Spain has a lot to offer beyond Madrid, Barcelona or Seville. There is much more to surprise the tourist in Spain than the imposing Alhambra, Gaudi's architecture or the Prado Museum's bicentennial. In this entry we will divulge places who are nothing short of a treasure, historic and cultural jewels unknown to the general public where you can go and disconnect from the routine while connecting with the locals, their way of life and their enjoyable traditions. We will tell the tale of places which year after year are recognized by a society named "The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain".
As in many other countries a great and ongoing debate exists in Spain with regards to the speeding-up of rural depopulation. There is more than 8,000 municipalities all throughout the country and most of them, due to the trend prioritizing public services and the massification of the big cities, are losing inhabitants, relevance and economic resources.
We in Spain Inside consider this situation to be a pity given that those unsung places are at the same time a big factor in our countries' image at the international level. We, however, prefer to picture the problem differently and seize the occasion to foster tourism in places where traditional lifestyles are still conserved along centenary gastronomy and a cultural heritage to be discovered away from the bulk of the tourists. What comes out of that? Marvelous villages full of history and culture for us to discover, villages who unite the perfect conditions for us to blend with the locals and take part in authentic adventures. Are you ready to discover villages whose traditions will embrace you in a unique manner?
"The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain" Society
Away from political affiliations this society was born in 2011 with the commendable aim of promoting places abrim with beauty, history and culture. The idea's origin is to be found in France and the success it garnered there made it expand through the likes of Spain, Italy, Japan, Canada and Belgium.
In order to belong to the society candidate villages must fulfill a series of heritage, environmental and cultural requirements and, of course, keep their traditions abreast. All these requirements result in just only 94 villages out of 8,000 having been able to inscribe themselves proudly and properly in the society these days.
Still, new villages are added to the society's network every year. In the following video 79 villages are recognized (because the remaining 15 were added in 2019 and thus did not figure when the video was made):
Where are the most beautiful villages found?
If dividing the territory in autonomous communities we find that most of the villages are in Castile, at the center and north-west of the country, with 23 appearances. The second spot goes to Andalusia, the biggest autonomous community, with 15 of the most beautiful villages. Last in the podium we find 13 villages representing Aragon, a community located between Catalonian and the Basque Country.
Where are the rest of villages found? 6 of them are at the north, in Cantabria, whereas 5 are at the east, in Valencia, and another 5 are at the west in the beautiful Estremadura. Yet 4 villages are in La Rioja and the communities of Galicia, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and Asturias harbor 3 apiece. Lastly, the Basque Country, Navarra, Catalonia and Madrid all have one.
How to enjoy these marvels?
One of the best ways to enjoy these marvels could be combining them with a trip around the most important cities countrywide with a varied result full of contrasts. Linking the famous destinations of Spain (Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia, Basque Country or Valencia) by using the catalogue of the "most beautiful villages" can be a great idea when we seek to escape from the big cities and the most common touristic routes.
Below we propose, as an example, our favourite villages from "The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain"...
Morella, Comunidad Valenciana
Pedraza, Castilla y León
Frías, Castilla y León
Santillana del Mar, Cantabria
And beyond this association
And even among the villages who didn't make it to the list there are some who enticed us and we could not help but recommend to you...