While my international travels have taken a backseat for now, this 2022 was still full of unique Spanish travel memories. Let me make you a part of my memory box – here are my favorite travel experiences in Spain for this year!
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Favorite travel experiences in Spain
A new year is always a great moment to reflect on past adventures and create new plans. While I’ve always been a huge believer in goal-setting and planning – for some reason, it was something I have never fully tested with traveling.
I mean, I used to wrap my mind around a few desired trips for the upcoming year, but that was it. I was never writing it all down in detail. I guess I was afraid. What if I go with the flow and plan too many trips that might never actually happen? What if instead of inspiring myself to travel more I´ll end up even more disappointed this way? – Relatable?
But you know what? – 2022 has changed my perspective on this forever. At the beginning of the year, I listed on Instagram all the places I wanted to go in 2022, and in a magical way, most of my plans were brought to life. So, now as I’m writing this, I have already shared the 2023 list on Instagram. Let’s see how it works for me this year. If you don’t dare to dream bigger, the greater things will never have a chance to happen.
So, welcome to my 2022 memory box.
My 2022 in a review: Where and When
January 2022: a day trip to see the snow in Valdelinares (Teruel); February 2022 – exploring Catalonia; April 2022 – a road trip around Madrid; June 2022 – a long weekend in the Spanish Pyrenees; July 2022 – a Mediterranean cruise with kids; August 2022 – discovering hidden gems in Soria; September 2022 – a weekend getaway to Navarra; October 2022 – finally visiting Extremadura (the last Spanish autonomous community I’ve never been to); December 2022 – a spontaneous weekend in Christmas Madrid.
So yes, 2022 has been pretty exciting in terms of new places, but I feel like the best is yet to come in 2023.
Let me share a few highlights of my 2022 travels. Because the hit-or-miss of every travel experience always lies in the details – don’t you agree? – Whether it’s a company on the road, a certain place, meal, or mood, or even people we meet or the sunny weather we wake up to. These tiny things usually make a big difference. So, it’s always enjoyable to talk about your favorite things on the road. In a certain way, it gives one an opportunity to re-live it all over again…
My Favorite 2022 Travel Experiences in Spain
Favorite Trip – The Spanish Pyrenees
While I always keep gravitating back to the Spanish Pyrenees (one of my all-time favorite travel destinations in Spain), this 2022 Pyrenees road trip has managed to overcome my initial expectations once again. I especially loved the lakes of Astun, Cañon de Añisclo, the cute small towns of Torla, and hiking in Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park.
Favorite Hike – Perrizal de Beceite
This year the most unique hike for me was Perrizal de Beceite in Teruel. Most of the time we walked on wooden pathways along the stunning gorge – it felt so unique. You can read more details here. Also, check the views via my IG Reels from Perrizal de Beceite.
Favorite Museum – National Museum of Roman Art
My favorite museum of 2022 is definitely the National Museum of Roman Art in Merida/Extremadura. I loved everything about it – the large number of ancient and unique objects, the museum´s design, and the free entrance (which makes this place available to everyone).
Favorite Village – Ujue
As a fan of Spanish small towns, secret villages, and medieval charm – I am constantly on a search for new locations. During our trip around Navarra, we made a stop in Ujue, a local hidden gem, and I unexpectedly loved it so so much.
Favorite Historical Sight – Numancia
As a huge fan of the Roman Ruins in Spain , I’ve been daydreaming of visiting the legendary Numancia for years.
So, maybe, knowing the story behind was what made this place so special for me. Back in 133 B.C., Numancia was a regular Celtiberian settlement involved in the ongoing conflict with Rome since 153 B.C. But its heroic resistance to the Roman Empire made this town eternally famous. After 13 months of siege, the Numantians decided to burn the city before surrendering it to the Romans.
In modern Spanish, there is an expression “la defensa numantina” – describing the tenacious defense of one´s position to the limit, often in desperate conditions. Therefore, standing on those very same rocks that made it to history felt unique in its own way.
Favorite Castle – Peracense
Thank you, dear 2002, for this gem! The Peracense Castle is one of the lesser-known dreamy Spanish castles, but it’s definitely one of my personal favorites.
The Castle of Peracense was built back in the 13th century on the base of a former Muslim fortress. Throughout Spanish history, it was a feudal castle, a prison, and an important fortress during the Carlist wars. The most stunning thing about The Peracense Castle is how it camouflages itself among the local red-colored landscapes. You can enjoy the best views of the castle from San Gines Hill.
Favorite City – Caceres
Visiting the region of Extremadura was something I literally daydreamed about for so long. When you’ve visited every single autonomous community and province in Spain and there’s this one single region missing on your list – this fact by itself is what makes one want to go there even more.
Despite my initial expectations (I was honestly placing my bets on Merida), the biggest eye candy in Extremadura was the old town of Caceres. This city is such an open-air museum. While I was watching the HBO TV show The House of Dragons right before traveling, I honestly had no idea it was filmed in both Caceres and Trujillo. The town of Caceres attracted international filmmakers for a reason: it has an extremely beautiful medieval quarter and a slightly mysterious vibe.
Favorite Romantic Moment – Dining in Chinchon
In 2022, together with my husband Carlos, we planned our first trip without kids in 5 years. As my parents don’t t live in Spain, and my in-laws are seniors – leaving kids with someone for more than a day has been almost impossible over the last few years. But now, as they’ve grown up a bit, we are beginning to test the waters of romantic traveling in Spain again.
