With Valentine´s Day around the corner, there’s no better moment to discuss love tales around the world. Let´s dive into Spanish folklore and enjoy a few romantic legends from Spain to celebrate love altogether.
Best Romantic Legends from Spain
A few weeks ago, while sharing 10 Inspiring Spanish Legends, I´ve already made a promise to you to discuss romance and love in Spanish folklore. Now the day has come. I hope this collection of Romantic Legends from Spain will inspire your future trips across the Iberian Peninsula. Especially, if you´re excited to experience Romantic Spain and surprise your partner with a few eternal love stories. Get yourself in the mood and check this list of Best Romantic Spanish Songs as well.
1. The Lovers of Teruel
One simply can´t ignore Spanish national legend of the Lovers of Teruel. It is absolutely one of the most famous romantic legends from Spain you´ll ever find. The heartbreaking story took place in the city of Teruel.
According to the legend, Diego and Isabel were in love since their childhood, but the girl’s wealthy family didn’t want her to marry someone out of their social class. Nevertheless, they gave Diego 5 years to build a fortune, so he left the city. In 5 years he returned rich, but Isabel’s family had already arranged her marriage to another man.
Also read: The Most Beautiful Villages in Teruel
Diego didn’t want to believe that Isabel was married to someone else, so he went to see her and asked for a kiss. She refused, cause now she belonged to another man. This is why, if you check the picture of the monument, you’ll notice that their hands aim to hold but don’t actually touch as the sign of this kiss she refused to give him. The next day Diego died and during his funeral ceremony Isabel passed away by his side. The legend claims both died for love.
The legend of the Lovers of Teruel has been inspiring Spanish artists and poets from the 13th century till modern times.
2. Medina Azahara and the legend of the almond trees
While Andalusia´s top historical sites are always standing out on my lists of fairytale places and epic Spanish road trips, this local legend somehow was never on my radar. To my surprise, I discovered it while watching Lunnis de leyenda with my kids (a Spanish TV program for pre-school, where they introduce popular legends to kids in form of short and catchy video clips). I´ve immediately decided to do my research.
The legend has it, that the ruler of Cordoba Abderraman III had once fallen in love with a girl from the northern region of the Iberian Peninsula, Azahara. In order to surprise her, he decided to build one of the most beautiful and glorious palaces ever and call it Medina Azahara. Abdurrahman III hired the best craftsmen from Al-Andalus (modern Andalusia Region) and splurged on the rarest and most luxurious materials.
Nevertheless, Azahara looked more distant and discouraged every day. He watched her sobbing and looking towards the horizon for weeks. Finally, the girl confessed to him that she was missing her home, especially the snowy mountains from her childhood. In order to see again a happy smile on Azahara´s face, Abdurrahman III came up with a creative plan. He decided to plant thousands of almonds, so that once in flower, those would remind his beloved one of the snowy mountain caps of her homeland. Azahara was bewitched by the gorgeous flowering almond trees and never felt sad by his side ever since.
Some also say that Azahara was not born in the Northern Spain, but rather in the city of Granada and the mountain view she was daydreaming about was the famous Sierra Nevada National Park.
3. The Legend of Gara and Jonay
Fans of the Canary Islands might know that La Gomera island with its Garajonay park is home to one of the most romantic legends in Spain – the story of Gara and Jonay.
The legend goes that even before the Spanish conquest of the archipelago, the beautiful princess Gara lived on the island of La Gomera. She fell in love with a poor peasant´s son, Jonay, from the nearest island of Tenerife. The feeling was mutual and the boy would raft to another island every single day to visit his beloved one.
But there was no happy ending for Gara and Jonay. A priest predicted a misfortune for both and as they were about to wed, the powerful earthquake shook Tenerife. As a result, the otherworldly Spanish landscape of Teide volcano started to turn into the lava rivers. The family of princess Gara was scared, so they tried to break the young couple´s union by forcingly sending Jonay back to Tenerife. Nevertheless, the boy returned a few weeks later, and together with his beloved one, they managed to escape and hid in the woods of La Gomera. Desperate to stay together, Gara and Jonay took a lance made of laurel and stabbed themselves with it. Ever since the Spanish magical forests of La Gomera were called by their names – Garajonay National Park.
4. The Bitter Well of Toledo
No list of the most romantic legends in Spain could be complete without the glorious city of Toledo, one of the most epic Spanish landmarks, and one of my favorite places in the whole country.
