If you want to discover Petilla de Aragón on the Spanish map, you have to look carefully, because this place in the north of the Iberian Peninsula has just forty inhabitants. In the valley of the Rio Onsella, in the Navarra region, it hugs a rock under the Pena de la Torreta.
The quarrel between two kings
In addition to the scenic charm of this region, Petilla de Aragón has an interesting history to offer. The fact that the place became an island in Navarra in the province of Zaragoza is thanks to the quarrel between two kings and, not least, a royal debt that has not been paid. The Fort of Navarre was built on a hill in the 13th century. It marked the border between the territories of Pedro II of Aragon and Sancho VII.
Exempt from the tax burden
For a long time there was no dispute between the neighboring regents, but it broke out when Pedro reclaimed 20,000 maravedies for the construction of the fort in the era of the Christian reconquest of Sancho. Since the Aragonese king could not pay his debts, Petilla quickly became part of the Kingdom of Navarre. What the residents liked because they were exempted from the tax burden in the future. The picturesque village has only three main streets and the central Plaza de Navarra. Only a few remains of the former fort have survived.
Home of a Nobel Prize Winner
In Petilla de Aragón, a visit to the Gothic church of San Millán from the 13th century and the pilgrimage chapel of San Antonio are worth seeing. The most famous son of the community is Santiago Felipe Ramón y Cajal. He was a physician and histologist and received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1906. Cajal’s scientific work dealt with the fine structures of the nervous system, especially the brain and the spinal cord. An informative exhibition about his life and work was housed in the house where he was born, which is one of the places of interest. In addition, personal items belonging to the doctor can be seen.
Petilla de Aragón is a fantastic starting point for hiking in the region. The best time to go hiking is autumn. You can expect pleasant temperatures until November.
Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
The Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is a 40,000 hectare Spanish park area. A study trip to this national park, established in the mid-1950s, leads to the Pyrenees region in the historic autonomous community of Catalonia with the capital Barcelona. The extensive national park is named after a river and a lake; both are located within the park area. This is divided into the outer as well as the inner protection zone; this is to be protected from excessive tourism by the almost 27,000 hectare outer protection zone.
The park can only be accessed by hikers and with a licensed taxi
The inside of the park may not be used privately with your own car. Only local taxis are permitted for the already very limited road traffic. Otherwise, the extensive area is reserved for hikers, climbers and trekking. For all of them, the varied park landscape is a unique Eldorado in and with nature. The landscape includes mountains with several 3000 m peaks, lakes, rivers and forest landscapes. Mountain peaks such as Pic de Comaloformo, Besiberri Nord, Besiberri Sud or Punta Alta are each over 3,000 meters higher than the Zugspitze.
Diverse fauna, flora and fauna in the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
Before staying in the park for several days, visitors should find out about the wildlife there. Rare birds, vultures, bears and numerous reptiles can be found among the approximately 200 animal species. The Alpine marmot feels just as much at home here as the wild boar, ermine, pine marten and dormouse. The average temperature is in the single-digit range almost all year round. The GR 11, known as the Pyrenees long-distance hiking trail, runs from the Atlantic coast across the national park to Cap de Creus as the most easterly point in Catalonia and Spain. You can stay overnight in your own tent or in the mountain huts that are open during the summer months.
Hiking through the national park is more than just a study trip; it is an excursion into a largely natural world in the northeast of Spain.
According to topschoolsintheusa, there are numerous tourist destinations in the north of Spain. The beautiful small town of Albarracín is one of them. From Madrid, Albarracin can be reached in around 3.5 hours. A detour to the idyllic town of 1,000 inhabitants is definitely worth it. After all, it is considered one of the most beautiful villages in the country. The location above the Guadalviar River at 1171 meters above sea level is impressive. Due to the numerous historical buildings that reflect the exciting and eventful history, the entire place has been a listed building since the 1960s. The city center is still surrounded by mighty medieval city walls.
The magnificent Alcázar de Albarracín castle sits enthroned on a rock above the old town. You shouldn’t miss this when visiting the region, as well as the large cathedral with the large bell tower and the bishop’s palace with the diocesan museum. From the top of the tower you have an extremely fascinating view of the entire region.
There are many hiking trails around Albarracín, where hikers and adventurers get their money’s worth all year round. Many native animals and plants have settled around the Guadalaviar River. The Guadalaviar’s hairpin gorge is also an extremely popular destination. Climbers from all over Europe are also drawn to Albarracín again and again. After all, the numerous rocky peaks and sandstone blocks of different sizes in the idyllic forests offer plenty of opportunities for climbing – for both beginners and experienced professionals.
Zahara de los Atunes
Zahara de los Atunes is a village in the municipality of Barbate in Andalusia / Spain. The charming place with around 1100 inhabitants is located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, not far from Tarifa, an important port and world-famous surf spot. The local area of Zahara de los Atunes lies between the foothills of the Sierra del Retin and the Atlantic Ocean on the course of the Rio Cahon in an almost pristine natural landscape.
The Phoenicians founded the first settlement, which was expanded as a fortress in the 16th century. For millennia this place has been a center of tuna fishing, which the name Atunes (tuna) makes clear. Today tourists from all over Europe come to the region and the place to visit the fantastic beaches of the Costa de la Luz and enjoy the varied nature.
Pure nature at the southern tip of Europe
The Costa de la Luz is worth a visit at any time of the year. Zahara de los Atunes beach is 8 km long and one of the few sections left to nature. Crystal clear water, fine sand and very good conditions for water sports attract many visitors every year. The sunsets are spectacular with a view of the Strait of Gibraltar to the Moroccan coast.
The lively place with its hotel and restaurant miles is characterized by tourism, but also offers a lot of Spanish flair with art festivals, craft markets, culinary weeks all about tuna, the carnival and Holy Week Semana Santa.
Study travelers who are interested in nature can explore the natural parks Los Alcornocules and Parc del Estrecho on long hikes.