PEOPLE in Spain have lived few and far between for decades, even before its rural areas were plunged into a depopulation crisis.
This devastating social process saw thousands of youngsters flee the villages they had been raised in for the bright lights of Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao.
But this inevitable demographic hemorrhage has now been supplanted by another crisis – the coronavirus pandemic.
As the death toll of humanity’s biggest health emergency this century continues to rise, the reality of Spanish cities on army lockdown has come to dominate daily life.
Yet many villages and small rural towns in Spain are already accustomed to an existence of splendid isolation.
Since the dark days of General Franco and the economic crisis, the necessities of the modern world have remained far away for millions of Spaniards out in the campo.
According to Spain’s Ministry for Territorial Policy, 90% of the country’s population is squeezed into just 1,500 towns and cities, which occupy just 30% of the land, while in some areas the population density is less than that of Siberia.
We decided to take a look at these last rural bastions of hope, which are managing to largely stave off the threat of Covid-19 – and of course none of them are the big cities:
Aragon has a total of 281 cases with Zaragoza being the worst affected region with 224 cases and 14 deaths.
Huesca 24 – deaths unknown
Huesca is a great attraction for the mountainous region of the Pyrenees, its national parks and for the Camino de Santiago route. Visit for skiing, adventure sports or even its wine route to enjoy the terrain with a tipple.
Andalucia has 1,008 cases in total. Malaga is the worst affected province with 361 cases and 13 deaths.
Huelva 23 – 0 deaths
Sitting on the Atlantic Ocean, Huelva offers extensive beaches and seaside towns on the Costa la Luz, the coastline eventually reaching the Donana National , a World Heritage Reserve. Visit for its multicultural history as according to latest findings, Huelva is one of the oldest settlements in the west.
Almeria 37 – 0 deaths
Cadiz 84 – 0 deaths
Jaen 87 – 2 deaths
The Balearic Islands has 203 cases. Mallorca has the most cases and four deaths.
Ibiza 20 – Deaths unknown
Menorca 11 – Deaths unknown
Formentera is known for its sandy white beaches and crystal clear waters. Its history can be traced back over 4,000 years from the Romans to the Greeks and Byzantines. Visit for beach coves, panoramic views and maybe a spot of snorkelling in the pristine waters.
The Canary Islands have 287 cases. Tenerife has the most cases with 192 cases and 3 deaths.
El Hierro 1 – 0 deaths
El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands with a diverse landscape ranging from volcanic, mountainous terrain to pine forests. Visit for the architecture of Cesar Manrique on the Mirador 700 metres high, its quaint village and natural pools.
Lanzarote 3 – 0 deaths
La Gomera 3 – 0 deaths
La Palma 7 – 0 deaths
Fuerteventura 12 – 0 deaths
Gran Canaria 70 – 1 death
Cantabria has 83 cases and one reported death.
Castilla la Mancha has 801 cases in total. Toledo is the worst affected province at 293 cases and 14 deaths.
Cuenca 72 – 4 deaths
Castilla y Leon has 868 cases in total. Burgos is the worst affected region with 187 cases and eight deaths.
Palencia 14 – 0 deaths
Palencia is known for its Romanesque monuments and has been declared as a place of Cultural Interest, those walking the Camino de Santiago may pass through this province, visit for its many architectural influences along with its mountainous landscapes.
Zamora 31 – 1 deaths
Soria 58 – 5 deaths
Avila 59 – 2 deaths
Extremadura has 241 cases. Caceres is the worst hit province with 164 cases and nine deaths.
Badajoz 77 – 0 deaths
Galicia has 453 cases in total. A Coruña is the worst affected region with 222 cases and three deaths.
Lugo 36 – 0 deaths
Lugo preserves its Roman history including its ancient wall, declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Visit for an array of architecture in the old town, Lugo’s winding narrow streets, historic buildings and Romanesque and Gothic cathedral.
Ourense 46 – 0 deaths
The Valencian Community has 921 cases. Valencia is the worst affected province with 522 cases and 12 deaths.
Teruel 27 – 1 death
Teruel highlights the native Mudejar architecture of Spain and is drenched in the history of Muslim and Jewish heritage. The province is also famous for the Battle of Teruel during the Civil war. Visit here to explore the preserved castles and landscapes.
Castellon 59 – 1 death
The remaining provinces all have at least 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus.