RSS Feed Five Lesser Known Spanish Towns for History Lovers

Amphitheatre, Italica Spain is one of the most incredible countries to visit for history lovers. There are many cities with a great variety of historical influences; from the Moorish cities of Seville and Granada, to the impressive architecture in Barcelona and Valencia.

However, there also many towns and villages, much less visited than the big cities, that are of real historical interest. Here we look at five our favourites, which offer different aspects of Spanish and European history.

5) Santiponce

Italica, Santiponce Sitauted less than 10 kilometres from Sevilla, the town of Santiponce is a fantastic place for lovers of history. The main thing to see in Santiponce is the remains of the Roman city of Italica.

Italica covers a vast area, much of which has been excavated in the last few years, and includes over a square kilometre of Roman remains. The centre-piece is the huge amphitheatre which seated 25,000 spectators, and remains in excellent condition. There are also several complete mosaics, Roman roads and the remains of many villas.

4) Salamanca

Old Town, Salamanca Salamanca is more well known than the other places on this list, but is certainly not as well visited as the larger Spanish cities. Situated in the west of Spain, Salamanca dates back to pre-Roman times, and the old town is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Salamanca is also home to the most important university in Spain, which first began teaching in 1130. The city is full of historic monuments centered around the old town and the university area. At the heart of it all is the bustling Plaza Mayor.

3) Campanet

Caves of Campanet The village of Campanet is not particular remarkable itself; however, it is home to some of the most beautiful caves in Europe. Natural historians are impressed by the decorative formation of the stalactites and stalagmites in the caves. They are also the home to several fossils, including that of a relative to the goat which has been extinct for thousands of years.

Close to Campanet is the village of Lluc - the most visited pilgrimage site in Mallorca. The 13th century sanctuary that dominates the village is set in the Tramuntana mountain range.

2) Gernika

Gernika, in Gernika
Gernika (also known as Guernica) has been immortalised by Picasso's painting depicting the bombing of the town during the Spanish civil war. In 1937 the town was devastated by the German Luftwaffe, who tested out their Blitzkrieg tactics while supporting Franco's nationalists.

Today Gernika is a busy market town of historic importance. It is home to the peace museum which charts the history of Gernika at the centre of Basque culture, and illustrates what the town stands for today in terms of human rights and universal peace. There is also a tiled wall in the town with a large scale replica of Picasso's famous painting.

1) Sagunto

Roman citadel, Sagunto Sagunto is a Roman town situated 30 kilometres north of Valencia, on the edge of the Calderona natural park. It's most impressive feature is the vast Roman citadel which overlooks the city. The citadel is well preserved with the remains of buildings, including the forum and many villas easily identifiable.

A little further down the hill from the citadel there is also a fantastically preserved Roman theatre, which is still used today for modern productions. For any history lover, this is a fantastic place to visit on a day trip from Valencia.