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Castrillo de los Polvazares is a hamlet with only 81 inhabitants in the North of Spain.
Despite its post stamp size, it is probably one of the most charming villages in the country.
The reason it is so alluring is that every building is made of red bricks and there are no asphalt roads. The ancient cobblestone paths, the old gates and dirt roads are preserved to keep the town’s timeworn appearance. In fact, Castrillo has kept its original architecture since the 16th century. The inhabitants do not care that most of the houses are old and wrinkly, for them it only adds to the charm of the village. Unlike many towns in the Spanish countryside that have been completely abandoned, properties in Castrillo don’t come cheap as it is a popular rural weekend retreat for city dwellers.
The village is less than an hour away from the city of Leon and is located on one of the most important touristic crossroads in Spain. When coming from either the Ruta de la Plata or the Camino de Santiago, take the exit to Castrillo, from where it is only 50 metres from the main road. Although small, one can still spend a couple of relaxing hours strolling through the town followed by a lunch at one of the restaurants with a typical local dish, the Cocido Maragato.
The Silver route is a must for Spain aficionados. It leads you across Spain, from north to south, or vice versa. On the more than eight hundred kilometres long Roman road you will find gorgeous nature, UNESCO world heritage sites, silver, gold and of course Castrillo.
The Camino de Santiago or road to Santiago is the name of the pilgrim way to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great. The apostle is supposedly buried in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Many take up this route to enable spiritual growth. A detour to Castrillo will surely add to your mental well being.
For those pilgrims hungry from a long walk the Cocido Maragato should be your meal of choice. The Maragato is a stew consisting of cabbage, potatoes, chickpeas and seven varieties of pork meat. It is a typical dish of Astorga, Leon and specifically Castrillo de los Polvazares. One meal will keep you going for the next week or so.
Although tiny, the village has several excellent options to spend the night, like the holiday home Los Polvazares or the hotel Casa Coscolo with an à la carte restaurant. Castrillo is located in the province of Leon, the village belongs to the municipality of Astorga, which has several more accommodation options in the area.