Visit Castilla y León
Castilla y León is a huge region with a truly remarkable architectural heritage. Visit its many castles, monasteries, cathedrals and historic cities.
Castilla y León tourist sites and places to visit
For a roundup of the most popular sites in the region, see alsoCastilla y León places to visit.
The Castilla y León region is located in northwestern Spain, just south of Asturias and Cantabria, and Galicia. Valladolid is the regional capital.
Castilla y León unite to form the largest region of Spain. This region (known in Spain as Castilla y León) was the engine of the Reconquest and its leaders brought great wealth to the region. If you are looking for monuments, art treasures and historical sights, this is the region to choose. Salamanca and León stand out especially and are among the most beautiful cities in Spain
This region is too large and contains too many sights to fit into a two-week vacation, so here's an introduction to each of the nine provinces with tips and highlights to help you make the most of a visit to this extraordinary region.
León - Northwest Castilla y León
The Picos de Europa and the beautiful cities of León and Astorga will delight visitors to the province of León.
be sure to visitLeón, famous for its Gothic cathedral and also home to the Basilica of San Isidoro and the Convent of San Marcos, converted into a luxury Parador. Another highlight isastorgawith its episcopal palace with multiple towers designed by Gaudí. Astorga is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. To the west of these is Ponferrada with its Templar castle and its iron bridge.
Continue west to Las Médulas, a small town overlooking a truly impressive rocky landscape. Carucedo is another good place from which to explore this great landscape. The dramatic rocky landscape was shaped into its current state by mining in Roman times and this area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whoever considers doing the 'Camino del Peregrino' will pass through the attractive town of Villafranca del Bierzo, which is worth visiting even if you are not doing the Jacobean way.
Another highlight isCastrillo de Polvazareswhich is one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and home to a castle! Penalba de Santiago is another "most beautiful town".
Palencia - North of Castilla y León
With the highest concentration of Romanesque art in all of Europe, there is much to discover. Walkers may want to discover it as part of the "Camino de Santiago" Jacobean route that crosses the province.
The towns of Frómista, Población de Campos, Villalcazar de Sirga and Carrión de los Condes are all on the Jacobean route. Before the Reconquest, Carrión de los Condes had to deliver a hundred virgins to the Moorish lords every year!
Romanesque art can be found in the pretty town of Aguilar de Campoo, in the north of the province. The monastery is particularly impressive. Very close, in a beautiful place, surrounded by mountains, is Cervera de Pisuerga, with many monuments to see.
The provincial capital of Palencia has many treasures of its own. It was an important city in the Middle Ages and houses the first university in Spain.
Near Palencia are the beautiful towns of Ampudia and Dueñas, both classified as Assets of Cultural Interest.
If you want to explore the Palencine mountains, head to the pretty town of Cervera de Pisuerga.
Burgos - Northeast of Castilla y León
The magnificent Burgos Cathedral and the Atapuerca Archaeological Site are two highlights of the Burgos province.
BurgosThe cathedral is the only cathedral in Spain to have UNESCO World Heritage status in its own right and should not be missed. The city has many other treasures that make it worth the trip.
Near the city of Burgos is Atapuerca, a prehistoric archaeological site of great importance that has traces of human activity from 1 million years ago to the present. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In the north of Burgos, visit Medinal de Pomar and explore its attractive medieval streets and 14th-century castle.
To the south of Burgos, Covarrubias is a pretty town with typical Castilian architecture, porticoed streets and medieval walls; Lerma has an impressive old town with many great buildings due to the fact that the first Duke of Lerma spent his ill-gotten gains! Aranda de Duero also has some beautiful buildings from the 15th century.
One of the prettiest towns in the province isPenaranda of Duerowith its castle and medieval center and a beautiful Renaissance palace. Polvazares is one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and has unique architecture and a castle.
Another highlight is Benavente, whose 16th-century castle is now a luxury parador. Toro is another good town.
Zamora - Castilla y León Center
Spectacular mountains, Romanesque art and Holy Week celebrations are the highlights of the province of Zamora.
