The Most Beautiful Villages in Spain association has added 15 destinations to its list for 2020. From the white-washed hillsides of Andalucía to the verdant mountains in Cantabria and rustic cobbled lanes in Mallorca, these are some of the country's most charming spots, where you can find the perfect place to disconnect.

The village of Pollenca, Mallorca
The village of Pollenca, Mallorca made the list for 2020 ©Getty

The Most Beautiful Villages in Spain association was formed in 2013 to recognise the country's most picture-perfect settlements, inspired by the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France ('most beautiful villages in France') association. It began with a group of 16 villages and over the years it has gradually added locations to reach a total of 94 villages.

The villages are scattered around the entire country - and some lie in fairly remote spots, where night skies, away from cities polluted by light, offer a dazzling display of stars and by day, you can still hear the clip-clop of a donkey's hoofs on cobblestones. 

"It is our goal to promote preferably rural and small towns," the association says on its website. But it's not easy to make the final cut. Only 20% of the candidates become accepted, and they must meet criteria related to conservation, cleanliness, green areas. They also need to possess a recognised cultural heritage or certified natural value and have a population of less than 15,000 inhabitants

This year, 15 villages were added to the list. From the island of Fuerteventura to the central region of Castilla y León and the Cantabrian mountains, here's where you'll find some of the picks for 2020.

Castellar De La Frontera, Andalucía

Castellar De La Frontera, Andalusia, Spain
Castellar De La Frontera is a typical Andalucian town ©Getty

Built in the 13th century as an Arab fortress to protect a taifa kingdom, this charming village in the Cádiz province offers spectacular views of Parque Natural Los Alcornocales and the Strait of Gibraltar. Its labyrinthine streets are filled with Moorish-style houses, restaurants, cafes and bars swell with tourists in summer.

Castrillo de los Polvazares, Astorga, Castilla y León

Castile and León, Spain
Castrillo de los Polvazares is on the Camino in Castilla y León ©Getty

On the Camino de Santiago in the central region of  Castilla y León, the town of Castrillo de los Polvazares is all cobbled streets, red clay and brightly-coloured windows and doors. It's also famous for its hearty cocido maragato (maragato stew).

Betancuria, Fuerteventura 

Whitewashed village of Bentacuria, Fuertaventura, Spain
Betancuria is a popular tourist destination ©Getty

This tourist-friendly spot in the Canary Island of Fuerteventura is home to simple, white-washed houses, winding streets and the magnificent 17th-century church and courtyard that overlooks Betancuria. It's one of the most popular destinations on the island but refuses to shake its relaxed and slow-paced vibe.

Olivenza, Extremadura

Typical whitewashed houses at village streets of Olivenza, Spain
Typical whitewashed houses at village streets of Olivenza, Spain ©Getty

Hugging the Portuguese border, Olivenza is a sleepy, whitewashed settlement in Extremadura, famous for its Manueline Renaissance style churches and impressive castle. Portuguese influence can be felt here, especially in terms of cuisine and the beautiful blue-and-white ceramic tile street signs.

Mogrovejo, Cantabria

The medieval hilltop village of Mogrovejo, Spain
The medieval hillside village of Mogrovejo, Spain ©Getty

Mogrovejo is one of Spain's smallest villages with a population of just 44. Tucked away in the Cantabrian mountains against the backdrop of Picos de Europa, it's home to 16th-century stone houses, a medieval watchtower and 17th-century church.

For the full list, see here.

You might also like:

The most beautiful towns in Spain, as voted by the Spanish

These are some of France's most beautiful villages

Explore related stories

MAY 2, 2024: Indar Unanue surfing in Zarautz, along with shots of the town and coastline.

Spain Marketing 1379722


Epic adventures in Spain’s outdoor playground

Jul 15, 2024 • 8 min read