Six Spots in the Spanish Countryside Worth Exploring

Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian… blah blah blah. Churning out the same Spanish hotspots again and again when choosing a holiday destination is fatiguing - and that's sidestepping the banality of revisiting those cemented spots each summer. While, truthfully, the aforementioned trio's appeal will never truly fade, we'd like to illuminate some of Spain's less referenced but no less appealing postings.

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A colourscape of pink, orange and red houses proliferate this mountain town. Plotted on a bend on the Guadalaviar River, this Moorish city's towering medieval walls up the drama among otherwise laidback landscape. On arrival, ramble up to the castle ruins or, for something more strenuous (and provided you have the time), hike the Pinares de Rodeno - which rewards with resplendent views.

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Andalusia's "pueblos blancos" ("white towns" named for the uniform colour of houses) are rehashed repeatedly on travel lists as a "must visit". Not ones to kowtow to popular opinion, we're making an exception for Ronda. It's location - set high in the mountains with views of the valley below - is enough to convince even the most intrepid of travellers of its worthiness.

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There are charming villages galore in Catalonia but few can equal Besalú. While more "important" in the middle ages, the town's cobbled streets and 12th-centrury relics hold their own today. A great day trip option from Barcelona or Girona, medieval history lovers, in particular, will get a real kick out of this storied spot.

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Unlike the single-hue towns that dot Spain's countryside (no disrespect to Ronda), Cudillero is rainbow swept. The fishing village on the Bay of Biscay can be ID'd by its pastel-coloured, half-timbered houses - making the return home after a day trip to a neighbouring beach all the easier.

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Basque Country

If Hans Christian Andersen did fishing villages… Lekeitio's fairy-tale surrounds, proximity to the beach and rugged coastline make it hard to match on the looks front. A miniature version of San Sebastián, Lekeitio has a modest but dynamic food offering, with most visitors gravitating to popular pintxo bars.

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Pyrenees Mountains

Surrounded by the tallest peaks in the Pyrenees, Benasque deals in lavish mountain-side mansions and wood-panelled restaurants. Slurp on mugs of hot chocolate before setting out to test the slopes. Don't ski? Hiking among glaciers and waterfalls isn't a bad consolation prize.