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Hidden Spain: Six Rural Escapades (The Guardian)

Hi all, I came across this fascinating article from The Guardian published today, here they feature six unspoiled destinations from across Spain and potential accommodations. Hope this can be useful to those planning future holidays in Spain, beyond the big name places like Barcelona and Sevilla :) They are:

Rías Altas, Lugo province, Galicia
The Rías Altas shelter a string of seaside towns that morph into makeshift resorts in summer. While having a car or campervan allows the freedom to explore, a lot of the area can be seen by hopping on and off the little trains on the FEVE narrow-gauge railway that run along Spain’s north coast. There are about 30 stations on the Rías Altas section and it would take two hours to travel the length of it in one go.

The Matarraña, Teruel province, Aragón
It’s possible to spend months exploring the vast region of Aragón, which remains stubbornly off the mainstream tourism radar. One of my favourite parts is the Matarraña, Vineyards and olive and almond groves cover the landscape of rolling hills, which are peppered with gorgeous medieval villages of honey-coloured stone. Sounds a bit like Tuscany? You wouldn’t be the first to think so.

Valle del Ambroz, Cáceres province, Extremadura
In the north of the Extremadura region in western Spain, the Valle del Ambroz is a bucolic, sparsely populated area with an abundance of beech and birch forests and lots of wild swimming spots. Cherry and plum orchards flourish on the terraced hillsides and peppers grow in the meadows. While it is off the radar of most foreign tourists, it is popular with the Spanish, who head west from Madrid.

Costa Trasmiera, Cantabria
While Santander has a string of lovely urban beaches, head east and you immediately come to a surprisingly rural stretch of coastline. The nature reserve formed by the Santoña, Victoria and Joyel marshes. This is the most important wetland area in northern Spain and attracts migrating wading birds from autumn to spring, particularly spoonbills, curlew sandpipers and avocets.

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas natural park, Andalucía
In the underrated province of Jaén, in the north-east corner of Andalucía, this mountainous nature reserve is the biggest protected area in Spain and an idyll for birdwatchers, cyclists and walkers. Olive, cork oak and Aleppo and Austrian pine trees carpet the hillsides and valleys. On the way, stop off in the extraordinary Renaissance towns of Úbeda and Baeza, both UNESCO world heritage sites.

Somiedo natural park, Asturias
There are very few places in Europe where Brown Bears roam freely, but in late spring or summer it’s just possible to spot a few ambling around this lush mountainous area in Asturias, northern Spain. Spectacular glacial lakes, limestone peaks and beech forests define this alpine landscape, which is a Unesco biosphere reserve. Spanning five valleys, thatched stone shepherds’ huts, known as teitos, dot the hillsides, which are covered in flowers from May to September.

Link to the full article:

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I haven't been to the Matarraña, but I did visit Teruel, which I found to be a beautiful medieval town. Though because of time constraints my visit to Aragon, back in 2009, was restricted to Teruel and Zaragoza, it did impress me, favorably, as being "stubbornly off the mainstream tourism radar" (as the Guardian writer put it) and I'm pleased to see it may still be. I'll have to get back.