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The kingdom of Castile

The kingdom of Castile

By car, 482 km, 6 days

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Segovia (Spain)

On the austere land of the Castilian plateau, a scene of so much historical fact that still resounds with echoes of past battles, beautiful monumental cities and castles stand proudly, as dignified as their former masters. Segovia has a charming historic district and offers many beautiful looking treasures such as Romanesque churches, a cathedral, a castle (Alcazar), noble mansions and interesting museums ... Any tour of the city is incomplete without a chance to sample its specialties: suckling pig and Segovian punch, made of egg yolk and almond paste.

Roman aqueduct of Segovia   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Via Roma 40003 Segovia
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Segovia has its water delivered by a famous aqueduct which was built at the time of the Emperor Trajan. The Romans built it to bring water from the river Acebeda in the Fuenfria Sierra to the highest part of the town. It is 728m long and 28m high and is evidence of the genius of the Roman engineers. It is still in service today.


Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Cl 601 40100 La Granja de San Ildefonso
Architecture, castles and historic districts

It was Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV, who wanted to make La Granja into a «little Versailles» at an altitude of 1,192m. In the Palace, a Tapestry Museum exhibits 16C Flemish hangings and a 15C Gothic tapestry. The gardens of 145 ha were inspired by Versailles. The water features enliven the Neptune basin while the fountain of the Famous throws a jet of water up to 40m. There is a glass Museum in the Royal factory.


Castillo de Coca   Worth a detour Worth a detour

SG 351 40480 Coca
Architecture, castles and historic districts

This monumental fortress is the oldest remaining example of Mudéjar military architecture in Spain. Built by Moorish craftsmen at the end of the 15C, it is made up of three walls with polygonal corner towers, round towers on the sides and a sturdy keep. The keep and chapel, which are open to visitors, contain some fine wooden sculptures from the Romanesque period. From the roof terrace, a highlight of the visit, enjoy extensive views of the fortified complex and the village of Coca.


Valladolid (Spain)

Valladolid is a city that offers pleasant walks in which to discover streets filled with history and monuments. Places full of charm, tasty tapas or the simple beauty of a Holy Week that celebrates simplicity, are just a sampling of what it can offer.

Museo Nacional Colegio de San Gregorio   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

c/ Cadenas de San Gregorio 1 47011 Valladolid
Museums and art

The national museum of sculpture, housed in the Colegio de San Gregorio, contains a huge inventory of Spanish statuary as well as numerous paintings from various periods. It displays one of the most beautiful collections of polychrome wood statues in Spain, which for the most part date from the 16C and 17C. At the time, Valladolid was the centre of Castilian sculpture, with masters such as Alonso Berruguete, Juan de Juni and Gregorio Fernández.


Saint Paul's Church   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Pl. de San Pablo 47011 Valladolid
Religious buildings

Saint Paul's Church is especially remarkable for its façade from the beginning of the Renaissance. It illustrates the transition from the Isabelline style to the plateresque style. The lower part of the main church, designed by Simon of Cologne, belongs to the former and the upper part to the latter. The lower part, with its rose window, can be distinguished by its perforations and its ogee arches, the upper part, divided into panels decorated with statues, has a clearer composition.


La Mota Castle   Interesting

N VI 47400 Medina del Campo
Architecture, castles and historic districts

On a hillside by the town, made of bricks and flanked by an enormous keep, the castle stands proud. Jeanne la Folle stayed here often and the sinister Cesar Borgia was imprisoned here for two years.


Zamora Cathedral   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Pl. Antonio del Aguila 49000 Zamora
Religious buildings

Built from 1151-1174, the building has been changed many times. Note the craftwork here: gates on the coro, two 15C Mudéjar pulpits and stalls decorated with Biblical characters. In the episcopal museum, there is a collection of 15C Flemish tapestries.


Salamanca (Spain)

Few cities can boast such heritage and dynamic architecture. The combination of the two is, undoubtedly, the main attraction of this beautiful university town where visitors can’t help but think back nostalgically to student days.

Plaza Mayor of Salamanca   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Pl. Mayor 37002 Salamanca
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The heart of Salamanca life, the Plaza Mayor is surrounded by myriad cafés, restaurants and shops, and provides the perfect setting for a drink or a stroll. Built by Philip V between 1729 and 1755 to thank the city for its loyalty during the War of the Spanish Succession, it is renowned for its perfect symmetry and architectural harmony. Admire its arcaded galleries, the pedimented fronts of the town hall, and the royal pavilion crowned by the bust of Philip V.


Salamanca's Old Cathedral   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Pl. de Anaya 37008 Salamanca
Religious buildings

The builders of the New Cathedral luckily respected the Old Cathedral that stands by its side. It seems like a good example of a romanesque cathedral, and the lantern tower, with two levels of windows, is one of the most beautiful of its kind. The Chapel of San Martin is decorated with 13C frescos. The grand retable in the central apse is made up of 53 compartments with surprisingly fresh colours and fine detail.


Ávila (Spain)

Avila, birthplace of St. Teresa, a city of churches and convents, has transformed the severity of stone into beauty and embodies Castilian austerity more than any other place. Don’t commit the sin of leaving the city without tasting the "yemas de Santa Teresa", small confections of egg yolk and sugar.

Ávila's Town walls   Worth a detour Worth a detour

05001 Avila
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Ávila's high walls (murallas) punctuated by 88 towers, nine gateways and various posterns, enclose a quadrilateral area of around 900m by 450m. An invaluable testimony to fortifications in the Middle Ages, they date from the 11C and have retained a unified appearance in spite of modifications in the 14C. The best place for an overall view of the walls is the viewpoint known as Cuatro Postes, or Four Posts, on the Salamanca road. You can also walk along the sentry path on the top of the walls.

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