Alternative City Break Ideas in Spain

When you think of city breaks in Spain, your first thought is probably places like Barcelona and Madrid; however, Spain is home to so many wonderful places that it’d be a shame to not explore the possibilities of other beautiful towns and cities.

Whether you’re looking for sun, sea, sand, seafood, stunning archaeological sites, or a combination of all these things, Spain has something to offer to everyone. 

If you’re planning a holiday to Spain, but you’re not quite sure where to go or what you want out of your holiday, here are some of the best alternative holiday ideas in Spain. 

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is a great alternative place to experience in Spain.

Santiago de Compostela cathedral

p>Residing at the very end of the Camino de Santiago, it’s home to the beatific Cathedral of Santiago as well as the City of Culture of Galicia and Praza do Obradoiro and it’s the perfect place to conclude the world-famous pilgrimage through Spain and Portugal.

This stunning city has everything you could want from a Spanish holiday; sun, sea and spectacular architecture, but it also holds a special place in many people’s hearts as it’s the concluding place along the Camino de Santiago. You’ll also find a plethora of delicious eateries in Santiago de Compostela, so make sure you reward yourself after hiking many miles along the Camino de Santiago!


If you’re looking for a similar vibe to San Sebastián, then Vigo is the perfect alternative holiday idea in Spain for you.

Still equipped with the same charm and sophistication that San Sebastián offers, but with fewer tourists and a greater sense of community, Vigo is a gorgeous, quaint little town in Spain.

Vigo is also home to the largest fishing fleet in Europe and despite this fact it remains largely untouched and unspoiled by swarms of tourists. It also means that you’ll get some of the tastiest seafood dishes in the country.


Valencia is renowned for being the little sister of Barcelona; it still offers the beauty and delicious food that Barcelona is famed for, but with its own unique twist and charm.

The city resides along the East Coast of Spain and is home to some of the most beautiful Spanish architecture in the country. You’ll also find an eclectic nightlife scene here in Valencia, as well as an abundance of delicious restaurants, bars and eateries where you can indulge in some of the finest Spanish cuisines.

Port Sa Playa Valencia

p>If you’re travelling there in the summer months, make sure you head to the La Tomatina festival in nearby Buñol which is held every August and celebrated with a huge, messy party of the locally revered red fruit. It’s sure to be a party that you’ll never forget.


For Madrid lovers, you’ll definitely want to check out Toledo; a fantastic alternative to the renowned Spanish capital city. 

Toledo is just an hour’s drive from Madrid, so if you’re still wanting to embark on a road trip to the capital, it’s well within arm’s reach. However, Toledo is also far enough that it boasts its own energy and charm and is a place that’s a must-see when visiting Spain.

The city is famed for its smooth and jazz-like ambience, as well as beautiful cathedrals and various accolades of architecture.

The entire city of Toledo itself is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which certainly gives it an advantage over other Spanish cities!


A great alternative for Canary Islands lovers; Cádiz is the oldest city in Spain. Dating back over 4000 years, Cádiz provides sun, seafood, surf and sea, but with a much quieter vibe than the likes of Tenerife or Lanzarote.

It’s also much more affordable than its other Spanish counterparts and you’ll find some of the eclectic and enigmatic fiestas right here in Cádiz! With spectacular food, a great atmosphere and stunning architecture, Cádiz is definitely the place that you should add to your Spain bucket list!


Cádiz is better known for its abundant heritage and charming people; while many of the Canary Islands are great for culture and history, Cádiz is a much better and affordable alternative

Conclusion – Alternative Holiday Ideas in Spain 

As you can see, there are so many wonderful holiday alternatives in Spain. While the classic Spanish cities such as Barcelona and Madrid are truly beautiful and well worth a visit, there’s also so much more to the country than traditional tourist hotspots.

Places like Santiago de Compostela, Valencia and Toledo are all must-see destinations when travelling in Spain. They all offer a similar vibe and experience to more popular cities in Spain, but they usually come at a more affordable price. 

When planning your next summer holiday, make sure you consider these alternative holiday ideas in Spain! 


This article has been kindly provided by Rebecca Brown.
Rebecca is a translator by day, and a traveler mostly at night. She is an expert on living with jet lag – and packing in tiny suitcases. You can read more of her exploits at RoughDraft.

9 Jun 2019, 15:42