Spain’s weird and wonderful tourist attractions – from food fights to smurf towns

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TOURIST recommendations for Spain are so predictable.

A dip in the Mediterranean, breathtaking cuisine, even better wine, and all against the backdrop of a castle or other.

You could spend a whole month like this – how boring.

What happened to the pre-GPS days of getting lost, misunderstanding a toothless local, and sharing your hotel room with a three-legged donkey called Manuela?

Fortunately, there are still some very strange tourist attractions in Spain that shake up the monotony of sun, sand and sangria.

From food fights to smurf towns, here are 14 of Spain’s weirdest tourist attractions.

Finding the spoon stuck in the concrete on Lanzarote’s Playa Blanca has become the resort’s #10 tourist attraction on TripAdvisor. Source: Will Millard.

1. The Spoon in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

Playa Blanca is the third largest resort in Lanzarote which has – as its name suggests – a beautiful white sand beach.

Still, tourists with at least three hours to kill have sent the spoon hunt for Playa Blanca’s 10th most important activity.

“Of course there are far bigger and more classic places to visit around this wonderful island,” said BBC presenter and author Will Millard. Olive press during a trip to Lanzarote.

“But there is a lot to be said for places that somehow assume their own cultural currency, seemingly out of nothing of significance. Even forgetting that, my family loved chasing that little spoon! »

According to TripAdvisor reviews, there is a legend that the spoon will grant the heir of Cesar Manrique (famous sculptor from Lanzarote) “unimaginable power” if he finds it.

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The blue village of Juzcar – photo by Tom Powell

2. Town of the Smurfs in Juzcar, Andalusia

Juzcar is one of the smallest villages in the Valle del Genal near Ronda in southern Andalusia.

However, being small does not mean being insignificant: Juzcar is famous for becoming the world’s first “Smurf Town” in 2011.

Sony Pictures painted every house blue – even the cemetery and town hall – to celebrate the premiere of Smurfs 3D in Juzcar.

But then the first inhabitants saw an opportunity to bring some income and attention to this forgotten part of southern Spain.

And it worked.

Juzcar receives more than 250 tourists every day, although following a dispute over fees in 2017 it is officially known as “Blue City” and not “Smurf City”.

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La Tomatina is the “biggest food fight in the world” that takes place every summer in Buñol, near Valencia. Source: Archives.

3. La Tomatina, Buñol, Valencia

La Tomatina is a food fight like no other.

It is believed to be the biggest food fight in the world and uses at least 145 tons of tomatoes.

Taking place every year on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol, near Valencia, thousands of people come to make the city of 9,000 inhabitants blush.

The festivities begin as soon as someone has climbed a two-story greased wooden pole to fetch a “ham” from the top – of course.

Legend has it that the tradition began in 1945 when boys knocked off the decorative head of a participant in a religious festival.

The headless giant has turned into a vegetable stand, and the rest is history.

Human Tower of Castell Catalunya Wikimedia Commons
The human towers – or castells in Catalan and Valencian – have been declared Intangible Heritage by UNESCO. Source: WikiMedia Commons.

4. Human towers – Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Valencian Community

The human towers of Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands defy gravity.

During the 1980s, when women were included in Castle construction, human towers began to reach up to 9 and 10 people high.

This era was known as the “golden age” of Valencian and Catalan human towers, although you can still witness these incredible constructions during cultural events or holy days.

Only four recorded deaths are known and since 2006 children have had to wear specially designed helmets.

5. Second largest chair in the world, Cordoba

Lucena is Cordoba was once famous for housing the largest chair in the world.

It was in April 2005 that furniture maker Grupo Huertas built the 26-meter-tall chair using enough wood to make 9,200 full-size models.

The Grupo Huertas website still claims they have “the biggest chair in the world”, but unfortunately that’s a misnomer.

The Guinness Book of World Records has now awarded this illustrious title to a 30m tall Austrian competitor in St Florian.

Gulliver Park 2007 Puroticorico
If you’ve ever wondered where Gulliver ended up, the answer is in a Valencian park. Source: WikiMedia Commons

6. Gulliver goes to Valencia

Valencia’s dry river bed is home to an enormous sculpture of Gulliver, taken from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

It is an extremely popular play park for children, with all sorts of equipment, tunnels, slides, climbing frames and sculptures to keep the little ones entertained.

The sculpture itself depicts Gulliver lying down and measuring approximately 70m from head to toe.

It was built in 1990 in the center of Valencia.

The blue waters of Galicia’s Instagrammable Monte Neme are highly toxic. Source: Archives.

7. Poisonous lake in Galicia

The gorgeous blue waters of Monte Neme in Galicia became an Instagram sensation in 2019.

But this former tungsten mine owes its crystal clear waters to a mixture of heavy metals and toxins.

The lake is declared toxic and extremely dangerous for bathers, but nothing can stand between influencers and their influence it seems.

Heritage Area Cuenca Minera De Riotinto Nerva (8093504336)
The otherworldly landscapes created by centuries of gold, copper and iron mining have seen the Rio Tinto region dubbed “Mars on Earth.” Source: WikiMedia Commons.

8. Rio Tinto, Andalusia

The Rio Tinto (“Red River”) in Huelva, southern Spain, is considered the birthplace of the Iron and Copper Ages.

At least 5,000 years of human history are recorded in these mines, frequented by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Moors.

It’s now a favorite of NASA scientists exploring what life on Mars would be like.

The high iron content and acidity make the rivers unsuitable for swimming, but the long journey through the Sierra de Aracena and Aroche natural parks makes for a great natural adventure.

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If you don’t have a pot to p**s in, look no further. Source: Orinal Museum.

9. Chamber Pot Museum, Castile and Leon

Literally called the “Museum of the Urinal” (Museo del Orinal), this Spanish tourist attraction is quirky like no other.

In Ciudad Rodrigo, in western Spain, the museum is dedicated to the history of the chamber pot.

Yes, you read that right: pots that people have peed in.

Many of the pots are from the personal collection of a local resident, Jose Maria del Arco, which makes it a little weirder.

Since its opening in 2006, the Museo del Orinal has launched a new exhibition of “spitting pots” where people used to spit wine and tobacco.

A beautiful day of strange tourism in Spain.

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The House of God is no more – Santa Barbara in Llanera. Source: CordonPress.

10. Skatepark in a church, Asturias

Anyone who played too much Tony Hawk’s or Skateboarding as a kid will be happy to know there’s a skate park in a church in northern Spain.

To save Santa Barbara in Llanera from ruin, Red Bull sponsored a complete overhaul.

Graffiti artist Okuda San Miguel painted the interior multicolored, and now families can come watch over their children while praying that no one gets hurt.

Gulpiyuri
The “disappeared” beach of Gulpiyuri in Asturias. Source: WikiMedia Commons.

11. Gulpiyuri Beach, Asturias

Playa de Gulpiyuri is officially a flooded sinkhole.

At just 40m, it’s not only one of the shortest beaches in the world, but also one of the strangest in Spain.

This is because the waves break from both sides of the beach – from the Cantabrian Sea and from the flooded chasm inland.

It is a very popular tourist destination, although the water in the sinkhole can be a little cold!

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The Lovers or Teruel, side by side after 500 years. Source: WikiMedia Commons.

12. Lovers of Teruel, Aragon

Anyone visiting Teruel will know the famous Lovers of Teruel.

This Spanish tale of Romeo and Juliet is the story of two wealthy houses – la Marcilla and la Segura – and the troubled love of Juan de Marcilla and Isabel a Segura.

Diego’s family fell on hard times and Isabel’s father forbade the marriage, so Diego made a deal to seek his fortune within five years and win Isabel’s hand in marriage.

Diego returned, but arrived at Isabel’s forced marriage celebrations with another Don Pedro.

The Teruelite died of love-induced pains at Isabel’s feet, soon followed by Isabel.

The dead so affected Teruel that the bodies of Diego and Isabel were exhumed in 1560 and put on public display.

Yes, in the center of the Lovers of Teruel are coffins containing two corpses.

The story has led to art and music, but it’s still one of the weirdest exhibits in Spain.

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During the Bous a la Mar festivities, people try a bull to run and jump through the water with them. Source: WikiMedia Commons.

13. Bous a la Mar, Valencia and Alicante

Spain has many weird animal-related festivals.

Like the struggling horse (rapa of beasts) which takes place every year in Galicia.

One of the weirdest traditions takes place in various parts of Valencia and Alicante during the summer.

A bull or cow is let out into a stadium full of Valencians in swim shorts, who urge the bull to run towards them.

Inevitably, the humans and the bull end up in the sea where specially trained assistants guide the 500 kg animal to dry land.

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14. Two New Years in Berchules, Andalusia

The town of Berchules, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia, is suffering from power cuts.

During New Year’s Eve in late 1994, one of these blackouts completely ruined New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Residents therefore chose the most likely date when no power cuts would occur – in August.

Since then, Berchules has celebrated its “New Year’s Eve in August” and made it a Festival of Tourist Interest.

Every summer, the town of only 800 inhabitants welcomes thousands of people, who join in the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight and welcoming the Three Kings on horseback.

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