Spain is a vibrant, diverse country with so much to offer. There are so many cities and small towns we love to explore, and this rich, colorful destination has more than its share of hidden gems. A lifetime of wanderlust and curiosity means that we know exactly where to go, what to try and what to see to ensure that your experience is one of a kind. For those looking for something off the standard tourist itinerary in Spain, Girona and charming Cadaqués are amazing choices.
Girona has become more popular in recent years with the addition of more international low cost flights from its airport. But it’s still a destination that not all travelers have heard of. In the shadow of Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, it can be easy to remain hidden. Yet, this spectacular medieval city can certainly hold its own.
It’s home to one of the best preserved Jewish quarters in the world. The narrow streets of this neighborhood (called “el call”) are amazing to explore, like stepping back in time 500 years. The Jewish history museum is also incredibly comprehensive for those looking to delve deeper into the history of Spanish Judaism.
The medieval walls that once circled the city are still intact in many parts. You can walk the ramparts above most of the old town of the city. There are various watchtowers along the way with lovey views. While some parts the walk gets narrow, it’s not challenging and gives you a great view over Girona. For those less interested in walking the walls, the cathedral of Girona is also a site to see. It contains the largest gothic nave in the world and has a staggeringly high ceiling- it’s a truly impressive site.
From Girona, it’s a short trip to the charming seaside gem of Cadaqués. The whitewashed buildings typical of Spanish coastal towns, provide an incredible contrast to the blue sea. Meandering through the tiny lanes of this little village is enough to make anyone feel like an artist. In fact, the most famous person associated with Cadaqués is Salvador Dali. The artist spent family summer holidays in the village from a young age. Dali lived here throughout his later life. The pull of such a famous artist meant that the town has always had a bit of a celebrity touch as Dali’s crowd would come to spend time with him. For those fascinated with the artist, his house-museum is an interesting stop.
For others, the stunning landscape of the “white pearl” of the Costa brava is enough. The natural harbor and tiny fishing port lead to Cap de Creus, one of Europe’s most beautiful marine and terrestrial nature reserves.
The only road that leads to the village was built only 50 years ago, and though the village can become quite busy with locals taking the summer sun in the peak holiday months, it still retains a special small town charm that is all its own.
There are so many famous destinations that entrance travelers in colorful Spain. Yet, there are also these smaller cities, tiny beach towns such as Girona and Cadaqués, and less visited gems that make a wonderful addition to tailor made Spanish holiday.