Travel Guides Spain | Guide to Teruel

Guide to Teruel

What to do and see in Teruel?

The remote and rural province of Teruel in north-east Spain formas part of the Region of Aragon. It borders with the provinces of Cuenca, Valencia, Castellón, Tarragona, Zaragoza and Guadalajara, and thanks to the vast improvements made to its road infrastructure in recent years, more and more people driving between northern and southern Spain pass through Teruel so as to avoid travelling via Madrid. The main national roads to and from Catalonia, Castilla La Mancha and Valencia (N420, N33O and the N234) all cross in Teruel capital city.





The province measures 14,808 km² and with a population of just 140,771, Teruel has the second lowest density of population in the whole of Spain (Soria has the lowest).

A quarter of all inhabitants live in the capital city of Teruel, the rest in the 236 small towns and villages scattered around the province some of which seem to belong to the last century (see Albarracín). The scenery throughout the Province of Teruel is rural Spain at its most impressive - high, majestic mountains and green lush valleys and dry plains in the North.

The climate in Teruel is one of extremes. Temperatures can reach 40ºC in the dry Summer months, and drop to as low as -19ºC in Winter. The main industries are grain farming, tourism, mining and pig farming to produce the famous serran ham, Jamón de Teruel. The province has two ski resorts which are very popular with skiers in the Winter months, and cheaper than many of the resorts in Northern Spain.

Teruel capital city

TeruelTeruel is Spain's smallest provincial capital, with just 35,000 inhabitants. Occupied by Arabs during the Moor occupation of Spain, its streets still retain much of the architectural styles of that period.

Liberated by Alfonso II in the 12th century, Teruel became a center of Mudejar art (a style influenced by Islamic tradition and more contemporary European arquitectural styles, notable Gothic). In 1986 the UNESCO declared the remarkable Mudejar architecture in Teruel and other parts of Aragon a World Heritage Site.

The confluence of the rivers Guadalaviar y Alfambra is found in Teruel.

Fiestas in Teruel. The Patron Saint of Teruel is St. Christopher and the local fiestas are celebrated on the Sunday nearest to St. Christopher's Day (10th July). Fiestas are also organized to commemorate the famous Lovers of Teruel (see below), and the Easter Week processions in Teruel are also worth seeing.


The Legend of Teruel's Lovers

This famous legend goes as follows. At the beginning of the 13th century two young children, Juan Diego de Marcillaand Isabel de Segura who had always been best friends realised they were deeply in love. Juan Diego asked Isabel's father for her hand in marriage, but he refused because he claimed that Juan would not be able to properly support his daughter. He gave the young man 5 years to go and make his fortune with The Crusades, and meanwhile tried to pursuade Isabel to marry a more powerful and richer suitor. She resisted until the final year when, convinced that Juan would not return, she agreed and her father arrange for the wedding to take place on last day of the five years. Afterwards Juan Diego returned and managed to see Isabel. He asked her for a kiss, but she refused saying that she was now a married woman at which he dropped dead. The next day during his funeral, a woman in black approached Juan Diego's coffin to give him the kiss she had denied him when he was alive. Isabel kissed her love and fell dead at the feet of the coffin. Visitors can visit the the Mausoleum of Teruel’s Lovers next to the Church of San Pedro.


What to visit in Teruel

  • Cathedral: Wonderful 12th century Mudejar construction and probably the most emblematic feature of Teruel
  • San Francisco Convent: Build in 1391 with tapestries from the seventeeth century
  • Mausoleo de los Amantes: Built last century by Juan de Avalos next to San Pedro, the mausoleum where supposedly the remains of the lovers were laid to rest
  • Torre del Salvador: The best conserved mudejar tower in the city. Other towers worth seeing are the Torre San Martín, which is the oldest, and the Torre San Pedro next to the church of the same name
  • Dinopolis: a new dinosaur/cultural theme park with an interesting "Jurassic Route" explaining the history of dinosaurs, museum with fossils, 3D cinema and a meteorite. Ideal for families with small children

Hotels in Teruel City: Parador Hotel***, click for full review; Reina Cristina***, in the old quarter, recently reformed, good restaurant; Suite Camarena Plaza*** new hotel on the outskirts, ideally located for families visiting Dinopolis.

Hotels in Teruel Province: Husa Hospedería La Iglesuela del Cid**** in La Iglesuela del Cid, lovely 13th-century small palace converted into an excellent hotel with 35 rooms and 1 suite; Caserón de la Fuente** in Albarracín, a modest hotel set in a 200-year old former flour mill on the bank of the River Guadalaviar, 14 comfortable rooms tastefully decorated; Parador of Alcañiz*** in Alcañiz, beautiful 13th-century castle and convent with all the usual parador trimmings; El Cresol de Calaceite in Calaceite, a 13th-century oil mill beautifully rennovated with just 2 double rooms and 3 suites;


Other places of interest in the Province of Teruel

Albarracín: Unique village of breathtaking beauty hidden in the Sierra de Albarracín. For more information see this brief Guide to Albarracín and also these photos of Albarracín.

Alcañiz: Beautiful town declared an Art and Historical Monument. The Easter Week celebrations and processions held here are famous all over Spain and attract thousands of visitors each year. In the old quarter of the town there is a network of underground tunnels which used to link all the main buildings in the Medieval city and have been recently opened to visitors. They can be accessed via the Tourist Information Office. The Plaza de España is a wonderful square flanked by the Town Hall and the Church Santa María both with impressive façades.

Teruel Cantavieja: Wonderful village with just 760 inhabitants with some beautiful buildings: The Town Hall is a 13-century Palace, Iglesia San Miguel, a gothic church; Iglesia Parroquial, 17th-century barroque style. The square, Plaza de Cristo Rey, is one of the most stunning in the whole province of Teruel.

Manzanera: Village set in a beautiful area of rural Teruel, surrounded by hills, rivers, springs and rich vegetation. Perfect for relaxing.

Mirambel: Small pretty town with several renaissance and barroque-style buildings

Mora de Rubielos: Popular with skiers

Rubielos de Mora: Incredibly beautiful village with wonderful monuments, small palaces, a convent and a impressive tower belonging to the wall which used to surround the town.

: Just a 20km drive from Cantavieja, a magical walled village. The gates of the wall and the main church, Iglesia de Nuestra Sra. de la Asunción, date from Medieval times, between 12th and 14th centuries, and the church

Puertomingalvo: Pretty medieval village very near the border of the Region of Valencia.


Travelling to Teruel? The following links may also be useful
Guides provinces bordering with Teruel and beautiful places in Spain nearby
Travel guides to Spain Travel guides to Spain
Guide to Alicante Guide to Almeria
Guide to Avila Guide to Barcelona
Guide to Caceres Guide to Castellon
Guide to Cuenca Guide to Girona
Guide to Guipuzcoa Guide to Lerida
Guide to Murcia Guide to Tarragona
Guide to Valencia Guide to Zamora
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