Towns are lavished in decorative white, gold and green displays. The cozy candlelit coffee shops welcome winter with hot, warm cafés, and as the season sweeps the broiling heat; the holidays come and bring peppermint sweet euphoria. So ready or not for the ice, cold chill, the breaks will come; don’t follow the drill. It´s time to discover places where you’ve never been. So let Renfe-SNCF en Coopération guide you through because it´s route will show you the towns that wait for you. Ones where hidden splendor awaits, singing winter cold symphonies.
La Molina, Spain
La Molina Ski Station. Picture by Leanga.
Snowboards are up and so are the skis, and we’re all unquestionably ready to slide and glide. This little, beautiful town in Spain, that you’ve probably never heard of before, is actually known to be one of Spain’s first ski resorts. It welcomes winter with its gorgeous, grand landscapes and high mountaintops that are covered in white, cold snow. Wide, steep slopes run fast and slow, so whether you are a professional skier or a beginner you’ll find your place undoubtedly. Although the town is little, the activities are vast. From zip lines, monkey bridges, Tarzan swings, snowshoeing, heli-skiing, sledding, to trailing down the woods, and having a nice warm hot chocolate in a little café, they make an endless list of how to spend a great winter holiday.
Sant Ferran Castle views
Unlike La Molina, that stands where mountains frost, Figueres lies near the sandy coast of Costa Brava. Although this town is not known for its snow, its beautifully charming history and surreal artistry will mesmerize you. Most famous for being the birthplace of Salvador Dali, it has the second most visited museum in Spain. But the Dali museum is not all it has, there is also the Toy museum of Catalunya, the Museu De L’Emporda, ancient military fortifications, Gothic Architecture and much more.
The walled town of Cuenca
This magical city is a treasure on its own, full of beautiful sights, picturesque views, and ancient streets. Its most famous for the Casas Colgadas or the “hanging houses”. They hang over a steep cliff, overlooking the Huecar River. Their balconies project over the water, and it gorgeous flows and streams below them. They are absolutely magnificent. But there is so much more to see in this hidden beauty of a city; like the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español or the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor. Its landscapes screams of art and sublime views, specially if you see if from above the Huecar Gorge, where the San Pablo bridge and the hanging houses are in a clear position.
Val Thorens Ski Station
A lively, little town found in the Rhone Alps, its beauty is hidden 50km north of Grenoble, this city’s location is almost unknown, but its history goes long and its exquisiteness upholds. Very bright and colorful and mostly inhabited with students, it is known for having one of the most lively town centers in France. The sites over there are pretty picturesque; it has places like Saint Leger, Le Musee de Beaux, and Fontaine des Marmousets. You’ll do enough exploring and be able to rest. But the one place you can’t miss is The Historic Centre of Chambery, where the fountain of Elephants and the Castle are. Mostly, you’ll feel cozy and in its narrow little streets, you’ll feel very toasty.
Palais de l'Île in Annecy
Also known as the Venice of the Alps, this absolutely stunning city will take your breath away. Travel there is said to feel as though you were stepping in a time machine that will transport you to medieval times. The narrow passageways and amount of churches there is unreal. And although the city is known to be visited mostly during the summer, there is a certain beauty to it that can only be truly grasped in the winter. Scenes worthy of seeing like glimpsing the sight of swans in the canals, or conversing with the locals and smelling the nice warm French Baguettes.
Yet although its beauty is enough to astonish you, it offers a lot more than a simple stroll. The famous philosopher and autobiographer Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau grew up in beautiful Annecy, so you can visit all the places he’s been. Finally, their cheese is a must, so be sure to try it out while you’re there, as well as their famous “Raclette”.
The Castellet in Perpignan
Not your typical city, this one is French but once belonged to Spain. It is close to the border of Catalunya and was the capital of the kingdom of Majorca during the middle ages. This city is a walk in a living culture, and a stroll down in history. Most famous for Le Castillet, the ancient structure that served as the city’s gate in 1368. Moorish, Arabic and Spanish cultures and historical monuments reside there and they will all be an amazing exploration in the nice, chilly weather of winter. But one thing is for sure, you have got to try their Baklava, an Arab based dessert that is absolutely delicious.
Located in southern France this lovely town is known as France’s secret Riviera. The main attraction is the town’s cathedral, The Narbonne Church, being that it was built when Christianity became a legal religion. But it´s canal is something else entirely, and has the most breath-taking view. Taking an evening walk down the wide promenade of the Canal de La Robine and Canal du Midi while enjoying some Tapas should definitely be on your list.
Looking for more towns to visit? Read here
for some hidden, picturesque towns through Spain and France. So pack up your warm sweater and comfy scarves, and book your Renfe-SNCF en Coopération train tickets today!