19 Mar, 2024 @ 12:07
4 mins read

These are the 10 best rural destinations in Spain for 2024 – as they battle it out to be crowned number one

THESE are the best rural destinations in Spain battling it out to be crowned the best of the bunch. 

Escapada Rural, the biggest database of rural accommodation in Spain and Portugal has organised the vote for the eighth year running. 

Last year, Campo Lameiro, near Pontevedra, was granted first place, followed by Bocairent, Valencia and Candeleda, Avila. 

In this year’s edition, a host of new hamlets, towns and villages have made the cut from all over Spain. 

The voting is now open until April 15 and just three days later, the winner will be announced. 

Altura-Castellon 

The waterways of Altura give the town a unique cultural history. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Altura/Facebook

In the heart of the Parque Natural de la Sierra Calderona, Altura is full of both natural and manmade attractions. 

Enjoy a stroll through its many aqueducts, bridges, waterfalls and the Via Verde de Ojos Negros to really take in your surroundings. 

The walled area of the town is also worth discovering, declared a place of cultural interest thanks to its historic doorways, religious monuments and stunning Plaza Mayor. 

READ MORE: This stunning beach in Spain is ‘one of the most magical places in the world’- according to Richard Branson

Artajona-Navarra

Artajona’s impressive medieval fort draws visitors. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Artajona

This picturesque town is found on top of a hill surrounded by an impressive medieval fort. 

It is home to a range of eighteenth century palaces and many religious monuments, including a gothic church. 

Also famous in the area are the Dolmenes de Artajona, a hiking area punctuated by stones once believed to have been part of a bronze age town. 

Brihuega-Guadalajara

Brihuega is known nationwide for its stunning lavender festival. Photo: Festival de Lavanda/Facebook

The rolling hills of Brihuega hide many gardens, orchards and delights to discover, earning the area the name ‘The Garden of Alcarria’. 

Found in the river Tajuña valley, the town still has its 12th century wall, with emblematic gates leading to the old town. 

The ‘casco antiguo’ is home to many churches and impressive 18th century buildings like the town hall, old jail and textile factory. 

The natural surroundings of Brihuega are also great for hikes or cycle rides but the highlight is the annual lavender festival. 

Not just about the flowers, the festival takes place at the end of June every year as the town becomes a purple paradise, also hosting a live concert and other events. 

READ MORE: The Spanish waterfalls that will transport you to Costa Rica 

Cabezuela del Valle- Caceres 

Hikers will love traversing the rivers and streams of Cabezuela del Valle. Photo: Turismo del Valle Jerte

Although Extremadura is often overlooked by tourists, this region found just above Andalucia is full of hidden gems like Cabezuela del Valle. 

Some 500 metres above sea level, the medieval town is part of the Jerte Valley, home to many rivers and waterways including The Garganta de los Infiernos, an unusual and captivating river perfect for a walk. 

Visitors can also explore the old town of this peaceful area, perfect for a restful weekend. 

Competa- Malaga

The hillside town of Competa is known for its enchanting streets and natural surroundings. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Competa

Many of the prettiest towns in Spain are found in Malaga province, including Frigiliana, Nerja and Mijas. 

But Competa, Axarquia is now getting the recognition it deserves. 

Near the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama, the town has privileged natural surroundings perfect for hiking. 

Its roman origins can be seen in the central square, alongside the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora and the Paseo de las Tradiciones. 

It also has interesting museums, including an art museum and another dedicated to local traditions. 

Competa is most famous for its ‘Noche de Vino’ or ‘Wine Night’ held on the 15th of August. 

The festival was originally held to say goodbye to those going away for the bottling season and locals still enjoy many glasses of wine and plenty of food to celebrate the tradition. 

READ MORE: Must-visit: These 5 ‘low-cost’ escapes all within an hour from Madrid – according to a leading Spanish newspaper

Enciso- La Rioja

Enciso is great for families thanks to its theme parks and dino walks. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Enciso/Facebook

A Palentologist’s dream holiday, Enciso is home to a paleontology museum, a theme park and various trials dedicated to the dinosaurs that once roamed La Rioja. 

The area’s rich history is also evident in the castles, towers and churches surrounding the town. 

Not only this, Enciso has many natural wonders like the thermal baths in Arnedillo, the bridge walk at Yacimiento La Virgen del Campo and the railway route at La Lombrera. 

Peñafiel-Valladolid 

This unique square attracts many visitors to Peñafiel. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Peñafiel/Facebook

On the border of Valladolid, Segovia and Burgos lies Peñafiel, a town with a history dating back to prehistoric times. 

However, the town as we know it today did not come into being until the 10th century, when its famous castle was built. 

The ramshackle balconies and buildings in Peñafiel’s main square, Plaza del Coso, will transport you straight into a Disney film. 

The area is also known for its various festivals and bull runs, which take place in the Duraton and Botijas valleys.  

The countryside is also great for walking, especially alongside the Duero river. 

Sant Hilari Sacalm- Girona

Not just for summer, Galicia looks beautiful under a carpet of snow too. Photo: Ayuntamiento Sant Hilari Sacalm/Facebook

Also known as the town of 100 fountains, Santi Hilari Sacalm has over 100 streams feeding the surrounding forest and river. 

You can see the influence of the nearby waterways clearly in the town, with its rural cortijos, church and Font Vella spa. 

The town is also famous for its live reenactment of the stations of cross, which takes place every Easter and has been declared a festival of national interest. 

READ MORE: The rural towns you should visit in Spain- according to your star sign

Santa Eulalia de Oscos- Asturias

The rivers around Santa Eulalia are a great spot for kayaking. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Santa Eulalia de Oscos/Facebook

This 16th century town has only 600 inhabitants but is still full of history. 

Like many Spanish towns, it is not short on historic churches and a visit to Casona de la Pruida, a stately home, will certainly be a day well spent. 

The area is also surrounded by green fields punctuated by enchanting stone buildings. 

Vilaflor- Santa Cruz de Tenerife 

Vilaflor is one of Spain’s highest towns. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Vilaflor/Facebook

Away from the typical tourist haunts of Tenerife, lies Vilaflor, a quiet, rural town known for its natural beauty.

It is found in the Parque Natural de la Corona Forestal with hundreds of pine trees, impressive rock formations and mountain views. 

Some 1400 metres above sea level, the idyllic town has plenty of miradors, squares, centuries old streets and buildings to explore. 

Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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