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Max Abroad : The Best of Spain

Quite simply writing about the best things Spain has to offer and anything that might crop up along the way. Spain is a lot more than just sun, sand and sea...

The Spanish Town that will transport you to a Fairy Tale land
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

 

In Spain, there are wonderful corners that everyone should visit at least once in their life. If you want to disconnect from the routine and enjoy nature, there is a Spanish town where you will feel as if you had travelled to a Disney production.

It bears a resemblance to Hallstatt (Austria), considered by many to be the most beautiful lakeside town in the world. It is located on the shores of Lake Hallstatt and is part of the UNESCO Heritage list. Hallstatt inspired the movie 'Frozen' and is an exceptional place.

 

 

 

The Spanish town that will transport you to a fairy tale land is Lanuza, located in the Tena Valley (Huesca). It belongs to the municipality of Sallent de Gállego and is located on the left bank of the Lanuza reservoir, where the waters of the Gallego river are deposited. During the construction of the lake, the town was about to disappear forever underwater.

In the 1970s, Lanuza was expropriated for the construction of the reservoir. More than 100 hectares were submerged underwater, but luckily the town centre was spared. In the 1990s, neighbours reclaimed the houses that were once theirs, ultimately winning the legal battle.

 

 

It was then that they began little by little to restore the town. Lanuza maintains its traditional architecture so that walking through its streets is like taking a trip back in time several centuries ago. One of its main attractions is the Church of El Salvador from the 19th century. Inside it houses a silver reliquary from the year 1557 with the remains of Santa Quiteria, the patron saint of the town.

 

 

Just half an hour's walk from Lanuza is the natural waterfall of O Saldo de Escarrilla. The route is very easy through a lush forest, and you can go with children. Although bathing in the pool formed by the waterfall is prohibited, it is a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet.

 

 

Very close to Lanuza is Panticosa, a town surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the Pyrenees. Despite its small size, it is very famous for its historic spa, one of the oldest in Europe. In addition, in the surroundings of Panticosa, you can practise many mountain sports.

 



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Spain's 500-year-old Pharmacy
Thursday, May 12, 2022

 

The pharmacy of today is sterile, white and efficient. Each medicine bottle or box is the same, and patients make their way in and out without lingering. However, 500 years ago, the local pharmacy was less science and more art, and the Esteve Pharmacy Museum in Llívia, Spain captures this ideal in the vibrant colors and luxury of a medieval European apothecary.

Established in the 15th century, the Esteve Pharmacy is one of the oldest in Europe. Since 1965 it has only housed the museum, but in its heyday, it attracted patients from across the region for medical treatment and drugs. Before the days of the child-locked pill container, remedies were kept in albarellos, a type of painted pottery that was sealed with parchment or leather.


Today, the museum has a large collection of the albarellos, including 87 rare blue albarellos that were modernized and include painted labels of the drugs they contained. Along with the beautiful storage jars, the museum also features a gaudy baroque cupboard that looks more fitting for a king’s kitchen than a medieval clinic. The contrasts between the museum and modern pharmacies are striking, and the Esteve Pharmacy is a fascinating look into the artful world of medieval medicine.



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The most beautiful towns in Spain to visit this summer
Thursday, May 5, 2022

 

 

In the Guide to the "Most Beautiful Towns in Spain 2021",  there are a total of 104 towns listed. All of them are idyllic places to plan a getaway or make a stop-off or a day trip if you are in the area this summer. Here is a selection I have made of some of the "less common" beautiful towns on that list, not necessarily on the Top 10 lists, but definitely worth visiting nonetheless!

 

Lastres, Asturias

In Asturias, there are idyllic coastal spots such as Tazones or Ribadesella, for example, but Lastres is really special. Its 16th-century whaling district, its typical houses perched on the cliff and the walk descending from the top of the town to the port are unmissable.

 

 

 

Frigiliana, Malaga

There are so many white villages in Andalusia that are worth visiting that a list would have to be made just for them. Frigiliana serves as an example, located in the region of Axarquia, which preserves one of the most valuable historical centres of Arab origin in Spain.

 

 

 

Frias, Burgos

This small town hanging from a rock in the province of Burgos is worthy of being a movie location. Located in the heart of the Montes Obarenes Natural Park, its panoramic view is impressive.

 

 

 

Besalu, Girona

I could have chosen Cadaqués or any of the towns that make up the so-called Garrotxa region, all of them worthy of entering this list, but Besalú is a magnificent representation of the beauty of the entire province of Girona. It has one of the best preserved medieval ensembles in Catalonia. In fact, it was declared, in 1966, a historical-artistic complex due to its great architectural value, and it is enough to see a couple of photos to know that you have to set foot on its streets at least once in your life.

 

 

 

Fornalutx, Majorca

 If you are lucky enough to travel to Mallorca soon, you have to give up at least one day on the beach to enjoy the Tramuntana mountains and the idyllic villages located in its heart. Dèia, Sóller and, above all, Fornalutx make up a wonderful enclave. The latter is quiet, with its characteristic stone-carved buildings and surrounding orange and lemon trees.

 

 

 

Comillas, Cantabria

 Santillana del Mar, Potes, Bárcena Mayor… The list of must-see towns in Cantabria is very long but I opted for Comillas for its location and the unique beauty of its peculiarities. And there are few places where you can see Gaudí's work outside of Catalonia, Comillas is one of them, surely the best.

 

 

 

Alcala del Jucar, Albacete

In a quiet area of ​​the province of Albacete, close to the province of Valencia, is this beautiful town embedded in a rock that forms the gorge of the Júcar river. It is a surprising place of unexpected beauty since its location gets "little media coverage".

 

 

 

Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz

Next to the famous Cadiz coast, the town of Vejer de la Frontera overwhelms with its white beauty. Its elevated location with respect to the environment already catches you as you approach it, and its tangled streets conquer you as soon as you let yourself get lost in them. It is, without a doubt, a must-see that is well worth giving up a day at the beach for.

 

 

 

Allariz, Ourense

This Galician town is little known because it is not usually included in the list of the most beautiful towns in Spain, but it is one of those unique corners that the interior of Galicia offers. And above all it is because of its idyllic location and how well the architecture has adapted to the environment, letting it be the protagonist. Surrounded by chestnut forests and on the banks of the Arnoia River, this town with a medieval layout is a mandatory stop if you travel to Galicia.

 

 

Laguardia, Alava

In the heart of Rioja Alavesa, surrounded by vineyards and wineries that offer a unique landscape, is the town of Laguardia, already in the province of Álava. Located on a hill, and surrounded by a great wall, it is a must stand just a stone's throw from Logroño.

 



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