As established in multiple rankings and studies by the World Tourism Organisation, Spain is one of the countries that receives the most tourists. It is, therefore, one of the favourite destinations when it comes to travelling, even for Spaniards themselves, who increasingly rely on all the incredible places they can find. After summer, these destinations are an authentic paradise.
This number of visits increases during the summer season and decreases the rest of the months, leaving towns and destinations that continue to offer a large number of practically empty plans. Here is an example of 9 destinations that surprise everyone who visits them and that boast a great life beyond the summer months.
The location of Calella de Palafrugell is privileged. It is right in the heart of the Costa Brava and neighbours the small town of Llafranc, the pretty municipality of Palamós and the isolated Cala S’Alguer. Its history goes back to a small fishing village which grouped together several coves and which still retains its unique charm today. It has a population of approximately 700 inhabitants, which doubles during the summer months thanks to the sunny climate, the high temperatures that invite you to dive into its waters and its rich gastronomy.
Once the hottest months are over, temperatures in Calella de Palafrugell are much more moderate than in other areas of Spain. Thanks to this pleasant atmosphere, walking through its whitewashed streets and enjoying a vermouth on the beachfront with fresh Palamós prawns becomes one of the best plans. Another of the things to do in the area is to discover the Camí de Ronda and walk along the path that goes from Canadell beach, the largest in Calella, to the coastal town of Llafranc.
Calella de Palafrugell and its surroundings have a lot to offer, from lighthouses that look like something out of a pirate novel, such as the lighthouse of Sant Sebastià, a variety of museums, beaches and paths where you can go for long walks. It also has several nearby towns of great beauty such as the medieval village of Pals or the cobbled town of Castell d’Aro.
Almería has been, since time immemorial, admired by kings, governors and guards of Al-Andalus, until the capture of the city by the Catholic Monarchs in 1489. It is a historical and cultural jewel that welcomes more and more people during the holidays, but also welcomes all those who visit it in another era.
Almería and its surroundings offer a multitude of alternatives. All year round you can still enjoy a lively Almeria with the bars of the capital full of locals, even those on the coast. Almeria offers visitors a wealth of history, with the second largest Alcazaba on the peninsula, just behind the Alcazaba of Badajoz, the largest in Europe. It also has the imposing Cathedral of Almeria, which is steeped in history.
The coast near Almería city is perhaps one of the most affected by seasonality. Towns such as Las Negras or beaches such as Mónsul or Los Genoveses go from receiving visitors every day during the summer holidays to practically offering paradisiacal beaches to enjoy in solitude. The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park does not close in autumn, so going to enjoy it in another season when temperatures are also pleasant is a real treasure.
With only 83.2 square kilometres and being the smallest of the Balearic Islands, Formentera infects all those who visit it with its magic and bohemian airs. This oasis boasts waters comparable to those found in the Caribbean. It also has beaches and protected natural spaces.
The Formentera that you can discover in the autumn or winter months has nothing to envy to the Formentera of June, July and August. Those who have visited at other times will know that it is an oasis of peace and tranquillity far from the big cities. The only worries are choosing which route to take, which beach to go to, which cheese to buy or where to watch the sunset from.
Formentera in autumn and winter offers a multitude of activities, from yoga and spiritual retreats to cycling the more than 30 routes that the island has to offer. Another perfect plan could be to visit the capital, Sant Francesc Xavier, and enjoy the typical Christmas market that is organised every December. Or sit down in one of its restaurants and try the local product.
Located on the southern tip of Europe, it is one of the destinations chosen year after year by many Spaniards. Its long and endless beaches, warm temperatures, fine sand and the large number of sports that are practised in its waters make it one of the favourite destinations.
Tarifa has a population of approximately 18,000 inhabitants who have the privilege of continuing to enjoy all that the area has to offer once the month of September comes to an end. It is undoubtedly the most popular destination during the summer months, but the truth is that it can be even more popular in autumn.
On the agenda are various cultural and historical activities such as a visit to the Guzmán Castle, one of the best preserved in Andalusia. It has been standing since 960. You can contemplate the marvellous views from the El Estrecho viewpoint or enjoy the Natural Park that gives it its name. Just half an hour’s drive from the town of Tarifa you can also enjoy the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, an archaeological site dating back to the end of the 2nd century B.C. Neighbouring the ancient Roman city, the wonderful Duna de Bolonia has an altitude of approximately 30 metres, formed by the easterly winds.
