Castilla y León
Castilla y León, the large region of Spain
The largest province of Spain, Castile and León, Castilla y León in Castilian, is a region of large arid plains with architectural and natural heritage.
The unification of the kingdoms of León and Castile at the beginning of the 11th century resulted in the erection of an impressive number of castles, particularly in the northern part of the province. This proliferation of strongholds earned it the name of Castile.
In this vast region, we discover the towns of Salamanca, home to the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain’s oldest active university; Segovia and its Roman aqueduct; Avíla, considered a national historic and artistic monument since 1884.
The Castilla y León has traditionally been a major route for both cultural and commercial exchanges.
Coming from France the Way of Compostela, el Camino Francès, crosses the north of the province from east to west from Burgos, draining a stream of pilgrims and tourists for centuries.
The historic Ruta Via de la Plata used by Hannibal and his elephants during its passage from the Pyrenees in 218 BC, crosses the western part of the province from north to south. This name derives from the Arabic’ balat’, a stone road. Its route from the north of León to the south of Salamanca is marked by numerous historical remains.
The province’s wide open spaces have many protected nature parks offering great opportunities for sporting activities.
Visit the region of Castilla y León
Burgos is the cradle of old Castile and capital of Spanish Gothic art. Burgos is home to a religious heritage, including the Santa María Cathedral, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The former trading town of the Middle Ages and the city of Le Cid is a privileged stopover on the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela, with many hospices and other buildings formerly dedicated to the care of pilgrims.
Medina of Pomar
85 km north of Burgos, Medina de Pomar, the historic town of the Merindades, is located on the’ Route of Charles V’, the last route the emperor took to gain his last retreat at the monastery of Yuste in Extremadura.
The Alcázar de los Condestables is home to the Museo de las Merindades, an impressive castle-palace dating from the 14th century, a useful visit for those who want to understand the history of this region. Moreover, this small medieval town is well endowed with green spaces offering picnic areas, walks and swimming.
Coruña del Conde
It is only a few kilometres from Coruña del Conde (110 km south of Burgos), in the heart of the wine region of Ribera del Duero that lies the ancient Roman city of Clunia, one of the most important in the Iberian Peninsula. Some of the mosaics that can be seen here date from the first centuries of the Christian era.
This village south of Burgos owes its name to the reddish aspect of the numerous caves that surround it. It has a historical centre typical of Castilian urban architecture.
In the centre of Covarrubias, you will find traditional houses on the ground floor of the village, with their stone floors, arcades, wooden half-timberings and galleries.
At the crossroads of Vía de la Plata, 200 km from Madrid, Salamanca is the Spanish university city par excellence. European Capital of Culture in 2002, a young and dynamic city, Salamanca, with its university dating from 1218, saw the birth of the first grammar of Castilian language.
Articulated around a magnificent Plaza Mayor, its historic centre, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is overflowing with prestigious civil and religious monuments and buildings.
A strategic stronghold long disputed by Muslims and Christians, the site of Ciuda Rodrigo was occupied from the Neolithic period before it was occupied by a Celtic tribe, the Vétons, four centuries B. C. Conquered by the Romans, it was fortified in the 12th century by the king of Leon, Fernando II, before becoming an episcopal siege.
With its rich architectural and monumental heritage, this medieval town on the road to Portugal offers an interesting and pleasant stopover.
La Alberca, the first rural town in Spain to be classified as a National Historic Monument, La Alberca, located 80 km south-west of Salamanca at the foot of the Sierra de Francía, is part of the’ Association of the most beautiful villages of Spain’.
On the edge of the Plaza Mayor and the village’s centuries-old streets, half-timbered houses sit on a stone ground floor with arcades dating back several centuries. Several hermitages are also scattered around this village of 1150 inhabitants.
Established on a rocky promontory at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama, the old town of Segovia has one of the richest architectural and artistic complexes in Spain.
Its ancient aqueduct is one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in Spain and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At one end of it, its majestic Alcázar dominates the city walls, which enclose innumerable Romanesque churches and the elegant silhouette of the Santa María Cathedral, as well as numerous monuments and civil buildings.
San Ildefonso o la Granja
A few kilometers from Segovia, at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama, San Ildefonso o la Granja is home to the Royal Palace of the Granja d’ Ildefonso, a monumental complex of the XVIIIth century mixing Spanish Baroque and French style.
Enjoined by magnificent French gardens endowed with numerous statues and fountains with water jets, it will be used as summer residence by the Castilian rulers until the reign Alphonse XIII (1886-1931).
The city is also home to the Real Fábrica de Cristales, whose museum is dedicated to the art of glass and crystal.
In the heart of Sierra Ávila, the capital of the province is the highest in Spain. Classified as a Historic and Artistic Monument, the city behind 2.5 km of ramparts is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cradle of Sainte-Thérése d’ Ávila, the medieval city houses a collection of Renaissance palaces and churches.
The ramparts, symbol of the city, make it one of the best-preserved walled cities in Spain. They are covered by 2500 slots, a hundred towers and six gates.
Regional Park of Sierra de Gredos
Regional Park of the Sierra de Gredos
In the extreme south-western part of the province of Avila, the Sierra de Gredos is composed of granite massifs dotted with picturesque isolated villages with stone mountain houses.
