Not realising that the only British summer weather would arrive in June, my husband and I had booked the Santander ferry with a plan to explore northern and central Spain with our own wheels for a few weeks’ holiday. The only nights reserved were spent in luxury at the Hospes Palacio de los Arenales, Cáceres and the Hospes Palacio de San Esteban, Salamanca, otherwise we were footloose and fancy free and it was a question of turning up in a picturesque location and finding a place to stay. Successfully I might add, since we never had to sleep in the car…
Away from the holidaymakers on the Costas, the regions of Asturias, Galicia, Castille y Leon and Extremadura are well worth a visit and we were constantly amazed by the lack of cars on the road and the brilliant road surfaces – not a pothole in sight! Stunning mountain scenery, deserted beaches, affordable accommodation, delicious regional cuisine and medieval villages and castles around every corner, we were blown away by the varied countryside and just so many historic sites to visit. Turning a corner and being confronted by a superbly preserved walled town or view was a regular occurrence.
Caceres (the King’s landing in Game of Thrones) is a UNESCO World Heritage City because of the blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. Thirty towers from the Islamic period still stand in Cáceres, many of them topped with stork nests! Who knew that storks clatter rather than sing? Equally historic and even more stunning is Salamanca, known as the “golden city” for the sandstone used in the construction of its ancient buildings. The city also has one of the most beautiful plazas in Spain, so naturally we passed a few pleasurable hours people watching in one of the many restaurants one evening.
Both Hospes hotels are historic buildings which have been transformed into luxury hotels – boutique, atmospheric and ideal for exclusive use hire or a weekend away to explore the regions. Northern and inland Spain has so much to see and do, so we will definitely be back!