Within the Castilian province of Guadalajara, in the heart of Spain, we find a series of towns with charm and very peculiar characteristics that make them unique. They are the black towns, which have received that nickname for the color of their slate buildings and which stand next to the spectacular Sierra de Ayllón.
Itinerary through the black towns
Where to start the road
Following the established route, the first town we come across is Campillejo, where the walker can get lost in its narrow streets and dead ends.
Every corner seems to be surrounded by walls made from dark slates perfectly placed one on top of the other. There is located a remodeled church, a worthy example of this type of architecture.
The next stop takes place in El Espinar, which, due to its privileged location, has incomparable views. Again we will find numerous examples of the construction style that concerns us, both in its parish and in many of the double-storey houses that surround it.
If we have enough time, we should go to the Aljibe waterfall. In it, the Soto River gives us a refreshing and curious landscape consisting of two waterfalls. The first of them falls on a beautiful natural pool. From this, the water is dragged to a second larger waterfall that ends in a small lagoon.
Second stage and final
Our tour continues through Roblelacasa. Strolling along Calle de la Fuente, with its slate houses decorated with windows made of logs and following the path marked by its cobbled streets, we will have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the black architecture.
We cannot afford to miss Campillo de Ranas. Here you can see an old and beautiful sundial in what was the priest’s house.
To say goodbye to the route, we will visit Majaelrayo, a little further north, a town watched over from the vastness by the Pico Ocejón, more than two thousand meters high.
The bravest can end the last stage by climbing to the top. On the way up, the hiker will be surprised by the wide range of plants and trees that he will come across on his way. This vegetation will display its aroma, transforming this walk into an idyllic experience impossible to forget.
Those who have decided to stay resting in the town will be able to visit the church of San Juan Bautista, as well as refresh themselves on the banks of the Jaramilla river.
Gastronomy of the black towns
The transit through these mountain routes stands out for its greenish tones, but it also stands out thanks to the great variety of typical dishes that we can taste in the area. At some point along the way, the hiker will be forced to regain strength. For this, there is nothing better than a hot soup in winter or some good crumbs in summer.
It is impossible to leave this mountain range full of cattle without tasting a good barbecue seasoned with diverse and magnificent aromatic plants. The cabrito a lo breve and the hornazo de Tamajón are two great examples of excellent Castilian gastronomy.
The fresh fish from the multiple river channels that run through it are also exquisite. Of course, it would not be possible to leave without tasting some wonderful freshly picked mushrooms or chanterelles with potatoes. After eating all these meats we will be able to continue our path, yes, somewhat heavier than before.
Festivities: Castilla adorned
Our journey through the black towns will be much more complete if we participate in some of their popular festivals. These festivities are of enormous cultural value and, therefore, tremendously interesting.
There are held from medieval markets with their characteristic craft stalls to pilgrimages, as in Los Enebrales.
However, among all the festivities that of the Holy Child stands out, which takes place in the month of September. During it, a character disguised in bright colors known as “el Botargas” runs and jumps behind young and old. This show is common, not in this area, but in the entire province of Guadalajara.