The small town – village really – of COVARRUBIAS, 40km south of Burgos, is superbly preserved, with many white half-timbered houses and an air of sleepy gentility throughout. Set by an old bridge overlooking the Río Arlanza, the casco histórico is arranged around three adjacent plazas of ever increasing prettiness. The late Gothic Colegiata de San Cosme y San Damián is the main church, crammed with tombs that give an idea of the grandeur of the town in earlier times. The whole ensemble is studiously quaint, and attracts weekend tourists in numbers, but it’s not yet overwhelmed – there’s an antiques shop and a classy butcher-deli or two, but there are also locals tending to brimming flower boxes and children playing around the worn stone crosses.

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