Improving with age: the best of Spain’s old towns
Spain may enjoy plenty of modern popularity thanks to its golden sands, fiesta atmosphere, and gorgeous climate, but the roots of this ancient land run deep. Some of the most beautiful and memorable areas of Spain are located in the old towns of its most popular resorts and cities.
For a holiday that embraces all the fabulous elements of Spain, make sure you take time to visit some of Spain’s best old towns. Here are our favourites:
Mainland Spain: Benidorm old town
Benidorm old town’s labyrinth of cobbled streets, dove-white buildings and iconic blue-domed St James church provide a welcome contrast to its modern tower blocks. Start at the heart of the old town at the stunning Plaza Mayor Square, the perfect spot to sip sangria and watch passers-by.
Visit the beautiful St James church and then wander up to El Mirador de la Punta del Canfali, a historic lookout point with views over both Levante and Poniente beaches.
When it’s time to grab a bite, head to Tapas Alley for a taste of the traditional Spanish culinary experience.
There’s more to Benidorm’s old town than aesthetic, tradition and divine cuisine: these streets have soul. And as night falls; the party really begins.
The winding streets of Benidorm’s old town are alive with pure fiesta spirit, lined with lively bars, shops, together with Bohemian cafes for you to peruse. From 9 o’clock, the free cabarets open their doors and welcome those looking to have a good time, with performances lasting till the early hours.
Post cabaret, you can hit the old town clubs and dance the night away. Benidorm is a party city, with a party tradition, and many of the 50 fiestas that take place in Benidorm make the Old Town their stomping ground.
The Blue Sea Calas Marina hotel enjoys a fantastic location in the heart of Benidorm, with all the top old town sites under an hour’s walk from the hotel.
Costa Del Sol: Torremolinos old town
Torremolinos has earned a spot in many a holidaymaker’s heart thanks to its idyllic location on the Costa del Sol, stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife. But this historic seaside resort has plenty of history etched into its stones.
Start at the main street of the town, Calle San Miguel, which crosses through the oldest centre plaza and is lined with every kind of shop imaginable. At one end of Calle San Miguel sits a small plaza dominated by the beautiful San Miguel church.
At the other end, you’ll find the Cuesta del Tajo, a traditional street ending with the Torre del Pimentel or Torre del los Molinos. This 12-meter-tall mud and brick construction, built in the 14th century, protected the town from pirate attacks and remains an iconic symbol of Torremolinos.
Past the Torre del Pimentel, you’ll come to a steep flight of ancient steps leading down to the historic fishing district, El Bajondillo. Peruse the local kiosks and sample the authentic seafood restaurants while you admire the stunning historic buildings that line Bajondillo beach.
Our Blue Sea Gran Cervantes resort is located near El Bajondillo beach, with many pockets of the old town right on your doorstep.
Mallorca: Palma old town
The capital of Mallorca and capital of the Balearic Islands, Palma is an ancient city with plenty to offer.
The old town is home to many of the city’s top attractions: from ancient buildings to modern designer brands. Start with the real headliners, like the breath-taking La Seu Cathedral, with its striking sandstone gothic features and unique position overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Another must-see historical attraction is the majestic Royal Palace of Almudaina, the official summer residence of the Spanish royal family in the past. Almost as lovely is the Plaça Cort, Palma’s council building with its intricate façade and remarkable 600-year-old olive tree planted as an enduring symbol of peace.
Aside from the headline sites, many hours can be spent wandering the winding cobbled streets, through picturesque plazas and charming interior patios. Discover the town’s hidden treasures, from antique furniture stores to connoisseur bookshops and adorable coffee shops.
Lanzarote old town
Lanzarote has no shortage of old town destinations. From the ancient city and former capital, Teguise, to the current capital, Arrecife, there are fantastic old town centres with cobbled winding streets, atmospheric plazas, seafront castles and stunning coastal views.
But if you visit just one old town in Lanzarote, make sure it’s Puerto del Carmen. A true example of an old town which has preserved its fishing village origins, Puerto del Carmen has retained its quaint, traditional houses, atmospheric plazas, old town harbour and authentic restaurants.
Then there’s the old town beach, Playa Chica, which offers peace and seclusion rare for such a popular resort. The Playa Chica diving centre makes it a hit for snorkelers and those looking to explore the deep blue, while also serving as an homage to the town’s enduring partnership with the sea.
Our Blue Sea Los Fiscos resort is situated just a short walk from Puerto Del Carmen’s old town, and provides the perfect base for a holiday that has a bit of everything.
Tenerife: old town
Like Lanzarote, Tenerife has plenty of stunning old towns on offer, but the one that stands out from the rest is La Laguna. A 15th century city – the first ever established in Tenerife – La Laguna’s preservation of its old town buildings, culture and traditions, has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage site status.
Visitors can admire the stunning Real Santuario del Santísimo Cristo de La Laguna (an incredible Roman Catholic church), two palaces called Nava and Salazar, a 17th century university, together with numerous churches, covenants and religious buildings.
Stop off at one of the picturesque old town plazas to enjoy a plate or two of tapas or explore the many shops and bars that have made the old town streets their home.