DESPITE the heatwave of mid-August finally subsiding after forcing the mercury above 40ºC, many people in Spain are still dreaming of cooler climes.
While Spain’s northwestern corner has escaped the brunt of the high temperatures, there are more options than a trip to Galicia or Asturias to find a respite from the scorching sun.
The place in Spain that has officially been declared the town with the lowest temperatures during summer is actually located in rural Teruel province in east-central Spain, roughly halfway between Madrid and Valencia as the crow flies.
Griegos, located in the Sierra de Albarracin at an altitude of 1,604 metres above sea level it is the second highest town in Spain after Valdelinares, a town about two hours drive east within the same province that stands 91 metres higher in the Sierra de Gúdar.
But according to Viajar magazine, Griegos is officially the town with the lowest temperatures in summer, when the thermometer can drop to 0ºC even in August, and a duvet is most definitely required.
It can drop to -15ºC on winter nights but averages a cool 8ºC over the course of the year.
To those in the scorched plains of central Spain or humid south scorching in the first heatwave of the year, that probably sounds blissful.
But don’t all rush there at once.
Griegos has little tourist accommodation within the village itself, except a private home offered for rental on Booking.com although on the outskirts of the town surrounded by pine trees, you will find an albergue with basic hostel-style accommodation.
And there’s isn’t an awful lot to do in the town, except visit the Butterfly house or the 16th century church of San Pedro, but if you want to enjoy the cooler temperatures and beautiful walks through nature there are countless hiking paths through the unspoilt woods and alongside steams in the surrounding hills.
Visitors can be sure of dining well at the town’s only restaurant, El Paladar de Aragon.
Close by you must also visit the capital of the local mountain range Albarracin itself. This gem of a town has been voted one of the most beautiful villages of Spain and it is not hard to see why.
Almost totally unspoilt it counts on a stunning hillside location in a green, leafy valley and with a wonderful collection of stone houses, palaces and churches.
It has a far better collection of places to stay, including the excellent Hospederia de Batan, which sits nearby in its own valley with breathtaking local scenery and a Michelin-star restaurant to boot (the only one in Teruel province).
In the heart of town a great choice of restaurant is Senorio de Albarracin which has a surprisingly interesting and creative menu, with plenty of good wines as well.
Back in Griegos, the town has recently launched an appeal to attract young families as its numbers have dwindled to just 130 residents over recent years.
The town, like countless others within Teruel province of Aragon, suffers from dwindling population after decades of generations abandoned rural life for opportunities in the cities.
The town council is currently offering young families a free house and a job to encourage them to relocate in a bid to stop the town dying out and the local school closing.
For those suffering in the heatwave elsewhere in Spain this week, that sounds like a tempting offer.
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