We’re fortunate in Cantabria to have endless beautiful villages, several of which are Pueblos Más Bonitos de España. This long weekend, we decided to check out some more of these villages, but down in the province of Segovia.
We actually started our journey staying overnight en route at the AC Area in Aranda de Duero, Burgos – a good area essentially in a car park next to the Duero, quiet but the services are pretty dirty.
After a walk around town (which is a little tight for campers!) and up to the Romanesque church in the sunshine, we drove along the Duratón gorges for a short walk to the Iglesia de San Frutos. The parking area for this lovely walk is along a 4km unsurfaced track, which we certainly rattled and rolled along to get there! The church, cemetery and necropolis are located high up on a meander on the Duratón river with vultures circling all around (excellent spot for bird watching), it’s a popular visitor’s spot, and definitely worth a visit. We decided to stop here for lunch and a siesta too, with lovely views over the the snow capped Sierra de Guadarrama in the distance.
We then headed for our overnight stop – at another beautiful village, Pedraza. This completely walled town is not somewhere you’d want to actually park inside with a camper, the only entrance is through the thin main gate in the wall, but we’d heard of a good parking area on the outskirts of Pedraza at the Casa del Aguila Imperial (closed at this time of year which was a pity). Indeed, a good, flat car park next to a peculiar aqueduct with several other ACs and campers overnight.
On walking up to the village, we reassured ourselves that the evening is definitely the best time to visit such beautiful medieval villages – the lighting, the atmosphere, and the lack of coach parties! We were very happy to find that weekend was a local pincho competition between the bars of the village, and enjoyed some top quality pinchos in some lovely atmospheric bars, along with the locals by the fireside. It was a lovely lovely evening, we were very taken with the town – definitely a good place to spend a night.
After a good night’s sleep we didn’t head up to the town again, but instead decided to have a very crisp little morning stroll up past the Casa del Aguila Imperial along a marked path for a fabulous view across to the town, taking in the full length of its walls and castle at the end – a good send off.
We then decided to head off and explore, starting with a little detour to the Romanesque Ermita de la Virgen de las Vegas near the village of Requijada – with a lovely painted portico (and by the looks of it, more inside). Then we headed off to our first castle of the day, there are many to choose from in the area, but Turégano was going to be first on our list.
Turégano castle towers over the town and its main square, where we stopped for a drink later on, and is interesting to visit. Plenty of space to park on the grass behind the castle, and ruins to explore even if you don’t go in. We did though, and it was well worth it. There’s a large Romanesque church which the castle was built around, and then all the castle to explore – a veritable warren of rooms and passages, great fun, with a climb up to the top of the tower and great views from the top.
For lunch, we decided to press on to the town of Fuentidueña, another slightly more ramshackle walled town with castle and river. Lots of parking down by the river, and picnic tables for our lunch looking up to the town, which we had a wander around after our siesta. We hiked right up to the top to the ruined chapel and necropolis, the castle ruins (private) and the furthest extent of the walls. On the way back down we had a nosy around the private wine cellars cut into the rock, a common sight in the villages around Castilla.
The drive back homeward took us to a couple more castles, firstly through and past the “Barco de Castilla”, the huge imposing boatshaped castle at Peñafiel (now the Ribera de Duero wine museum, a good visit), and then to the little castle at Villafuerte for sunset, closed of course at that time on a Sunday. We decided to try out the AC Area at Dueñas on the A62 on our way back for water drop and a drink, good flat area, but noisy by the motorway and train and no water in winter, and the town was completely dead with nothing open! So we ended up getting some cake at Fromista (which also has an AC area fyi) before heading back into Cantabria.