Spanish Villages: 6 Most Charming Places Waiting For You in Spain!

6 Most Charming Villages in Spain that Are Waiting For You!

Go village-hopping in Spain and bring home a slice of culture!

Image credit: MemoryCatcher

Think Spain and the usual fan favourite cities come to mind Gaudí’s legendary architectural marvels in Barcelona; the glamour and artistic energy in Madrid; and the golden beaches of San Sebastian. While these cities are go-to destinations that traditionally fly Spain’s flag high, there is so much more to this country that remains to be experienced and discovered — specifically speaking, Spanish villages. 

Away from the bustling metropolises scattered all across the country, Spain boasts over 20,000 charming villages and small towns, each as diverse and magical as the next. Much like Spanish cuisine, these villages are steeped in their own unique culture and history, packing their own individual ‘flavour’ as a result. The best part? Most of them are accessible from major cities and can be explored in a day! Here are our top six most dreamy villages in Spain you ought to explore the next time you decide to embark on an unforgettable tour of rural Spain. 

1. Frigiliana, Andalusia

spanish villages

Image credit: Manfred Zajac

Tucked away in the mountainside of Málaga, the ancient Andalusian village of Frigiliana is a quaint spot that has retained its original splendour over time. Its cobblestone streets pay homage to its Moorish roots, while the endless rows of whitewashed villas and labyrinth of alleyways bring to mind the charming Mediterranean town of Santorini. 

Hike up “El Fuerte” hill—the highest vantage point of the village—where you can enjoy unadulterated views of the Mediterranean sea. Alternatively, take a stroll through the shops selling local trinkets in the old quarter. During The Festival of Three Cultures, munch on traditional Arabic pastries; this celebration is an annual event commemorating the historic co-existence of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions!

Tip: The best way to get to Frigiliana is to rent a car from Málaga, which is less than an hour’s drive away.

2. Cudillero, Asturias

spanish villages

Image credit: javier alamo

There are few sights more postcard-worthy than Cudillero’s arc of colourful houses set against a backdrop of lush green hills by the bay. Fans of seafood are in luck too with the 15th century fishing village of Cudillero offering plenty of taverns serving fresh fish. 

Drop by the village harbour and watch the fishing boats drift in and out, or visit the lighthouse for panoramas of the dramatic Cabo Vidio coastline. If it’s peace and quiet you seek, there’s no better place to unwind with a book and glass of caña in hand than at Silence Beach (Playa del Silencio).

3. Albarracín, Teruel

Next on this list of Spanish villages is Albarracín; this enthralling place was voted the most beautiful village in Spain in a 2018 survey by newspaper El País! 

Also a medieval village in hilly Aragon, Albarracín unsurprisingly exudes so much appeal to both locals and tourists alike. Its charm lies in its intoxicating blend of Moorish and Catholic influences, with both the Gothic Catedral del Salvador and the ruins of an alcazar (Moorish castle) located within the same neighbourhood. 

A walk through the medieval cobblestone streets and within city walls will instantly take you back in time. Be sure to check out the prehistoric cave paintings at Albarracín Cultural Park, which are among the first to be discovered in Spain and are now listed as a World Heritage site.

Also read: 3 Cities to Discover the Islamic Heritage in Moorish Spain

Tip: If you happen to be in Madrid, this hidden gem is less than four hours away by car. Home to hundreds of boulders, it is also a popular bouldering spot.

4. Montefrio, Granada

spanish villages

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If you’re a fan of castles, Montefrio should be on your bucket list. This dreamy white Andalusian village in east Granada is home to perhaps the most spectacular castle panorama in all of Spain. Perched atop the highest point in Montefrio are the ruins of a former Moorish castle, which overlooks the whitewashed houses below. 

If you’re looking for an added reason to visit this village, Montefrio made it to National Geographic’s 2015 list of top 10 villages with the best views! Small as it may be, the village has two churches worth exploring: Iglesia de la Villa, which was built on a former Nasrid Castle, and Iglesia de la Encarnación, which is modelled after the Pantheon in Rome and is the only round church in Spain. When it comes to off-the-beaten-track destinations in Spain, there are few places more worthy of your time than Montefrio. 

Tip: For the best view of Montefrio and the castle, the ‘Mirador National Geographic’ frame is an undisputed spot for a photo op.

5. Setenil de las Bodegas, Cádiz

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This is the only time when you can say that real inhabitants of a village are ‘living under a rock’. Much of Setenil de las Bodegas in southwestern Spain was built into rock overhangs, resulting in buildings that seem to be emerging from under the cliffs. In fact, a key attraction of Setenil is its streets festooned with large boulders looming overhead. How cool would it be to walk in such unique alleys? 

Getting a sunburn will be the least of your worries as you embark on a delicious tapas tour along Calle Cuevas del Sol, which is decked with a rock roof hovering over one’s head. Locals even got around to storing their produce in large storerooms constructed under these rocks. This is in fact how the village got the second part of its name of bodegas, which means warehouses. Hungry for more? Don’t miss the meat products like chorizo and cerdo, which are obtained from pigs raised in the hills!

6. Rupit, Catalonia

spanish villages

Image credit: Héctor J. Rivas

If you think you’ve stumbled into a Disney movie set, we can’t blame you. Easily accessible in under two hours by car from Barcelona (most of the journey is via highway), Rupit is a mesmerising town with cobblestone pathways and little balconies adorned with potted flowers. Marvel at how well-kept the stone houses that line the streets are, given that they go back to the 16th and 17th centuries. If you’re up for a walk, a 30-minute stroll will bring you to Salt de Sallent, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Spain that cascades over 100 metres. Who knew that a walk through a quaint 16th-century village would lead to such a majestic sight?

Step into villages with stories to tell

The allure of Spanish villages comes from the fact that each of them has a story to tell, with scenic surprises awaiting you at every corner. From the seaside to rocky mountains, these villages are testaments of how the Spanish live their lives – full of colour, wholesomeness, and unique quirks. By exploring them on your next visit to Spain, you’ll partake in a slice of their culture and take home a piece of their vibrancy as well!

Also read: 8D7N Itinerary Around Spain: Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid

For more information about Spain, visit Spain Tourism’s official website.


Brought to you by the Spain Tourism Board. 

About Author

Shawn Tan
Shawn Tan

Shawn believes that travel is a state of mind. Whether it is winding through the bustling medinas of Marrakech or the morning ritual of brewing coffee, travelling to him is all about being lost in the moment.

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