Valladolid, Spain – one of the oldest cities in the country, its former capital. It is famous for a large number of unique architectural monuments, unusual museums and other interesting sights that attract tourists from all over Europe.
Valladolid is a large city located in the northwestern part of Spain , the administrative center of the province of the same name, which is part of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon, the country’s most important historical, cultural, industrial and economic region. Year of foundation – 1072. Population – a little less than 300 thousand people.
At the dawn of its foundation, Valladolid was an ordinary campus, but after some time it became not only the main royal residence, but also the capital of the Spanish Empire.
And this is not all the facts that this ancient and surprisingly beautiful place boasts of. In his biography there are several more interesting points related to famous cultural and political figures of the world. So, it was here that Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra lived and worked, the Spanish king Phillip II was born and the legendary Italian navigator Christopher Columbus died. And it was in this city that Spain was finally liberated from the Arab conquerors.
Having traveled a long and very interesting path, Valladolid carefully preserves everything that is somehow connected with his story. On its streets you can still feel the breath of the imperial past, sharply contrasting with modern jewelry factories and wineries producing famous Castilian wines.
Despite the fact that during the war with France, many of the sights of Valladolid in Spain were completely destroyed, there are many interesting places that are part of the mandatory tourist program. Let’s go through the main ones.
Museo Nacional de Escultura, which until 1933 was called the Museum of Fine Arts, is considered one of the oldest panopticons in the country. Since its opening in 1842, he managed to assemble a unique sculptural collection made of marble, stone, metal, wood and other materials within his walls. The total number of items is more than one and a half thousand. Moreover, the oldest exhibits were created in the middle of the 13th century, and the latest in the second half of 19.
The main part of the museum property relates to religious subjects. There are statues of saints, beautiful altars, skillful retablos and entire sculptural compositions dedicated to famous biblical subjects. Among other things, in one of the halls of the museum you can see an invaluable exhibition of paintings, numbering more than 1000 copies.
The National Museum of Sculpture, which is one of the most original museums in Europe, occupies several luxurious buildings: the Casa del Sol Palace, Vilena Castle, the College of St. George, erected at the end of the 15th century, and the church of San Benito el Viejo, which has at least long history.
Location: Calle Cadenas de San Gregorio 1, 47011.
St. Gregory College (permanent collection):
- Tue – Sat: from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:30;
- Sun and holidays: from 10:00 to 14:00.
Villena Palace (Neapolitan Bethlehem and temporary exhibition):
- Tue – Sat: from 11:00 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 19:30;
- Sun and holidays: from 11:00 to 14:00.
House of the Sun (art reproductions):
- Tue-Sat: from 11:00 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 19:30;
- Sun and holidays: from 11:00 to 14:00.
Weekends: 01.01, 06.01, 01.05, 08.09, 24.12, 25.12, 31.12.
Cost of visit:
- Total ticket – 3 €;
- At a discount – 1,50 €;
- Free admission: Sat from 16:00 to 19:30 and Sun. from 10:00 to 14:00.
Campo Grande is a picturesque green corner located in the heart of the city. Being the main park of the city of Valladolid and occupying a truly vast area (more than 100 thousand square meters), it is perfect for unhurried walks and a pleasant pastime. The calm atmosphere prevailing at Campo Grande allows you to relax from the hustle and bustle, and the dense green spaces and many fountains provide comfort even in the strong Spanish heat. In addition, beautiful royal peacocks freely walk around the park, which is nice to watch not only for children but also for adults.
Location: Paseo Zorrilla S / N, 47006.
Other important sights of Valladolid include Plaza Mayor, a central square located in the historical part of the city and headed by a statue of Count Pedro Ansurez, one of the founders of Valladolid and his first lord. In the Middle Ages, this place was the entrance gate, the city hall and the main city market. In addition, it was here that all “entertainment” events were held – executions, bullfights, folk festivals, national holidays and even auto-da-fe, a traditional religious ceremony, including processions, services and speeches by preachers.
