of the prettiest small towns and villages in Spain.
Pink, orange and red houses fill this isolated mountain town, set in a rocky valley on a bend of the Guadalaviar River. After it was all but destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, the government restored houses and streets, not in some bland mid-20th-century style, but instead taking cues from its Medieval roots and its history as the long-time seat (1012-1104) of a pòwerful Berber family following the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Península.
The foundations of the castle where the al Banu Razyn family, which gives the town its name, set up its court still remains, and the walls that protected the old Moorish city have been restored over time.
This exceptionally beautiful White-washed village is truly one of a kind. It can be divided into two: the newer, lower, section and the older Morisco-Mudejar neighborhood, the upper section. The upper section is the place to be.
Wandering the streets is a joy. You feel as if you were taken back in time, back to a land of Moorish Kingdoms and the Reconquista. In contrast to this, there is el Ingenio (the ingenuity) a 16th-century Renaissance palace now housing a sugar cane factory.
A labyrinth of narrow and winding streets, each one hiding something that is just waiting to be explored. Be warned, however, that Frigiliana is built on a mountainside and these streets are steep. Very steep in places.
Situated at three hundred meters above the sea level, the views from Frigiliana are spectacular.
Besides the historical and cultural highlights in Frigiliana you can also enjoy this cute small town by:
- Getting out into nature. Frigiliana is a great base from which to explore the surrounding Sierra de Tejada (in english Sierra would equal a mountain chain) Almijara natural park. Hiking does not get much better than this
Exploring the Río Higueron. Around this quiet and nice river there are some fantastic spots for picnis and hiking.
- Visiting the Pozo Batan Alberca – Frigiliana’s natural swimming pool. Swimming is not officially allowed although both locals and visitors do swim here. Take care if planning to swim, particularly with children. Jumping from the surrounded structures is not recommended.
Strolling around the town. The bohemian atmosphere of Frigiliana has attracted some famous artirs and photographers over the years, including Arne Haugen Sørensen, Klaus Hinkel, Penelope Wurr and Miro Slavin.
Visiting the local market – Frigiliana’s market days are Thursdays and Sundays. Always a great source for local produce and specialities.
It is a bit more than 50 km away from Málaga, so we recommend it as a one-day trip!
Northern Spain or the Swiss Alps? wake up in this village, surrounded by the tallest peaks in the Pyrenees mountain rango and it can be hard to tell. Besides the Romanesque architecture characteristic to the region, cozy wood-paneled restaurants perfect for enjoying that warm mug of hot chocolate, and aristrocatric mansions, the town also serves as the launching point for outdoorsy travelers who want to explore the glaciers, skiing runs, fly fishing sites, hiking trails, and waterfalls in the area.
If you like climbing and trekking, we definitely recommend visiting this town. Benasque is popular with avid climbers and trekkers who wish to ascend the Pyrenees highest peaks: Aneto (3404m) and Posets (3371m). To do this you’ll need all the proper equipment: crampons, ice-axe, rope and a helmet to guard against falling rocks. If you’re less experienced, your best bet is to go on a trek with one of many operators in town. Either way, the tourist office is well equipped with maps and can update you on weather and trail conditions. As for snow sports, there’s a popular ski hub in the area at Cerler.
Besalú is a typical medieval Spanish town which remained intact over the years.
This fortified town in the province of Girona, Catalonia, is full of narrow cobbled streets so it’s advisable to wear proper footwear. The street from the bridge will take you to the town square Placa Major (major square), which used to be the centre of Besalú a few centuries ago. The most significant monument in Besalú is its medieval bridge which looks like it came out from the kind of a fairytale about brave Knights and on top of that, it gets illuminated in the evening.
Also, don’t miss to visit the Museum of Miniatures and Microminiatures which has an exhibition of scenes from the 19th century. Some of the miniatures are so detailed that you need a microscope to see them.
Part of the joy of traveling around Andalucía is the seemingly endless supply of “pueblos blancos“ (“white towns”, named for the uniform color of the houses). While there are many that exhibit the Moorish architecture and labyrinthine streets that make the region so popular among tourists, there’s something extra special about Ronda – its location. Set high in the mountains, on the edge of a 400-foot cliff, the views of the valley below are stunning and the three bridges that span the canyon are mind-boggling feats of engineering.
