One of the most relaxing holidays I have had was when I visited Chinorlet in Alicante (province of Valencia) in Spain. This was also one of the vacations where I have spent the least amount of money. The groceries and alcohol in Spain is cheap and I know to take advantage of a good deal.
Secluded village charm
The charm of villages such as Chinorlet and Pinoso in Spain is the authentic simple every day, yet vibrant cultural life you have the opportunity to explore and live while visiting. On our journey to Chinorlet in 2014, our very charming and bubbly housekeeper drove us around to nearby villages, big cities and even took us to her home place Elda for a party. When she said party, we assumed a gathering of over aged people in someone’s home drinking alcoholic beverages until the end of the night. Instead, it was a party for young and elder out on the streets celebrating a virgin. The focus was the good conversation, the making of gachamiga and the excellent food. No one except for our friend spoke English, but we had a great time learning a lot about Spanish food tradition while drinking cold and sweet red wine (a new favorite!).
Make the most of public transportation
A long stay anywhere remote will probably become boring at some point. Get on the bus, the public transportation offer in Spain is ridiculously good as for getting around, and visit other areas. It is affordable, reliable (to an extent) and efficient. Even as godforsaken, as Chinorlet seemed, we were able to travel to Pinoso, Monòver, Valencia as well as Alicante. The only barrier we had to break was putting our faith into the bus schedules.
Village vacations vs. a city break
Time passes slowly in the village and thus probably gives you the feeling you get more vacation time. There is no a bundle of shops in villages so you avoid the hustle and bustle associated with the shop-till-you-drop you (I) feel you have to do on holiday. Generally, the locals in the villages seem less tense (and possibly nicer to tourists) than those who live in large towns and you will most likely feel like you are being well taken care for both the convenience store, restaurant, as well as in the neighborhood.
Visit a large city in the area
A city break in the midst of the village vacation will probably do you good and add to your holiday experience. You can either rent a car at the nearest airport/city or take the local bus. You need be able to use either your mouth or body language; the bus schedule often hangs in a window some smart place you did not think to look for, and chances are high that it does not let you in on where the actual bus stop is. This is when the local restaurant owner comes in handy.
Explore the local food
Maybe you are one of those that are always looking for local food, or you always find yourself ending up at non-local kitchens (i.e. Asian) on your vacations. Spanish food made from scratch is in my opinion some of the best food you can have on a plate and it is well worth visiting at least a few local restaurants while traveling in Spain. Visiting smaller local bodegas in Spain, the possibility is high that you get a good meal with a modest price tag. My favorite tapas: fried or boiled chorizo, Spanish omelet, dates with bacon, meatballs in tomato sauce, (olive) tapenade and of course bread with aioli. While in Alicante I also discovered an appreciation for paella!