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Beautiful village that’s one of Europe’s ‘best hidden gems’



Spain has been a favourite holiday destination for Brits for more than half a century.

During that time there are places in the sunny destination that have become well-trodden for tourists – from hotspots such as Costa Del Sol to more cosmopolitan cities like Barcelona.

But what if you love Spain but hate the busy sightseeing meccas?

Travel website European Best Destinations has published its annual list of the best hidden gems on the continent – which includes Spain’s Ares del Maestre.

The location – which has just over 200 residents – is located halfway between Barcelona and Valencia and on top of a rocky hill. It offers stunning views of the Maestrazgo landscape beyond.

Spain’s official tourism website – – explains more about the location which is also known as Ares del Maestrat.

It said: “The town of Ares del Maestre sits on the top of a rocky hill, on a privileged location that overlooks the beautiful and rugged landscape of the region of El Maestrazgo.

“On the mound that dominates the town, we have the ruins of an ancient castle, where Iberian remains were found, as well as several fronts from the Arab wall that turned Ares del Maestre into a parade ground during the Middle Ages.

“The small urban centre stretches at the foothill of the castle, from which the most remarkable feature is the 18th-century parish church, with its Baroque façade.” 

As well as gorgeous vistas and historical landmarks the area includes a main square – Plaza Mayor – which is the beating heart of the village.

Fans of the little area in Spain have been taking to travel travel blogs to share their experiences – including Sonia and Wojtek from

They said: “Is Ares del Maestrat worth visiting? Even though Ares is tiny and remote, it’s worth visiting. 

“In the village, you won’t find many exciting things to do, but those that it can offer will take you on a fascinating journey hundreds of years back in time. And the lack of any touristy things helps that even more!” 

They added: “Without a doubt, Ares is one of the most interesting places in the Province of Castellon.”

Anna from also adores the location.

She said: “Ares del Maestre immediately captures your attention on the road with its peculiar landforms and panoramic location by the Muela de Ares mountain. 

“This tiny little town overlooks the whole province from 1.195 m above sea level.”

She added: “Top things to see in Ares del Maestre: the ruins of an ancient castle, Santa Elena Chapel, La Cova Remigia with its rock paintings, declared UNESCO world heritage, Antigua Lonja ( Medieval Market) with its Gothic-Mudejar arches.” 

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