The Most Beautiful Small and Historic Towns to Visit in Spain

| Peñíscola CC0 Pixabay
Tara Jessop

From the verdant pastures of Galicia, to the Mediterranean seaside towns of the Costa Brava and the whitewashed old plazas of Andalusia, Spain is home to some truly captivating towns and villages. Those on our list won’t fail to impress you with their history, architecture and charm.

Besalú, Catalonia

This ancient town was once a major trading point in Catalonia and the capital of its own province. Besalú’s cobbled streets and old stone houses seem unchanged since the Middle Ages and are these days home to artisan workshops selling leather, ceramic and other hand-made crafts. Be sure to admire the view from the 12th century Romanesque bridge and look out for the remnants of the historic Jewish quarter with its miqveh ritual baths.

The bridge of Besalú

Arcos de la Frontera, Andalusia

Perched on a sandstone ridge overlooking the Guadalete Valley, Arcos de la Frontera is bordered by the Guadalete river on three sides. The town got its name as a result of the 13th century battle between Christian Spaniards and Arab Rulers who fought for the town and surrounding land. Unsurprisingly there are a number of noteworthy landmarks such as the 11th century Castillo de Arcos, a Muslim fortress, and the Basílica Menor de Santa María de la Asunción which has elements of Gothic and Baroque architecture.

Arcos de la Frontera

Olite, Navarra

Located some 40km from the town of Pamplona, famous for its San Fermin bull-running festival, Olite is a charming old town renowned for its wine-making tradition. The Castle-Palace of Olite is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the region and was once the seat of the royal kingdom of Navarra. Its cobbled streets, Roman walls and Medieval houses make Olite a picture-perfect destination for history lovers.

The street of Olite

Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha

While Cuenca might not be a small town, this doesn’t stop it oozing rustic charm and feeling like a well-kept secret as far as international travellers are concerned. The old town of Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its great historic value with monuments such as the Cuenca Cathedral, the St Paul bridge and the Church of our Saviour stealing the show.

Guadalupe, Extremadura

This small town in Spain’s southern province of Extremadura counts just 2,000 inhabitants who live among its historic old buildings not least of all the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe. One of the most important monasteries in the country for over four centuries, this 14th century Gothic edifice was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

The monastery of Guadalupe

Peñíscola, Valencia

The seaside town of Peñíscola looks like something straight out of a fairytale and it’s no surprise to learn that the town has been shot in numerous films. Locally referred to as ‘the City on the Sea’, Peñíscola is built on a rocky headland which juts out against the shoreline and is linked with the mainland by a narrow strip of land. At the top of the town stands the castle, built by the Knights Templar in the late 13th century along with the fortifications which still guard the town today.

A Guarda, Galicia

This coastal Spanish town sits right on the border with Portugal, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Miño river. A Guarda is famous for its seafood and in particular, its locally caught lobster which is still brought in by small boats in the harbour. Brightly coloured houses line the waterfront and give A Guarda its unquestionable charm.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.