For mountain scenery, visit the Lago de Sanabria nature reserve, or head over the Portuguese border to Fermoselle in the Arribes del Duero Natural Park, home to Europe's largest population of wolves.
The provincial capital ofZamorait has a beautiful cathedral and a number of fine Romanesque churches. Its Easter celebrations are among the best in Spain. The Romanesque churches of Zamora are home to a colony of storks.
Very popular in the province is Puebla de Sanabria, which not only has a castle, many fine buildings and great views, but is also located on the edge of a glacial lake, the Sanabria Lake and the Sanabria Lake Natural Park.
Valladolid - Central Castile and Leon
If you like castles, this is your region with more than 30 in the province of Valladolid.
Some spectacular castles to visit in the region include Penafiel Castle, Iscar Castle, Simancas Castle and the huge Gothic-Mudejar style castle Castillo de la Mota inMedina del Campo. In addition to its battleship-shaped castle, Peñafiel has a square whose buildings are all made of wood and which is used as a bullring in August.
The city ofvalladolidIt has an attractive historic center with some fine Renaissance buildings. It is also a lively university city and hosts the Valladolid International Film Festival every year. If you want to join in the Holy Week celebrations, Valladolid is a good option. It is also famous for its gardens.
Other highlights are Medina de Rioseco, a fortified town that also hosts excellent Holy Week celebrations, and Tordesillas with its Royal Monastery decorated in Moorish style. Uruena is one of the "most beautiful towns" in Spain.
Soria - Eastern Castile and León
An attractive countryside and interesting Romanesque architecture are the main attractions of this quiet part of Spain.
The city of Soria has a charming medieval center and great Romanesque architecture. Its 13th-century cloister has unusual interlocking arches.
To the west, El Burgo de Osma also has excellent medieval architecture and San Esteban de Gormaz, with its castle and Romanesque churches, is a province highlight. His castle was once the largest fortified building in the West.
Head south and Medinaceli is another attractive town worth visiting.
Salamanca - Southwest of Castilla y León
Salamanca is a charming province with some beautiful cities and towns, including its capital, Salamanca. The landscape is very varied and includes several nature reserves.
The city ofSalamancait is one of the most beautiful in Spain and should definitely be visited if you are in the area. It is full of golden Renaissance architecture and its Plaza Mayor is surrounded by beautiful buildings.
Rodrigo City, with its castle/inn from the 14th century and Renaissance streets, is one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and the mountain town ofThe swimming poolIt is one of the prettiest towns in Spain, so this province really does have some delights for visitors.
Also worth visiting: San Felices de los Gallego on the Portuguese border which is surrounded by imposing medieval walls and dominated by its castle; Miranda del Castanar, which is another town dominated by its castle. It is located in the mountains of the Sierra de Francia, its location is also very attractive. Bejar is another large town with a 16th-century ducal palace and 11th-century defensive walls.
Near Salamanca, the town of Peñaranda de Bracamont has typical Castilian architecture.
Ávila - South of Castilla y León
With mountains in the north and the Tiétar valley in the south, this province has an amazing landscape. It is also home to the city of Ávila with its impressive fortified walls.
a visit toAvilaIt is a must. Its incredible fortified walls and UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town are mesmerizing and its stunning backdrop of mountains makes it even more impressive.
A good way to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery is by visiting the charming towns that are scattered throughout the area. El Barco de Ávila, Arenas de San Pedro, Arévalo, Hoyos del Espino and Piedrahita stand out.
In the north of the province, Arévalo has a castle and some interesting Mudejar architecture to see and nearby Madrigal de las Altas Torres has rare Mudejar-style medieval walls.
Walkers will want to spend time in the mountains of the Sierra de Gredos.
Segovia - Southeast of Castilla y León
with castles; Royal Palaces and the beautiful and historic city of Segovia, this province has a lot to offer the visitor.
The city ofSegoviait has a gothic cathedral, a moorish alcazar, a roman aqueduct and a stunning location, what more could you ask for?
