Spain Bucket List: 11 Unusual Things to do Before You Die
Posted On October 1, 2018
Spain is one of the largest countries in Europe with each region and city unique from the next. The culture, food, beaches, and architecture are just a few reasons visitors are drawn to the country year after year. This Spain bucket list isn’t like the rest. It’s for those who like to tread off the beaten path and have unconventional once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Get ready to fill up your Spain bucket list and explore!
Contemplate the rock formations at Cap De Creus
Cap de Creus Natural Park in Catalonia is just 25 km (16 mi) from the French border. The craggy terrain of the peninsula and unspoiled coves make the area one of the most amazing in Costa Brava. The nearby towns of Cadaqués and Port de La Selva, the former home of Salvador Dalí are quite popular destinations. Thankfully, few people venture out to the natural park.
Cap de Creus is most famous for its interesting geology that has inspired many artists and creatives. With a little imagination, the eroded rock formations take the forms of camels, dragons, lions, and rabbits. The park has numerous hiking and walking trails and part of the Camino de Ronda passes through the area. Spend the afternoon admiring the rural landscape or hike to a secluded beach. In the evening, watch the sunset at the lighthouse and take in the sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea. – Kalena from Lost And Abroad
Join the festivities of Los Caballos del Vino (the wine horses)
This festival in the provence of Murcia celebrates the story of the Caravaca Cross and the rescue of the townspeople of Caravaca del la Cruz in a unique merge between history and legend.
The tale dates back to the Knights Templar, who rescued the townspeople from certain death. The Moorish army had poisoned the water supply and the only thing that could quench the villagers’ thirst was wine, which soon ran out. Hearing this, the Templars tied flagons of wine to their horses and raced up the mountain before the Moors could stop them. The magic of the Caravaca Cross, a True Cross, allowed the wine to heal the sick and turn the poisoned water benign.
The festival takes place over five days from the 1 to the 5 of May culminating with a four hour parade, live music, dancing and lots and lots of drinking and celebrating. This bucket list worthy festival showcases 60 horses decked out in fantastic costumes that parade the streets before re-enacting the great race. -Faith from Xyu and Beyond
Backpack down the Camino Primitivo
There are many Caminos de Santiago pilgrimages, but the Camino Primitivo was the first walked by pilgrims and is often referred to as The Original Way. The total distance of the Camino Primitivo is 321 km (200 mi), which is short compared to the other trails. However, the hills and mountains make the route a tough one. In the 9th century, Spanish king Alfonso II walked this Camino from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrim himself.
The route goes through two provinces; Asturias and Galicia in northern Spain. Asturias is one of the least populated provinces and as a result, the trail doesn’t cross any busy roads, big cities, or industrial areas like the extremely popular Camino Francés. It instead goes over the mountains, through pastures, forests and small villages. Unlike the more famous caminos that get thousands of pilgrims every year, The Original Way is an off the grid route. Only 5% of pilgrims in Spain choose to complete this camino every year. Walking the Camino Primitivo is also a great budget experience and allows visitors to discover a few hidden treasures of Spain while enjoying its natural landscapes. -Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads
Bike across the wine region of Penedès
Cycling through wine and cava country in the Penedès region of Spain should be on any cyclist who also loves a good tipple’s bucket list. Sheltered by the picturesque Montserrat Mountains and tempered by Mediterranean breezes, the region has perfect climes for growing grapes. Cycling through the regionis simply divine too. From the quaint cava-centric village of San Sadurni di Anoia where Frexeinet and Cordoniu make their world-famous bubbles, cyclists can continue on to Vilafranca del Penedès to visit the wine museum and Torres vineyards. The tour finishes along the Mediterranean coast. All along the way are opportunities to sample delicious wines and cavas, as well as local chocolate, market produce, and fresh seafood. The Penedès region in Spain is the perfect destination for those who love earning their indulgences. -Thea from Zen Travellers
Explore Dalí’s eccentric castle in Púbol
Medieval villages in the Baix Empordá region of Catalunya abound, but Púbol stands out for fans of Salvador Dalí. It was here that he transformed an 11th century castle and its extensive gardens into a home for the wife he worshipped. The castle and garden of Gala Dalí reflects their unusual relationship, as well as the bizarre aspects of their personalities. Dalí incorporated many surreal details to create an allegory of his life with Gala, from fantastical elephant sculptures in the garden to a gilded throne in the reception hall. Interestingly and perhaps metaphorically, he converted the house’s kitchen into her dressing room, covering the stove with fabric to create a table at which she could perform her toilette. The couple took their meals in a tiny breakfast room, eating only food delivered from a local restaurant.
Visitors will not be disappointed by the artifacts and furnishings that remain with the property. Knowledgeable tour guides are available to embellish your visit with colorful anecdotes about the couple, who are larger than life even in death. Púbol is located about 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Girona, which makes it a convenient day trip. Don’t miss the 14th century Sant Pere Church during your visit. -Betsy from Passing Thru
Roam the wild landscape of Cabo de Gata Natural Park
A little off the beaten track in the southeast corner of Spain you’ll find the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. It is the country’s largest protected coastal area with a rugged landscape, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. You might even recognize some areas from the Indiana Jones movies that were filmed here!
The dry and jagged hills of the region lead down to beautiful bays with turquoise water that shouldn’t be missed. The Almería region is the only place in Europe to have a true desert climate, which is very apparent here.
