Teruel: a little-known city with many hidden gems
The first thing you should visit in the province of Teruel is without a doubt its beautiful capital. This city, little known to tourists, has many attractions that could fill an entire weekend. Here are the most important ones (the ones not to be missed):
Mudejar Towers: recognized as a World Heritage Site as part of the city’s Mudejar complex, these towers are perhaps the main attraction to visit here. Built between the 12th and 16th centuries, there are five Mudejar towers in Teruel. The two best examples are the towers of San Martín and San Salvador, built in the 14th century. At first, one hardly notices that the San Salvador tower belongs to the church of El Salvador, which is well hidden. In addition to contemplating the details of this tower, it is also worthwhile to climb to the viewpoint to enjoy the views of the city’s rooftops.
Escalinata del Óvalo: perhaps the greatest monument of the city is the grand staircase located next to the station. Built in the neo-Mudejar style at the beginning of the 20th century, it is very reminiscent of the modernist works found in Barcelona, such as the Hospital de Sant Pau. Walking down these majestic stairs gives you the impression of being in a fashion show. If you don’t want to go back up afterwards, there is an elevator that takes you to the top of the monument in an instant, at the level of the historic center.
Santa Maria Cathedral: Another must-see in Teruel is Santa María Cathedral, which is not a typical cathedral. Its Mudejar style ceiling and its decoration with many different motifs will surprise you. The Santa María de Mediavilla de Teruel Cathedral is perhaps the most impressive Mudejar building in the whole of the Aragonese Community. The architecture of different eras is recognized in this unique building that some people simply call the Sistine Chapel of Mudejar art.
San Pedro Church and Tower: Another Mudejar jewel that you must visit in Teruel is the San Pedro Church and Tower. It is a work in which different styles are reflected. The San Pedro tower in particular, was built in brick and inlaid ceramic. Note the tiles on the outside of the church and the beautiful Renaissance-style high altar.
Plaza del Torico: It is curious to see how a sculpture as small as that of the small bull (torico for the locals) in this square can be one of the most important icons of the city. This little bull gives its name to the most important square in the city where the Christmas tree is also erected every year. You can’t visit Teruel without passing several times through this beautiful square, which houses several magnificent buildings. The peculiar blue façade of the Casa Torica is particularly beautiful.
What to see in the province of Teruel
Where to sleep in Teruel: In the city of Teruel there are many hotels to choose from, the Albergue Internacional is a good economical option, the Hotel El Mudayyan is an excellent intermediate choice and the Hotel Reina Cristina is a magnificent luxury option.
An interesting experience you can have in Teruel is to visit the Dinopolis park located on the outskirts of the city. In this theme park, you will dive into the extraordinary world of dinosaurs and learn about the history of these mythical creatures up close. It’s a place that children especially enjoy.
After visiting the capital, there are several other must-see places in the province of Teruel and the city of Valderrobres is surely one of the most beautiful and one of my favorites of the whole province. The most important places to see here are:
Views of the city from the river: the old town of Valderrobres is located on a hill, so to get a magnificent view of the whole city I strongly advise you to go to the other side of the river and enjoy the whole thing (and take some pictures).
The castle of Valderrobres: at the top of the hill occupied by the historic center of Valderrobres stands the majestic castle of Valderrobres. It is a national monument, built in the 14th century. Inside, it is worth visiting the Chimney Room and the Golden Room. The views from the castle with the valley of Mataraña are superb.
The stone bridge: the river Matarraña cuts the city of Valderrobres in two and to enter the historical center, the best way is to cross its magnificent stone bridge and then cross the Portal de San Roque. A real wonder!
Views from the castle: Albarracín Castle is currently being restored and very little of its history is preserved inside anyway. But from the top of the castle you can enjoy the best views of the city (ideal for taking nice pictures).
Rubielos de Mora
Of all the towns in Teruel, the town of Rubielos de Mora is the one with the most atmosphere. This town full of gothic buildings, on the banks of the Mora River, is ideal for spending a pleasant afternoon. Its imposing castle dominates the view of the city, but the best thing to do is to get lost in its cobbled streets surrounded by small hermitages and other gems of the Mediterranean Gothic style. It is a city with a very active population and they recorded a video with which they won the award “of the most beautiful and good city in Spain” in 2016. So if you want to see the city that has this illustrious award, go ahead!
Órganos de Montoro
Speaking of natural places, I also recommend Órganos de Montoro. These gigantic limestone rock formations are truly a wonder of nature.
The religious architecture of the town: despite being a small town, in Albarracín the religious monuments are extraordinary. The town has two churches, the Church of Santa María and the Cathedral, and also houses the Episcopal Palace.
The city walls: the walls from the Moorish period are preserved in a very good condition and it is worth climbing and walking on them, so that you can see the city from another angle. The climb is not the easiest and you will sometimes feel dizzy walking on the walls, but the view will more than compensate for all this effort.
Calaceite is a town in the beautiful Matarraña region that is worth a stop. It is a medieval town where it seems that time has stopped. The history of this town goes back to prehistoric times and in fact, in its surroundings you can also visit several Iberian villages. The main square of the city with its porticos is very cute and it is worth walking through the few streets of the city to “live in another time”.
Iglesuela del Cid
Iglesuela del Cid is another of the towns to see in the province of Teruel. It is located in the Maestrazgo district, one of the historical districts that Teruel shares with Castellón. Iglesuela del Cid can sometimes seem like an abandoned town, but this is not the case. The town is very pleasant to explore and the Church of the Purification that dominates the town is beautiful.
Linares de Mora
The picturesque town of Linares de Mora is located in the Sierra de Gúdar (a mountain range). This walled city stands on a rock and the views from the top of the city are spectacular. The main monuments to note are the remains of a medieval castle and a baroque church whose bell tower is separate from the temple.
Cantavieja is another city to see in Teruel that often appears on lists that include the most beautiful cities in Spain. It is a small town located on top of a mountain that still seems to live in another era. It is a beautiful town in Teruel Maestrazgo where you feel very far from everything, something similar that is also felt in the towns of the province of Castellón that belong to this same historical area.
Pinares de Rodeno and its cave paintings
Near Albarracín, you will find a remarkable natural place to visit in the province, the protected landscape of Pinares de Rodeno. Between the pine trees and the gigantic reddish rocks of rodeno and sandstone, you can go through several routes where, in addition to the beautiful nature, you can contemplate caves with cave paintings. The paths are well marked and the shorter ones can also be walked with children.