Welcome to Leon
The city of León, in the north of Castilla y León, is one of the provinces of this autonomous community of Spain, and the one with the highest number of visitors, both to the capital as well as to the lesser explored towns near it.
This province of Castilla is the perfect combination of virgin, natural spaces, and some other areas where fortresses and other surviving war constructions predominate. In this sense, one of the most popular visits of this province is its cathedral, built in the French gothic style. Another popular visit is the castle in Ponferrada, and the one in Coyanza, with its iconic tower of Torre del Homenaje which you should not forget to visit during your stay of rural tourism in León.
If, on the other hand, you 're looking for exciting, adrenaline-filled experiences, the Ruta del Cares is one of the most popular ones. Last but not least, the Cuevas de Valporquero and Las Médulas are some of the most famous spots of natural interest.
What to see in Leon?
León is one of the provinces whose tradition, gastronomy and culture, make it a perfect destination for one of the most complete stays you could ever wish for.
If you're thinking about travelling to this region, you will find in its capital and nearby small towns, many reason to do it.
The daily life in this province is very dynamic and busy, with a great number of tourists coming every year thanks to its cultural and artistic heritage, as well as the wide offer of tourist and leisure activities to do here.
We also need to mention that this is one of the largest provinces in Castilla y León, where you will find a combination of some of the most impressive and important historical monuments and natural reserves that have been inscribed as UNESCO protected world heritage sites. There are several hiking paths that you can walk in this area, and that will allow you to witness magnificence of this place from any of its angles.
What curiosities are there in Leon?
It is located in the mid-northern part of the Iberian Peninsula, and its landscape offers a combination of large, green plains and the urban centres, the cultural focus.
It is organized in 211 municipalities, grouped in a total of 7 districts. One of the highlights of this province is also how it is structured in a way that you will be able to enjoy of the wilderness in some areas, such as in the northernmost part of the province, and more than 50% of its territory elevated at more than 1,000 height.
In terms of its climate, we need to mention that you will find here long periods of cold weather, where frost and low temperatures are a common occurrence. All of the above, always depending on the height of the location in which you a staying. On the other hand, summers here are short but warm, reaching the highest temperatures during the months of July and August, when the influx of tourist is at its highest rate.
In general, enjoying of León means enjoying of the lively atmosphere, and abundant culture this destination can offer, where you will also have a wide variety of gastronomical and entertainment options.
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Where to stay in Leon?
In order to stay in its capital, you must decide in advance when you will be travelling, since it is a very popular tourist destination. Tourist affluence in this area is largely interested on staying in hotels, which can be a good option for a weekend getaway to visit its main tourist and cultural attractions.
Nevertheless, if you also would like to enjoy of a natural environment and of a quiet holidays, rural tourism is the option for you, and to enjoy of a resting holidays. You can find then, some very charming villages and towns in the outskirts of the capital. One of the most popular ones is Peñalba de Santiago, which has been recently been claimed on the of the most beautiful villages in the world. So much so, that the historical and artistic complex of this village has been considered Bien de Interés Cultural (Cultural Place of Interest).
Another of the most popular destinations here is Astorga, which has been in the past and nowadays related to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. If you decide to make this your destination, the palace and the cathedral are two of the most popular and iconic visits to do here.
Near Astorga you will find Castrillo de los Polvazares, another very charming small town where stone architecture predominates. It also has kept its traditional essence of the old days, and it also has some of the best restaurants to enjoy of the local traditional recipes.
What to do in Leon?
Either if you want to stay just for a weekend getaway, or stay for some more days in order to explore the province, you cannot miss the most emblematic and important sights of this province.
If you would like to enjoy of some peace and quiet, surrounded by some of the most impressive natural views, León offers you all of this is Las Médulas.
This is am old mining site, dating from the Roman times, that is also outdoors. A reddish landscape where you can enjoy planning a trip to explore its surroundings in depth, and visit its caves, making some memories of a unique visit to a very singular place.
In Ponferrada you will find its iconic castle, one of the most embletic landmarks of this region without question, apart from also being one of the most visited ones.
Back in the capital, you mustn't forget to visit the most popular monument of the whole province: the cathedral. The Casa Botines, y el Palacio de los Guzmanes are also two other monuments of historical relevance that we recommend.
To wrap up a day full of history and sightseeing, don't forget either to visit the beautiful quartier of el Barrio Romántico, and the Barrio Húmedo, where you will be able to enjoy hopping from bar to bar for some of the most exquisite tapas, and try some of the most typical dishes of this area.
If you're looking for some activities to plan for a weekend visit to León, we have some options for you.
What to eat in Leon?
Apart from its wide offer of tapas and small plates that you will be able to try anywhere in the city center, a practice that has become of increasing tourist interest, León offers a great variety of traditional dishes that you mustn't forget to try.
Its location and territory have made possible for this province to proudly offer products and dishes that are internationally renown. Amongst the towns and areas where the best local produce can be found are La Cabrera y El Bierzo. In both of them, pork is an essential part of one of the most important elements of the local cuisine: butchery.
Amongst the most typical ingredients and dishes of this region are 'cecina', 'picadillo de chorizo', the popular traditional soup known as the 'sopa castellana', and 'botillo', a delicious chorizo, meat and cabbage casserole.
Of course, you can't forget to include a 'cocido maragato' in your menu, a local stew with the peculiarity that instead of being eaten as a main or first course, it has to be eaten at the end of the meal.
Where are the Leon festivities?
Apart from enjoying delicious meals, people in León also love a party, which means that you must take the chance, if you can, of joining in some if the most important regional festivities that will give you a closer look of the traditions, culture and deep-rooted folklore of this province..
Laguna de Negrillos is a town where three important celebrations are held: Corpus Christi, a celebration of National and Regional touristic interest; the Fiesta del Voto, in April, and last, but not least, the Fiesta de la Alubia.
In Astorga, you will be able to participate in the Fiesta de Astures y Romanos by the end of July, an occasion which has also been declared of Regional Tourist Interest.
The town of Bembibre also hosts celebration honouring one of its local products, the 'bollito', which has also been recognised as being of National Tourist Interest.
On the other hand, in Villafranca del Bierzo you will find a celebration honouring spring called Fiesta del Mayo, which is followed by another of the town's main festivities celebrated in September: the Santísimo Cristo de la Esperanza.