Secret Corners of Europe

Car trips allow us to reach more inaccessible places that otherwise wouldn´t perhaps be possible for us to discover. Goldcar suggests three secret corners of Spain, France and Italy to get lost in and to enjoy spectacular scenery.

Ribera Sacra, Spain

La Ribera Sacra, one of the best kept secrets of Galicia, is just an hour and a half drive from Santiago. A place that awakens all the senses, ideal for lovers of nature, art, food and wine. The River Sil is responsible for shaping this beautiful landscape, rich in culture and historic buildings with monasteries, churches and Romanesque monasteries scattered throughout the land.

On the slopes, between the steep cliffs that surround the route, you´ll find terraced vineyards from the Designation of Origin Ribeira Sacra. To contemplate the spectacular panorama of rugged canyons, go to Parada de Sil, the Balcones de Madrid viewpoint, from there the wives watched their husbands from leaving the capital.

A mandatory stop on the way is the Monastery of Santo Estevo, the most beautiful monument in the whole area, nestled in a beautiful forest of chestnut trees. Declared an Artistic and Historical Monument, today it is a wonderful hostel and a perfect place to stay and enjoy with a beautiful restaurant and a terrace offering exquisite views to the banks of the River Sil, its canyons and wooded slopes.

Cutigliano, Italy

Off the typical tourist route in Italy, 50 kilometers from Florence and 25km from Pistoia, in the middle region of Tuscany lies the medieval village of Cutigliano. One of the hidden and most picturesque villages and corners of Italy; where you can enjoy the gastronomy, nature, art and history. Recognised as one of the most beautiful “Borgos” (villages) in the country it boasts the orange flag of the Touring Club of Italy and retains many historic monuments well worth a visit. One good example is the Praetorian Palace, decorated with shields of the “Captains of the mountain” and the Church of the Madonna di Piazza with, at the front, an altar by Andrea della Robbia and the parish church, located at the end of a road full of pine trees. Leaving Cutigliano, nearby, you can visit the church of St. Bartholomew and see the seventeenth century Florentine painting inside.

The surroundings offer exciting places for mountain lovers including Doganaccia ski station and several hiking and nature trails that lead visitors to discover wonderful enclaves like Lake Scaffaiolo, il Melo, Pianosinatico, Pian di Novello and Sestaione.

Pont des Tuves, Montauroux, France

160 kilometers from Marseille in the French region of Alpes-Maritimes, inland and away from the coastal tourist area, you´ll find the town of Montauroux which houses one of the most picturesque treasures of France, the Pont des Tuves. On the River Siagne’s turquoise and crystal clear waters the bridge, built in 1802, connects the villages of Montauroux and St. Cezaire. A small paradise, calm and idyllic, a place for nature lovers to admire the river valley and enjoy a refreshing swim in its waters, suitable only for the bravest. Drivers will enjoy the road to Montauroux which runs along a road with spectacular scenery. Once there, the village is also worth a visit; It is a charming medieval village, built around the ruins of a castle, with narrow streets and stone houses. The village has several restaurants, serving typical local cuisine and traditional cafes, as well as a small church.