© Sara Rodríguez Romo
© Sara Rodríguez Romo

Urueña: the beautiful book village in Castile and León

3 minutes to read

At the plain province of Valladolid, from far away, you can spot a medieval fortress on the top of a huge mount - Urueña. This spot looks frozen in time, with a perfectly preserved, sturdy city wall and its castle in ruins on the top. To get there, you need to embark on a steep road that starts from a 13th-century chapel at the base of the mountain. Slowly, you will be getting away from the plain, high in the mountain. Prepare yourself for a unique view from this privileged terrasse. Once inside, another surprise awaits you: its narrow streets are beautifully restored and full of bookshops and museums. It is so beautiful that it has been declared one of the most gorgeous towns in Spain. And what about the bookshops? Well, there is an international initiative to promote bookshop villages around the planet. There are only twenty in the world, and Urueña is one of them. Do you see why this town is so special? Come and discover with me Urueña, the beautiful book village in  Castile and León!

A bit of history

Urueña’s position is so strategic that it has always served as a fortress: for the tribe that inhabited it before the Romans, the Romans (their castle was underneath the current one), Muslims, Castilians, etc. Once this area was pacified, it hosted kings, queens, and it even served as a prison for nobles. In Urueña, a king who was forced into marrying a woman he did not love visited his mistress, Maria Padilla, whom he ended up naming the queen, resulting in many wars. Urueña became the seat of an earldom and was quite important. However, the Lisbon earthquake and the French destroyed a part of the village. The castle was in ruins too, but the place remained so beautiful that they decided to restore the whole village. The result is amazing…

© Sara Rodríguez Romo
© Sara Rodríguez Romo

The village of the books

So beautiful was the result that it called the attention of a world initiative. The village was filled with bookshops of the widest topics. Thus, you can, for example, visit a workshop that makes books, together with a bookshop where you can learn everything about wine - and taste it! In Urueña, one can find many museums about life in the area and also about the most famous writer of the province, Delibes, quite the character in the Spain of the 20th century. 

© Andrea Barbero Martín
© Andrea Barbero Martín
Urueña, Valladolid
Urueña, Valladolid
47862 Urueña, Valladolid, España

What to visit

Aside from all its bookshops and museums, you should start the discovery with the beautiful chapel at the bottom of the mount. It is called “La Anunciada”, and it has a unique style in Castile and Leon, due to the bunch of foreigners who came to this area in order to fight the Moorish kingdoms: Lombard-Romanesque. From there, you can spot the fortress on the top of the hill. Then, you go up by car and leave it outside the village. You may enter it by a huge medieval gate, and suddenly you are in another century. You can either walk the city wall and admire the view of the vast plain of Castile, with its variety of colours (like a Renoir painting), or you can walk its streets, hosting a church, a castle, a noble house. 

© iStock / DoloresGiraldez
© iStock / DoloresGiraldez

This picturesque village is well worth a visit. So unique it is, there are only 20 places like this in the world, and we are lucky enough to have one of them. Due to its beauty, it has been chosen as one of the most gorgeous places in Spain. So, whenever you are in Castile and León, do not hesitate to come and visit Urueña, the beautiful book village!

La Anunciada chapel, Urueña, Valladolid
La Anunciada chapel, Urueña, Valladolid
Calle de la Costanilla, 14, 47862 Urueña, Valladolid, España

The author

Sara Rodriguez Romo

Sara Rodriguez Romo

I live between Salamanca, in Spain, and Marvão, in Portugal. A passionate traveller, I have visited over 30 countries in four continents. Currently I am doing a PhD in Greek Mythology and working with horses, doing rides in the nature.

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