A holiday in rural Spain
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Experience rural Spain on your next holiday

Monfrague National Park
Parque de Monfragüe
Home - Travel Articles - Extremadura - Andalucia

Spain offers a variety of destinations, ranging from the green and lush north, the dry and arid interior and its gorgeous, sandy coastlines. While many of the most popular destinations are fascinating and enjoyable, such as Madrid, Barcelona, the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol, it can be a truly rewarding experience to visit the rural and less-touched areas of Spain. Here you can stay among beautiful landscapes in unique accommodations. The following are two ideal areas of the country to enjoy nature, true peace, relaxation and beauty.

1. Monfragüe National Park, Cáceres

This Spanish National Park is renowned for its bird life and lies between Trujillo, Plasencia and the city of Cáceres in the Cáceres province of Extremadura. Set in the central area of the country, here can be seen the best preserved and largest Mediterranean forest in the world, nestled among hills and including oak forests and Mediterranean flora, dotted with pretty streams and rivers. Due to the streams, rivers and reservoirs in the area, the park offers a rich and fascinating variety of plant and animal life.
Vulture in Monfrague National Park
Photo by Jose Antonio Cotallo López on Flickr

Among the birdlife, the largest colony of Black Vulture in the world can be found in the park, with more than 200 pairs and Monfragüe also has the highest concentration of the rare Imperial Eagles in the world at 10 pairs. Other birds of prey of note include the Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon. It is also one of very few habitats where the iconic Iberian lynx still thrives.

The existence of man from days gone by can be found in the Castillo Cave of Monfragüe and its cave paintings. The cave stands above the Tajo River in a rocky area. Also of interest is the Puente del Cardenal bridge and the traditional, unspoiled village of Villarreal de San Carlos. The village stands at the entrance to the park and features a visitor centre where people can find out more about the natural value of the park and a number of enjoyable walking routes to the most emblematic areas of the Biosphere Reserve.
Palacio Carvajal Giron, Plasencia
Palacio Carvajal Girón in Plasencia Booking.com

Some of the best places to stay when visiting Monfragüe include the Hospederia Parque de Monfragüe, a comfortable hostel, and the Palacio Viejo de las Corchuelas, a bed & breakfast in an old palace. Both accommodations are approximately 6-7 km from the park’s entrance. For a luxurious stay in Spain, consider the Palacio Carvajal Girón in Plasencia, Cáceres, an upscale hotel set in a palatial 16th-century building with a restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools and a tapas bar, 22 km from the park.

2. The Alpujarras and the Sierra Nevada

The Alpujarras is a natural region in Andalucia, southern Spain and spreads over the slopes of the Sierra Nevada and the nearby valley. The name comes from the Arab “al-bugscharra” which translates to “land of grass.” The area is placed across the borders of the Granada and Almeria provinces and offers beautiful, scenic landscapes.
Panoramic view of the Alpujarras
Photo of the Alpujarras by Ramiro Ramirez on Flickr

A visit to the area is ideal in spring and autumn, when temperatures are more moderate, allowing visitors to explore the many hiking paths and routes in comfort. Spring, especially, is beautiful, with the many yellow and purple wild flowers in bloom all over the area.

Dating from the Moorish occupation, there are a number of quaint and traditional white villages (pueblos blancos) in the area. The villages seem to hang on the hillsides and are built in the Berber style, with narrow, cobblestoned streets and white homes, offering balconies full of colour with their bougainvillea and geraniums.
Typical white village in the Alpujarras
Photo of the Alpujarras by joan ggk on Wikimedia Commons

One place well worth the visit is the town of Lanjarón, which is famous for its thermal springs and wellness tourism. The town is also known for the natural spring mineral water of the same name, available in any supermarket. Lanjarón is the closest of the Alpujarran towns to Granada (a 49-km drive away), with all its many attractions, but has its own interesting locations to visit, including the Water Museum. There are many shops in the town selling the iconic “Jamón de Lanjarón,” delicious cured ham and one of the most popular items in the Spanish food scene.
Nuevo Palas, hotel in Lanjaron in the Alpujarras
Photo Nuevo Palas on Booking.com

Among the recommended places to stay in the area are the traditionally decorated apartments at Alojamiento Rural El Brazal, located 1.5 km from Lanjarón. The property is ideally located for exploring the Alpujarras and for skiing in the Sierra Nevada. For those who prefer a hotel, Nuevo Palas is located in the centre of Lanjarón. The property offers a terrace and swimming pool with panoramic views over the nearby mountains (pictured above).

Make a plan to have a rural holiday in Spain on your next visit. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, the traditional towns, beautiful accommodations and delicious local cuisine.


Travel Articles - Home - Extremadura - Andalucia