There are small towns dotted along the coast, but it is not a hugely busy area like many other places in Andalucía. Some of the most picturesque beaches and towns are Playa Monsul (from Indiana Jones), the nearby Playa de Los Genoveses, Isleta del Moro, Playa de Los Muertos, and Las Negras. Make sure to try the tapas at the beach bar.
There’s lots to do in Cabo de Gata. Just take a little road trip from nearby Almería or the resort towns of Vera and Mojacar for a unique and unforgettable experience. -Sonja from Migrating Miss
Fall in love with Las Alpujarras
Granada in the region of Andalucía is a huge tourist destination best-known for the Alhambra and other examples of Moorish architecture. Just 44 km (27 mi) south of the city is the Sierra Nevada mountains and the region of Las Alpujarras. The countryside is one of southern Spain’s most pristine landscapes.
Nature and hiking lovers will especially enjoy Las Alpujarras. The biggest village, Lanjarón, is a good place to base your stay. From there, a collection of smaller villages—nicknamed the ‘White Villages’ because of the predominant color of their facades—cling to the sides of the mountain range. A snaking road leads up the mountain, connecting the villages of Pampaneira, Bubion and Capileira. Eventually, you come to Trevelez—the highest village in all of Spain!
Each community is quainter than the last, with beautiful architecture, lovely cafes, and little handmade souvenir shops. The views looking back over the valley and white villages are just stunning. If taking a road trip around Spain, don’t forget to stop here for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Spend the night in a yurt on the valley floor of Lanjarón before tackling one of the many day hikes. Popular trails include routes out of Capileira along the Poquerira Gorge, these range from three to eight hours in duration. The full-day trail from Trevelez to Siete Lagunas (the Seven Lakes) is particularly stunning as the trail ends at a scenic lakeside campground. -Emily from Wander-Lush
Mysteriously order handmade sweets from cloistered nuns
The Convento de las Carboneras del Corpus Christi is located in the city center of Madrid on Calle de Puñonrostro. It is home to a group of cloistered nuns. These women have vowed to never leave the grounds of the convent or make direct contact with the outside world. They will spend their entire lives here serving God.
Many convents throughout Spain sell handmade sweets and home-baked cookies to support their community. Since the nuns can’t make contact with customers, you have to place your order in an unusual way.
After ringing the doorbell at Convento de las Carboneras del Corpus Christi, you will gain access to a patio area. Once inside, locate the small spinning wooden door. You place your order and money inside, never actually seeing anyone. Close the door and one of the nuns will fulfill your order and return to the door with your box of goodies. Normally two or three options are available and include orange, tea, or almond flavored cookies, and shortbreads.
This truly unique experience should be on every Spain bucket list, especially for those with a sweet tooth! -Sion and Ben from The Globetrotter Guys
Brave the fire at a correfoc
The correfoc (fire running) celebration is an adrenaline-charged event that happens throughout Catalonia during the town festivities in summer. Groups dress in elaborate devil costumes and chase people through the streets after dark. They’re accompanied by drummers and large papier-mâché dragons. The devils carry long poles topped with fireworks that blast out streams of fire. The dragons are draped with firecrackers and as they spin around they spray the shrieking crowds with needle sharp sparks. As you may already realize, those unaware or underdressed do get burned!
People of all ages dance under the umbrellas of fire and follow along with the procession. The finale is a primeval celebration of drumming, dancing, and fireworks in the plaza. As the tension reaches its crescendo, every firecracker is let off at once amid an explosion of flashing lights, noise and thick smoke. Don’t miss correfoc when you’re in Catalonia, but do make sure that you wear old clothes! – Jane Clements from Scarlet Jones Travels
Visit the unusual museums of Guadalest
Visiting the museums of an area gives you an insight into the culture that has shaped it. Guadalest, a small mountain village high above the Costa Blanca resorts, has museums in spades. They run the whole gamut from interesting and historical to strange and outright weird. Thevillage of Guadalest dates back over 1,000 years, so it’s best to start with a little history in your visit.
The free Museum of Ethnology is housed in an 18th-century house. Here you can learn what life was like in the days of old. In the nearby Torture Instrument Museum, you’ll get the history of a different sort. Discover the barbaric and utterly disturbing practices that date back to the medieval times.
It’s much more light-hearted in the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. Yep. An entire museum dedicated to 20,000 of the little table toppers collected over 20 years. There’s actually a sister museum in Texas that contains a similar number of shakers. You’re not done yet! There’s a museum of miniatures and gigantic sculptures—see a Goya painting on a fly’s wing! Then head off to the intricate doll house Museum of Antonio Marco. His 15 year labor of love displays intricate doll houses created from real bricks, stone, tile, and wood.
It’s rare to find this large a collection of curiosities in such a small village. Combine the museums with delicious mountain food, good wine, and stunning views, and it’s well worth the trip. -Sarah from A Social Nomad
Indulge at a Basque cider house
One of the most memorable experiences you can have in Spain is a visit to a Basque cider house.Petritegi is a great choice located just outside of San Sebastian. You can tour the facilities to learn more about the process of making cider. Surprisingly, there is just one ingredient: apples. This means it’s not sweetened like other ciders you may be used to.
In the Basque Country, they’re serious about cider and have a very unique way to pour it. The drink is poured just a little at a time from a bottle held high above your head and caught by a tilted glass held as low as possible. The distance aerates the drink, giving it the best taste possible. Don’t forget to pair your cider with typical Basque pintxos. Opt for cod, chorizo, and creamy local cheese like idiazabal. -Anisa from 2 Traveling Texans
What weird and unusual things do you have on your Spain bucket list? Leave a comment below.