Pueblos de España Mini blogs vol 5: Alquézar, Huesca

The north of Aragón is full of adventure and breathtaking scenery thanks to the dramatic landscape of the Pyrenees. However, The Prepirineo of the Sierra de la Guara and the numerous canyons that lie to the northeast of Huesca is well worth checking out, and easternmost edge of these mountains, overlooking the Río Vero is Alquézar. Listed as an official ‘Pueblo Más Bonito de España’ and 1 of 4 in Huesca province, the village is definitely worth the trek.

Alquézar is located about 45km from Huesca, the largest city in the province, but it’s not the most straightforward drive to connect to the autovia. Barbastro has the best connection and is the nearest major town 25km away. Monzón is the nearest town connected by rail, though that is still 40km away, so realistically a car is the best way to get there. Buses are so infrequent, and practically non-existent at weekends that they are Monday- Friday commuters to Barbastro, so it is very difficult to get to.

If you do manage to venture your way there, there are two car parks at the entrance to the village, with the larger one overlooking everything. Most of the accommodation and restaurants are located near the car park, and before the Ayuntamiento, but for a small place you are spoilt for choice with more than 10 places, but most are booked well in advanced, and it leaves you with 4 hotels, all of which even in advance will set you back about 80-100€ for a double for a night. Alternatively for a cheaper stay, there is a campsite a couple of kilometres from the village.

The Climate of Alquézar is similar to that of the Capital, Huesca, but a little fresher in the summer. In winter, it is cold, but it rarely snows There was no snow in the village or surrounding hills when I first visited in January), and temperatures are around 10 degrees during the day. Late spring looks to be the best time to visit, though I would say it’s almost a year-round city, though be aware that temperatures could reach the upper 30’s at any occasion between June to September. Alquézar has rain marginally more frequently then Huesca capital itself, but is often not affected by the unsettled weather of the Pyrenees just to the north.

The main sights of Alquézar are clearly visible from the village entrance, and they include the Colgiata de Santa Maria La Mayor, and the Iglesia Parroquial de San Miguél Arcángel. Wondering through the narrow streets towards the Colgiata usually will encourage you stop and take a picture and the final viewpoint is the Mirador del Bicón. There is pretty much not a single street in Alquézar that isn’t worth having a wonder, and the narrow, cobbled streets encourage you to take your time.

The natural scenes around Alquézar are also a major attraction, and there are some hiking routes that can be done in only an hour or so depending on fitness. One such route was via the Barranco de Payuala where you are greeted by a canyon of which the colgiata is perched on one side, and you descend towards the Río Vero. From this point you can head north and make a decent hike of it through the canyon, or head along the river around and connect to the village again. Either way, it’s a nice scenic walk that is not particularly demanding. If you are looking to do something more extreme, rock climbing and canyoning are activities that are relatively popular to do here, and there’re several places at the entrance of the village which offer some sort of tour and training, definitely try it out if you are looking for some sort of adventure holiday, I will next time.

Going out to eat in Alquézar is a pleasant experience in every sense, and I didn’t see anywhere excessively pricey. Me and my parents ate in La Cocineta, which was a pleasant experience and did some very typical dishes of the region, such as ternasco which was one of the dishes I had. Meson Vero next door was also reasonably rated overall, though I didn’t try it. The highest rated restaurants were further into the village, Casa Pardina and for something a little more special, Cueva Reina. The only 2 places which look like ones to avoid, are Peña Aman, and Bar La Cueva, as they have a notable number of extremely negative reviews. You’ve been warned.

A dish that is native to Alquézar, which I did not see almost anywhere else (except Cádiz), is the dobladillo, which can be found in numerous cafés and bakeries. Basically, it is a crumbly pastry which has some sort of filling in the middle and the edges fold over the top of it (doblar means to fold in Spanish). They are usually sweet, and a variety of fillings, which is sometimes partially exposed when baking. I did not get the chance to try them, and I wish I had as a merienda (evening snack). Next time!

That pretty much covers everything about this remarkable village. Whether it be a day visit, or a short weekend, Alquézar is a jewel of the Prepirineos Aragoneses, that is worth trekking out of your way for if you happen to be based in the major cities of Huesca, Zaragoza, and Lleida, that are in reach. Whether it be just to chill and relax, or enjoy some sports, Alquézar might have you covered. I’ve been there twice, and will definitely go again.

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