Hidden Corners of Spain: Orbaneja del Castillo
In case you weren’t aware that it is possible to visit a waterfall and a town at the same time, Orbaneja del Castillo may just rock your world. This village, situated in the Sedano Valley in the province of Burgos, was declared a national historic site in 1993. It really is a tiny village – its population in 2017 was only 53! On any given day, this sleepy village probably has more tourists than residents.
What to do
The most popular thing to do is see the waterfall and the pristine blue pools at the bottom. During peak season, you’ll probably have to wait your turn to get your photo taken next to the 20-meter-high waterfall! This waterfall is like a staircase with several streams of water cascading down. Around 200 liters of water stream down every second, and even more in the rainy springtime.
You can also visit the Cueva del Agua (Water Cave) if you go in the summer – it’s only dry enough for visitors to enter during the summer months, as the rest of the year there’s just too much water.
As for the town, there are a handful of bars and restaurants if you want to make a day of it or be like the Spanish and “tomar algo” before you leave. You can order tapas like croquetas or morcilla (blood sausage), or order a full meal. There’s a local artisan craft shop with lovely handmade items too. Walking around the village takes less than half an hour, but you can catch glimpses of the local señoras or head up the hill to get a view of the whole town and the surrounding mountains.
How to get there
Orbaneja del Castillo is right on the border between the provinces of Burgos and Cantabria. You can get there by bus from Burgos with Alsa, which takes around an hour and costs 6 euros. The town isn’t near any major motorways, but reaching it by car is fairly easy on the national roads. By car, if you’re coming from Santander, you can get there in an hour and 40 minutes via the N-623, or coming from Burgos, it’s just under an hour on the same highway. It’s around 2 hours from Bilbao via the BI-636 and CL-629. It’s best to park before entering the town, down below in the designated parking area on the side of the main road that you entered on.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and want to walk a bit more, take a short hike in the beautiful forest at Monte Hijedo and then take the 18-mile drive over to Orbaneja del Castillo.
Don’t miss this fantastic gem during your trip to Spain!