From Beth L. in Maine: “My 60-year-old brother and wife are just back from 2 months working and living in Seville and then Ronda and Granada. They are both fluent and plan to do this every year…they love Spain but are seeking suggestions. Do you have any recommendations on where to stay long-term in Spain?“
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Spain! Can’t really go wrong, right? I’ll throw out six places — three cities and three towns — that I think have long-term potential:
Valencia, Pamplona and Zaragoza form Spain’s Grand Trifecta of Overlooked Cities. All would make excellent two-month sojourns. The Mediterranean-Modernist mirror to Bilbao, seaside Valencia is affluent and ravishing, a vibrant 21st-century city that’s clean, bike-friendly, palm-fringed and deceivingly dense. Other than once a year, travelers criminally neglect Pamplona, missing wonderful architecture, cafés and tapas shops all set beneath the undeniable buena onda. Gritty Zaragoza oozes with Roman, Islamic and Reconquista history and modern vitality, university students enliven the raucous El Tubo tapas district and outdoor art punctuates every turn.
As far as Spanish villages go, Ronda, or any of Andalusia’s Pueblos Blancos, is tough to beat. Coastal Tarifa is funky (it subsidizes a literal clown college), artsy and cute with lots to do outside and Morocco beckoning o`er yonder. Nestled at almost 1500 meters in the Sierra Nevada, Trevélez prides itself on air-dried ham and alpine serenity (cured meats and mountains, always a winning combination). Last, I’d check out Montilla or another hill town in Córdoba’s orbit for stellar food and wine, mild climate, accessibility and an almost-under-the-radar feel.