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The Culture Vulture

About cultural things: music, dance, literature and theatre.

Spain tops list of WORLD'S BEST TOURIST VILLAGES with three awards
Wednesday, December 28, 2022 @ 5:05 PM

By The Culture Vulture

Three remote Spanish communities have been named as among the best villages in the world for tourists – the most entries for a single country.


The United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) list of 32 best places worldwide for small community tourism includes villages in 18 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

For the 2022 awards, a total of 136 villages were put forward for consideration by 57 UNWTO member states (each could nominate up to three villages).

The nominated villages were evaluated by an independent advisory board, according to criteria including culture, natural resources and sustainability – whether economic, social or environmental.

All three of Spain’s nominations were accepted. They were the medieval village of Rupit in Catalunya; Alquézar, in the Sierra de Guara mountains in Aragón; and Guadalupe, famous for its monastery and its black virgin, in the Extremadura region.

Manuel Butler, director of the Spanish Tourist Office in London, said: We are delighted that the UNWTO has placed Spain as the country with the most appearances in its list. We aim to promote community-led tourism across Spain and are thrilled at the international recognition.”

The other countries receiving awards were: Austria, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethopia, Georgia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, South Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey and Vietnam.

The accolade recognises rural destinations that are embracing tourism as a driver of development and new opportunities for jobs and income, while preserving and promoting community values.

“For rural communities everywhere, tourism can be a true gamechanger in providing jobs, supporting local businesses and keeping traditions alive,” said UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili.

The UNWTO Best Tourism Villages list showcases the power of the sector to drive economic diversification and create opportunities for all outside big cities.”

The awards ceremony will take place in Al’Ula, Saudi Arabia, in February 2023.

Spain should of course be proud of this recognition. As for the three choices, I only know one, Guadalupe. I’ve been there a few times, including just over a year ago.

It is indeed lovely, despite being unashamedly touristy. Whether it would be in my top three villages in Spain, I doubt. But then, my criteria are different to those of the UNWTO.

I adore Aragón and Catalunya, however, so both Alquézar and Rupit are on my To-Visit-List for 2023.


© The Culture Vulture



The Guardian UK


Tags: Africa, Alquézar, Aragón, Asia, Austria, Catalunya, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethopia, Europe, Extremadura, Georgia, Guadalupe, Israel, Italy, Jordan, London, Manuel Butler, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Rupit, Saudi Arabia, Sierra de Guara, Slovenia, South America, South Korea, Spanish Tourist Office, To-Visit-List, Switzerland, Turkey, United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, Vietnam, world’s best tourist villages, Zurab Pololikashvili

Like 2


lenox said:
Wednesday, December 28, 2022 @ 6:07 PM

I've lived in one of Spain's leading tourist villages for most of the past fifty years. Mojácar was pretty nice when it started but is now like something out of a Butlin's holiday camp.
I now live in an unashamedly ugly satellite town of the provincial capital. There's a beach, a few bars and restaurants; but no souvenir shops, no charity shops, no pet associations, bowls pitches, chocolate Christmas lights or signs in English. It's cheap, too.

PablodeRonda said:
Wednesday, December 28, 2022 @ 10:18 PM

I sympathise, Lenox. But you've written so often about how awful Mojácar has become, why don't you move on?

PablodeRonda said:
Friday, December 30, 2022 @ 8:13 AM

I spent two weeks in Mojácar in August 1989 with my young family, kids aged 5 and 2. We loved it.
It's a long time ago, but I can remember a small, dusty and enchanting village on top of a cliff and a great beach down below with a shortish strip of bars and shops.
Back then it was so quiet that the western end of the beach was a skinny-dippers' paradise.
What a shame that that has all changed.
I always wanted to go back one day, but I'm afraid you've put me off.

Dave11 said:
Saturday, December 31, 2022 @ 9:56 AM

Yeah, holiday destination change as more people visit them. That's natural, it's not just Spain that is affected it's every holiday resort. Cope with it or move on..

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