Patones de Arriba—a village oozing in charm
This village always comes with descriptions like quaint, rustic, pretty and charming. It is all those things and more. It is wrapped up in a rich history and fascinating legends. Only 45 minutes north of Madrid, this is a must-see village.
Each hidden corner, narrow street and rock have a story to tell.
The unique history of Patones de Arriba
This town is now based completely on tourism. But it wasn’t always. For centuries this was a small agricultural-based village tucked in the foothills of the Sierra of Guadarrama mountain range.
The town is named after its founders, the Patones brothers. Wanting prestige, they formed their own village to gain some local importance. By all accounts, it worked for them as their name got used and they were able to wield influence. The first records of the town are mentioned around 1527.
By 1687 Patones de Arriba had its own king who acted as the town judge and mayor. His power was absolute and controlled all aspects of village life, including giving permission to couples who wanted to get married.
Legend has it that Patones was actually missed by Napoleon's armies as they swept through Spain on their way to Madrid. There is some debate as to the truthfulness of the legend, but it makes for a great story.
It is hard not to get swept away in the legends and charming character of this village.
Now Patones is a tourist place filled with gourmet restaurants, craft gift shops and small hotels. All the residents have moved down to the plains in Patones de Abajo (lower Patones) as life is a little easier there with conveniences such as grocery stores and parking—although not nearly as charming as Upper Patones.
Tips when visiting Patones:
- If you go on a weekend, arrive early (before 11:00 a.m.) as there is very limited parking at the entrance of Patones and no parking within the town's limits.
- The streets are steep. Even if you are only planning on going to one of the amazing restaurants wear practical shoes as heals will result in a sprained ankle.
- Make reservations at one of the restaurants if you are planning on staying for lunch or dinner. Patones is a popular spot for Madrileños to go, so the restaurants are packed on weekends and holidays.
- Take the time to explore this little town to the full. You will enjoy every moment.