Visit these abandoned villages in Spain for a journey through history

by Lorraine Williamson
abandoned village

MADRID – If you are looking for mystery, history and breathtaking landscapes in Spain, visit these 12 abandoned villages. They are ultimate treasure troves that carry the story of a bygone era. 

These villages are especially popular with lovers of rural getaways, photography, adventure and mystery. In this article, we have selected some of the most beautiful villages for you. They are all nice to visit when you are on your way through Spain or when they are close to your holiday destination. 

Belchite, Zaragoza 

There is an almost palpable air of history and nostalgia in the deserted streets and ruins of Belchite. This place, with its eerie quiet charm, is loved by filmmakers. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger once starred here in a video game commercial. A visit to this village is now limited to guided tours to avoid overexploitation. Belchite was once an architectural gem with Renaissance palaces, churches, chapels and temples. During the Spanish Civil War, it was bombed and 6,000 people died. 

church in abandoned village

Caudilla, Toledo 

A walk through Caudilla feels like a walk through a painting. The ruins of the Castle of Rivadeneyra, the remains of the church, the cemetery and the town hall all bear witness to a forgotten era. Most notable is the sculpture of Christ that was unrealistically exposed on top of the left tower after the collapse of part of the facade in 1999. 

El Alamin, Madrid 

The quiet streets, the dilapidated church, the monastery, the square and the school of El Alamín tell the story of the exodus from the countryside to the city. This briefly inhabited village now attracts paranormal enthusiasts and airsoft players. 

Granadilla, Caceres 

The walled villa of Granadilla, near the Las Hurdes region, exudes the charm of its Moorish origins. Despite the inhabitants being forced to leave the village due to an imminent flood, it was not flooded by water. The charming village is now open to visitors and is included in the Interministerial Program of Abandoned Villages. 

abandoned village

Also see: Historic Spanish fortified town is a ghost town by mistake 

Ochate, Burgos 

Also known as the ‘cursed village’, Ochate is known for its legends and alleged apparitions. The ruins of the tower of the church of San Miguel and the Chapel of Burgondo are silent witnesses to the eventful history of this village. 

Turruncun, La Rioja 

Turruncún, located on one of the peaks of the Préjano mountain range, offers not only a spectacular view but also the opportunity to explore the traces of the past. The village is now part of the Dinosaur Route and attracts many visitors. 

Also see: Buying a village is a new trend among foreign investors 

Umbralejo, Guadalajara 

This charming place in the Sierra de Ayllón is a beautiful example of the so-called black architecture, characteristic of the villages in this region. After years of abandonment, Umbralejo was included in the Program for the Restoration and Educational Use of Abandoned Villages, resulting in the careful restoration and preservation of approximately 70 buildings. Visitors here can immerse themselves in the forgotten eras as they wander the cobbled streets. 

Poble Vell de Corbera d’Ebre, Tarragona 

With the title of Cultural Heritage, this abandoned village is a silent witness to the civil war. Today it offers an intriguing mix of dilapidated buildings and beautiful architecture, such as the restored Church of St. Peter, which now functions as a cultural centre. 

abandoned village

Os Teixois, Asturias 

This ‘living’ example perfectly illustrates how abandoned villages can be restored and reused to promote sustainable rural tourism. The buildings, typical of traditional Asturian rural architecture, have been turned into a museum, while a local restaurant treats visitors to delicious home-cooked dishes. 

abandoned village

Bubal, Huesca 

Thanks to an ambitious government revival program, Búbal has been given a new lease of life. Although much of the village was flooded by a reservoir, the higher part was spared and later restored. It now serves as an educational venue for various projects involving students. 

abandoned village

Esco, Zaragoza 

Deserted streets, ruins and a deafening silence characterise this village that once flourished. The construction of the Yesa Reservoir in the 1960s and the resulting lack of work eventually forced the inhabitants to abandon their homes. 

Villanueva de Zamajon, Soria 

Although this small, uninhabited village seems to be in a deep sleep, its architectural treasures, such as the church of La Inmaculada Concepción and the tower, continue to fascinate locals and visitors alike. 

These villages, now resting in silence and oblivion, are the silent witnesses of Spain’s turbulent history. They embody the spirit of times gone by and invite us to reflect on the past. 

Also see: Spanish version of Our own Village about Brits buying abandoned villages 

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