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Eight coastal villages in Spain with far fewer tourists during summer

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
Eight coastal villages in Spain with far fewer tourists during summer
Las Negras is one of the prettiest villages in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar National Park. Photo: Pxfuel

Summer has arrived in Spain and so too have the tourists, in what's predicted to be a record-breaking year for visitor numbers. Luckily, there are still some places where you can cool down by the coast and avoid the swarms of holidaymakers.


Mundaka, Basque Country

An hour and a half on the train from Bilbao or just 40 minutes in the car, Mundaka sits at the mouth of the Basque Country’s spectacular Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. The reserve is a 22,000-hectare protected wetland area, known for its birdlife. While most tourists stop at popular Bermeo with its large marina and boat tours, Mundaka lies just five minutes away, either by car or train, but feels a world apart. Set hugging a small bay, its colourful traditional Basque houses encircle a small port filled with fishing boats, while a large bluff looks out over the wild ocean swells, topped with tiny figurine-like surfers.

The small village only has a couple of hotels and a small handful of restaurants. Photo: Mikel Arrazola / Wikimedia Commons

La Negras, Andalusia

Located within the Cabo de Gata-Níjar National Park in Almería, the villages along the very southeastern corner of Spain lay somewhat forgotten, set apart from the rest of the country and are visited by few tourists, even in summer. This could be due to the fact that you have to drive through Europe’s only desert to get there – the Desierto de Tabernas or maybe because after that you have to cross Spain’s sea of plastic – the greenhouses that grow the majority of Europe’s fruit and vegetables. But once you’ve crossed the desert, the plastic and the uninhabited wasteland, you come to the coast, littered with strange formations from fossilised sand dunes to ancient volcanic tongues, jutting out into the sea. One of the prettiest villages here is Las Negras - its brilliant whitewashed architecture clashes with the black of the volcanic sand beach it sits on. 

Las Negras is one of the prettiest villages in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar National Park. Photo: Pxfuel

READ ALSO: How to avoid the tourist crowds in Barcelona, according to a local

La Algameca Chica, Murcia

Situated just south of the town of Cartagena at the mouth of the Rambla de Benipila, La Algameca Chica is a tiny village stuck in somewhat of a time warp, with no proper water system or connected electricity (although they do have solar panels and generators). It has been called many monikers, from the 'village of eternal summer' to ‘Little Shanghai’ because of its shanty-town-like houses, built right on the water. Locals here live a somewhat alternative lifestyle in this oasis community, away from the stresses and trials of modern day.

Experience the alternative lifestyle in La Algameca Chica, Murcia. Photo: P4K1T0 / WikiCommons


O Barquerio, Galicia

Located right at the top of Galicia at the mouth of the Sor River, O Barquerio is another of these small coastal villages accessible by train. Looking almost like a child’s painting with houses decked in bright primary colours of red, blue and yellow, it sits around a tiny fishing port. Visit the vast sweep of Praia de Area Longa beach, where the forest almost touches the water’s edge or hike along the clifftops to the Estaca de Bares lighthouse.

The Galician village of O Barquerio sits at the mouth of the Sor River. Photo: Fernando Losada Rodríguez / Wikimedia Commons

Tazones, Asturias

Asturian coastal villages are often mentioned on lists of Spain’s most beautiful villages. Because of this, many have heard of the small picturesque villages of Lastres, Cudillero and Ribadesella, but there are many that are just as charming and far less busy. One of these is Tazones, situated within the municipality of Villaviciosa. Hemmed in by a verdant green valley, it has just 250 inhabitants. Spend your time here enjoying the village’s delicious seafood and searching for Jurassic-era dinosaur footprints near the beach. 

Look out for Jurassic dinosaur footprints in Tazones. Photo: Roberto Sueiras / Wikimedia Commons


Tamarit, Catalonia

Not to be confused with the better-known Tamariu in the Costa Brava, which does tend to get crowded in summer, Tamarit lies around 15km from the city of Tarragona in the south of Catalonia. On one side is the town of Altafulla and on the other, a natural area ideal for hiking and visiting small coves for swimming. The village is dominated by the romantic Tamarit Castle, sitting right on the beach, which today is a dream wedding venue. Spend your time here relaxing on the beach or hiking along the Cami de Ronda coastal route, which goes all the way to Tarragona and beyond.

Hike past the Castell de Tamarit along the Cami de Ronda. Photo: Isidro Jabato / Wikimedia Commons


Sabinosa, El Hierro

Situated over 1,000km from mainland Spain, El Hierro is the smallest and most far-flung of the Canary Islands, which already means there are going to be far few tourists than normal. An island for intrepid adventurers, El Hierro is home to several picture-perfect villages, but one of the best and least-visited is Sabinosa. Set on a volcanic slope in the west of the island is Sabinosa, the most isolated town in El Hierro. Surrounded by vineyards and valleys, it’s known for its folkloric traditions, wines, and whitewashed classic Canarian architecture.

You can enjoy wine from the vineyards around Sabinosa. Photo: CARLOS TEIXIDOR CADENAS/ Wikimedia Commons

Llucalcari, Mallorca

Mallorca is not somewhere you’d think of when you’re picturing places without tourists, but as the biggest Balearic Island, it actually has many tiny villages and inlets where you can escape the crowded towns with their night clubs and package tour groups. One of these is Llucalcari, close to the exclusive and picture-postcard village of Deià. Honey-coloured houses interspersed with olive, pine and palm trees seem to almost tumble down the hillside into the impossibly blue Mediterranean below.  

Even in Mallorca you can find small villages without many tourists. Photo: Friedrich Haag / WikiCommons


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