Hidden Away in the Spanish Mountains

El Vallejo

Map of El Vallejo

El Vallejo is an old abandoned village located in the Spanish Highlands of Soria. If you look at the map carefully, you can also see Valdelavilla, which is the village where we stayed.

El Vallejo is an abandoned village of about 38 houses making it almost double the size of Valdelavilla. It was abandoned in the 1950′s because life was very hard for people living in the country at that time.

They had no water near their houses, no toilets, no electricity, no heating or cooling and very little food. The children, if they went to school at all, would have had to walk 6 miles in each direction, every day.The people were so poor that I have found shoes made out of old car tires because they didn’t have the money to buy proper ones.

Compared to life in a city where water came from taps, the toilet was inside the house and you could still see after nightfall, their lives were very tough indeed. So, when they had the opportunity they moved to the cities and a more comfortable but not necessarily more enjoyable life. Whatever we might think of their decision, none of them ever came back!

Written by: Davy Johnston

Davy Johnston, our fantastic group leader at Valdelavilla, also conducts guided walking tours in southern Spain. Check out his website @ www.walkspain.com


One afternoon during our week long stay at Valdelavilla, Davy planned an afternoon excursion for us–a group hike to El Vellejo! Along the way he pointed out the interesting flora and fauna of the area.

El Vallejo

Talking & Walking (It was hot!)

El Vallejo

Our First Glimpse of the Village

El Vallejo

Nestled in the mountains, El Vellejo is certainly picturesque, but also very isolated. I guess it was difficult living in the mountains without the modern conveniences we’ve grown accustomed to.

Can you see the red clay tiles on the rooftop? These were hand-made by the people that used to live here. The men took wet clay and used their upper thighs as molds to shape the clay. After the tiles were formed, young children from the village then had to carefully smooth the clay with their fingers as the tiles dried in the hot summer sun. It was hard work! We found broken tiles on the ground and were able to see finger prints and finger groves from the children that had worked on them so many years ago.

El Vallejo

The buildings and surrounding walls were made from stone found in the local area.

El Vallejo

Look What We Found! Grapes!

El Vallejo

Look how the bright blue sky perfectly frames the rustic buildings–beautiful!

El Vallejo

This is my favorite picture from our trip! Do you like it?

El Vallejo

In this picture, you can see the interior of one of the old houses. The roof caved in and now the elements are quickly destroying what’s left.

El Vallejo

Don’t Touch! Ouch!

El Vallejo

We felt like we stepped back in time when we hiked to El Vallejo, but were quickly reminded of modern times when we saw the wind turbines (go green!) on the hill!


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