The province of Soria is the most sparsely populated in the whole country, where a village with more than 500 people is actually not common, and important to the region. Medinaceli is one of them, putting it in the top 20 most populated municipalities in the province, and one of the most beautiful. Listed as a ‘Pueblo Más Bonito de España’, and one that is completely surrounded by views, It should be on anyone’s list if they feel adventurous to check out this lonely part of the country.
Medinaceli is about 80km south of Soria, the provincial capital and nearest major city. Madrid is about double the distance and is easily connected by the A-2, the principal motorway that connects the Capital with Zaragoza and Barcelona. The Car is the only easy way to get there, but you can get buses from Madrid, Almansa, Soria and Logroño to the service part of the village in the Jalón valley, or Estación de Medinaceli, and then a taxi to the old village itself. Trains from the Estación are also available twice a day connecting to Madrid, Guadalajara, Calatayud and Zaragoza with one of the them continuing to Lleida, and the other to Tarragona and Barcelona as well as all the villages in between.
Located on a hill overlooking the Río Jalón, the village is completely surrounded by views of the Sistema Ibérica, Sistema Central, and the Meseta central, which become even more noticeable during the colder months when the mountains are often snow-capped. Moncayo, one of the most prominent mountains in the country, visible from Soria and Zaragoza, is usually visible from this point as well.
With it’s location on the Meseta and over 1200m up, Medinaceli is pretty fresh most of the year round, and a jacket is advisory, potentially even in summer during the night. Snow does fall every year and not exclusively just in winter, and it is also quite a windy place at times, due to it being completely exposed. Summers would typically be drier and around 25 degrees during the day and 12 at night. Pack as you would normally for a place with 4 seasons.
The village itself has an itinerary from the tourist office, directly opposite the car park, and would take about an hour to complete at a relaxed pace. the most notable sights would be the Castillo which is now used as a cemetery, The Arco Romano which you see as you reach the village, and the Plaza Mayor, Which has underpasses lined with old wooden beams, and is typical in many villages in Castilla y León. La Colegiata de la Señora de Asunción is the main church in the area, a stone’s throw away from the Plaza Mayor, but to the north, a couple of other notable religious sites are also worth seeing. Pretty much every street is picturesque in itself, with the beautiful stone houses and stony streets, difficult to get lost at the very least. El Camino del Cid, a popular trail, passes through Medinaceli.
Both the service area and the old village have places to stay and eat to offer any visitor, the cheaper of which would be in the service area. However, some of the best rated restaurants are actually in the old village itself, with a more authentic aspect coming to play, though there are only about 3- 4 bars/ restaurants to choose from, all offering typical hearty dishes from Castilla Y León. Dry cured pork products are produced in the region, with the Chorizo often a mixture of pork and beef in this province. Chanfaina, a stewed lamb dish is often found in this area as well as roasted quail, whereas fish is not a typical thing around there. Las paciencias de Almazán is a dry biscuit can be found here, as well as other typical products from Soria in the only grocery store you can find in the old village.
Lastly, the accommodation is very easy to find especially if you have quite a high budget, with many places being casa rurales, though you can find a good place for about 60€ a night for 2 people, going up to 150€. Again, the service area has some hostels offering private rooms on Booking for 55€ a night, and other’s may have to be privately enquired. There is very little difference in prices throughout the year, and I cannot recommend any place, as I was there just for half a day.
So there you have it, Medinaceli, a pueblo más bonito de España, a place where a view is close by. So much history, and so much to enjoy in such a small place, and don’t forget to stop by if travelling on the A-2. Don’t forget to bring a jacket as you may need it to enjoy this Experience.