"I have only been here a few hours and I feel like I've been cast in a Game Of Thrones"
I don't think I've ever been to a place that makes me think of the past so much. I don't mean my past, I mean history, one of the many subjects I never listened to at school. I have only been here a few hours and I feel like I've been cast in a Game Of Thrones. The town is built into the hillside, tight winding stairways and alleys interconnect this labyrinth.
Decorative cast iron fixings adorn the windows and doors, a few kids with imaginary bow and arrows fighting on the castle walls, beautiful mosaic tiles brighten the cathedral roof. Best of all there is only the odd person passing by adding to the atmosphere as we look around. My smile is growing as my imagination starts to wonder. I'm dreaming of bustling noisy streets, straw on the ground ,peasants shouting and traders trading. I'm even keeping a close eye on my wallet incase there is a cut purse working these parts. This place really has a spark for even the sleepiest of minds.
We decided to come to this little town after searching for foodie destinations in Spain and now we are realising there is so much more to this place. Not only that, the cherry on the helado(ice cream) is there is bouldering(climbing) here too! A mystical forest set in an national park, with 8000 year old cave drawings and loads of boulders for us to climb.
Vultures and eagles circling the skies, while troops of stags wander the dramatic landscape. As we drove up into the hills snow flakes began to fall and added to the cinematic scenery all around us. Then to top all this off with many days of fantastic traditional Spanish food, using mainly local produce from the Aragón region. We blew our budget here but boy we had fun. I would definitely put it on your places to visit in Spain. After four amazing days here we can really see why Albarracin has been voted one of Spains most beautiful villages and why it has been proposed by UNESCO to be a World Heritage site.
We both came across a blog where the author had said two days was a day too long in Albarracín. This seems so strange to me as we have been here four days and each one has been full of fun, history, nature and great food. We also met someone else who didn't like the feeling of walking around a museum. To us though Albarracín made us feel like kids again, old windy streets surrounded by a castle to get lost in.
This is probably the best advice whilst in the town. Wonder the streets, scale the castle walls and enjoy this National Monument of Spain.You can literally take a different route in the streets each time you enter and not know where it is going to lead. Don't be fooled though Albarracín is not a large place, it only houses around 1000 inhabitants. If you have a car drive out into the surrounding areas and take your hiking gear, it's truly beautiful out there.
Take a wonder into the forest Pinares de Rodeno and seek out the prehistoric cave drawings. There are purpose built trails so it's easy going and great fun. You can walk here from the town of Albarracín, its around 4km.
Whilst in the woods climb some boulders. This is one of the best places in Spain to do so and you can rent a boulder mat from the climbing shop. Remember climbers come from all over the world just for this. Topos are available here
Be sure to purchase some local food from Albarracín. There are quaint little artisan shops dotted around selling food such as local cheese, meats, oil and wine. We bought a longaniza(cured sausage) infused with truffle and it was really tasty. Black truffles, also known as 'black diamonds' are found in this region in the winter months when it is very cold which is usually December-March.
#6 MUSEUMS OR HISTORICAL TOUR
We didn't do either of these but we saw museums dotted around and on the weekend when it became a little bit busier we saw people being shown around and informed of the history of this medieval place. Albarracín is rich with history, it has had many different "ownerships" such as the Romans and the Moors, so I imagine it would be interesting to learn more about it.
Tapas at La Taberna(and a few cervezas)in the Plaza Mayor is definitely recommended. They have a great selection of tapas and have a good selection of food on their menu. One of our favourite tapas dishes at La Taberna was revueltos morcilla which translates to scrambled blood. When we chose it we had no idea what it was but it looked so tasty we just had to try it. The texture was really smooth and silky, it tasted delicious.Only when we had the use of the internet did we find out what it was. We tried a number of different dishes at La Taverna and we were not disappointed. The prices are reasonable too, for four tapas dishes and four beers it cost us €21.60, Sarah chose an Artisan beer too that was €3 a bottle. La Taberna also have a full menu that you can order from serving local dishes or you can just go in and enjoy a drink and soak up the atmosphere.
Alcazaba was a great find. This place serves up delicious, traditional, home cooked food. The menu is simple and not over priced, the restaurant houses around six tables. Due to not many places being open on a Sunday we ended up eating here twice, which believe me is not a bad thing!
Albarracín has an abundance of game and they believe that is what attracted people to come and live in this region, the prehistoric cave drawings reflect this. Game such as deer and wild boar are a speciality of this region.
Trout is also a speciality, they can be found in the Guadalaviar River which is known to be one of the best trout rivers in Spain and circles the village of Albarracín. Alcazaba serves up dishes that are all local to the region. We have included a list of what we ate below as we know it can be quite daunting arriving to a place and not knowing what anything is on the menu. A lot of the restaurants serve similar dishes, so hopefully this will help you to recognise some of the words on the menus.
Conejo Escabechado- slow cooked rabbit in garlic, olive oil and black pepper.
Cordero- Slow cooked lamb
Flan De Queso- cheese caramel custard
Cuajada- Sheep curd served with walnuts and honey
2 bottles of Turia
2 glasses of Borsao(This was two huge glasses, bigger thank sarans head of red wine at €1.50 per glass and it was not the house wine!)
We only had the opportunity to visit here for breakfast. Its a nice little place with a real local and intimate feel. We tried to return there for dinner on a Sunday evening as their menu of the day looked great and was at a very reasonable price but unfortunately it was closed. So if you go to Albarracín and get the opportunity to eat dinner or lunch here let us know how it is.
Make sure you seek out the panaderia, you will not be disappointed. You will see a line of the locals waiting to enter. A lot of them are the restaurant owners going to collect the local bread to serve for cena(dinner) that evening. Anything you choose in here will be amazing!
Hands down the best Pan Au Chocolate I've ever had. Sent down to earth from high above.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed here at Hotel Albarrán as it was too cold to camp, we visited Albarracín on the 18th March and it was still in the minuses at night. This hotel is situated perfectly to access the town and Pinares de Rodeno.
If you have a camper van you can stay for free in the car park on the way to the bouldering. Its the first car park you pass, it will be on your left.
You can also camp at Ciudad de Albarracín they have the option of renting bungalows and rooms too. It is in a good location for both the town and forest.