Unusual holidays in Spain travel guide
Why sit on a Balearic beach when you could be wandering a dramatic – and still sunny – mountain interior. Why choose a could-be-anywhere hotel when you could pick an off-grid guesthouse with a menu of activities that includes stargazing? Why simply take a walking holiday when you could combine it with Spanish language courses or yoga? And why walk the Camino de Santiago when you could kayak it instead?
Our unusual holidays in Spain open up possibilities that’ll make you rethink how you holiday – all bathed in lush Mediterranean sunshine with passionate local hosts.
These are holidays that offer different perspectives on traditional Spanish holiday options, expand horizons and introduce you to activities you’ve always wanted to try – as well as ideas you’d never thought of before. And they’ll connect you with local people for whom hiking, yoga or simply sharing Spanish culture and traditional hospitality is not just a job but a way of life and a passion. And all still under that sublime Spanish sunshine.
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Going off-gridSick of look-a-like hotels? Try a solar and biomass-powered, family-run guesthouse in the beautiful Altiplano de Granada, a stone’s-throw from some of southern Spain’s most dramatic natural parks – the Sierras de Cazorla and Castril – where the sleepy ambiance of authentic rural Spain couldn’t be further from the Brit-infested buzz of Andalucía’s beaches.
Off-beat combinationsSpice up a Spanish course with salsa lessons, or add yoga classes into your walking trip to help soothe those end-of-the-day aching muscles. These holidays give you the chance to immerse yourself in two contrasting, yet complementary worlds; it could be the intricacies of local culture and sweeping natural beauty, invigorating exercise and deep relaxation, high-adrenaline thrills and intellectual improvement – the choice is almost endless.
Same routes, different waysAvoid the crowds along one of the world’s most famous hikes by kayaking sections of the Camino de Santiago. You’ll still be following a genuine pilgrimage route to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela – just the at-sea version. Alternatively rather than take to Mallorca’s often overly crowded beaches, explore its dramatic inland mountains – where few tourists venture and local traditions abound.
Foodie escapes go beyond sampling a selection of tapas bars by night – instead they offer a hands-on insight into traditional Spanish cuisine. You might be spending time with a local farmer who’s opened up his home to share traditional skills – be it cheese-making or bread-baking, or heading to Andalucía’s Sierra de Aracena for an Iberian ham carving, tasting, production and cooking masterclass.
Unusual activitiesUnusual holidays come with a smorgasbord of activity options. You might be stargazing with an experienced astronomer, taking part in a wellness boot camp, indulging in a detox retreat, or sharpening up your painting and photography skills under the expert eye of a professional tutor.
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Best time to go on an unusual holiday in Spain
There’s no bad time to go on an unusual holiday in Spain – the variety of activities on offer mean there’ll be something exciting awaiting you all year round.
Avoiding the busy summer holiday peak in July and August is less of a concern for unusual holidays in Spain which tend to make use of more off-the-beaten-track areas. So if you’re tied to school holidays, while you’ll still need to book ahead you won’t be bothered by crowds of other families in the Altiplano de Granada or the Picos de Europa. In fact, in the Picos and the Pyrenees June to August tend to be the best time to visit – while the rest of Spain swelters in the Summer heat the mountain air keeps things cooler – around 25°c – and there is less chance of rain. For painting and photography holidays in Andalucía you’ll want to avoid the summer – when sitting outside in the (up to 40°c) heat of the day in June to August can be unbearable, but the April to May springtime brings mountain slopes carpeted in wildflowers and the September to November autumn crystal clear air is filled with migrating birds. Spanish courses run year-round, and for some off-season sunshine consider travelling in winter – November to February – which in the far south are dry and mild with temperatures often remaining around 20°c.
More about Spain unusual
From the Camino de Santiago to Costa Blanca, we reveal our favourite places to do something a little bit different in our unusual holidays in Spain map and highlights.
From a tour focussing on the production, tasting and cooking of delicious Iberian ham to Spanish courses that can be combined with mountain biking, salsa dancing or hiking.