Weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya: City Guide

While confined to the Community of Madrid during #pandemiclife, we took a lil’ trip 😉 from the city of Madrid to spend a weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya, a cozy town located in the Sierra Norte area

Where to Stay

First things first: We stayed at Hotel La Beltraneja, and I absolutely loved it. The hotel is right in the heart of town and has a variety of unique rooms:  we stayed in the Moorish inspired Al-Rabad room. In fact, one of the walls of the room is actually part of the original city walls from when the Moors ruled town.  Super cool. l highly recommend you stay there on a weekend in Buitrago de Lozoya. 

Weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya
Views from the Al-Rabad room at Hotel La Beltraneja
The entrance to Hotel La Beltraneja –  as you can see, the hotel is essentially built into the old city walls!
Torre Albarrana in a central plaza right near the hotel

What To Do in a Weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya

#1. Get bird’s eye views from the tower of La Iglesia de Santa María del Castillo

La Iglesia de Santa María del Castillo has an interesting blend of Romanesque and mudéjar architecture. I recommend a visit and then heading up the tower for some great views of town!

La Iglesia de Santa María del Castillo, right next to our hotel, by night

After a good climb up a few staircases, you’ll find yourself at the top of the church’s bell tower. The views are worth the climb!

Views from the bell tower of La Iglesia de Santa María del Castillo

#2. Wander along the city walls! 

Buitrago is one of a few towns in Madrid that has maintained its original Moorish city walls, which date back to the 11th century but were later restored in the 15th century. The walls encircle the peninsula surrounded by the Lozoya River, which is effectively the center of town.

Weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya
Walking along the city walls with a view of the church’s bell tower
Me and Alex 😊
A view of the city walls lining the peninsula of town

#3. Grab some fresh fish for lunch at Rancho El Portachuelo

The man who welcomed us to the hotel recommended this restaurant, and we enjoyed it!

To work up an appetite, we started with some cañas 🍻  and gambas 🦐 (my fave) at one of the central town plazas (actually in front of the Picasso Museum). Then we headed to the restaurant, where we ordered sopa de mariscos (seafood soup), sea bass, and salmon. The food was delicious!

Crushing a few pre-lunch beers in the town plaza
Lunch at El Rancho El Portachuel

#4. Take a paseo along the river!

A stroll along the river is a must while spending time in Buitrago. On the east side of the peninsula, you’ll find Buitrago’s Alcázar and castle, although the old walls are really all that remain. Across the river, you’ll get a nice view of the sierra!

Weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya
A lil paseo along the river
Weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya
Note the city walls behind me!

Weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya

#5. Take a tour of the surprisingly interesting Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum was a highlight of our trip to Buitrago. This unexpected museum is home to the art collection of Picasso’s barber, Eugenio Arias, who was born in Buitrago. Picasso and Arias met in France and were pretty much besties. Many pieces in the collection were gifts from Picasso to Arias, so the museum offers unique insight into some of Picasso’s lesser known work. We fortunately coincided with a tour – which I highly recommend! – as we entered the museum. Our guide helped us appreciate the pieces and context of the work that we may have otherwise overlooked. I really enjoyed our visit! 😊

A poster signed by Picasso for Arias
The artist who produced this bust only used photos of Picasso to create the piece. So, Eugenio Arias, as Picasso’s barber, gave the sculptor tips on Picasso’s head shape 😂
A ceramic plate of the mythical faun by Picasso
Picasso designed this piece for Arias to use when shaving his face. Bulls and other traditional Spanish symbols are common motifs in the unique slice of Picasso’s work that is on exhibit in the museum
A ceramic plate by Picasso of the legendary Don Quixote – another typical Spanish image

Enjoy your weekend in Buitrago del Lozoya!