Spaniards just voted the small town of Albarracín, in the hills of Aragon, their country’s most beautiful village in a recent survey in the newspaper El País. Albarracín beat out 249 other towns with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants in a vote of nearly 5,000 people that took place between September 28 and October 2, 2018.
Located about a three-and-a-half-hour drive east of Madrid, the ancient walled town of Albarracín is built on the hills above the Guadalaviar River and is home to some 1,000 people.
While the area around Albarracín has been inhabited for centuries (cave paintings have been found nearby), the town gets its name from the Berber dynasty that settled here—the Banu Razin—sometime around the 9th century and is best known for its beautifully preserved medieval city center. After centuries of Muslim rule, the town was peacefully passed back to the Roman Catholics in the 12th century, so the town has a Gothic cathedral in addition to the ruins of a Moorish alcázar.
If coastal fishing villages are more of your thing, Cudillero in Asturias came in second place in the vote. About a 30-minute drive west of Gijón, Cudillero is known for its colorful houses and hillside location right on the northern coast of Spain.
Rounding out the top five most beautiful villages in the country are Santillana del Mar in Cantabria, Ainsa near the French border in Aragon, and La Alberca just south of Salamanca. For more travel inspiration, see the full list of villages that were nominated and the rest of the top 30 in El País.
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