Castillian culture by car
You’ll need to go off the beaten track to get a taste of the ‘real’, authentic Spain. Spain has been ranked top in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 that compared the environment, infrastructure, policy and natural and cultural resources of 136 countries.
Spain is rated as having the second-best cultural offering in the world, so we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite, not-so-famous towns and pueblos (villages). Read on to discover a side of Spain rarely experienced by tourists where city-dwellers spend holidays with family, or check out the Guide to traveling in Spain.
60km outside of Córdoba, Lucena is a melting pot of Renaissance and Gothic architecture. Annual processions and festivals are held for the town’s patron saint, María Santísima de Araceli. Take a tour of the fortress and former prison Castillo del Moral, or watch the sun go down atop olive groves and vineyards.
La Alberca, Salamanca
La Alberca is an 18th Century Village with National Heritage Historic status. Cobbled streets lead to the social hub – a town square surrounded by pillared porches. Situated in the Sierra de Francia, fields and farmland surround the dwelling. Visit La Asunción church which dates back to the 1700s to check out the gilded copper processional cross and a Juan de Juni representation of the crucifixion.
The Aragonese town of Calaceite hosts a market in its main square ‘Plaza de España’ every Wednesday. Historical highlights include the 400 year old town hall, fountains and a well. Within a kilometre of Calaceite, you can find the charming small towns of San Antonio and Tossal Redó.
Jeréz de los Caballeros, Badajoz
Not to be confused with Jeréz de la Frontera in Andalusia, Jeréz de los Caballeros in Extremadura overlooks the River Ardila. It is set amongst the Brovales and Valuengo wetlands and oak forests. Check out Visigoth church Santa Maria de la Encarnación and Gothic Iglesia de San Bartolomé. If you’re feeling peckish, tuck into local dishes including pestiños de miel (honey-covered fritters) and caldereta (casserole).
Pampaneira’s Berber origins live on in its architecture and the design of its streets and houses. The village is home to just 340 inhabitants and offers traditional weaving workshops and sells artisanal goods made by the locals. Take a picturesque stroll by the Poqueira Gorge, or look around the village Parish church, built upon a mosque.
For more information on traveling in Spain, download our free guide.