You Know You’re in Small Town Spain when…

I’ve lived in just three cities in Spain, all de-facto capitals of their respective comunidades autonomas. While cities offer all the amenities that make living abroad un pelin easier – from vegetarian options to world-class entertainment – Spain’s pueblos are its soul.

It seems that every Spaniard has his or her pueblo. Kike’s family has had land in teeny San Nicolas del Puerto, a hiccup of a village in the Sierra Norte de Sevilla, for centuries. The mountain air, fresh meat and raucous fiestas – among them, a haunted house in the middle of the summer – make it our preferred destination on the weekend. This is the kind of pueblo where everybody knows your name and all of your business.

Apart from San Nicolas, I spent 12 days living in a monastery outside of Madrid. The town of Uclés had, apart from the commanding monastery, one church, one bar, one plaza and one house converted into the “super club” during the months the guiris were up the hill. We happened to be there during the village’s super fiesta, a pilgrimage which allowed the village to swell to nearly twice its size.

While every pueblo has its trademarks, there are some things you just can’t escape. You know you’re in small town Spain when…

…eating, drinking and merry-making are dirt cheap

…saint is being exalted 

…all roads lead to the church

…there’s a low-budget charanga butchering every Bisbal song in existence

…mixed drinks look like this:

…everyone knows your name and your business

…someone throws a chicken in the air for fun (or does anything else strange)

What’s your favorite village in Spain? Why do you like it?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. This reminded me of my small Acadian hometown in Louisiana, which could be more than I imagine like any small town anywhere, though we share some cultural similarities with Spain and even more with France (both having lingering influence on Louisiana). But, thinking of my very brief time in Spain, my favorite village is Arcos de la Frontera. I bet living there is just like you describe other pueblos :-)
    Gayla recently posted..Being In BrugesMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Small town Spain is special! Arcos is one of my favorite quick trips form Seville, though I admit it’s been a few years! Have a dear American friend there who has been there going on six years – algo tiene!

  2. So true! All my Spanish friends are always spending holidays in their pueblos! I don’t know the experience as Barcelona is all pueblo isn’t… I miss the encando of a small place where everyone recognizes you
    Aga recently posted..Gwarne targowisko w Porto/ Bustling market in PortoMy Profile

  3. I like Alcala de Henares and Trujillo.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Both on my list!

      • Hey Cat! Do you know Alcalá de Henares? That’s the city where Nathalia Lives.

        I didn’t about this blog. Great work!

      • Sunshine and Siestas says:

        Cunaaaaao! You didn’t know about my blog? Really?! I haven’t been to Alcala, but I’ve been meaning to go. Perhaps when I’m in Madrid next!

  4. This perfectly describes the town I’ve been living in since the end of September (in which I’m an auxiliar de conversación). Se llama Valverde del Camino, and it’s located in Huelva! Loved this post.

  5. Love the way you capture Spain and all it’s quirks!
    Your title sums it up and hadn’t really thought about small town life in Spain!
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  6. I don’t think I’ve been to any villages! But, I swear yours posts always make me laugh so hard!!! Who throws a chicken in the air?
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..A Photographic Look At My Adventures In 2012 + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I KNOW, RIGHT?!?! It even had the Novio puzzled. Not much to do at the “dance” save a bouncy house, so someone had to step up!

  7. You are so totally right at every point. My favorite is Puerto de Mogan. It might be like every other cutesy village of Spain but there is something I love about it.

  8. Jalon, Alicante, every time

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