On the road towards Extremadura, we spent a day in Chinchon – a beautiful small town near Madrid. The central square of Chinchon is considered the most unique one in the whole of Spain. It has 234 balconies, some of which date back to the XVth century. The dinner itself was honestly average, but the views, the vibrant nightlights, and the serene atmosphere at the square were all truly magical. Here’s the view from my IG stories.
Favorite Experience – Tirolina Valle Tena
Even on family trips, there are always moments for adventurous travel experiences. I´ve never done ziplining before, but always wanted to try it.
Tirolina Valle Tena in Huesca is the longest double zip line in Europe and the views are simply to die for. While I initially expected it to be way scarier, the ride turned out to be so enjoyable. Hopefully, I will get a chance to repeat it at night or with the snowy landscape on the backdrop one day.
Favorite Restaurant – Lilot Du Ble Noir
Lilot Du Ble Noir restaurant, spotted on our trip to Soria, was so good – I dream of returning one day. They focus on making French crepes with a creative touch and non-typical ingredients. Everything was so original and appealing – the food, the presentation, the service, the design…
Favorite Artisan Product – Artesania Bordado con Fieltro
I discovered this artisan local shop Bordado con Fieltro in Trujillo, during my travels across the Extremadura region. They offer handmade embroidered-felt jewelry, bags, wallets, scarf brooches, etc. Most of the customers order their initials. It looks absolutely gorgeous.
Favorite Traditional Dish – Tombet
While I’ve already shared with you the details of the almuerzo culture in Valencia, some places where we enjoyed this Spanish traditional late breakfast honestly stand out more than others.
So, there is this one very local and authentic restaurant – Casa Julian in the tiny Spanish village of La Barona (Castellon). This place is almost always completely full of local Spaniards. Here, they serve the most delicious homemade traditional Spanish food ever. You can try local delicatessen like rabo de toro, tombet de cordero, etc – head to my blog series Spanish Food in the villages for more details.
The last time I had tombet de cordero (a lamb stew) – it was simply melting in my mouth…
Favorite Dessert – Apricot Tart in Torla
While I try to avoid sugar in my daily life – this rule does not apply to dining out. On the road, I mostly follow Oscar Wilde´s saying: “the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it”. I never say no to a new dessert while traveling.
Well, this apricot tart with lime-mint ice cream ( at Restaurante La Cocinilla/ La Torla) is still chasing me in my dreams, while I am trying to embrace a healthy lifestyle and stay in good shape.
Favorite Spontaneous Trip – Christmas Madrid
While planning helps me to manifest and remember my travel goals, many of my favorite travel experiences in Spain have happened out of the blue.
In December 2022, right before Christmas, we decided to escape for a few days to enjoy Christmas in Madrid. It ended up being such a unique experience for the whole family, infused with Christmas inspiration and a holiday mood.
Exactly what everyone needs to end up a year on a positive note.
Favorite Day Trip – Manises
A day trip from Valencia to the small town of Manises is such a must for all the fans of Spanish ceramics. For me, it was just a random Saturday that ended up being unforgettable – both artsy and creative.
In Manises, you´ll find permanent and temporary expositions, unique facades, and artworks made by traditional ceramic craftsmen of the region.
Favorite Event – Rototom Sunsplash
Another new addition to my travel life in 2022 was visiting more of the local festivals.
Especially, as the nearest to us small town of Benicassim has quite a few international festivals which the melomanes will absolutely enjoy: Blues Festival (June 3-5), FIB (July 14-17), Rototom Sunsplash (August 16-22), Francisco Tarrega Guitar Competition ( September), Belle Époque (September 2-4). I’ve always liked reggae music, but this year visiting Rototom Sunsplash was the first reggae festival I ever visited, and actually – the first festival experience I’ve had in years.
Favorite Sunset – Badajoz
While I’m always on a hunt for beautiful sunsets around the world, this year the one over the Roman bridge of Badajoz/ Extremadura felt the most magical to me.
Favorite Discovery on The Road – Alarcon
This 2022, on the road towards Madrid, we’ve discovered a beautiful medieval gem of Cuenca – Alarcon. This place is an absolute storybook location in Spain, as it is known for some of the best-preserved medieval walls in the whole of the country. You can check my IG Reels on Alarcon to see it with your own eyes.
Favorite Place to Return – Toledo
While one of the first mottos of every frequent travel is “always go where you have never been to”, we can all agree that some places might have a special second-time charm for us. One of these places for me is Toledo, an ancient capital of Spain and the city of the 3 cultures. While I’ve been to Toledo quite a few times, I still can’t miss a chance to make a stop in the city when road-tripping somewhere in Spain.
Favorite Place for Kids – Jardin del Papagayo
Exploring Spain with kids has been my most typical travel status over the last few years. While my girls obviously enjoy theme parks, dreamy castles, and even some museums – there are some truly special places they always ask us to return to. One of these locations, which we re-visited again in 2022, is El Jardin de Papagayo in the Spanish small town of Benicarlo.
What do you think of my favorite travel experiences of 2022?
Is there anything on the list you have visited/tasted yourself or would love to do so?
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