In the depths of the Sierra Norte of Madridabout 60 km from the capital of Spain, there is a hidden treasure: Patones de Above. This little kingdom, declared Asset of Cultural Interest in 1999is an exceptional example of the black slate architecture, that captivates those who venture to discover its secrets.

Patones de Arriba offers a unique experience, from its slate houses that cling to steep streets until the old church of San José, which today houses the Tourist Office and an exhibition that reveals the evolution of the town over the centuries.

Steep streets of Patones de Arriba (Madrid).
Steep streets of Patones de Arriba (Madrid).

The King of Patones

Among its fascinating stories, the curious figure of the King of Patones. Discover how this small kingdom had its own monarch, adding a royal touch to the rich history of the place. A curious fact that surprises visitors.

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However, the reality is that the name of Patones comes from the 16th century and its founders, the Paton family. At that time, Patones was a neighborhood of Uceda (Guadajalara). Therefore, they decided to name their own King – who was actually a kind of mayor which administered justice among its neighbors – until the municipality achieved its independence in 1769.

Painting by the Frenchman Meissonier who in 1864 portrayed Napoleon and his troops on the way to Moscow, who would be defeated by the extreme Russian climate
Painting by the Frenchman Meissonier who in 1864 portrayed Napoleon and his troops on the way to Moscow, who would be defeated by the extreme Russian climate

Another legend: free from Napoleon’s French invasion

“The king of the Patones reigned during the mandate of the king of all Spain, Charles III, and with his consent during the Napoleonic invasion of 1808. It was the only town in Spain that, because it was hidden in this inaccessible mountain range, was freed from the invaders French”. That legend can be read on a canvas at the Rey de Patones restaurant.

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From Tourism of the Community of Madrid They add: “Not even Napoleon found them… or so the legend says since Patones de Arriba is a hidden place where you can enjoy a landscape and buildings that will be unusual for those who are willing to be surprised in our Community.”

Patones de Arriba, Madrid
Patones de Arriba, Madrid

Natural and architectural treasures

The cobblestone streets and slate houses take us to corners like the laundry and the New Source. A photogenic spot where the stream and small slate bridge create a lovely waterfall when it rains heavily.

Walking through the streets, you meet ancient wood ovens, silent witnesses of past times. These ovens, used to bake bread, blend in with the homes and are part of the traditional architectural charm of Patones.


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An open air museum

The quality of conservation of its architectural heritage, together with its location in a unique landscape, makes Patones de Arriba an authentic Outdoor museum. From the buildings that hang over steep streets to the oldest remains of tinados and arrenes, the town tells the story of the evolution of human societies, highlighted by Turismo de Patones.

Church of Patones de Arriba.
Church of Patones de Arriba.

Practical tips for visiting Patones de Arriba

Patones is divided into two nuclei: Patones de Arriba (restricted access) and Bottom Patonesideal starting point for exploring.

Remember that parking in Patones de Arriba is reserved for authorized residents. It is recommended to park in Patones de Abajo and walk up the Senda del Barranco, a journey of 800 meters.

If you decide to park in the lower part, the park-and-ride located on Arzobispo Baltasar Moscoso street is a good option, although it is not guarded.


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How to get to Patones de Arriba

From the center of Madrid, the journey to Patones is just 1 hour by road. A-1. For its part, from Guadalajara the trip has an estimated duration of 55 minutes on the road. CM-1002.

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