INTRODUCING THE MATARRAÑA

The Matarraña lies right in the middle of Spain’s golden triangle – between Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid. Yet it’s a real under-the-radar region. Wide open landscapes are criss-crossed with olive and almond trees, stone masia and hiking trails. And sleepy Spanish villages, such as Monroyo, invite you to siesta your way through afternoons.    

The kind of rural Spanish region that ‘hidden gem’ was coined for

THINGS TO DO

HISTORY
Dip into Gothic Spain in Valderrobres. The ‘old town’ is a network of narrow streets that rise up the hillside, and you’ll have your first glance when you cross the bridge that brings you to the Church of Santa Maria. In Calaceite, you can go even further back in time to prehistoric Spain.    

NATURE
Hiking boots are essential additions to your suitcase. The Matarraña is walking country, where trails could take you through forests and across canyons. In Puertos de Beceite National Park, turquoise pools are cool spots for wild swimming. Or swap two feet for two wheels and cycle the Greenway, a dormant railway that promises stunning views. As you’re riding (or walking), keep an eye on the sky – you might be lucky enough to spot the resident vultures too.

FOOD
The Aragon countryside is the inspiration for Matarraña cooking. Expect dishes made from almonds and walnuts, salads dressed with home-made olive oil, and platters of cured meats and cheeses. Monroyo is known for its spin on serrano ham, slowly matured for a rich taste of Spanish charcuterie. 

You may find that your go-to Spanish phrases need modifying in The Matarraña, as locals speak a version of the Catalan dialect.

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