Sometimes we need to take a break and find places to get away for a weekend and disconnect from it all. A beautiful landscape, far from the capitals and with outstanding monuments that take us to another era. Castles, hermitages, forests… the perfect opportunity to put aside stress and exchange it for peace.
There are many places to get lost in Spain and enjoy a pleasant break. In the Ujué mountain range, specifically in the Ribera de Navarra, is located this beautiful village that serves as a viewpoint of the Pyrenees. Ujué preserves its medieval character, with its picturesque old town. The church-fortress of Santa María de Ujué stands out, with its Gothic nave and surrounded by crenellated towers. Inside we can see one of the most striking façades of the Navarrese Gothic. To the north of the temple is an area known as Castillazo, where the ruins of the Carlos II University are located, as well as old fortifications.
This is an example of great value as far as medieval villas are concerned. A labyrinthine route that ascends the hill that includes the town of Ujué. On the facades of the houses there are still noble coats of arms and majestic doorways. As for the origins of this town, the first testimonies that have been found are from the Roman period. However, the town originated as a fortress to combat the advance of Islam some time later, between the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 9th.
We recommend tasting a dish characteristic of Ujué, the migas. So much so that in September the Migas Festival is celebrated in the village; where other typical products can also be tasted.
In the province of Granada is the municipality of Moclín, for some unknown. Located in the region of La Loja, Moclín borders other municipalities such as Colomera, Montillana, Pinos Puente, Íllora and Atarfe, as well as the municipality of Alcalá la Real, located in Jaén. It is one of the places for a weekend getaway from which to travel to other towns, as it is only 30 km from the Alhambra or the famous Albaicín quarter.
Moclín is the capital of the municipality to which it belongs, although it is the fifth largest in terms of population. It has a total of seven towns with their own treasures, perfect for a route by car on Saturday and Sunday.
Crowning the fortified municipality is the castle of Moclín, which dates from the Nasrid era. This 14th century fortress is part of two enclosures. On the one hand, that of the town itself which is surrounded by a masonry wall. On the other hand, the citadel or castle as such. At over 1,000 metres above sea level; it was a fundamental part of the process of controlling access between the Vega de Granada and Alcalá la Real; which took place after the signing of the Jaén Agreement.
In the Natural Park of the Sierra y los Cañones de Guara is the village of Alquézar, located in the Somontano region and near the Sobrarbe. On one side, it is the river Vero. It is a medieval village in which stands majestically the collegiate church of Santa Maria de Alquézar. It is an old castle with a large structure. This fortress was built to defend the town from the Christian kingdoms of Sobrarbe and Barbastro. Thus, the collegiate church has been declared a National Monument and the medieval old town is recognized as a Historic-Artistic Site.
Without a doubt, visiting the collegiate church of Santa Maria is a must. The current temple dates from the 16th century and has a single nave. In its interior there is a carving of the Christ of Lecina with its articulated arms. Its large organ is also remarkable. As one of the corners to get lost from Friday to Sunday; it is necessary to reserve a morning to make the descent of the river Vero. This is done thanks to some hanging footbridges on its cliffs. During the route you can see waterfalls, the Sierra de Guara canyon and the Picamartillo cave. A sample of rich active tourism that can be done in Huesca.
Surrounded by the forests of the Natural Park of Las Batuecas and the Sierra de Francia we can find the town of Mogarraz, in the province of Salamanca. Known in the area for the quality of its handicrafts; Mogarraz maintains intact its medieval architecture and charm of past times. One of our places to disappear during the weekend, although it would be convenient to complete the getaway with the beautiful municipality of La Alberca. If you want to take advantage of the daily hustle and bustle, this is your place. The whole town has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest.
The municipality is divided into charming passages and alleys, with its mountain houses accompanying the picture, some with up to four floors. However, what most amazes those who visit the town are the portraits displayed on the facades of the houses. The story dates back to the end of the 1960s. A local of Mogarraz portrayed all his neighbors so that they would have their ID cards validated. Later, in 2008, the local artist Florencio Maíllo transformed that photographic archive into an art gallery. Today, almost 400 works are distributed in the streets of Mogarraz.
More monuments and attractions to see are the Church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, the Fountain of the Humilladero; and the Cross of the Jews (17th century structure), among others.
In the north of the province of Castellón is the municipality of Morella behind a huge wall. Its impressive castle at the top of the town, its more than 10 towers and two kilometres of wall form a landscape that has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site.
Therefore, a visit to the castle is a must. It is accessed through the Convent of San Francisco. Once inside, in the Plaza de Armas you can enjoy panoramic views of Morella surrounded by mountains. Another of the spaces you can see in the castle is the Governor’s Palace, a room in a cave where you can learn about the history of the town and the fortress itself through an exhibition.
You should also not miss the Church of Santa Maria, in Gothic style. On its façade, the Puerta de los Apóstoles and the Puerta de las Vírgenes coexist. It is worth mentioning its three rose windows decorated with original stained glass from the well-known 14th century Valencian school. The Morella aqueduct is another of the monuments to be seen in the town. Thursdays and Sundays are market days, so you can try out different local products and recipes.
Valverde de los Arroyos, Guadalajara
If you are looking for a calm weekend, one of the best places is Valverde de los Arroyos, in Guadalajara. This is a town characterized by the dark stone of its architecture in which slate is used. Valverde de los Arroyos is the main town but there is also another interesting town to visit: Zarzuela de Galve. Nearby are the waterfalls of the Chorreras de Despeñalagua, with an impressive drop: 120 meters high.
Our recommendation is to make a route through the Black Villages of Guadalajara and to spend the night in the one you want. Besides, it is the perfect excuse to discover the most typical gastronomy of the black villages.
Liérganes is a municipality that seems to have been taken from a fairy tale, the place where the legend of the Fish Man was born. A statue commemorates the protagonist of this story under the main bridge of Liérganes. Hiking lovers can also take advantage and reconnect with nature by taking the route of the popularly called “Tetas de Liérganes“, although its original name is “Picos de Busampiro”. The Picos or Tetas are formed by two peaks close together, as can be seen in the mountain landscape where Liérganes is located.
The getaway can be completed by visiting the surrounding villages, such as Pámanes and its Palace of Elsedo, Rubalcaba and its Cross of Rubalcaba or La Rañada and the Palace of Cuesta Mercadillo.
In Liérganes you can walk around the old town, catalogued as a Historic-Artistic Site; and enjoy the houses and balconies full of colourful flowers. On the outskirts of the town, you must see the Church of San Pedro Ad Víncula. This church has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest.
Elantxobe, Basque Country
In Biscay we find the coastal town of Elantxobe. It is in the shadow of two cliffs and the western slope of Cape Ogoño. A town full of contrasting landscapes where you can walk around the beautiful fishing port. The steep and narrow streets of Elanchove invite you to discover its secrets and hidden viewpoints. The Church of San Nicolás de Bari stands out, in honour of the patron saint of sailors. As part of this proposal of places to get lost, you can visit the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, one of the most important natural areas in the Basque Country. If you come in summer, it is essential to visit the natural pools of Elantxobe.
Text: María Jesús Colombo