There is a magical village hidden in the countryside of Andalucía in Spain, located only one hour drive in the east of Jaén and a 45 minutes drive in the south of Úbeda. Now that I've revealed its location, I can say that it is a great place to stay for a weekend and to get a real Andalusian village feeling. It is a bit difficult to access, especially by bike, because it is the highest located village in the area. So if you are not coming straight from the Olive Oil Greenway, it is recommendable to make the way by car. Once arrived, the inhabitants will greet you friendly and welcome you. A significant advantage is to speak Spanish to enjoy their hospitality. There are great apartments with rooftop terraces to rent ensuring amazing views over the valley. Seeing the sunrise is simply a must. Also, there is an incredible castle hike even higher up in the mountains of the Sierra Mágina National Park. Besides, in Albanchez de Mágina you can find excellent Andalusian cuisine, too. Get a bit away from the main tourist paths and discover Albanchez de Mágina – this magical Andalusian gem.
Albanchez de Mágina lays at the northern border of the Sierra Mágina National Park, and upon arriving in the village after many serpentines, you immediately get the Andalusian village feeling. The streets are narrow and steep; there are hardly any people on the streets and over the village standing out as the protector of Albanchez de Mágina – its castle.
There are great apartments, also called "Casas rurales" (English: Countryside houses or cottages) available – offering rooftop terraces with incredible views over the valley. In the streets, you recognize that the inhabitants care a lot for their village and its details. Although the population is going down as it is in many countryside villages, the proud inhabitants do their best to present the beauty of their hometown.
Hiking up to the castle is great fun; first, it goes steep up through the village and then on a path with its serpentines and many stairs.
The view over the valley gets better step by step. When you arrive at the castle, you almost have to crawl and squeeze through the small doors to reach the top. Up there it can be a bit windy, so be careful not to be blown literally away by the extraordinary view.
Strolling through Albanchez de Mágina is an excellent activity while staying in the village as well. There some old and beautiful buildings, while small alleys and its corners are inviting you to discover the village further. For instance, some beautiful church, a market square, tiny restaurants, or the clock tower of Albanchez de Mágina might appear right across the many corners. Although these places are well hidden, with the help of the locals or by simple strolling around, you will be able to find them.
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