Spain Snapshots: My 2014 Spain Wish List

The great thing about living in Spain is that I have an entire country to explore. Although I’ve been to each of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, there are still so many more places that I’d like to visit.

2013 had me in various new places in Spain: Calpe, Avilés, rural Galicia as I walked the Camino de Santiago, and I have one trip booked for 2014 to Tenerife. There are several other places I’m hoping to visit this year:


Cradle of the conquerors, Trujillo is a medieval town crowned with castle ruins near Cáceres. I’ve seen it a dozen times from a car window, at the A-5 highway passes nearby, but have never been able to stop in Pizarro’s birthplace for so much as a coffee, much less a walk around. Plus, they have an entire festival to CHEESE.


Thankfully, I’ll have the chance to see Trujillo later this year, thanks to winning a contest through Trujillo Villas for writing about my most memorable meal in Spain.


Despite my major allergy to olive blossoms, I’ve always wanted to see Jaén and its rolling fields of olivos and enormous cathedral. In fact, it’s called the city of liquid gold, due to the immense amount of olive oil that’s produced here.


While in Jaén, I’d also like to visit the Renaissance villages of Úbeda and Baeza, which are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and perhaps visit Cazorla to hike. It’s moments like these when I’m thrilled to have a car.


Ceuta is an autonomous Spanish enclave in Morocco where both Spanish and Arabic are spoken. I have a few friends from Ceuta, and I’m interested in seeing how a Spanish city on the African continent lives its day-to-day life. And the food clearly interests me!


While not in mainland Spain, Ceuta is reachable by ferry from Tarifa and Algeciras. The Novio’s friend Ana has a boyfriend living there, so we really have no excuse.


Laugh all you want – I have never been to Mallorca, save a few airport visits (I have, however, partied in Ibiza and lived to tell the tale…if only I could remember!). Mallorca is famous for its beaches and calas, island culture and Rada Nadal.


I skipped my chance to go to Menorca with a friend last summer, and have regretted it ever since. Who knew water could be so blue? Air Berlin flies directly from Seville, so there are plenty of chances each week to escape.

What are the places you’d like to visit in Spain? Have you been to any of the places on my list and have places to suggest to eat and sleep?

Disclaimer: these photos are clearly not mine because I have never been to these destinations. If you are the author and would like the photo removed, please contact me directly.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. I’ve been to all of these! The first three got overshadowed by the destinations I was on my way to (other parts of Extremadura, Granada, and Morocco, respectively) but were still nice, and I loved Mallorca, partly because of fond memories there (I spent my 21st birthday there and later returned with my ex).

    It’s easy to stay in Palma or wherever your hotel/hostel is in Mallorca, so I definitely recommend renting a moto and getting to some of the more secluded parts of the island with gorgeously light blue waters!
    Kirstie recently posted..Toledo: Madrid’s Favorite Day TripMy Profile

    • You really have been all over! As for the moto – they terrify me! I’d consider it, but I’d be going very, veeeery slowly!

  2. I have wanted to go to the cheese festival in Trujillo literally since the day I moved to Spain. We were driving from Madrid to El Puerto and I was following along in a guidebook as we passed different towns. As soon as I read “cheese” I knew I needed to make the trip…this year is my last chance though!
    MeghannG@HolaMatrimony recently posted..The Perfect Roman Respite: FrascatiMy Profile

    • Haha, we’re aiming to go at a different time since it’s the weekend before Feria, and it depends entirely upon when the place is available! When doy uo leave, Meghann?

      • It looks like I have almost exactly one year left, but that’s really all up to the U.S. Navy, and I’ve noticed that it doesn’t always take my opinion into account. Oh, and I just checked the feria calendar – the local ones are late this year! So, I’ll be able to squeeze in the cheese festival (but then probably won’t be able to squeeze into my dress).

      • …and you must come to Seville.

  3. We passed through Ceuta on the way to Morocco and it was so interesting watching the border crossing and hearing about how things function civilly and economically around there.
    Alex @ ifs ands & butts recently posted..10 iceland quirks & frivolous friday.My Profile

  4. Aw, you have to go to Mallorca! I have such fond memories there from camp, and Palma is a terrific city to visit. Let me know if you go, I have a Word doc of recs!!
    Cassandra recently posted..The best book I read in 2013My Profile

    • I will! Forenex will be there all month now, but if I direct again, I couldn’t imagine not being in Coruña.

  5. Trujillo is AMAZING. just beautiful. May I also recommend Aldea Nueva de la Vera? A small hill town in Extremadura that is one of the most magical and breathtaking and off the beaten path places I’ve ever been in Spain. Feliz ano nuevo, tia!

    • This is exactly what I have a car for! I really want to visit more cities in Extremadura and take in the wine region of Ribera de Guadiana.

