While visiting Spain don’t miss the opportunity to visit the “authentic” Spain—the villages. Not as famous or showy as cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Sevilla it would be a shame to miss out on getting a taste of village life when visiting Spain.
The villages are the essence of life from a day gone by. It is like pulling back the curtains of time and seeing how life was 100, 200 or even 500 years ago in Spain. Life is slower in the villages and, except for a few modern conveniences, many of these places have barely been touched by the march of time.
The beauty of Spain is that most villages have an artisan craft or local dish that is exclusive to that village. Artisan skills and recipes have been passed from one generation to the next.
There are 1000’s of villages to visit in Spain, but here are a list of villages that I find worthy of a visit:
Ayllon: A medieval village within 1-½ hours from Madrid. What may seem like a sleepy village now, actually has centuries of fascinating history. To help you delve into the history and the characters of the past who put their stamp on this town, the tourism office offers guided theatrical tours throughout the city streets. These tours show pinnacle moments in the history of the town from the 13th century until present day. The tour, led by a guide, lasts almost two hours with six theatrical scenes.
Brihuega: The quiet little village Brihuega in the province of Guadalajara is teeming in history. From medieval history with the first Gothic church in Spain to 16th century Royal cloth factory that gave jobs to 1000 workers, to Moorish caves you can immerse yourself in Spanish history.
Arenas de San Pedro: Arenas of San Pedro is a town chalk full of history and colourful historic figures. Be sure to visit the castle at Arenas de San Pedro and learn the stories of the people who lived there.
Guadalupe: Guadalupe is a quaint village perched on top of a mountain in the province of Extremadura. The main draw to the town is the massive Monastery that was built and added to over centuries. But the town has much to offer on its own merit. This is a side trip well worth taking.
Niebla: Niebla in Huelva is an example of a small village that packs a punch. Walking through its streets will take you back over 3000 years. From the Phoenicians onward, seven different cultures put their mark on the town of Niebla. It also became famous for being the 1st European city to use gun power in the face of an enemy. Put Niebla on your “must see” list when you go to Southern Spain.
I am not able to narrow down my favourite village in Girona, I actually have three favourites—although honestly I am still just scratching the surface. Besalu, Castellfollit de Roca and Peratallada are all completely unique from each other, but each has a special charm.
About the author
Kimberly is a Canadian who has been living in Spain for over 15 years. She spends her free weekends and vacations with her family getting to know her adopted country.
Her blog, www.travellingaroundspain.com is all about helping you discover the best of what Spain has to offer.
Along with many of the top tourist attractions, she also includes some of the smaller, but equally as interesting off-the-beaten-path villages, side streets or attractions.