Spain off the beaten path: Journey to the Alcarria

The highway that connects Barcelona and Madrid (A-2) is a beaten path -literally-.

Barcelona and Madrid are beaten paths.

“La Alcarria” is not a beaten path. It is a natural region scarcely visited by tourists. It is crossed by the A-2 highway (very close to Madrid).

I haven’t been blogging for a while, because tempus fugit almost unnoticed, but no problem: adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit, which, roughly speaking, means Covetotop is blogging again, little by little … This post is just a photographic account of a one-day-journey to some villages of La Alcarria. I hope you’ll like it, although de gustibus non est disputandum.

Our little trip starts at the village of Torija.

Templar Castle

Torija has a Templar Knights castle …

Torija castle

Torija has a church …

Torija church

Torija has a pillory …

Torija pillory 1

Torija pillory 2

Torija has a long history …

Torija history

Madrid – Torija: 75 Km = 46 miles

Now we are visiting …

Brihuega 1

Brihuega, also called “the Alcarria’s garden”, is very close to Torija, and has some interesting Romanesque (or proto-Gothic) churches, like San Felipe …

San Felipe 1

San Felipe lateral door

San Felipe interior

San Miguel …

San Miguel 1


Santa María de la Peña …

Santa María de la Peña

Santa María door

The immediate surroundings of Santa María de la Peña are very evocative, romantic, nice …

Gothic Brihuega

Gothic Brihuega 2

Gothic Brihuega 3

Old tower of Brihuega

La Alcarria region is famous for its outstanding honey …

Alcarrian Honey

You’ll find places to shop honey everywhere in Brihuega. Look for the original “D.O. Alcarria” (“Original Denomination Alcarria”) …

Honey shop

Veggies, cheese, meat … La Alcarria and its countryside produce outstanding food.

Castilian cheese

In order to complete this post with first hand information, I tested and tasted some Alcarrian products at this restaurant:

El Tolmo Brihuega

It is called El Tolmo. Its speciality is “cabrito asado” (roast kid goat). If you want to eat cabrito asado, you have to pre-order it by phone. I didn’t pre-order it by phone, hence I didn’t eat cabrito asado …

El Tolmo 1

El Tolmo 2

El Tolmo 3

El Tolmo tarta torrija

I recommend this restaurant, especially if you are driving your car from Madrid to Barcelona, or viceversa, (A-2) and you happen to be hungry around this area. Getting to Brihuega from the highway takes no more than five or ten minutes.

Whenever you finish your cabrito asado (if you pre-ordered it by phone) or your veggies (if you did not pre-order cabrito asado), go away from Brihuega and drive your car through the CM-2005 road. It’s very nice. It follows the River Tajuña. When you reach the N-320 road, turn left and you´ll reach the village of Tendilla. This is the Tendilla town house (it was a local “fiesta” that day):

Tendilla 1

Tendilla is very tiny, but it has its wonderful share of evocative, romantic, nice ruined-monuments …

Tendilla 3

Tendilla 2

Some corners seem drafted by Piranesi …

Piranesi like

Adventurous conquistadores where born in Tendilla …

American adventure

There is an old palace in Tendilla …

Old Palace Tendilla

As I said before, I haven’t been blogging for a while. Consequently, I’m getting a little bit tired of typing so many words, checking the English Grammar, the dictionary … brrr … I have lost practice. So, if you want further info about this wonderful and widely unknown natural region called “La Alcarria”, I recommend to you a book called “Journey to the Alcarria” (“Viaje a La Alcarria”). It was written by Mr. Camilo José Cela, a Spanish author who was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1989.

In Tendilla there is a plaque commemorating Mr. Cela’s few lines about this little village of Tendilla:

Camilo José Cela

La Alcarria is big and this post is short. Just two more charming Alcarrian villages:







About Covetotop

A Mediterranean blogger
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25 Responses to Spain off the beaten path: Journey to the Alcarria

  1. Sarah says:

    I’ve missed these little trips. 🙂 Glad you’re back to posting, Covetotop!

  2. I believe you are the first to blog in Latin since Cicero!

  3. So glad that you’re back – I have missed your posts! A fantastic read as always, thanks x

  4. Trish says:

    Covetotop, This was thoroughly enjoyable, even the food (I say ‘even’ because I’m not a food lover). I noticed that San Felipe has a star above its door. Was it a synagogue? Or have Christians used the star of David symbol as well as Jews? I must read up on this.

    • Covetotop says:

      Hi Trish! San Felipe was never a synagogue. I have seen the David star in some other churches. I guess it was used by the old architects as a symbol of Jesus as descendant of the house of David (but I’m not very sure about this). By the way, one of the last villages featured on this post, Pastrana, had an important Jewish quarter some centuries ago, and it had a synagogue (its façade survives). Thank you for your visit!

  5. I had never even heard of Alcarria before, but your account of this beautiful region really makes me want to visit! The churches that you photographed are very quaint, and the food looks delicious! Thanks for posting this!

  6. Non plus ultra, Covetotop. This post was worth the wait… lovely place.

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  8. Marianne says:

    Lovely photos and all towns unknown to me, sadly. I’ll put them on my list and try to visit when I head up to Salamanca, Avila and Segovia later in the year. Thanks for the info 🙂

    • Covetotop says:

      Salamanca, Ávila, Segovia … Heavy art. La Alcarria is very charming, but very modest compared to those wonderful and historical cities. Thanks for commenting and … enjoy your trip! 🙂

  9. adinparadise says:

    Wonderful photos of beautiful places, and that food looks really delicious. 🙂

  10. Covetotop, stop whatever you’re doing and open a tour guide business! Seriously after every post I just wish I could come to Spain and have you take me everywhere!! You know all the best places. Al menos podrias añadir una pagina arriba con todas tus recomendaciones para cada region, con unos mapas y quizas links a los libros a que refieres en tus posts. Un proyecto grande pero que valeria la pena!

    • Covetotop says:

      Hi Emily! A tour guide business? Mmmm … That means organization, method, schedules, formalities, dealing with noisy groups of tourists, dealing with angry bus drivers … That’s beyond my vagabondish spirit’s capabilities. I’d rather keep blogging peacefully about those hidden corners just for my little bunch of lovely readers -including you-. En cuanto a lo de añadir una página con recomendaciones para cada zona, añadiendo mapas, links a libros relacionados e información práctica, ciertamente estaría muy bien. Creo que el blog es un poco caótico y necesitaría poner algo de orden. Lo estudiaré, aunque la parte “técnica” del blog es la que menos me gusta. Además, tengo miedo de que cuando haga click en “save changes” me aparezca en pantalla el mensaje “blog deleted”. No obstante, lo intentaré … Muchas gracias, como siempre, por tus simpáticos comentarios, amiga Emily de Toulouse 🙂

  11. harri8here says:

    Delicious combination, a Madrid blue sky with honey.

    Stunning photographs.

    How about a teeny weeny tour guide business, like guiding my Camino trip?!

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