15 of the Most Charming Towns in Spain You Should Visit

Danny Newman

Updated on:

Jerez, Spain

Charming towns and villages are a dime a dozen in Spain. But which ones are most worth visiting? Here are 15 of the most charming towns in Spain to put on your bucket list.

People naturally gravitate to places like Barcelona, Madrid, and Granada when visiting Spain. However, as iconic as these destinations are, it’s worth looking beyond the main tourist trail! This sun-kissed country has countless hidden gems just waiting to be explored.

Chief among them are the beautiful and sleepy old towns around every corner. From Andalusia to Catalonia, these treasures are full of history and charm and offer a taste of traditional Spanish life you simply don’t get anywhere else. Want to visit some of the best? Here are 15 charming towns in Spain to put on your bucket list.

1. Ronda

Aerial view of ancient city of Ronda located on two edges of gorge with Guadalevin river, Andalusia, Spain
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Adored by Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, Ronda is a stunning ancient town in Andalusia that’s just over 60 miles from Malaga.

Its most emblematic sight is the iconic bridge (Puente Nuevo) that spans El Tajo Gorge. Yet with its grand bullring, cobbled streets, whitewashed houses perched on cliff edges, and Moorish attractions (including 13th-century Arab Baths), the whole place feels magical.

2. Besalú

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Located in Garrotxa (a region famous for an eponymous traditional goat cheese) in the far northeast of Spain, Besalú’s cobbled streets and stone buildings ooze charm and historic appeal. The town’s highlights include:

  • A 12th-century Romanesque bridge spanning the Fluviá River
  • Religious sites like the 1,000-year-old Church of Sant Pere, and
  • A Jewish quarter that has a centuries-old mikveh (a type of bath used for ritual immersion).

3. Tejeda

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Tejeda is a town in the Canary Islands (an archipelago off Africa’s northwestern coast). Situated over 1,000 meters above sea level in a giant volcanic crater, its location is hard to beat.

Expect spectacular views, endless outdoor opportunities, and unique archaeological attractions, including ancient rock carvings and caves once inhabited by the islands’ native people. Tejeda is also home to the Nublo Rock – a symbol of the archipelago.

4. Deiá

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Welcome to one of Majorca’s most popular places. A leafy hilltop village with cobbled streets and breathtaking sea views, Deiá is arguably the island’s most scenic spot. Its beauty has inspired artists and creatives for centuries, including famed poet/writer Robert Graves.

Life here revolves around rest and relaxation. Spend your time enjoying the views, going on walks, visiting its cute shingle beach, and listening to live music at Café Sa Fonda.

5. Albarracín

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A smattering of terracotta-colored houses nestled among rugged mountains, Albarracín is an atmospheric place with stunning surroundings. With its mighty fortifications, age-old churches, overhanging wooden balconies, and cobblestone streets, the town feels stuck in a medieval time warp. History buffs and nature lovers will love it.

6. San Vicente de la Barquera

San Vicente de la Barquera
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This old fishing village on the Cantabrian coast boasts one of Spain’s most dramatic backdrops. Snowcapped mountains, rolling green hills, and brilliant sandy beaches give San Vicente de la Barquera a postcard-perfect aesthetic you won’t forget in a hurry.

With its epic castle, a 16th-century bridge with 28 arches, and several impressive medieval churches, there's also a rich history to enjoy.

7. Combarro

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Combarro is a quintessential Galician fishing village on the west coast of Spain. Expect lovely sandy beaches, pedestrianized cobblestone streets, attractive plazas, and tapas bars serving fresh seafood.

You'll also see the distinctive raised stone granaries (called hórreos) that are unique to this part of Spain. Overall, Combarro is a pretty coastal town with a traditional, rustic, and welcoming vibe.

8. Ribadavia

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The riverside town of Ribadavia is located close to the Portuguese border in northwest Spain. This beautiful place has castle ruins, famous wineries, and one of the region’s most prominent old Jewish quarters.

For a unique Spanish experience, visit Ribadavia on the last Saturday of August, when they hold the annual Festival of History. For one day, locals dress in medieval clothing, have jousting competitions, forbid products that wouldn't have existed in the Middle Ages, and even use the old Spanish Maravedi currency.

9. Frigiliana

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Frigiliana is regularly voted one of Spain’s most beautiful places. With its sea views, whitewashed houses, and steep cobbled streets, this gorgeous Andalusian town is reminiscent of somewhere like Santorini in Greece – just with slightly fewer tourists.

Wander through its winding streets, sit in its age-old squares, and enjoy dinner with a view on a rooftop terrace.

10. Cudillero

Cudillero in Spain
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Legend has it that Vikings first founded this charming fishing village on Spain’s north coast. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate, but Cudillero’s aesthetic appeal is unquestionable! Pretty pastel-colored houses cascade down from verdant hills to a tiny, picturesque port.

The laidback atmosphere, historic buildings (including a 16th-century Gothic-style church), pristine local beaches, and breathtaking coastal scenery make Cudillero one of Spain’s best-kept secrets.

11. Cuenca

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This striking destination in east-central Spain is renowned for the iconic multi-story “Hanging Houses” that sit precariously on clifftops overlooking the Huécar River Gorge.

Cuenca dates back to Moorish times and has so much amazing medieval architecture that UNESCO made it a World Heritage Site in 1996. Visit its 12th-century cathedral, cross the Puente de San Pablo footbridge, and enjoy its maze of storied streets.

12. Cadaqués

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Close to the French border in Catalonia is a picturesque town with whitewashed houses, mountainous surroundings, and pebble beaches lapped by pristine Mediterranean waters.

Cadaqués is postcard-perfect. Expect top restaurants, laidback vibes, and a harbor ideal for evening strolls. Having attracted some of history’s most famous artists, including Henri Matisse, Picasso, and Salvador Dalí, there’s an artsy atmosphere around town, too. The Dalí House Museum is one of its most notable attractions.

13. Frías

Frias Spain
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King Juan II of Castile made Frías a city back in 1435. It’s unlike any city you’ve seen before, though! Fewer than 300 people live there, and its cobblestone streets are so narrow cars aren’t allowed on them. 

Yet what Frías lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. This tiny medieval location climbs up a hill above the River Ebro. At its base, a wonderful nine-arched bridge spans the river. Above, there’s a mighty castle built on the rocky summit. All told, Frías transports you back in time.

14. Alcalá de Júcar

Alcalá de Júcar
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Much of what we wrote about Frías also applies to Alcalá. It’s another Spanish town full of history, character, and intrigue.

Alcalá’s iconic Castillo (castle) overlooks the town, an arched bridge spans the river below, and narrow streets zig-zag steeply between gorgeous, whitewashed buildings. Centuries-old churches, cave dwellings (some of which have been transformed into bars and restaurants), and an elliptical-shaped bullring add to the appeal.

15. Peñíscola

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Peñíscola is like a cross between Mont-Saint-Michel in France and Dubrovnik in Croatia. A historic site of epic proportions, this fortified town sits atop a rocky outcrop that juts into the sea.

Within its defensive walls is a 14th-century castle built by the Knights Templar, where Pope Benedict XIII once lived. If that’s not enough to entice you, the pristine beaches running perpendicular to the peninsula and local hiking and biking trails might.

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