17 unique destinations not to be missed.
Spain is full of charming villages, especially in rural areas. These postcard places encourage you to get lost in their small streets, discover their architectural treasures and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and traditions of their people. With more than 8,000 towns, it would be impossible to name them all, but this list contains 17 of the most beautiful places, one for each region.
Laguardia, Basque Country
This medieval village is in the centre of the Rioja Alavesa and was one of the most important defensive bastions of the former Kingdom of Navarre. It is located on a small hill and is surrounded by a large wall which protected the city centuries ago. Laguardia maintains the typical urban style of medieval villages and has three long and narrow main roads passing from the north to the south of the village. These roads are connected by small streets and plazas. It also has several bodegas and cellars where some of the most famous wines from the region are made.
Fornalutx, Balearic Islands
Located between Puig Mayor, the highest peak of the Sierra Tramontana, and Sóller, this Mallorcan village is one of the most visited on the island. It is a peaceful place that is as close to forests and mountains as it is to the sea. The estuary of the Torrent de na Mora is one of the ways to the sea from Fornalutx. The urban layout is striking because of its typical Mallorcan mountain houses, the conservation of certain buildings with architecture from the Middle Ages and its peculiar painted tiles.
Located in Lugo (Galicia), this village is part of the Northern Way that goes to Santiago de Compostela. It is admired above all for its impressive historic centre, officially designated in 1985. Its most outstanding monument is the Cathedral-Basilica of La Asunción, although on a visit to Mondoñedo we also recommend visiting the Antiguo Consistorio (former Town Hall); the Real Seminario Conciliar de Santa Catalina, a former seminary; Fuente Vieja, and the district of Os Muiños. Don’t leave without trying the famous tarta de Mondoñedo, a cake of puff pastry, sponge cake, syrup, pumpkin jam and almonds.
Located among the mountains, Torazo has just 100 inhabitants. In 2008, this village won the Premio al Pueblo Ejemplar de Asturias (Exemplary Village of Asturias Award) and reflects the tradition of Principality. Its rural architecture provides the opportunity to see old raised granaries (typical buildings used to conserve food and keep it away from animals), while the San Martín el Real Church, which is notable for its height, provides incredible views of the village’s natural surroundings.
It is a pleasure to walk around this mountain village in the Val d'Aran (in Lleida, Catalonia) and discover the charm of its stone houses with slate roofs and wooden balconies decorated with flowers or covered with snow in winter. One of its most important sights is the 12th century church of Sant Fèlix. It also has other curious attractions such as the highest-altitude cheesemakers in the Pyrenees, and the Eth Corrau Museum, with more than 2,500 traditional utensils and other items. One kilometre from the village, the country chapel of Santa Margalida is also worth a visit.
Caravaca de la Cruz, Murcia
Considered to be one of the five Holy Cities in the world, Caravaca is a favourite destination of pilgrims. It has one of the best ensembles of religious architecture in the Region of Murcia, most notably the El Salvador Church, which was declared a historic and artistic monument. The cultural attraction is completed with the La Soledad Church, the current location of the Archaeology Museum, the Carmelite Convent and the Church of the Holy Conception. The Jubilee Year of Caravaca is celebrated here every seven years.
Sajazarra, la Rioja
This small Rioja village is located in the Rioja Alta, where the Aguanal and Ea rivers meet. Surrounded by a landscape of vineyards, Sajazarra was a former walled city during the 12th and 13th centuries and one of its four city gates is still preserved today. It is located between the church and the town hall. It also has one of the most beautiful and best-preserved castles in the region, as well as several baroque houses.
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