Frías (Burgos) has reasons to be proud. With hardly 275 inhabitants, it is the smallest city in Spain. Standing at the top of a promontory with a bird’s eye view of the crossroads between Burgos, Cantabria and the Basque Country, it guarantees visitors a unique experience, for Frías is a time machine. Strolling in its streets we find ourselves travelling to a past replete with titles, honours and battles that might be longed after by cities of greater fame, size and presence in the travel books; and talking to its citizens gives us the chance to learn from them how to face the future with the same solidity as characterises its walls.
From its spectacular position, Frías seems to float majestically in space in timeless dominance with its immutable architecture and rough beauty immune to erosion. At the highest point of La Muela is the ghostly outline of the mediaeval fortress, one of the most ancient castles in Castilla y León, a sign of the different architectural styles passing through between the 12th and 16th centuries. On the hillside, there is a small urban outcrop of mediaeval streets and hanging houses, once a strategic enclave between the lands of Cantabria, the Basque Country and Castile, as we see from the Roman road that runs through the city.
Thanks to the interest awakened by this singular architectural heritage, Frías receives nearly 80,000 visitors a year, but its authorities do not want the city to be simply picturesque and timeless. For several months this place has officially been a ‘gay-friendly’ city. An exotic initiative? At least that. The smallest city in Spain has found an intelligent way to face its future; Frías is the only city in Burgos with the title of a gay-friendly city (the third in Castilla y León), and intends to apportion itself a succulent tourist cake currently taken away by the large cities such as New York, Madrid or London.
What makes its offer distinct is the tranquillity of its streets and surrounding area, its contact with nature and the chance to do adventure sports. The offer is completed by other activities such as future meetings of singles and a gay cinema series.