  6. Jaén yaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssss so excited to hear your thoughts on the province, good or bad. And you know you’re more than welcome to use any of my (creative commons) Jaén photos from Flickr on your blog if you’re worried about disclaimers & such! Anywho, your allergies will be fine as long as you do NOT visit in May/June…I almost died >.<

    Re: Ceuta—since you’re a completionist like me, it’s cool to visit, but there’s just…not really much to see, at all, but do drink up some mint tea!
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..What I Enjoyed the Most in Florence, ItalyMy Profile

    • Haha, you will be the first I tell when I make it out there, and I will for sure be screening your blog! Ceuta interests me because of the food and the lifestyle, and having a friend there helps!

  7. Mallorca is nice and I was surprised by the amount of German influence!
    As for Ceuta, I second Trevor. There isn’t a whole lot to see then again I was there for an overnight making my way home from Morocco, getting stuck at the border in Morocco as they made phone calls in regards to my passport before stamping me through.
    Definitely still felt like Africa with a twist of Spain…
    Lauren @Roamingtheworld recently posted..Foods I miss in SpainMy Profile

  8. A cheese festival????? Oh man, if you go take lots of pictures for me! My brother and I went to Mallorca and had a lovely time, and yes tons and tons of Germans! We went to Nadals hometown very purposefully as well :) Caves are worth a visit too!

  9. So many places I need to go! I’ll make it to Salamanca this month, and Granada next month. I’ve been there before but it was years ago, I barely remember it!
    Jessica Wray recently posted..How To Know If Teaching in Spain is Right for YouMy Profile

    • It’s been five years since I’ve been to Salamanca and at least two since my last trip to Granada. Amazing how the time gets away from you! In Salamanca, there’s a great family restaurant behind Plaza Mayor called Dulcinea. When the Novio studied at the Air Force academy there, he’d blow his paycheck on a huge steak once a month – great food there!

  10. Be careful driving into Cazorla. Only locals know how to navigate thru those narrow streets. I kept going until I got stuck and then had to back out. It is better to park outside of town in the public parking lots and walk in. Try the Lomo de Orza or a Tabla de Carnes de Monte. I love their Olive Oil. Spain is amazing with so many regions to explore.
    Eduardo@Andaremos recently posted..Peregrinos in El Camino passing through PamplonaMy Profile

  11. Spain is one huge country! I need to do more of the north…it’s so pretty! I love the Jaen area with all of the olive groves…gorgeous!
    Corinne recently posted..Instagramming the Berlin WallMy Profile

    • Agreed! It’s taken me six years and studying abroad to see as much as I have. Jaen seems to sound more and more appealing!

  12. When you go to Jaen – you MUST visit the nearby Renaissance towns of Baeza and Úbeda. Fabulous!
    Marianne recently posted..The First Almond Blossoms of the YearMy Profile

  13. Last day of our walking holiday in Tenerife. When you visit travel into the interior – green barrancas and cultivated terraces and wonderful views. The senderos across the caldera at Mount Teide pass through stunning scenery. La Laguna, the old capital, has historic buildings and much of interest.

  14. Ashley Duncan says:

    That is so awesome that you’ve been to all the autonomous communities! That is definitely a goal of mine.

    • Do it! I’ve been really surprised with how different Spain is from being able to visit so many places. Which have you been to, and which are your favorites?

      • Ashley Duncan says:

        I’ve been to País Vasco, Cataluña, Castilla y León, Madrid, Extremadura, Andalucía, and the Canarias. Next up are Valencia and Galicia, and I’m really interested in seeing more of the north in the future. Favorites?? Geeze so difficult, but I guess Madrid and Andalucía hold special places in my heart for having been my homes and País Vasco is just awesome. Do you have favorites??

  15. I really want to go to Ceuta! So I look forward to reading about your adventures there 😉 :)
    Ellen recently plymouth part two.My Profile

  16. Hi Cat – just stumbled across your blog (in search of DELE info) and saw this bit about you wanting to go to Jaen. I lived near there a couple of years ago and thought I might share some places for you to sleep/ see:

    – if you head out towards Cazorla there’s a really good hospederia called ANTAVIANA HOSPEDERIA – which is in an aldea not far off. From there you can take a little hike (aka hiking for newbies) up to Segura de la Sierra – I think this town has one of the most amazing views in Spain, please Google. There is also horse riding in Sierra de Cazorla in case you want other things to do.
    – Foodwise in Jaen, if you like flamenquines you are likely to find some nice ones and the salmorejo is also particularly good
    – also the Baños Árabes in Jaen are worth the visit
    – oh and Ubeda is awesome, from memory I think there are sweets made by las monjas there that are supposed to be pretty yummy.
    Happy travels!

    • Hi Nicole, thank you so, so much! In the end, our trip is getting pushed back, but it is, for real, #1 on my list! Between you and a Texan in Spain, looks like I won’t have to do much research! And suerte with the DELE!


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