It has to be said that it is still a sun paradise even in the last months of the year. Tarifa boasts maximum temperatures that range between 17 and 18°C and rarely drop below 14°C. On the other hand, the winds that continue to blow strongly make it possible to practice various water sports, such as kitesurfing and windsurfing, on most days.
The Cíes Islands are one of the most visited tourist destinations in Galicia. It is a natural paradise made up of three islands located just off the Vigo estuary. They are part of the maritime-terrestrial Natural Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia and access is restricted to 2,200 people a day.
The Cíes are known for their beaches and the tranquillity that can be found there, but the truth is that they are much more. They are fauna, flora and several routes that allow you to discover a large part of its interior. It is the perfect destination for hiking lovers and for those who want to escape from tourism during the summer months. Among the treasures that are safeguarded are the white lighthouse of Cíes, with unequalled views of the Vigo estuary, Faro da Porta and Faro do Peito.
Very close by and on the coast that protects them are the towns of Vigo, the beautiful Baiona and Cangas. It is, therefore, a destination that adapts to all tastes. It offers everything from sun and beach tourism to nature or ecological tourism, leaving the smallest possible footprint.
Known as the tourist capital of Valencia, Benidorm is a reference point for sun and beach tourism. It is a destination for European tourists but also for many Spaniards who are looking for a few days of disconnection on its beaches. The bad news is that once the long-awaited holidays are over, seasonality takes over the area. Although more and more hotels and properties are deciding to stay open during the months following the summer, the tendency to receive fewer visitors is still noticeable.
Benidorm has life beyond the summer and many interesting places to visit without the crowds of the busier months. Among its points of interest are the old town where it is possible to take a look into the past and see how the city has changed, the whitewashed Balcony of the Mediterranean or the Church of San Jaime and Santa Ana. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case that only affects Benidorm. It also affects much of the Costa Blanca, without a free bed in summer and without much activity in colder seasons.
The Canary Islands are not at the top of the list of seasonal destinations, but once the summer months are over, they are somewhat emptier. This seasonality should not be so noticeable in destinations such as Fuerteventura, Lanzarote or the Chinijo Archipelago, as their enviable temperatures make them paradisiacal destinations where summer never ends.
The easternmost islands of the Canary archipelago are the most likely to suffer from this ’emptiness’ and are, on the contrary, fascinating places to visit at least once in a lifetime. These islands safeguard landscapes, fauna, flora, architecture and gastronomy very different from what can be found on the peninsula. They also receive fewer visitors as they are not the most populated islands in the Canary archipelago.
La Graciosa, being the island with the fewest inhabitants, is the most different. It has no roads, only dirt tracks and a few shops in its only two villages: Caleta del Sebo and Pedro Barba. The Chinijo archipelago is an Eden of peace and calm.
Zahara de los Atunes is disconnection, peace and happiness. It is an idyllic refuge to which you return again and again to find that calm that fills you with energy to face the rest of the year. It is a destination that hooks everyone who visits it and it is not surprising, as the contrast of the crystal blue waters, the endless beach and the green of the Sierra del Retín create an unbeatable postcard.
Zahara is part of the province of Cádiz and is a treasure to be enjoyed both in summer and autumn. In the cooler times of the year the sun continues to heat up but not at the rate at which it does in July and August. Tourism disappears leaving in its wake a quiet beach where you can sit and stroll while still enjoying the wonderful sunsets.
With just over 1000 inhabitants, the whitewashed village of Zahara does not close after the holidays. Its streets and some of its shops are still open for those who decide to visit the town during the low season. Among the activities and plans on offer in the area are a visit to the tuna museum in Barbate, a trip to the Camarinal lighthouse or a stroll along the beaches of Zahara and the curious Playa del Búnker.
The coastal town of Llanes and its surroundings has seen how during the last few summers the number of bookings has been increasing. More and more people are deciding to escape the high temperatures that plague much of the country and try their luck on the Asturian coast where temperatures are milder. Summers in the north are lighter and combine nature in its purest form with beaches of all kinds. Unfortunately, when the month of September arrives, its beaches and spots are empty, leaving streets and promenades for the lucky few.
There are many things to do in the Llanes area to enjoy during the autumn and winter months, and it may even be difficult to choose just a few. Among the main attractions are the old and historic quarter of Llanes, the now famous memory cubes, the port and the neighbouring beach of Poo. You can also photograph one of the most beautiful benches in the world, enjoy the peace of walking along the Coastal Path or visit the beautiful cliffs of Tomasón.
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