Also be sure to visit theRoyal Palaces at La Granja de San Ildefonsowhich was inspired by the palace and gardens of Versailles. The Royal Palace of Riofrío is also located in the municipality of San Ildefonso.
If you are interested in castles, be sure to visit the splendid Mudejar castle of Coca, Castillo de Coca, as well as the castles of Cuéllar, Turégano andSierra Stone.
Sepúlveda is an attractive town with an excellent location overlooking the Sierra de Guadarrama, near the Hoces del Duration National Park.
Approximately one hour from Segovia is the pretty town of Ayllón with charming traditional architecture.
Castilla y León tourism and tourism
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Castilla y León
Las Medulas - amazing rocky landscape formed by Roman gold mines
Old town of Ávila with its Extramuros churches
Segovia old town and its aqueduct
Archaeological site of Atapuerca
Route of Camino de Santiago de Compostella
Burgos Museum - archaeological treasures
Museo de León - an excellent museum
Museo Nacional de Escultura - museum of religious sculptures, located in a beautiful building, Valladolid. It is one of the best sculpture museums in Spain.
Oriental Museum, Valladolid - items from China and the Philippines
Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Déco of Salamanca - the collection includes furniture, jewelry and furniture.
Parks and Caves
Cuevas de Valporquero/ Cuevas de Valporquero: A huge limestone cave system with incredible stalactites lit to great effect.
Sierra de Francia and Sierre de Bejar, rolling hills and plains and some lovely villages scattered throughout. The towns of Miranda del Castanar, Bejar, Candelario and La Alberca are among the best.
Sierra de Gredos, an attractive mountain range. The Gredos National Park is located near its highest peak, Pico Almanzor at 2592m high.
Hoces del Duration National Park near Sepúlveda.
Las Medulas are the irregular remains that remained from open-cast mining in search of gold in Roman times. It sounds terrible, but it's eerily beautiful and now a UNESCO World Heritage site./p>
Santo Domingo de Silos Monastery - an 11th century monastery in a peaceful setting. It has beautiful Romanesque cloisters and carved capitals. It is one of the best in Spain. The monks of this monastery released a best-selling Gregorian chant CD and is believed to be one of the top three Gregorian chant choirs in the world. Attend the morning or evening mass to listen to them or better on Saturdays and Sundays at noon.
Carracedo del Monasterio - a large ruined monastery near Villafranca del Bierzo.
Real Monasterio de las Huelgas - a 12th century Cistercian convent. It has a Gothic cloister decorated in Moorish style.
Cartuja de Miraflores - Carthusian monastery from the 15th century. It contains two tombs and an altarpiece by Gil de Siloe.
La Granja de San Ildefonso Gardens - These are very French-style gardens with many flower beds, fountains and statues. La Granja was a royal retreat for the King of Spain.
Valladolid is a city famous for its attractive gardens.
Paradors of Castile and Leon
Parador de Avila, Avila
Parador de Benavente, Benavente
Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo, Villafranca del Bierzo
Parador de la Granja, La Granja de San Ildefonso
Parador de Cervera de Pisuerga, Cervera de Pisuerga
Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo, Ciudad Rodrigo
Parador de Gredos, Gredos
Parador de Leon, Leon
Parador de Lerma, Lerma
Parador de Puebla de Sanabria, Puebla de Sanabria
Parador de Salamanca, Salamanca
Parador de Segovia, Segovia
Parador de Soria, Soria
Parador de Tordesillas, Tordesillas
Parador de Zamora, Zamora
This region of Spain is home to the famous Rioja wine. Look for the Reserva or Gran Reserva when selecting. Haro is at the center of Rioja production.
Map of Castilla y León and places to visit
Castilla y León places to visit
Castrillo de los Polvazares guide
City Rodrigo guide
La Alberca guide
Las Medulas guide
Guide to Leon
Guides of Medina del Campo
Pedraza de la Sierra guide
Guide to Penaranda de Duero
Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso guide