Castilla and Leon Travel Guide | Visit-Medieval-Spain.com

Places to Visit in Castilla & León

Medieval fortifications Avila Spain

AVILA

What to See:

Ávila was first settled during the Neolithic period by Iberian tribes from the south of Spain ( there are some interesting stone statues from the period in the city museum). The city is best known for its 12th Century granite walls. The imposing 12m high medieval walls are totally in tact, 3 stretches are open to the public and it takes about half an hour to walk around the perimeter of the old city.

The fortified 12th Century Cathedral forms part of the eastern section of the walls, by the "Puerta de Carnicerias" gateway. Just outside the city walls lie the 11th Century Basilica de San Vicente and the city Museum which occupies both the Convent of Santa Catalina and the Lezquinas' mansion . Impressive buildings within the medieval walls include the 15th Century monastery of San Tomás and several other churches and mansions including the 13th century Davila Palace and the Guzman Tower.

Avila is also famous as the birthplace of Sta. Theresa, there is a large 16th century convent built on the site where she was born and the city's bakeries sell sugary "Yemas de Avila" which were supposedly invented by the saint.

Tourist Information: 0034 920225969

How to get there:

  • By Bus: Frequent bus services connect Avila with Madrid, Salamanca and Segovia
  • By Train: There are frequent trains to/from Madrid.
  • By Road: The A6 from Madrid branches to Avila and Segovia, from Toledo take the N403

COVARRUBIAS (BURGOS)

What to See:

This beautiful medieval village of cobbled streets and half-timbered houses was home to Count Fernan Gonzalez (he and his wife are buried in the Gothic Colegiata). Legend has it that the Count fell in love with a beautiful girl from the village called Rachel. Because of this the local wine as well as the village's inhabitants (apparently) are called "Rachels".

Most of the village's defensive medieval wall was knocked down in the 16th century, in an attempt to rid the town of the plague by ventilating the streets. The only section that remains is that which runs between the imposing Celtic Tower and the Colegiata (which was built on the site of a Visigoth monastery). The Tower bears the name of the Count's daughter Urraca, who he had imprisoned in it ! There are several hotels and restaurants in the village, which is famous for its lamb dishes.

Tourist Information: 0034 947406461

How to get there:

  • By Bus: Buses from nearby Burgos run twice daily Monday to Friday and once on Saturday.
  • By Train: The nearest train station is Burgos which is well served by trains from all over Spain as well as the sleeper train which runs between Paris and Madrid.
  • By Road: Covarrubias is just off the A1E5 which links Burgos and Madrid.


FRIAS (BURGOS)

What to See:

The 12th century castle of Frías sits atop a rocky outcrop commanding views across the village and surrounding area. The village itself dates back to the 9th Century and although the picturesque fortified bridge across the River Ebro is of Romanic origin it was rebuilt several times during the Middle Ages. The Castle was built under orders from King Alfonso VII who made the market town the local capital.The Church of San Vincente and Monastery of San Vadillo both date back to the 13th Century and in the 15th Century the town became a city. The population has since declined however to a mere 320 inhabitants as the artisans who once ocupied the galleried houses moved elswhere. Although small the village does have a few bars/restaurants as well as an excellent camp-site and several options for "turismo rural" (hotels, guest houses and apartments).

Tourist Information: 0034 947358011

How to get there:

  • By Bus: There are direct buses between Burgos and Frias.One bus daily Monday, Friday and Sunday. From July thru September there is also a daily bus on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. No buses run bank holidays.
  • By Train: The nearest Train station is Miranda de Ebro.
  • By Road: Frias is about 1 hour by car from Bilbao, Vitoria and Burgos.


LA ALBERCA (SALAMANCA)

What to See:

La Alberca is one of the best known and best preserved medieval towns of the Sierra de Peña de Francia (which borders Portugal) and a popular day trip from nearby Salamanca. In fact in the summer months you're best advised to visit on a week day in order to appreciate the medieval charms of the beautiful half-timbered buildings of the Plaza Mayor and surrounding narrow streets. There are plenty of restaurants and places to stay.

Tourist Information: 0034 923415291

How to get there:

  • By Bus: There are 2 buses daily during the week and one a day on weekends between La Alberca and Salamanca. One bus on Wednesdays to /from Ciudad Rodrigo.
  • By Train: The nearest train station is Ciudad Rodrigo which is on the line connecting Salamanca to Lisbon (Portugal).
  • By Road: La Alberca is 75km from Salamanca on the CL 512 then SA210.

SEGOVIA

What to See:

Tourist Information: 0034 921460334

How to get there:

  • By Bus: There are buses between Segovia and Madrid, Avila and Salamanca
  • By Train: There are frequent trains from Madrid including the AVE
  • By Road: The AP 61 links Segovia with Madrid and Avila, The N601 with Valladolid and the N110 with Burgos

SEPULVEDA (SEGOVIA)

What to See:

The village of Sepulveda has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. In 710 it was taken by the Moors. Two centuries later it was recovered by Count Ferran Gonzalez in 940 AD. The village was later destroyed by the Moors under Almanzor in 984 before finally being recovered once and for all by the Christians in 1010 A.D.

Today the village maintains an attractive medieval air of winding narrow streets and stone buildings, centred on the Plaza Mayor and the 19th Century Palacio del Conde. There are several notable churches including the 11th Century Iglesia del Salvador, Iglesia de San Bartoleme and the Romanesque Iglesia de Santiago , which is now a visitors centre for the surrounding National Park.

Although not overrun by tourists Sepulveda is a popular day trip from Madrid, Segovia and Valladolid. If you decide to stay overnight there are various hotels to chose from as well as Rural Houses (Casas Rurales).

Tourist Information: 0034 921540237

How to get there:

  • By Bus: There are 2 buses daily from Madrid (1 on Sunday) and 1 daily from Segovia (except Sunday)
  • By Train: There is no train station at Sepulveda
  • By Road: Sepulveda is approx. 20km off the A1-E5 motorway which connects Madrid to Burgos


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