The only problem with booking a holiday to Spain is trying to find a place to go that allows you to avoid crowds. Yes, Spain can become very busy during its peak seasons. Depending on the region, it can even be busy during non-peak times. COVID-19 has made many ardent travelers re-think the way they book holidays. Avoiding crowds and getting away from the most popular travel destinations is now more important than ever for a growing segment of backpackers, families, couples, and solo adventurers.
The great thing about Spain is that it provides a variety of options when it comes to travel destinations. You can book a beach getaway, city break, or mountain vacation thanks to Spain’s diverse regions. You may even mix and match the three holiday types into one massive getaway.
If you want to avoid crowds in Spain in 2021, consider these areas and get to know the country like never before. Who knows, you may find a destination that trumps the more highly traveled locations.
Santander is the capital of the Cantabria region and provides travelers with a much different experience than the more popular tourism hotspots. Just 102 kilometers separate Santander with the more popular travel destination of Bilbao and 200 kilometers from San Sabastian – one of Spain’s most visited locations.
Although Santander does see its fair share of tourists throughout the year, it is not the busy hub of travel that either Bilbao or San Sabastian are. The former has been talked about ad nauseum by travel magazines and books, resulting in more visitors than ever.
Located on the north coast of Spain, Santander is very different than travel destinations in the south. It has plenty of beaches but they are not ideal year-round. If you want to avoid the crowds completely, then book a Santander trip in winter. However, the city receives its best weather from June to August. Santander’s architecture is very different than other parts of the country and the cuisine focuses on regional flavors make it perfect for foodies.
Fancy a trip to Barcelona this year? Well, Girona isn’t Barcelona, but it is a great alternative that not only offers lower prices but fewer people. Like Barcelona, Girona is situated in Catalonia and it lies between the Costa Brava and Barcelona, making it possible to get to the beach for a day out.
Girona is home to a variety of great landmarks and tourist attractions. The city’s Jewish Quarter is a trip into the past. The area is over 500-years old.
For more history, Girona’s medieval walls provide a brilliant walk to explore the city. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then Girona is a must-visit city. Many of the series’ scenes were filmed in Girona.
Founded in the 1st century BC, León is a city full of history. Although it is a “small city”, León is packed with places to see, things to do, and restaurants to dine at. León is a dynamic place with a vibrant culture.
The town’s nightlife is thriving with bars, restaurants, and night clubs providing hours of fun to patrons. If you want to avoid the crowds that go out when the sun goes down, then there are plenty of quieter tapas restaurants to explore.
The town’s gothic cathedral is a major tourist attraction, so get their early in the day. In spite of its size, León is full of must-see museums. You shouldn’t miss Gaudí’s Casa Bontines, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Museo León, or the Convento de San Marcos.
León is a northern city and its foods are typical of the region. Foodies will notice the heavier cuisine that is eaten in the north compared to the south, where lighter bites are popular due to warmer weather.
Located in Asturias in northern Spain, Oviedo is an attractive city of old and new. You can walk the pedestrianized city center to explore Oviedo’s eye-catching architecture. History buffs should seek out Oviedo’s three most legendary landmarks, which just happen to be three churches – Santa Maria del Naranco, San Migueil de Lillo, and San Julian de los Prados.
The trio of religious buildings were created in the pre-Romanesque style. The architecture style is rare in northwest Spain, making the churches even more unique.
Other great sites to see in Oviedo include the Museo Arquelogico (which is inside an 8th century Monastery) and the Plaza Alfonso II (the heart of the city). Outside of Oviedo you can get in touch with the gorgeous local natural landscapes.
Asturias is known as an area of lush rolling green hills and rugged coastal regions. In 2020, the New York Times listed Asturias as one of the “52 Places to Go”.
If you want to get away from the crowds and go to an off the beaten path Spanish town, the Jaen is the place to go. Jaen is not your typical tourist destination. So, if you want to get away from crowds in the COVID-19 era, then go to this south-central Spanish city. The city is famous for being the world’s capital of olive oil as it produces more than any other place around the globe.
Jaen possesses steep, narrow streets thanks to being carved into the Santa Catalina Mountains. Jaen is not only the name of the city, but the province in the Andalusian region.
The city is the largest in the province and if you want to visit more off the beaten path place around Jaen, then go to the small towns of Ubeda and Baeza. According to studies, the towns are so small that there are just 82 people per square kilometer. Both towns offer an authentic feel that is hard to find in the major tourist regions of Spain.
Conclusion: Where to go in Spain to avoid crowds
Although it can be difficult to get away from people and large crowds in Spain, it isn’t impossible. There are some beautiful towns, cities, and provinces that offer you the chance get away from it all and enjoy wide open spaces in the COVID-19 era.