If you prefer not being a conventional tourist and you've always liked seeing how things are made first-hand, we have several ideas for you to get to know some of Spain's traditions. The following areas are part of the Spanish Industrial Tourism Network. All offer highly entertaining visits, routes and activities.

A Coruña. Are you a sea dog?

To feel like a sailor, sign up to some of the boat trips where the captain explains mussel harvesting. Once on land, there is always a show to see at the fish and seafood market or spend a day with the shellfish gatherers to see how they weave a net. If you get a taste for the sailing world, you should know that in A Coruña you can still see how a handmade wooden boat is made. Head to towns such as Boiro or Ferrol that even have their own Naval Construction Route.

Alicante. Shall we play?

Here's a plan if you are travelling with children. The Hoya de Castalla region is famous for its toy-making tradition. You can visit a toy factory in the town of Onil. Just a few kilometres away, located in an old station in Denia, is the delightful Toy Museum. Sailboats, wooden kitchens or forts with cowboys and Indians will delight the young ones. And for parents we suggest a trip to Elche (with show museums and shops) and Elda with its Footwear Museum and ‘Factory Store'. This is the ideal spot for combining shopping with industrial tourism.  

Almadén Mining Park. Put your helmet on

Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and footwear to discover the inside of a mine in Almadén, Ciudad Real. Here is an overview of how your trip to the area should go – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You will start off in the Visitor Centre and then head to the old workshops and turrets of the wells and the Mining Information Centre. Then, it's time to head down 50 metres in a mining cage. The tour on foot is done in an authentic mine that operated in the 16th and 17th centuries. You will need to wear a helmet and lamp. To make your way out, you will take a wagon train and, once outside, discover other spots including the Mercury Museum.  

Cadiz. A little tuna and a pinch of salt

We promise that the world of red tuna and the traditional tunny fishing technique are fascinating. See for yourself aboard a fishing vessel. There are four National Parks in Cadiz. There are salt flats that have operated since Roman times in the Bay of Cadiz. Here you can try the fish cooked over wood and samphire embers (salt flora that give it a very special taste).  

Murcia. Routes through mines, trains and furnaces

Before moving on to the routes, we suggest a very interesting stop-off: the Naval Museum in Cartagena with its ‘Peral submarine'. Isaac Peral was born in Cartagena, the inventor of the first torpedo submarine. Coming back to the routes, you can choose from the following: a tour through the Mining Park of La Unión (4,000 square metres of visitable galleries 80-metres deep), a route along the Segura River to visit a preserve company and buy tasty vegetables and jams (if you like, you can preserve your own tomatoes), the Railway Route in Águilas and the Route through the old furnaces in Molina de Segura, today dotted with sculptures by local artists.  

Segovia. Factories fit for a king

There is no need to get dressed up to visit the Royal Mint, but you will pleased to know it was founded by the famous king, Felipe II. Today it is also home to the Aqueduct Visitor Centre. The factory is the oldest example of industrial architecture still existing in Spain. Another option is to visit the Royal Glass Factory, at La Granja de San Ildefonso, which offers dramatized trips in June and July. It is home to the National Glass Centre. It is one of the most emblematic buildings in Europe and houses demonstrations of glass blowing.  

A different side to Seville

We recommend three special trips. Firstly, the Carthusian Monastery of Seville, which is open to private visitors wishing to discover the history and process of making crockery. Secondly, the hat industry in the town of Salteras (there is machinery and modelling dating back 125 years. There are currently only 10 factories of this kind in the world). Lastly, Morón Lime Museum where ‘limers' will guide you around the kilns.

Toledo. They are not windmills, Sancho, they are giants

This is what famous literary character Don Quixote de la Mancha believed. If you are headed to Toledo, you can visit these famous windmills in towns such as Consuegra. A delightful way to discover the region's traditions is to head to the Saffron Museum (in Madridejos), the Embroidery Museum (in Lagartera), the Ruiz de Luna Museum dedicated to ceramics (in Talavera de la Reina) or the different specialised shops in Toledo making swords (can you imagine buying a replica of a sword from ‘Lord of the Rings'?).  

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