Discover Spain's 12 most charming rural villages
One of the best things about Spain is how changeable its landscapes, cultures and customs are throughout the country. So, practically anywhere in the country, you can find a place nearby where you can escape to and enjoy the open air and nature, discover new corners full of charm and discover the history and cultural legacy of the country's different towns and villages. Each with its own traditions, architecture, gastronomy and personality. Small rural paradises where you can find what the big cities don't offer: rest, tranquillity, proximity... Today we will look at 12 of these rural villages in Spain that we should get to know in order to get a small sample of all that our land has to offer.. 12 rural destinations to visit at your leisure, soak up the atmosphere and feel at home.
Haro (La Rioja)
As it could not be otherwise, we begin our review of some of the most charming rural destinations in Spain from home. There are many charming villages in La Rioja We could have included in this list, but to keep to just one, today we are going to talk about the most charming villages in Spain. Haro. If you want to get to know the influence that wine has on this land, there is nothing better than the example of Haro, a town that lives by and for wine. In addition, Haro has a very rich historical and monumental heritage, with its palaces, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, standing out.
Haro Town Hall. Author: juantiagues
As if this were not enough, just a 10-minute drive from Haro you will find the Museum Vivanco of Wine Culture, the the best wine museum in the world according to the World Tourism Organization-UN. More than 4,000 square metres of art, history and wine tradition. A key place to immerse yourself in the Wine Culture.
2. Albarracín (Teruel)
We continue this journey in Teruel, on the banks of the river Guadalaviar where, surrounded by high walls built on the top of the Montes Universales, we find the medieval jewel of Albarracín. A visit to the Alcazar of AlbarracínThe Cathedral, the Mansion of the Monterde family or the Casa Julianeta. A National Monument recognised with the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts.
3. Bubión (Granada)
We now move south to the province of Granada, more specifically to the Alpujarra town of Bubión. A perfect place to discover the typical architecture of the region, characterised by its white houses without roofs. One of the most typical postcards of La Alpujarra. Nestled in the Poqueira Valleyat the foot of Sierra Nevada and the majestic peak MulhacénThis pretty and welcoming village is located in the foothills of the majestic peak. A perfect place to discover some of the most typical dishes of the Alpujarra's gastronomy, such as "olla gitana" or "ajo tostao", or to relax by taking a walk along one of the many hiking trails that run through the mountains.
4. La Alberca (Salamanca)
La Alberca is, without a doubt, another of the most beautiful villages in Spain. To reach it we have to travel up the steep slopes of the Peña de Francia. Much of the beauty of the village lies in the architecture of the houses typical of the sierra in this area: built of stone and supported by wooden structures, a material also used to form the characteristic balconies of these buildings, often filled with ornamental flowers. La Alberca is an ideal spot from which to explore the nature in the Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia Nature Reserve and to enjoy the hearty gastronomy of the sierra. It is essential to try the sausages local dishes and the "patatas meneás".
Photo: Turol Jones
5. Chinchón (Madrid)
Less than 50 kilometres from the country's capital, in the region of Las Vegas, we find Chinchón, a small town that stands out for the beauty of its historic quarter. It is no coincidence that this town was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1974. Particularly noteworthy in this area is its beautiful Plaza MayorThe town's beautiful medieval houses, which date back to the Middle Ages and are easily recognisable by their balconies and galleries. It is undoubtedly one of the prettiest villages in the centre of the country, although King Alfonso XII granted it the title of city in his time.
6. Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz)
We return to the south, this time to the province of Cadiz, to visit the beautiful town of Vejer de la Frontera. On the banks of the Barbate river, on the top of a hill, we find this typical Andalusian village, characterised by the whiteness of its houses that fill all its streets with light. Its walled historic quarter, in which its churches and castle stand out, earned it the declaration of Historic-Artistic Site in 1976. Its rich gastronomy and the closeness of the El Palmar" beach are other great attractions for visitors to Vejer de la Frontera.
7. Guadalupe (Cáceres)
Extremadura is one of the best regions in Spain for the practice of rural tourism: nature, history, culture and an enviable gastronomy are the perfect ingredients that will accompany us on any trip we undertake in this land. To mention just one place, on this occasion we would like to mention the beautiful village of Guadalupe, in the province of Cáceres. A visit to the impressive Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupebuilt in honour of the Virgin between the 13th and 18th centuries and declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1993, is well worth the trip to this beautiful village in itself. Once we have fed our spirits, we cannot fail to try the also impressive Guadalupe spicy blood sausage.
Photo: Santiago lopez-pastor
8. Laguardia (Álava)
Returning to the northern part of the peninsula, we now stop in Álava to visit the small town of Laguardia, located in the Rioja Alavesa. Like Haro, in La Rioja, Laguardia is in an unbeatable area for wine tourism and rural tourism. wine tourism and rural tourism. Laguardia is a town where you can still breathe the medieval air of its origins. Proof of this is the impressive 13th century wall that protects the town centre. The Church of Santa María de los Reyes and the Casa de la Primicia are some of the outstanding monuments on this visit.
9. Mojácar (Almería)
Back in Andalusia, we continue our journey through some of the most beautiful and charming villages of the country in the province of Almeria. We do it to approach Mojácar, a village located on the top of a hill, strategic enclave for the civilizations that inhabited these lands in ancient times: Muslims, Carthaginians, Phoenicians... All of them have left their mark in this enigmatic region. A perfect place, Mojácar, from where you can explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park or the beautiful spot of Tabernas DesertThe perfect place, Mojácar, just 30 kilometres from the city of Almería.
10. Hondarribia (Basque Country)
Heading north again, this time we move on to the province of Guipúzcoa. Our destination now is the town of Hondarribia, at the mouth of the Bidasoa River and only 20 kilometres from San Sebastian. only 20 kilometres from San Sebastian. A stroll through its steep streets, admire the colourful fishermen's houses, visit the port and enjoy the area's rich gastronomy, where freshly caught fish such as anchovies, horse mackerel, tuna and hake take centre stage.
11. Cudillero (Asturias)
From Hondarribia we move westwards along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea to Asturias, to stop in the small fishing village of Cudillero. This is another of the undisputed towns on the main lists of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Its most characteristic postcard is that of the entrance of the sea in its portThe houses are placed one on top of the other on the mountain in the form of an amphitheatre, as if they were getting ready to watch the arrival of the boats. Cliffs, dreamlike beaches, landscaped palaces and luxurious houses of indianos. The local people will accompany us on our walks around the village.
12. Cadaqués (Girona)
And from the Cantabrian Sea, we jump directly to the Mediterranean to close our review of some of the 12 most charming rural villages in Spain. We are now in the province of Girona. On this occasion, we visit the pretty village of Cadaqués, in the comarca of Alt EmpordàIt is situated at the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, about an hour's drive from the French border. Its spectacular landscapes and Mediterranean climate make Cadaqués one of the most beautiful and pleasant towns in the country. A visit to its historic centre is a must, where you can see the Church of Santa Mariathe Castle of Sant Jaume or the marvellous House-Museum Salvador Dalí. The latter will take us back to the times when the genius of Figueras lived and worked in the village, attracting to it great contemporary artists such as Federico García Lorca, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.
Anyone who knows a little about our country will know that any list of 12, 50 or 100 charming rural villages in Spain will leave out many corners of our geography that are well worth discovering. Let's take this as a simple suggestion. 12 starting points for our next route. And, fortunately, our land is a true paradise where there is no shortage of rural tourism destinations.