Europe's Secret Hot Spots

These under-the-radar European beach towns, wine regions, and lake districts are just waiting to be discovered.

Matarranya Region, Southern Aragon, Spain

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Spain’s answer to Tuscany is striped with vineyards and rivers, then dotted with olive groves and tree-lined peaks. It rests at the confluence of the ancient Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia kingdoms, and the feeling is still a bit regal (one can imagine a king, on horseback, hunting for buck). The pace of life is typically slow, leaving plenty of time for long walks in the hills, mountain-bike rides, and visits to vineyards. The center of it all is at Hotel Torre del Visco, a 15th-century palace in Fuentespalda (population: 368) that is often host to Europe’s remaining royalty; its remoteness is hard to match elsewhere. And it’s surprisingly affordable—about $200 per night including breakfast; seems even landed gentry like a good deal. Wander the labyrinthine fortress and pretend you’re on the set of the Spanish version of Game of Thrones.

Europe's Secret Hot Spots

Matarranya Region, Southern Aragon, Spain

Spain’s answer to Tuscany is striped with vineyards and rivers, then dotted with olive groves and tree-lined peaks. It rests at the confluence of the ancient Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia kingdoms, and the feeling is still a bit regal (one can imagine a king, on horseback, hunting for buck). The pace of life is typically slow, leaving plenty of time for long walks in the hills, mountain-bike rides, and visits to vineyards. The center of it all is at Hotel Torre del Visco, a 15th-century palace in Fuentespalda (population: 368) that is often host to Europe’s remaining royalty; its remoteness is hard to match elsewhere. And it’s surprisingly affordable—about $200 per night including breakfast; seems even landed gentry like a good deal. Wander the labyrinthine fortress and pretend you’re on the set of the Spanish version of Game of Thrones.

Sergio Padura
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