The 10 rural wonders of Spain

Summer is approaching and due to the circumstances that we all know we propose a different trip, instead of sun and beach or monumental cities, what better than to enjoy the peace and tranquility of those towns where it seems that time has stopped. Surely after having discovered them you decide to stay, and be one of those new settlers of empty Spain

1Bárcena Mayor (Cantabria)


In the Natural Park of Saja and Besaya is located Bárcena Mayor, a charming village where traditional mountain architecture stands out: two-story houses, the lower one with a doorway, the upper one with the typical balconies and roofs of flown eaves supported by beams.

Houses of Bárcena Mayor
Houses of Bárcena Mayor

Bárcena Mayor is located in the Saja Reserve, a unique natural environment full of oaks and beeches and where protected species such as the bear or the capercaillie still live. Its good conservation, its location and its rich gastronomy, led by the famous mountain stew and game meat, have made it one of the most visited towns in the region, as well as being part of the most beautiful villages in Spain.

Mountain type houses
Mountain type houses

2Castell de Guadalest (Alicante)


In the Marina Baixa we find Castell de Guadalest, with just 200 inhabitants, is one of the most visited villages in Alicante thanks to its landscape (a valley between the Sierras de la Aixortá and Aitana), its multitude of craft shops, museums and restaurants.

Guadalest
Guadalest

At the foot of the huge cliffs where its castle stands, the urban fabric starts from the square and winds through its cobbled streets full of craft shops, souvenirs and products of the area, which put a note of color to its whitewashed walls. Its proximity to coastal destinations such as Benidorm, Calpe or Altea leads to a tourist influx that has transformed this agricultural town into one of the towns with the most museums per inhabitant in Spain.

Guadalest Reservoir
Guadalest Reservoir

3La Alberca (Salamanca)


In the Sierra de Francia, south of the province of Salamanca, we find The Pool One of the most touristic places in the province for its unique beauty and its characteristic mountain architecture. A framework of granite and stone with exposed wooden beams, where each upper floor protrudes from the previous one.

Plaza Mayor de La Alberca
Plaza Mayor de La Alberca

The highlights of this town are the Plaza Mayor, the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (eighteenth century), which has an interesting polychrome granite pulpit, and its hermitages. But even so, it is best to walk its narrow streets to discover its original architecture.

Streets of La Alberca
Streets of La Alberca

4Frigiliana (Malaga)


6 kilometers from Nerja, we find the town of Frigiliana, also known as the most beautiful village in Andalusia. A clear example of the typical white village of the Costa del Sol that retains its original Moorish architecture.

Panoramic view of Frigiliana
Panoramic view of Frigiliana

Frigiliana is not a monumental town, but the town itself is the monument. It is divided into two zones. In the lower part, the one of recent construction, and as it goes up, the Moorish quarter, a labyrinth of streets, which retain their medieval appearance of narrow and steep streets.

Frigiliana
Frigiliana

5Chinchón (Madrid)


Chinchon is located about 40 km south of the capital, in the Shire of Las Vegas. Its historic center is declared a Historic-Artistic Site, and here we find its Plaza Mayor one of the most unique and beautiful in Spain.

Plaza Mayor Chinchón
Plaza Mayor Chinchón

It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages in the Community of Madrid, and a perfect day trip from the capital.

Plaza Mayor Chinchón
Square Mayor Chinchón

6Albarracín (Teruel)


Located on the hill of the Montes Universales we find the village of Albarracín, surrounded on one side by the Guadalaviar River and on the other by its walled enclosure that ends in the castle.

Albarracín
Albarracín

Little can be said about this picturesque village to express all its beauty. On the one hand the houses hanging towards the river, its steep and narrow streets and its popular architecture with a characteristic reddish tone.

Main Beach of Albarracín
Main Beach of Albarracín

7Guadeloupe (Cáceres)


Located in the region of Las Villuercas in Cáceres, we find Guadeloupe a town of cobbled streets and houses of traditional architecture that houses one of the most important monuments of Extremadura, the Sanctuary Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe, declared a World Heritage Site. It is a unique religious building, a mixture of Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles, whose construction has been developed throughout the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries.

Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Its old town is also worth it, especially the Barrio de Abajo, which is accessed by the Arch of Seville. Going down Calle Sevilla we find houses with the typical wooden arcades and sidewalks full of pots, which in spring are a spectacle of light and color.

Plaza de Santa María de Guadalupe
Plaza de Santa María de Guadalupe

8Mondoñedo (Lugo)


A few kilometers from the coast of the province of Lugo, in La Mariña, we find Mondoñedo. Head of region and episcopal see, even with just over 3,500 inhabitants.

Cathedral of Mondoñedo
Cathedral of Mondoñedo

Mondoñedo is a town full of history and heritage, surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Its cathedral, emblem of these lands, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2015 as a step on the Camino de Santiago.

Ponte do Pasatempo - Mondoñedo
Ponte do Pasatempo – Mondoñedo

9Cudillero (Asturias)


On the western coast of Asturias is located Cudillero, one of the most touristic fishing villages in Asturias. A town linked to fishing and that today lives by and for tourism.

Port of Cudillero
Port of Cudillero

This town stands out for the facades of its houses painted in bright colors and that hang down until they end at the port. To understand the photogenic of the place it is best to walk the route of the viewpoints, with names such as El paseo al faro, La Garita, La Atalaya, El Pico… and thus see a sea of houses below us and the Cantabrian Sea in the distance.

Viewpoints of Cudillero
Viewpoints of Cudillero

10Olite (Navarre)


In the middle area of Navarre, on the banks of the river Zidacos, we find Olite. Former capital of the Kingdom of Navarre, and whose Royal Palace had been known by the chronicles of the time as one of the most luxurious castles in Europe.

This town has recently become the wine capital of Navarre. The whole town has a clear medieval air, with important historical monuments and religious buildings that are still protected today by the remains of the old Roman wall.

Castle of Olite
Castle of Olite

And here we end our tour of 10 of the rural wonders. It is very difficult to condense all the beauty of the Spanish villages into just ten, so we hope you tell us in the comments what are for you the rural wonders we have in Spain.

Plaza Mayor of Olite
Plaza Mayor of Olite

Where to sleep

If you have dared to discover any of them, here is a list of the best accommodations you can find:

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Artículo publicado en rutasporespana.es/blog