‘Escaping the crowds’ is one of those classic travel phrases, right up there with 'off the beaten track'. For good reason, too.
Most of us would probably rather, given the choice, escape the crowds. Seclusion and exclusivity are generally preferable to feeling like part of the herd. We want special, unique experiences, we want to know secrets, and we want some blessed space. That last one feels especially true for anyone living in a chokka city like London.
It's not always that simple, though. Real Holidays has been promoting the little-known Spanish region of Matarraña for the past year, and part of the appeal – along with real beauty and excellent hotels – is that you won't see many other tourists. There are no official figures, but estimates during the past decade have been as low as one thousand international tourists per year. Compare that to Catalonia, not far north, which has just announced it received close to 19 million visitors from abroad in 2016.
There are numerous mitigating factors. Catalonia is 35 times bigger than Matarraña for one thing, and only the former can boast Barcelona, FC Barcelona, seaside beaches, direct flights, Benicassim music festival and El Celler de Can Roca, a regular winner of the World's Best Restaurants list, among other lures. These USPs go a long way to explaining why Catalonia has a much bigger presence in the UK consciousness
Even so, the disparity in numbers is startling, and puzzling. Matarraña is – trust us – divine, but it just doesn't flicker on most holidaymakers' radars. Not that we're complaining; it's always nice to escape those crowds, after all.Contact us to find out about stays at Mas de la Serra or La Torre del Visco in Spain's Matarrana region.