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Unplugging for the weekend in rural Spain

I spent this weekend in rural Spain, around Salas de los Infantes in Burgos. Along with my Dad and my brother, we visited some family friends in their village. In these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we really enjoyed unplugging and reconnecting with nature and the simple things in life. I might be biased but I’m always amazed by the number (and quality) of activities you can do when visiting Spain. Keep on reading to learn all there is to see around Salas de los Infantes (Burgos).

The province of Burgos belongs to Castilla y León, the biggest region in Spain in terms of territory. This historic part of the country accumulates a vast cultural heritage and natural wonders.

Interested in exploring more in Castilla y León? Check out my posts on:

For more detailed information on Castilla y León, browse the region’s official tourism website.

Connecting with nature felt so good!
Connecting with nature felt so good!

Mecerreyes

Our first (quick) stop on our way to Salas de los Infantes was in Mecerreyes, a tiny rural village with a little over 200 inhabitants. A statue of the Cid (a Spanish medieval military leader) caught our attention and I had to snap a picture before resuming the road trip. In case you’re interested in knowing more about this historical character or the various routes along the ‘Camino del Cid‘, you can do so here.

A statue of El Cid in Mecerreyes
A statue of El Cid in Mecerreyes

Covarrubias

Covarrubias claims to be one of the most beautiful villages in Spain and it certainly has a lot of charm. Some of the mandatory stops in this medieval destination housing treasures from the 10th until the 16th century include the following: squares (Plaza de la Infanta doña Urraca, Plaza de doña Sancha), Excolegiata de San Cosme y San Damián, Torreón de Fernán González or the statue devoted to the Norwegian princess Kristina.

For more information on all the historic sites worth visiting in Covarrubias, check out the municipality’s website.

Torreón de Fernán González in Covarrubias
Torreón de Fernán González in Covarrubias
The Excolegiata de San Cosme y San Damián in Covarrubias is one of the main historic buildings
The Excolegiata de San Cosme y San Damián in Covarrubias is one of the main historic buildings
Plaza de la infanta doña Urraca
Plaza de la Infanta doña Urraca

Monasterio de San Pedro de Arlanza

Driving on BU-905 upon exiting Covarrubias on the way to Hortigüela, the road will take you along the Arlanza river. After ten minutes, you will find the ruins of the Monasterio de San Pedro de Arlanza to your right. Although this monastery is currently closed and fenced, it once was one of the most important monastic centers in the county and later in the kingdom of Castilla.

Monasterio de San Pedro de Arlanza
Monasterio de San Pedro de Arlanza
The imposing Monasterio de San Pedro de Arlanza is partially in ruins
The imposing Monasterio de San Pedro de Arlanza is partially in ruins

Salas de los Infantes

Our destination for the weekend, Salas de los Infantes, is located three hours away from Irún, my hometown. I had visited this village many years ago, as a kid. When the opportunity to come back presented itself, I didn’t think it twice. The maternal family of my best friend from childhood originated from here and I remember having spent a summer weekend at the family mill while playing in the nearby cold river.

After all these years , I was curious to see the mill again and realize how much I remembered (or not). Indeed, the place wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. The poor mill was collapsing and there were some adjacent buildings that I didn’t even recall. As a matter of fact, our family friends were setting up the former storehouse as their new vacation home and we gave them a hand during the weekend. We also had fun watching the Perseid stars, eating outdoors, playing cards and sunbathing in the river. Legend says that the Seven Infantes of Lara came from here.

 

The family mill in Salas de los Infantes
The family mill in Salas de los Infantes
Entrance door to the mill
Entrance door to the mill

 

Dinner is served!
Dinner is served!

 

If you’re looking for a place to eat in Salas de los Infantes, head to El Pelayo. This local restaurant offers a variety of delicious specialties such as croquetas de boletus or their famous tortazos (a sort of thick sandwich).

The area of Salas de las Infantes is located in Sierra de la Demanda and borders La Rioja on the north. Interested in knowing more about La Rioja? Read my posts here.

 

Monasterio de la Sierra

Cows in a football field near Monasterio de la Sierra
Cows in a football field near Monasterio de la Sierra
'Pueblo' life in Monasterio de la Sierra
‘Pueblo’ life in Monasterio de la Sierra

On Saturday morning, we drove to a nearby village in the mountains called Monasterio de la Sierra. On your way from Salas de los Infantes, you will notice a dam (Presa de Castrovido, which has been in the making for years). The main attractions here include the church, the Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj), the forge and the old laundromat. If you walk in the forest, you will also find the monastery giving its name to this Castillian destination.

Looking for accommodation in Monasterio de la Sierra? Casa del Toro is a rural house that comes highly recommended.

And if you’d like to bring some authentic products back home, stop by Bar Puri to buy some local honey.

A typical street in Monasterio de la Sierra
A typical street in Monasterio de la Sierra

 

Kids in Monasterio de la Sierra
Kids in Monasterio de la Sierra
A blue door in Monasterio de la Sierra
A blue door in Monasterio de la Sierra
Bar Puri in Monasterio de la Sierra
Bar Puri in Monasterio de la Sierra

Castrovido

The view of Sierra de la Demanda from the Castrovido castle
The view of Sierra de la Demanda from the Castrovido castle

On Sunday, we walked to Castrovido, which actually belongs to Salas de los Infantes. What you don’t want to miss here is the Castrovido castle, perched at the top of a hill and next to the Hermitage (Ermita Virgen del Carmen). Crossing this tiny place inhabited by just 18 people throughout the year, you’ll notice the charasteristic conic chimneys (chimeneas serranas) from this part of Sierra de la Demanda.

Tip: if you want to actually go inside the recently restored castle in Castrovido, ask Begoña for the key in Bar Macanas.

Old fountain in Castrovido
Old fountain in Castrovido
Stone constructions in Castrovido
Stone constructions in Castrovido
The typical 'chimeneas serranas' in a house in Castrovido
The typical ‘chimeneas serranas’ in a house in Castrovido

Contreras

Have you watched the movie ‘The Good, the bad and the ugly‘ featuring Clint Eastwood? Well, whether you’re a western fan or not, you will certainly enjoy walking around the epic landscapes where Sergio Leone directed the film shooting in 1966. You can follow this itinerary to visit the original locations filmed in Contreras and other villages in the area.

The good, the bad and the ugly in a bar in Salas de los Infantes
The good, the bad and the ugly on a wall in a bar in Salas de los Infantes
Driving back home
Driving back home

Have you visited this part of Spain ? I’m eager to read your comments below!

 

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