Chinchón, Trujillo, Guadalupe, Santillana del Mar, Potes, Almagro, Atienza, Pastrana, Lerma, Carmona… These are some of Spain’s most charming villages, visited by many travellers throughout the year seeking natural attractions and beautiful architecture, and peace and tranquillity. Francisco Mestre is chairman of the Federation of The Most Beautiful Villages of the World. He says that for some time they’ve been observing that the countryside is valued more and more. “In our villages, travellers find the values that slow travel is all about: authenticity, natural environment, gastronomy and folklore.”
Mestre is also President of The Most Beautiful Villages of Spain (www.lospueblosmasbonitosdeespana.org/es), a quality label that also covers critical tourism criteria like beauty and accessibility. The hundred or so Spanish villages awarded the label meet a variety of minimum quality requirements including cleanliness, well-kept façades, traffic (and parking provision), upkeep of flower beds and green areas, display of logos and posters.
These villages are especially attractive for travellers who “want to escape the urban lifestyle and discover a traditional way of life,” says Mestre. “Their unique attraction is based on beauty and heritage,” aspects that can be enjoyed all year round, and this “helps reduce seasonality.”
As well as a shared commitment to sustainability, these towns offer a range of resources suited to slow travel, such as organically grown produce, experiences in the natural environment, traditional customs, and slow food.”
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