Captivating Charms: Exploring Spain’s Ten Most Exquisite Villages

By: Genevieve Mc Carthy / Last updated: April 10, 2024

Embark on an awe-inspiring journey across Spain’s diverse villages. Experience the beautiful Arab whitewashed gems in the South and uncover the hidden treasures of the North, characterized by slate “Pizarra” architecture. Explore the captivating sandstone pueblos nestled in the Balearic Islands and immerse yourself in the tropical marvels of the Canary Islands. Join us in celebrating the splendor of dozens more breathtaking towns. Share your exquisite discoveries as we invite you to partake in this remarkable adventure through Spain’s rich cultural tapestry, where every village unfolds a unique tale.



Cadaques, Costa Brava

A quiet bohemian resort near Spain’s border with France, whitewashed Cadaquès is a Mediterranean postcard that comes to life. A former fishing village is now known as an artists’ hotspot; Cadaquès was the stomping ground of Salvador Dalí and has hosted the likes of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Man Ray…

Guide to Cadaques: Read more



Cudillero, Asturias

The aptly named Costa Verde or Green Coast is one of northern Spain’s greatest secrets – a succession of attractive sandy coves and dramatic cliffs punctuated by deep estuaries and numerous fishing villages…

Guide to Cudillero: Read more



Hondarribia, Pais Vasco

An inviting, laid-back harbor town sitting a stone’s throw from the border with France and about half an hour from excellent gourmet San Sebastian, Hondarribia is a popular seaside destination thanks to its charmingly well-preserved old quarter and its French-flavored appeal…

Guide to Hondarriba: Read more



Besalú, Catalonia

Just over half an hour’s drive from the stunning Costa Brava coast, Besalù is a spectacular medieval town. This historic gem was a significant economic and political center in the Middle Ages, which has been beautifully preserved; some of its architectural highlights include the Viejo Bridge (12th century Romanesque), Mikve de Besalù (Jewish bathing area), the Sant Pere Monastery (11th century) and the church of Sant Vicenç. Besalù also boasts spectacular restaurants, making for an excellent day trip from Barcelona or the Costa Brava.



Trujillo, Extremadura

This historic town is such a joy to come by, partly perhaps because it is a delightful surprise, perched on the hill surrounded by the somewhat flat, barren lands of Extremadura. Its fabulously preserved city wall encompasses various architecture (the Romans and the Moors were here), the imposing castle, churches, ostentatious villas, and palaces. The grand “Plaza Mayor” is probably one of Spain’s most impressive and enjoyable parts; Trujillo’s gastronomy is brimming with endless restaurants, taverns, and tapas bars serving local, mouthwatering cuisine.

Trujillo is home to the celebrated acorn-fed Iberian “pata negra,” pimentón de la vera, and sublimely creamy sheep cheeses. “Migas” is a specialty – paprika-spiced fried breadcrumbs with chorizo are served with a freshly fried egg. To help counteract these rich dishes, there is a beautiful variety of fresh produce. And probably the best thing about Trujillo is that it is over 200 miles from Madrid and in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, far from the coast, it remains untouched by mass tourism. We hope you love Trujillo as much as we do!


Pedraza, Castile-Leon

The cute little village of Pedraza in the district of Segovia, north of Madrid, was declared a historic artistic site in 1951 and is famed for having one of the most beautiful main squares in Castilla y Leon. Most probably because, amazingly, it remains unaffected by modern architecture; it is set in medieval times for what looks to be forever. Highlights include the castle, belonging to the Zuloaga family, and a museum of painter Ignacio Zuloaga’s pieces. The medieval prison makes for a terrifying visit, reminding you to abide by the rules or stroll around the pretty cobblestone streets; stopping for a coffee or aperitif is a timeless pleasure.


Ronda, Andalucia

Andalucía (Andalusia) is undoubtedly one of Spain’s most varied, enchanting, and captivating regions. It is often where first-time visitors to this special country decide to begin their travels. Ronda is a spectacularly perched pueblo Blanco in Spain’s atmospheric Andalucía, with outstanding wines, quaint museums, and a beautiful old town.

Guide to Ronda: Read more


La Orotava is a small town in the North of the Canary Island of Tenerife. It is unlike what you see throughout the rest of the island, with lovingly preserved colonial townhouses and mansions lining the cobblestoned streets and the pretty squares brimming with flowers and manicured shrubs. This endearing town has been pronounced National Historic-Artistic Interest, maintaining its precious heritage in its architecture, parks, gardens, and traditions. La Orotava is ideally situated if you are looking to explore the nearby Teide National Park and boasts many pretty coves and beaches, all with one great advantage in common. They are far from crowded and untouched by the masses.


This splendid town in the Jaén region of Andalusia is a real treat. It is pretty different from the stereotypical Andalusian towns and villages surrounding it, adding to its charm (except for neighboring Baeza, a clear runner-up for having the finest “old quarter” in the peninsula). The main square, Plaza Vázquez de Molina (includes the Palacio de las Cadenas with its majestic facade), Sacra Capilla del Salvador church (striking Renaissance architecture), and the Palacio del Deán Ortega, now a fabulous Parador Hotel, are just some of the highlights in this heritage-rich town. Just a hundred clicks North of Granada, it is worth the trip.



