Discover ten of the most beautiful mountain villages in Spain

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FROM whitewashed pueblos clinging to rocky cliffs in Andalucia to golden stone villages nestled in verdant, hidden valleys in Asturias, Spain’s hilltop settlements are some of the most beautiful the country has to offer.

They offer a tantalizing glimpse of old Spain, many untouched by the ravages of unchecked development that have ravaged parts of the Spanish coast.

Spring is a wonderful time of year to explore these spectacular towns and villages as temperatures begin to rise but before the full blast of summer heat.

Not only are each of the pueblos we’re spotlighting worth a trip in their own right, but their spectacular surroundings are perfect for hillwalking for the more active among us.

Tahull, Lleida

Tahull, Lleida. Photo: Flickr

The most outstanding feature of this village is its Romanesque architecture. Two of its churches, San Clemente and Santa Maria, have been declared World Heritage Sites and attract thousands of tourists every year. The apse of San Clemente de Tahull is one of the most important jewels of the Bohi Valley, a place with the highest concentration of Romanesque art in Europe.

Illueca, Zaragoza

Illueca Zaragoza 2 Web
Illueca, Zaragoza. Photo: Flickr

The city where Pope Luna (Benedict XIII) was born in 1328 – regarded by the Catholic Church as the anti-Pope – is teeming with art around every corner. It is dominated by its most famous monument: Pope Luna’s Buda Castle. This huge building, whose construction began in the 14th century, is a Renaissance palace with Italian influences, the interior of which is a masterpiece of Baroque Mudéjar stucco work. The village is an excellent destination as it offers beautiful natural surroundings for hiking, both along the banks of the Aranda River and around the Sierra de la Virgen, a beautiful mountain range that is part of the Iberian system.

Candelario, Salamanca

Candelario Salamanca2 Web
Candelario, Salamanca. Photo: Flickr

It may not be well known among foreign tourists, but Candelario is justifiably famous among Spaniards. Located at an altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level, its sandstone buildings are characteristic of the region, with wide stone walls, large wooden balconies and the famous batipuertas – an additional half door protecting the house. The town was named after the Sierra de Candelario, a nature reserve surrounding the municipality. It was declared a biosphere reserve by Unesco in 2006

Huetre, Caceres

Huetre Caceres 2 Web
Huetre, Caceres. Photo: Flickr

This small hamlet in Extremadura is surrounded by high mountains, with agricultural terraces many hundreds of years old. It lures hikers to take long walks through the spectacular countryside. One of the most famous routes is the Maja Robledo path, which is a perfect walk to discover the breathtaking views of the countryside and the view of the village itself.

Cudillero, Asturias

Cudillero Asturias 3 web
Cudillero, Asturias. Photo: Flickr

This is a mountain village with a difference – it’s actually on the coast! Traditionally it has been – and still is – one of the most important fishing ports on the Cantabrian Sea, but despite its elevation, which is almost sea level, we think it qualifies as a mountain pueblo. The houses fall down steep slopes giving the community a real mountain feel, with the Asturian architecture enhancing the mountain atmosphere. The result is a landscape with great sea views in one direction, while the Asturian mountains provide a picturesque backdrop.

Lanjaron, Granada

Lanjaron Granada 2 Web
Lanjaron, Granada. Photo: Flickr

The Alpujarra region of Granada’s Sierra Nevada is home to many charming white villages. Perhaps the most famous is the large spa town of Lanjaron. This city is world famous for the healthy properties of its water and is located at an altitude of 659 meters. Visitors can enjoy its thermal baths and gastronomy, as well as enjoy the “genteel” atmosphere.

Alquezar, Huesca

Alquezar
Alquezar, Huesca. Photo: Flickr

Founded in the 9th century, Alquezar is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Huesca. It is located on the right bank of the Vero River and part of its municipal area is occupied by the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park. It owes its name to the castle built to defend the access to Barbitania – a district of al-Andalus that stretched over the north-western area of ​​today’s province of Huesca – al-Qasr.

Ronda, Malaga

Ronda Malaga Web
Ronda, Malaga. Photo: Flickr

The Andalusian city made famous by the works of Ernest Hemingway is rightly internationally renowned for its spectacular beauty that dominates the Sierra de Ronda. It is divided into two distinct parts by the Tajo Gorge: the “new” town – dating back to the 15th century – and the old town, of Muslim origin. Both are connected by the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), which was completed in 1793. Ancient palaces and Renaissance architecture, as well as remnants from the Islamic era, can be found at every corner of this maze of picturesque streets and alleyways.

Ochagavia, Navarre

Ochagavia Navarre 2 Web
Ochagavia, Navarre. Photo: Flickr

The Arduña River flows through this small village in the heart of the Salazar Valley in the Pyrenees. The historic stone bridge is a landmark and the streets are full of medieval palaces and facades decorated with coats of arms. The architecture is typical of the Spanish Pyrenees, although it is not far from the French border.

Buitrago de Lozoya, Madrid

Buitrago De Lozoya Madrid Web
Buitrago de Lozoya, Madrid. Photo: Flickr

Located in the Sierra de Guadarrama – an hour’s drive from Madrid – this village has several points of interest that awarded it the status of Historic-Artistic Site and Cultural Interest in 1993. From the ancient walls to Mendoza Castle and from the Clock Tower to the Church of Santa Maria del Castillo, there are many enchanting and striking nooks and crannies to explore.

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