World Tourism Organization Best Tourism Villages in Spain for 2023
Spain is renowned for its quaint and often historic villages and three of them have achieved a coveted spot on the UNWTO list of Best Tourism Villages. Cantavieja, Oñati, and Sigüenza all feature unique cultural heritages and stand tall as models of sustainable tourism. Read on to find out more about these lovely villages and what they have to offer travelers.
Cantavieja, Teruel, Aragon one of the Best Tourism Villages in Spain for 2023Cantavieja stands on a steep rocky outcrop and is the historic capital of Alto Maestrazgo. The village is steeped in history including its medieval and Aragonese legacy. This legacy has been preserved with a wealth of monuments that earned the village the title of a historical-artistic site since 1981.
Meanwhile, the historic quarter of the village has a Property of Cultural Interest designation. The buildings in the quarter feature ancient hermitages, the Levantine-Gothic Church of San Miguel, the ruins of a castle from the Carlist War and the ancient Baroque hospital of San Roque.Moreover, days can be enjoyed hiking or mountain biking in the beautiful countryside while enjoying panoramic views over the Aragonese landscape. While visiting Catavieja, travelers can immerse themselves in the local culture while staying in traditional rural accommodations. Among them are Casa Vidal, Hostal La Tarayuela, Casa Sara and 40 de Mayo. For evening meals, travelers can enjoy traditional local cuisine in family-owned restaurants.
Oñati in Pais Vasco (Basque Country), SpainOñati nestles in the green and lush landscapes of Spain’s country and dates back to medieval times. Meanwhile, the town’s name translates to “place with plenty of hills,” which perfectly describes its surroundings. Oñati has always been a center for learning and faith and hosts one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful university buildings.
It also features the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, a church filled with art by renowned artists Jorge Oteiza, Eduardo Chillida and Nestor Basterretxea. Among its historical buildings are the Renaissance Oñati Sancti Spiritus University, the hospice of Bidaurreta, a 16th-century monastery and the Gothic church of San Miguel with its stunning Baroque tower.Adventurous visitors can explore the surrounding hills by bike or on foot, following the trails in the majestic Aizkorri-Aratz National Park with its mountains and wildlife. Meanwhile, visitors can stay in the charming hotels and hostels in the town which truly reflect the warm hospitality of the region.
Beautiful Sigüenza in Castilla-La Mancha, SpainLocated in Castilla-La Mancha, Sigüenza’s history extends to the Roman colony of Segontia. In fact, this ancient town bears a rich history. The Roman, Visigothic, Moorish and Castilian influences can clearly be seen in the town’s architecture.
Meanwhile, Sigüenza was declared a Historic Artistic Site in 1965 and for good reason. The village features a stunning Gothic cathedral, which hosts an original El Greco painting. Moreover, the town hosts the 12th-century Church of St. James and an ancient castle dating back to the 5th century AD. Moreover, the town hosts the University of Sigüenza and many historic churches, monasteries and other religious buildings.Visitors can also explore the beautiful landscapes surrounding Sigüenza, with many hiking and biking opportunities. When hungry, the town hosts many restaurants set in historical buildings. As for accommodation, the town offers many welcoming and homely “casas rurales.” Alternatively, guests can stay in luxury at the Parador de Sigüenza, a hotel set in an authentic 12th-century castle.
Read more about the World Tourism Organization’s choices for the Best Tourism Villages in 2023 on the official website here.