The small coastal village of Dei à really does have the “wow” factor. You will not be surprised to hear that many artists and writers have been drawn here and that the pretty village at the foot of the Teix Mountain has featured (and will undoubtedly continue to feature) in many novels. Early settlers date back to prehistoric times, living in caves and coves. Deià’s ingenious drainage and irrigation system are thanks to Arab rule.

The Catholic church left its mark in the form of 3 impressive monasteries: Ca l’Abat and Son Rul. Lan, and Miramar. Robert Graves (English writer) first made Deià his home in the 1930s. Although he moved to England with his wife (American Poet Laura Riding) at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, he maintained a family home in this special place until his death; his house is now a fascinating museum. The choice of eateries here is exquisite, with a wide range of options, including Michelin-starredEs Racó d’Es Teix. No one should leave Mallorca without visiting this pearl


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Genevieve Mc Carthy

37 thoughts on “Captivating Charms: Exploring Spain’s Ten Most Exquisite Villages


July 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm

We're travelling to Lisbon and then Porto. Can you suggest any smaller places near both of them with good rail or bus links. We might not have a car but want to spend about a week out of Lisbon and a week out of Porto. This would be after a few days in each.


May 27, 2014 at 10:50 am

With such little time I would recommend first heading just north of Porto to Galicia, visiting Santiago de Compostela and hamlets on the coast. Then head back into Porto and take the train back to Lisbon. Galicia is located in what is known as Green Spain and won´t be too hot like other areas of Spain in July. There is a wonderful, historic Parador in Santiago, along with many boutique hotels and inns. And if you love seafood, this is the right place!


May 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

From Lisbon you can take a lovely excursion to the fishing village of Nazaré, a treat. Or head inland to the wonderful medieval villages of Alentejo like stunning Marvao. From Porto we would highly recommend the pretty town of Aveiro for nice restaurants, charming canals, etc. Or head into the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, a beautiful small town with great restaurants and a picturesque old town, enjoy!

Kate sayssays:

May 7, 2014 at 2:52 am

Hi. I am looking for a recommendation where to visit in Spain from either Lisbon or Porto. I only have 3 days. I enjoy local color, quiet, villages, beaches, cafés, old churches. Not. Into big cities. I was planning to take the train from Porto to Lisbon and then travel into Spain for 2-3 days. Any suggestions?


May 4, 2014 at 9:17 pm

3 of us will be in ending a work trip in Porto July 8 and want to travel to Spain but only have 3 days and need to be back in Lisbon on the 11 for our flight home on the 12th. Any suggestions? We are not fans of large tourist areas-love the local traffic. Thanks, this is our first visit to Spain.

John Jairo Duque Garcíasays:

April 17, 2014 at 4:32 am

Uff este blog es genial me encanta leer tus escritos. Siga con este excelente trabajo de Hoteles! Ya sabes, mucha gente está buscando en torno a esta información y puede ayudar mucho.


April 15, 2014 at 10:59 am

Besalu is beautiful and not overly touristy, it is 1 hr 25 mnin from Barcelona. On the coast, Calella is beautiful and small scale, but would be crowded in summer.


April 15, 2014 at 5:45 am

Hello I am wondering if anyone can recommend a nice quaint very Spanish town/village - not commercialized outside of Barcelona within 1 hour or just a tad further. Thanks!


April 2, 2014 at 10:56 am

Hi Lorraine, we would love to make suggestions for you. Which region will you be visiting- Asturias, Basque Country, Galicia, Cantabria, etc?


April 2, 2014 at 10:48 am

Will be going to Spain Sat 5th April 2014 are there any nice villages in Northern Spain. Only problem is I am afraid of heights so it cant be accessed by cliffy roads thanks a mill for you advice


September 10, 2013 at 10:16 am

Hi Terri, oh yes there are many wonderful day trips you can do from Madrid. Toledo is an easy one, yes very touristy but very striking architecturally. There is a fast speed train there and you should have lunch at Adolfo's fine restaurant, well worth it. So much to see and do there. Also lovely is Aranjuez with its Royal Palace and gardens, reachable by train too. If you have a car, you could visit adorable Chinchon with a pretty Parador and main square. Further afield is Cuenca with its hanging houses. And then for a relaxing half day out of Madrid, you could go to the mountain town of Cercedilla for a roast lunch, great asador restaurants there and follow with a gentle hike on one of the pretty well marked trails- again reachable by train. Enjoy!


September 10, 2013 at 2:01 am

We only have a few days to travel outside of Madrid as my husband has business there...can anyone recommend any beautiful villages that would be an easy trip from Madrid? Thank you.


May 9, 2013 at 11:24 am

According to a recent Spanish poll the Top Ten Best Voted Spanish Towns are


April 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

In adition to these beautiful Spanish villages, please check:


March 28, 2013 at 6:31 pm

So many nice towns and villages here and many more out there too. Impossible task you had so well done. Failure for me I´ve only made 2 out of 10!


