Castillo de Loarre Aragon Spain
It’s mid August 2022 and the Summer heat is beating down. Now, our travel diaries are reaching Castillo de Loarre in the Aragon region of Spain. This is an 11th Century castle set on a hill, which dominates the landscape for miles around.
Our first sighting of Castillo de Loarre, brings an overwhelming sense of awe. Not only does it look spectacular, reflecting off the bright blue sky, but it’s position standing over desolate terrain is incredible.
There’s not much around in these parts, just a few isolated village and dirt tracks which separate the vast horizon. Somehow, the extreme dryness of the Spanish landscapes make this setting even more dramatic.
Parking and Lunch
Winding up the hilly road brings more views across the parched and open land. Here, there’s little in the way of shade or even greenery, so the views are endless, or so it seems.
The castle is quite something as it rises up ahead. And, the fact that it looks pretty intact, makes it ever more interesting. Apparently, this is one of the finest castles in Aragon, so it’s little wonder the parking area is almost full.
Luckily, there’s a bit of shade from some trees and a space where we can squeeze into. Now, with the door open and a couple of camp chairs placed strategically under a leafy branch, we settle down for lunch.
Parking is free by the way and access is easy enough for the campervan.
History of Castillo de Loarre
Loarre Castle dates back to 1020, but was once home to a Roman fortress. It was King Sancho Ramirez who instructed the castle to be built, and today it’s the most important Romanesque fortress in Spain.
Although initially used as a residence of the royals, it later became home to a monastery. Nowadays, Castillo de Loarre is UNESCO and attracts visitors from all over the world.
The interior finishes may be absent in places, as well as a few open sections where floors and a roof would once have been, but overall the castle is remarkably complete.
Fine Views and Beautiful Stonework
From the parking area is a track that leads to good shop, cafe, toilets and ticket desk. It all looks rather new, being a modern twist against its historic star attraction.
We buy our tickets which cost a modest 6 Euro each and follow the signs to the castle entrance. First though, we can’t help but take a look from a viewing area, with views stretching out across the vast landscapes, which is absolutely superb.
Further on, the dirt track brings us to the castle entrance, where a chap is waiting to check tickets, sheltering in the shade from the strong sun.
The Romanesque influences in the stonework bring an added interest to this remarkable structure. Here, we can see neatly carved out features, making the stonework almost seem alive.
Inside, a stone staircase leads us inside the ancient stone walls. Everything is so perfect looking, in an historic kind of way. It’s hard to believe this fortress of a castle is as old as it is.
Although the Castillo de Loarre is relatively compact, it’s nonetheless intriguing. As we meander through its neat corridors, we try and imagine life here, how times are so different now. At the end of the day, this is a castle still standing strong and despite it’s centuries old age, there’s a deep and meaningful magic about this place.
The Village – Castillo de Loarre, Aragon, Spain
In times of less extreme heat, you can take a footpath downhill from the castle which leads directly into Loarre village. I’m not sure how far it is, but I’d guess maybe 45 minutes, but don’t quote me on that.
For us, it’s time to think about finding a place to park up for the night and we think we may have found somewhere in Loarre itself.
The main reason we’re coming here to the village is because our entrance fee to the castle includes a combined entry to the restored church in Loarre.
Just at the entrance to the village, we notice a sign for motorhome parking, so we take a look. Low and behold, overnight parking in the spacious parking area is fine, so we immediately park up and make ourselves at home.
A Tight Fit Bell Tower
Setting off on foot to explore Loarre village leads us to the church in no time at all. Here we take a look at some before and after pictures pinned to the wall, showing the restoration. For us the big attraction has to be the very tight winding staircase taking us up to the bell tower.
Not only are we greeted with magnificent views at the top, but also several large bells which are quite lovely!
I venture upwards, along the narrow steps through this dark and tiny passageway, following the light and adjusting my eyes. Then as I duck down to emerge onto the top of the Bell Tower, my head hits the doorway. Ouch – that really did knock some sense into me, but thankfully, it was me going first and not tall Nigel. Recovering from my knock, I manage to warn him before he too walks straight into the stone door opening.
It reminds me once again, how different our European neighbours often are in terms of health and safety rules or lack of them compared to Blighty. Oh how we love it. One things for sure, despite a bang to the head, it’s so fabulous to be able to experience the back passages of this tight fit bell tower.
Loarre is a peaceful, sleepy place but come the evening the village square comes to life. This is where we find the locals, who are out in force talking over drinks under shady trees. There’s one bar here and it’s the hub of the community and the centre of all the action.
The motorhome parking was fine for the night and we weren’t alone either. Not only were there several motorhomes before the end of the night, but plenty of barking dogs echoing across the countryside.
Well we may not have had the peaceful nights sleep that we’d hoped for, but we can’t have everything.
Next time we’re at the incredible rock formations of The Mallos de Riglos, where we watch the climbers scaling some very dizzy heights.