MotorLand Aragon first hosted a Grand Prix in 2010, becoming the sixth different circuit that has been used for GP racing in Spain, in addition to Jerez, Catalunya, Jarama, Montjuich and Valencia. This is a country which is passionate about motorcycle racing, having produced some great champions down the years including Angel Nieto, Sito Pons, Alex Criville, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.A state-of-the-art venue, the MotorLand Aragon road racing circuit was opened in 2009, to continue the rich local heritage of racing which had seen years of exciting street races in nearby Alcañiz, a town that hosted racing events between 1963 and 2003.
The small Spanish town of Alcañiz sits on the river Guadalope in the Teruel province, which is part of the wider autonomous community of Aragon. The town is 113km from the provincial capital Teruel, is home to just over 16,000 people and boasts centuries of history, as you will note from the ancient buildings in the old town centre.
The Teruel province is one of Spain’s quieter regions, but that makes it all the more special to visit, with its sometimes deserted landscape, strong rural culture, fine local Spanish food and its beautiful provincial capital, the town of the same name – Teruel.The town and its surrounding region are known in other parts of Spain for the harsh local climate which is very hot in the summer and cold in the winter, whilst its famous Spanish cured ham (jamón serrano) should not be missed.
There are numerous options for visitors to this area in terms of accommodation, with a lot to choose from at an affordable rate in this part of Spain.
Renting a ‘casa rural’ (holiday cottage) for a few days is a lovely way to spend some time in this rustic region and there are literally hundreds of properties up for rent within 30 minutes drive of Alcañiz – though many of them are much closer than that. Lots of Spanish people rent places for the weekend and you can often find properties for just €100 per night, so it’s a decent option especially if you are in a group.
Meanwhile there is no shortage of hotels or hostals (like B&Bs) in the area, but if you want to stay in Alcañiz itself you may have to book well in advance. Otherwise start to look around for places to stay in the towns of Calanda, Caspe, Alcorisa, Valderrobres and Andorra which are all roughly within a 35km radius of the town.Hostals can be cheaper, whilst typical three to four star hotels tend to be in the €75-€150 per night price range.
Starting in Alcañiz itself, discovering this truly unspoiled part of Spain is a true pleasure. Visitors can enjoy the cafes, bars and restaurants and the typical laid-back Spanish style of this charming little town, whilst getting a shot of the Santa María la Mayor’s medieval Gothic church tower for the photo album.
If you make the trip south to the town of Teruel you will be visiting the only provincial capital in peninsular Spain not to have a direct railway link to nation’s capital city Madrid. It is this remoteness, the high altitude of the town and its distinctive Moorish-influenced Mudéjar architecture which define this underrated Spanish gem.
The dome of the Cathedral of Teruel is a key example of the Mudéjar style and is without doubt another must-have for the picture book.Tourists in Spain tend to stick to Madrid and the coastal regions, but exploring the numerous small towns of Teruel and Aragon’s additional two provinces of Huesca and Zaragoza will lead you to relatively undiscovered parts of Spain.
Alcañiz and Teruel are principally served by two airports, Zaragoza and Reus, but Barcelona and Madrid are not a million miles away. Train and bus links to some of the smaller towns in the Teruel province are limited, so the best way to get around is by car or motorbike.
English is not as widely spoken in Teruel or wider Aragon as in other parts of Spain, so having a Spanish phrasebook to hand will serve you well and ordering a meal in Spanish will enhance your experience. As in general in Spain lunch for locals is 2pm-4pm and dinnertime is after 9pm, which is worth noting unless you want to eat in an empty restaurant.Meals and good Spanish wine are very reasonably priced throughout Aragon, many restaurants offer set menus of three courses with a drink included for under €10 at lunchtime and tips are not expected but are always welcomed.