If you are interested in learning a bit more about this town check this: https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2015-06-01/maphead-ken-jennings-spanish-town-residents-live-under-rock
This small town of merely 3000 residents has a palace which could stand side by side to some of the world-known palaces. We’re talking about the Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite which is actually a fortification and it consists of three main parts: the Old Palace, the New Palace and the church of Santa María la Real. The fairytale-like design of the palace is what makes it so special – it’s because the palace wasn’t built all at once, but it is actually a result of expansions throughout the centuries.
The mild Mediterranean climate has also made Olite the capital of Spanish wine, so make sure you sign up for a wine tasting tour and give your palates an unforgettable experience!
On the northeast coast of the island of Mallorca sites the town of Sóller and its port. It is connected with the capital Palma through a historic 1912 train, which passes through Orange and lemon orchards and olive-tree hills on its one-hour ride. The town square, with its imposing church, trees, open-air cafés and mountain backdrop, is one of the most beautiful of the island. The port of Sóller has an almost-circular shore where you can soak up the sun while the aroma of the Orange blossoms that mixes with the sea scent. Catch-of-the-day grilled fish with garlic sauce and freshly squeezed orange juice from the local production are the town’s gastronomic delicacies.
The Parochial church of Sant Bartomeu de Soller is the most remarkable landmark of this town. This temple, in its long history, has had five constructive stages. The church presents a baroque structure built between 1688 and 1733.
The current facade is of modernist style, designed by the Catalan architect and disciple of Gaudí, Joan Rubió i Beliver.
Actually, and along with Palma, Soller is one of the urban centres with the biggest number of modernist buildings within the Balearic Islands.
Around Sóller you can also enjoy the views of the mountains and its beaches.
Santillana del Mar
Also known for the town of the three liers due to its name – If we separate the Santillana into two we will have Santi, the word santa is very similar and it means Saint, and llana which means flat, and Mar which means sea. Did you get why it is called the town of the three lies now? because it is neither Saint, nor flat nor it’s got sea!
Jokes aside, this city is one of the most touristic and villages in the autonomous community of Cantabria which is situated in the north of Spain. This cozy and cute cobbled-street village has very nice houses, but it also has stunning Romanesque architecture and monuments.
Have you ever heard of Las Cuevas de Altamira? well the Cave of Altamira is located near the historic town of Santillana del Mar, and it is renowned for prehistoric parietal cave art featuring charcoal drawings and polychrome paintings of contemporary local fauna and human hands. The arliest paintings were applied during the Upper Paleolithic, around 36.000 years ago. The site was only discovered in 1868 by Modesto Cubillas.
Aside from the striking quality of its polychromatic art, Altamira’s fame stems from the fact that its paintings were the first European cave paitings for which a prehistoric origin was suggested and promoted.
A magnificent, striking Templar Castle borders the sea. In Peñíscola, doubtedly one of Spain’s most beautiful towns, located on the OrNGE Blossom Coast (Costa Azahar). The clase is known by many as the Castle of Papa Luna, who was the anti-pope who resided there from 1415, after he refused to give his Papal Tiara back to the Council of Perpignan.
The old town and castle are embraced by the Mediterranean sea, and the little gorgeous streets are a cocktail of whitewashed buildings, with azure blue touches, and lots of colours from the shops, not to mention the cute House of Shells (Casa de las Conchas).
At certain spots at the periphery of the old quarter the views over the Mediterranean are just breathtaking. The clastle itself takes quite a bit of exploring, and if you visit during a very hot month it can be quite intensive but at the same time it is worthwhile
Peñíscola is not only its old quarter, of course, these days it has plenty of modern buildings and facilities, making it a suitable destination also from families. In fact the vast majority of the town is modern, but there’s no getting away from it that the old quarter, castle, and walls are the highlights of this nice town.
Peñíscola has been a film location several times, in fact in October 2015 it was a location for filming of Game of Thrones.
In 1972 Peñíscola was declared to be a Historical Conservation Area.
Typical for many Asturian coastal towns, Cudillero sits on the side of the mountain facing the sea. The legend says it was founded by Vikings, but the earliest mention of it was in the 15th century as a fishing village. The main attractions are the town’scolorfull houses, stretching out in a semi-circle around the bay, with a backdrop of deep green hills.
Get immersed in the local culture and watchte fishing boats come back home in the evening, with the day’s catch. The taverns in the old town serve the fresh fish and seafood captured by the locals. A short stroll from the town centre, the lighthouse sits on the cliff’s edge from where you can see the town of Cudillero and the impressive Atlantic Green Coast.