There is a lot more to Spain than boozy nights out, raunchy nightclubs, and heady evenings spent partying. While this aspect of the country definitely exists - after all, it had to get its reputation from somewhere - there is also another side of the nation ... a warm, inviting, cultured country full of life and diversity. If you are looking for somewhere off the beaten track - somewhere you can get a little rest and relaxation - you may be surprised to find out that these locations are more numerous than you might think in the thriving country of Spain, which is usually renowned for its noise and activity.
One of the nicest quiet destinations is the Pyrenees. If you enjoy skiing, then a visit to the Tena valley, which has two ski resorts within five miles of each other, is well worth going to. Both resorts are within a 15-minute drive from Tramacastilla, a village that stands apart from the 'chocolate-box' resorts of the Alps. The valley is a hiker's paradise in the summer months, but becomes the territory of the skiing fraternity come winter. A trip to the Gallego River, which cuts the valley in two, is also worth a trip.
The Formigal resort is very relaxing and enjoyable, and houses 56 km of ski runs including 4 green, 13 blue, 24 red, and 11 black. Although this is a big resort, there are 34 ski lifts on hand, which can transport skiers to the quieter slops. There is a very casual and friendly feel at this resort, with none of the elitism you can encounter in some of the busier resorts.
If you are looking for a beautiful, historic old town, then Trujillo will be just up your street. It was the launching pad for Francisco Pizarro's conquest of the Inca Empire in South America, and is perfectly preserved. When you wander around the streets of this fascinating place, you will see why many people say it retains a feel of what much of Spain would have been like during the period of American exploration.
Although Plaza Major is the real centre of Trujillo, the walled old town is the main attraction. The feeling and atmosphere here is indescribable - it's a place you just have to experience for yourself. In the old town, you can find the Iglesia de Santa María la Major, as well as the Museo de la Coria and Casa-Museo de Pizarro, which showcase the town's role in the nation's conquest
Mérida is another good place to visit. Many people pass through or nearby this town on their way to Portugal. But it's the people who stop and look around who are the lucky ones, as there is much to see and do in this attractive, historic destination.
The major attraction comes in the form of the wealth of Roman ruins dating from the time when it was the largest Roman city on the Iberian Peninsula. If you buy a combined ticket, you can gain entrance to a wide selection of Roman ruins that are dotted throughout the city. The ruins include old theatres, bridges, and temples. Other attractions include the church of Saint Eulalia, the Alcazba, and various museums featuring relics from the city's Roman and Visigoth history.
If you're looking for somewhere quaint and historic, then you should drive through Cáceres. This is a very small town, covering a tiny area of the Spanish landscape, but that doesn't mean there is a lack of things to see. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the city is the old walled town, known as the Ciudad Monumental. The whole area is made up of squares, churches, and old palatial houses.
Small, out-of-the-way villages and towns can be found all over Spain. Many date back to the Roman times, dozens hold memories of the conquest, and others sway to the more modern Spanish times. Whether you decide to go digging for relics or wandering the annals of some long-forgotten castle, you can be sure that your vacation, while quiet and peaceful, will be full of interesting surprises and intriguing finds.