Toledo is surrounded by many local legends, some of which even add mystery to one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain – The Saint Mary of Toledo. Nevertheless, one of the most popular city tales is still The Bitter Well of Toledo.
According to the legend the well was once located in the garden of the local Jewish girl Raquel, who was madly in love with a Christian boy named Fernando. Despite the fact that Toledo was internationally known as the city of three cultures, including the Christians, the Arabs, and the Jews, intercultural marriages were not welcomed.
One day, Raquel´s father saw the couple and in his madness stabbed the Christian in the back with a dagger. Fernando fell to the bottom of the well. Raquel was desperate. She shed so many tears on the waters of well that those became too bitter. Consumed by her grief, one night the Jewish girl had an illusion of her lover’s voice calling her from the bottom. Raquel couldn´t resist – she fearlessly threw herself into the dwell in an attempt to help Fernando. Some say their souls rest together at the bottom of Toledo´s most famous well.
In fact, I´m surprised the story of The Bitter Well of Toledo didn´t evolve into a ghost mystery to include it on my list of haunted places in Spain. Because this story clearly has a creepy twist for me.
5. The Legend of Cambaral
Another lesser-known folktale on this list of romantic legends from Spain is The Story of Cambaral. This time the events took place in the magical lands of the Asturias Province and one of its most beautiful small towns – Luarca.
The legend has it that long ago the coast of Northern Spain was terrorized by the pirates, whose leader Cambaral was known for his cruel and ingenious attacks on local fishing villages. Despite multiple complaints, the royal navy never managed to catch the pirates. So, one day the Lord of the Luarca fortress came up with a plan to end up with the constant pirate threat. Together with his best warriors, they´ve sailed out to the sea while pretending to be simple fishermen. The pirates saw them as an easy catch and launched their attack on what they thought was a simple group of local fishermen. While the fight was long and bloody, the Lord of Luarca and his men won the battle.
Cambaral was taken prisoner and locked up in the dungeons of Luarca. While the Lord and the people of Luarca were celebrating their victory, Lord´s young daughter asked for permission to help the prisoner to cure his wounds. Unexpectedly both of them, the girl and the pirate fell in love at first sight. Once Cambaral had recovered, he started to plan an escape from the fortress for both of them. Their well-curated plan almost worked for the couple, but someone had warned the Lord of Luarca about the escape. So, he was waiting with his man in Luarca´s harbor.
Once Cambaral and his beloved one saw that they were surrounded, their lips sealed in the last kiss. The Lord of Luarca in his madness cut off their heads and those disappeared forever in the deep waters of the local port. Years later a bridge called Puente del Beso (The Bridge of the Kiss) was built in that very same place.
6. The Bride´s Jump Waterfall
Another one of the romantic Spanish legends that should scare people, but it somehow has turned into an ultimate wedding photoshoot destination in the Province of Castellon. I´ve discovered the beautiful area of The Bride´s Jump Waterfall ( El Salto de la novia in Spanish) while hiking in Castellon. But to my surprise, this gorgeous natural setting came with a legend tag.
So, many years ago there was a local tradition for the brides to jump over the Palancia River in order to prove their love and ensure a happy marriage. Normally, a girl was supposed to find a place where the river narrows a bit, and then, in front of the villagers, jump to the opposite shore. Success was a sign of a happy marriage and true love.
According to the legend, there was once a young couple in love. They were about to get married and had to follow the ritual of jumping to receive their blessing. Like other brides before her, the young lady tried to jump. However, she accidentally slipped and fell into the river. A groom tried to save his beloved, but sadly, both of them drowned. Nowadays some locals claim that on moonlit nights they still hear voices and the river becomes radiantly white as a wedding dress.
Nevertheless, The Bride´s Jump Waterfall has nowadays become an ultimate picnic destination for families and couples, as well as a popular spot for romantic photoshoots.
More Romantic Reads:
- Romantic Spain: 10 Ideas for your perfect couples holiday
- The Most Romantic Vacation Ideas Around the World
- Romantic Holidays in Tuscany: The Best of Toscana in 3 Days
- Charming International Romance Movies Around the World
- Top Classical Romance Novels Around the World
- Top Romantic Travel Movies to watch with your loved one
- Best Romantic Spanish Songs You Can´t Miss