Dominated by the 2592 meters of the peak of L’ Almanzor, sites such as the circus and the lake of Gredos, the Laguna Grande or the Charco de las Paredes, present landscapes made of lagoons, cirques, gorges in which many rivers and streams flow.
The park is an ideal setting for mountain sports: canoeing, rock climbing and mountaineering, horse riding, fishing and hunting, mountain biking or skiing in winter and has a good hotel infrastructure.
Madrigal de las Torres
Madrigal des las Altas Torres was the birthplace of Isabelle the Catholic and the former residence of the court. She was protected by an enclosure originally 2,300 km long. If the medieval enclosure is declared to be of cultural interest, the bell tower of the city with its 75 m height holds the title of highest bell tower of the province of Ávila.
At the crossroads of Camino francés and Camino real on the road to Compostela, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of León is crossed by the Bernesga river which separates the historic old town from its more recent quarters.
The Cathedral, the’ Pulchra Leonina’ renowned for its magnificent stained glass windows and the Royal Collegiate Church of St. Isidore, a fine example of Spanish Romanesque art, are with the Hostal San Marcos, converted into Parador, the emblematic buildings of the city.
In its Húmedo district, with its narrow streets around Calle Ancha and Plaza San Martín, it is the lively quarter of the medieval centre and the place indicated for sacrificing itself to the custom of the tapas bars tour.
The old Roman town of Roman origin is dominated by an imposing castle dating from the 12th century.
Important stage on the edge of the Sil river on the Way to Compostela, the old town of Roman origin is dominated by an imposing castle dating from the 12th century.
Largest Roman gold centre, the extraction of gold over two centuries has completely changed the landscape of this region. Classified as a World Heritage Site, the site offers a visit to the remains of Roman mining villages, ancient fortified Celtic villages and numerous lakes formed by the washing of this ochre earth.
In this small village, west of the town of León, remains the only forge in the region dating from the Middle Ages and still functioning. La Herrería was classified as a National Monument in 1968. <
Cristo del Otero, the symbol of the city, dominates Palencia from its 20 meters height. The’ Bella Desconicida’, the Cathedral of San Antolín, is the most important religious building in Palencia on the Romanesque Route, a route that allows you to discover the richness of the medieval heritage that has developed around the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela.
Located a few kilometres north of Palencia, Frómista is considered the Romanesque capital of the province. Its San Martín church, compared to a work of art for the purity of its lines, was erected in 1035.
The church of Saldaña, a town with typical Castilian houses in the Saldaña-Valdavia region north of Palencia, houses an archaeological exhibition dedicated to the Roman site of Villa de La Olmeda in the Monographic Museum. There are various objects and utensils found during excavations on this site dating from the third century A. D.
Soria is the capital of Spain’s least populated province, Soria is located in the east of Castile and Leon on the banks of the River Duero.
Calle el Collado and Paseo el Espolón are the most attractive arteries of the city, which preserves a heritage of Romanesque architecture in its medieval centre. In the heart of Soria, the Alameda Cervantes, one of the oldest public gardens in Spain, offers a green lung of 9 hectares.
El Burgo de Osma
Tower occupied by the Romans, Visigoths and Muslims, the city, whose historic centre is classified as a Historic and artistic site, will take its present form in the first year of the twelfth century after the creation of its cathedral at the site of a monastery.
You can still see overlooking the surrounding area, the old castle of Osma and remains of fortifications, some of which date back to the 8th century, as well as the ancient Roman bridge that still spans the Ucero river.
Natural Park Cañón de los Lobos
At about fifty kilometers west of Soria, between the provinces of Burgos and Soria, the course of the Rio Lobos formed a splendid canyon, famous for its vertical limestone walls, through a mountain landscape covered with pine and juniper forests where many caves are hidden.
Zamora, built on the banks of the Duero river, at the crossroads of the Portuguese road and Via de Plata, preserves a heritage of Romanesque architecture. Its ramparts, stately houses and religious buildings bear witness to the influence of this medieval town.
Puebla de Sanabria
Historic site northwest of Zamora, Puebla de Sanabria is perched on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Ríos Castro and Tera. On the hillside, a 15th century medieval castle overlooks the city.
Natural Park of Lake Sanabria
Lake Sanabria is the largest glacial lake in Spain. All around there are forests, gorges, valleys and lagoons, natural beaches allowing a large number of outdoor activities.
At the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva Ríos, Valladolid is an industrial city nestled in the heart of the Meseta in the centre of Castilla y León.
The historic city centre is dotted with palaces, mansions, monuments and religious buildings, including the Santa Cruz and San Gregorio Colleges, the 16th century Plaza Mayor and the Casa de Cervantès.
This charming village, nestled on the banks of the Pisuerga river a few kilometres north of Valladolid, is the birthplace of the Clarete, a very aromatic rosé wine vinified in one of the 300 underground cellars in the commune. The vineyards of Cigales have an appellation of origin.
From time immemorial, important historical and commercial center in the region, Peñafiel is worth a stop for its strange medieval fortress in the form of a boat. Perched on a narrow rocky promontory, the castle (10th-11th centuries) with a length of 200 meters is dominated by an imposing 30 meters high keep.