Spain is home to some of Europe’s oldest and most charming towns, many of them dating back to the Middle Ages or before. From well-known gems like Toledo and Girona to sleepy villages tucked away far off the beaten path, these are a few of the best medieval towns to visit in Spain.
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The charming Catalan city of Girona, located about a hundred kilometers northeast of Barcelona, is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Spain. With more than 2000 years of history, visitors can explore the heritage of the city from its Roman foundations to the extension of the city walls that took place in medieval times. Highlights include the Jewish Quarter, the beautiful Cathedral built between the 11th and 18th centuries, the Medieval Quarter, the city walls, and Rambla de la Llibertat, the city’s main street that developed back in the 13th century as a center for commerce.
About seventy kilometers south of Madrid you’ll find the stunning city of Toledo. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, it’s known for its important history as one of Europe’s major cultural centers where, during the Middle Ages, Christians, Muslims, and Jews coexisted peacefully. A stroll through the cobblestoned streets of the old town will take you back in time as you navigate through the alleys and archways, past churches, monasteries, mosques, and the medieval townhomes of one of Spain’s most beautiful cities.
The walled medieval town of Pedraza is located about an hour’s drive from Madrid in the province of Segovia. It was once the place where important noblemen of the Middle Ages lived in large houses that can still be seen there today. Visiting Pedraza is like stepping into the pages of a history book. With less than 500 inhabitants and practically no modern buildings, it’s one of Spains best-preserved treasures. Pedraza Castle dates back to Roman times, with several fortifications made during the Middle Ages, and opens its doors to visitors year-round from Wednesday to Sunday.
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Albarracín might just be the most picturesque of Spain’s medieval villages. Perched atop a mountain about thirty minutes outside of the city of Teruel, it’s full of narrow, winding streets and medieval houses untouched by the modern world. During medieval times, Albarracín existed as an independent ministate known as the Sinyoría d’Albarrazín until it was later incorporated into the Kingdom of Aragon. Today, every corner of this uniquely beautiful mountaintop city has something to admire.
Located about eighty-five kilometers northwest of Burgos, Frías is a charming medieval town tucked away within the Montes Obarenes-San Zadornil Natural Park. With the beautiful Castle of Frías rising up above the city and the breathtaking natural surroundings, Frías gets its name as one of the most beautiful towns in Spain for good reason. This one-of-a-kind village has a population of just about three hundred inhabitants and is a popular tourist destination thanks to its impressive history. While it’s considered to be the smallest “city” in Spain, the history and charm of Frías more than make up for what it lacks in size.
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