Spain has many unexpected villages that you wouldn’t find in a tourist guidebook. Don’t worry though because we’ve narrowed down the best medieval villages for you. If you feel like living in a fairy tale, check out our recommendations!
1. Sigüenza, Guadalajara
This is the best medieval village that Guadalajara has to offer. During the Middle Ages, Siguenza played a defense role. It’s something that is still evident today in the city walls and castle. The main attractions you should visit are: El Dondel, Plazuela de la Cárcel and the Siguenza Cathedral.
2. Buitrago del Lozoya, Madrid
Split into several zones, Buitrago del Lozoya is an enclosed region with walled grounds and two suburbs: San Juan and Andarrío. Buitrago has one of the best preserved Arab defense systems in Spain. Some sites worth checking out are: the Church of Santa María del Castillo and the Buitrago del Lozoya Hospital, which was founded by the Marquis of Santillana in the 15th century.
3. Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa
Situated at the mouth of the Bidasoa River, Hondarribia is a medieval and marine village in the northeast of the Gipuzkoa region. Its proximity to the French coast was of great historical importance. There are plenty of palaces, noble houses, castles (San Telmo and Carlos V) and squares waiting to be discovered!
4. Pals, Girona
It seems that time hasn’t touched the narrow stone streets, arched steps and delicate flowers of this small town of Pals. From the 14th-15th centuries, this medieval town in Catalonia experienced a peasant revolt that resulted in a civil war against Joan II. The castle was nearly destroyed, and some stones were taken to rebuild the Church of St. Peter and the town walls.
5. Peñafiel, Valladolid
This town nestled in the Ribera del Duero is known for its rich gastronomy, where wine and suckling pigs are the highlights. You cannot miss the Penafiel Castle, which sits on a hill overlooking the village. There’s also the well-known Plaza del Coso square and the Clock Tower — all must-see things!
6. Olite, Navarre
This charming old town features the Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite, a Gothic castle-palace built during the 15th century by the king of Navarre. Today, it’s a magical place to experience the Festival of Classic Theater.
7. Arévalo, Avila
Famous for its cobblestone streets and squares, Arevalo is a city with historical artistic value. The most impressive thing to see is the Arevalo Castle, also known as Castillo de los Zuniga. The castle features rooms decorated in 15th-century style. Also worth checking out is the Cereal Museum, which features an exhibition of the history of cereal and machinery.
8. Sepúlveda, Segovia
Sepulveda is also known as the village of the Seven Gates because of the large number of gates enclosing the town. You should consider taking a stroll through the Segovian town to explore the churches, square and landscape. The Duraton River and the valley that runs alongside it is a view you cannot miss. Other highlights of this town include El Salvador Church, which was built in the 11th century in Romanesque style.
9. Frías, Burgos
For being one of the Spanish towns with the fewest residents (just 282), Frias has a lot of history. It used to belong to the kingdom of Navarre under Alfonso VIII. The king decided to repopulate the town in an effort to turn it into a commercial and defensive center. The stone streets are steep, but don’t let that discourage you because there’s the amazing castle of the Duke of Frias to visit.
10. Tossa de Mar, Girona
Tossa de Mar is one of the few remaining examples of a fortified medieval town on the Catalan coast. The town was walled off in the 12th century to defend itself against pirate attacks. In addition to the beaches and the three towers, we suggest strolling down the narrow streets lined with popular stone houses.
Feeling inspired to take a trip to any of these wonderful villages?