September 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Btw, Albarracin is a must-see too.


September 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm

There are a few better choices in responses, but still a nice list. On the other hand, Spanish towns and villages can't compare to Italian and French.


May 9, 2012 at 8:36 am

I suggest> Aiguablava, Cadaques or Begur, all lovely spots, sleepy and gorgeous. Enjoy!

jennifer englandsays:

April 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

we (three sisters and me )are looking for a nice small village outside of Barcelona to stay for about 5 days...any suggestions? We like sleepy towns.


April 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

Hi Louise.... how did you go? Which town did you end u choosing? We are looking for a gorgeous town in the north?????? Cass


April 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

Hola, Louise, My husband and I are looking for a small town nearish Madrid where we want to live for about 3 months. Our daughter is going to university in Madrid so we want to be as near to her as possible and still not live in a big city. I'm curious as to whether you found a town that worked for you and your family.


February 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Great information here. My family and I are leaving this Friday to look at some of these areas to pick one to live for a year. We are going on a sabbatical! Kids 11 and 13. Any ideas where? Looking for a nice small "non sleepy" type town that would have good schools, restaurants, good climate, water view? I'm having a hard time finding "all in one" village great for kids. I'm sure it's out there. Thanks in advance.


February 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Hi Sally, absolutely. Cadaques is lovely and is a tiny hamlet. Another beautiful spot and gourmet paradise is San Sebastian on the Atlantic side in Basque Country. Aiguablava on the Costa Brava has delish scenery and snorkeling possibilities, kind of like Carmel in Northern California. There are really countless villages and towns we love on the sea, but these 3 would be faves.


February 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Could anyone recommend a pretty village by the sea?

kym kamelsays:

January 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Hola Gen! We met in Madrid, ex manager of Scott´s hotel in Galilea. I would like to add Esporles, Mallorca to your list of most charming villages. My husband and I live here and are in heaven. We even have Mallorca´s only certified organic olive oil and wine producer here; ES VERGER, wonderful place to send your clients, and the owner, Miguel Fullana, is my English studentKym

Randall Van Duynsays:

March 15, 2011 at 4:13 am

Caceres should DEFINITELY be on the list. Another quaint village with a striking setting is Montefrio


September 22, 2010 at 6:14 am

I would have to agree with Maria about Vejer de la Frontera. It should be added to the list. It's particularly wonderful during feria. Grazalema in Andalusia is another gem.


January 21, 2010 at 5:47 am

I'm going to Madrid in less that 3 weeks and can't wait. Your site is feeding the frenzy!


January 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Getaria gets my vote, best little village in Pais Vasco

Gerry Dawessays:

January 19, 2010 at 8:25 pm

All these are spectacular, but I would not classify Cadaques, Hondarribia, Ronda, Trujillo or Ubeda as "villages." Under the heading of villages, Setenil, Grazalema, Olvera, Ubrique and Zahara de la Sierra in Cadiz are very special, but several of them are even edging out of the "village" size. I think Getaria is as pretty and spectacular as Hondarribia.


January 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Wonderful comments, thanks Annie and all of you who have shared your suggestions. I think we all agree Spain has some wonderful villages and towns to seek out!


January 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I agree with Maria - Vejer de la Frontera is missing from your list. Vejer has incredible charm and history. Spectacular views too. In Vejer you can sit enjoying lunch in one continent whilst looking towards another! Fantastic restaurants, several boutique hotels and bars - as well as proximity to the wonderful beach of El Palmar, historic Cabo de Trafalgar, vibrant Cadiz and Sherry coated Jerez. I would recommend visiting Vejer rather than Ronda - Ronda is hardly a village. Ronda boasts a Michelin stared restaurant (although I think it may have lost it's status) as well as a Macdonalds and a fabulous Parador - all next door to eachother - makes a great photo!! However - Ronda wines are great and well worth going out of your way to find. Great vineyards to visit.


January 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Other gorgeous Spanish villages include Laguardia in La Rioja, Abarracín in Teruel, Fornalutx in Mallorca, Santillana de Mar in Cantabria (although very touristy), Nerja in Málaga, Grazalema in the south, and Peralada & Peratallada both in Girona


January 16, 2010 at 4:08 am

Wonderful photos. I can live vicariously through you. My wife and I have travelled in the Mediterranean many times, but with teenagers at home now it is difficult to recapture the romance of the smaller villages. Thank you.

Alana Mocerisays:

January 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Nice list! I would add Frigiliana (Malaga)--a perfectly preserved Andalucian white village with lots of rooftop terraces to enjoy a class of vino Malaga, olives and an ocean view...


January 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I would have to say Vejer de la Frontera is missing, such a great little town, great food, great hotels, very beautiful and simple and close to the beach, small ones like Zahara de los Atunes. Also Sepulveda outside Pedraza is very cute I hear, but Pedraza I loved!!! No McDonalds, no H&M, no supermarket, just small, quaint and charming.


January 15, 2010 at 1:24 am

Incredible Towns, I would love to visit all of them

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