The habitual way of life of the townspeople was broken by a strong fire of 1561, damaging not only the forum itself and the buildings surrounding it, but also half of the city streets. The new Plaza Mayor was built already under Philip II. At that time, it was the only square of the country that had the correct square shape and was surrounded by buildings adjacent to each other. Soon, this sample spread throughout Spain and became the main prototype for the rest of the area (including Madrid).
Since its last reconstruction, the appearance of Plaza Mayor has not changed much. It still faces the facades of old buildings, decorated with small balconies, wide arcades and elegant marble columns (the city municipality of Casa Consistorial, Sorrilla Theater, etc.). Among them you can see cozy restaurants, boutiques, night clubs, discos and cafes. In addition, traditional Christmas markets and other seasonal events are held in the central square of the city.
Location: Plaza Mayor s / n, 47001.
Among the cult sights of Valladolid in Spain should be attributed to the Church of St. Paul, towering in the middle of the eponymous square and one of the most beautiful religious sites in the country. This is the only building left from the medieval Dominican monastery, so the locals endow it with a special sacred meaning.
The facade of the Iglesia de San Pablo, created in the style of the late Renaissance, is decorated with delicate ornaments made of light stone and countless sculptural elements that amaze with their beauty and skillful execution. The interior of the church, designed in the style of Elizabethan Gothic, is represented by a central nave with several open chapels and high ribbed arches that separate the interior. The main pride of this church is the stone altar, brought here from the very destroyed monastery.
Location: Plaza San Pablo 4, 47011.
Universidad de Valladolid, founded in 1241 as a branch of the University of Palencia, is the oldest not only in Europe but throughout the world. It occupies 7 campuses located in 4 cities of the provinces of Castile and Leon – Valladolid itself, Segovia, Sorrillia and Palencia. Today, about 30 thousand students study in the walls of this educational institution, and the number of teachers reaches 2 thousand people. At the time of its foundation, the local UVA campus occupied several premises of the Collegiate, but at the end of the 15th century it was transferred to a majestic Gothic mansion, the baroque facade of which was decorated with sculptural elements with the theme of science studied at the university.
True, in 1909, after lengthy discussions, this building was demolished, and a new one, built in an eclectic style unusual for Spain, was built in its place. Despite the management’s concerns, the architect who developed this project managed to combine the incongruous – the old facade and modern building, the staircase and lobby of which are made in the style of historicism.
Location: Plaza Universidad 1a, 47002.
Church of Saint Mary the Ancient can be literally called one of the most beautiful cathedrals of Valladolid. The church, built in 1095 on the site of an even more ancient Roman construction, is a three-nave structure, decorated with a transverse transept, three polygonal apses and ribbed arches of the ceiling, supported by cylindrical columns.
In the middle of the 16th century, the church of Santa Maria la Antigua underwent a massive reconstruction. Its result was many additional windows, with a dozen stone buttresses and several baroque altars installed in different naves. Around the same period, the church bell tower was rebuilt, the project of which was developed by a famous Spanish architect. With its appearance, it resembles a huge four-story tower, on the pyramidal top of which an elegant cross flaunts.
Location: Plaza Portugalete s / n, 47002.
The city of Valladolid (Spain) will delight you not only with many interesting sights, but also with a large number of comfortable hotels, most of which are located in the historical part of the city. This placement has several salient features. On the one hand, it is beautiful, colorful and very convenient, because you do not even have to go anywhere. But on the other hand, many of these hotels occupy ancient buildings, so they do not have elevators at all, and the size of the rooms is quite small.
As for the approximate cost of living, renting a double room in a 3 * hotel will cost 50-70 € per day, while apartments will cost from 50 to 180 €.
How to get there
Despite the fact that you can get to Valladolid from almost anywhere in Spain, the most popular and perhaps the most convenient option is a trip from Madrid. The distance between these cities is just under 200 km. It can be easily overcome not only by car, but also by regular public transport – comfortable intercity buses and high-speed trains leaving from Chamartin railway station.
It should also be noted that 10 km from Valladolid there is a small airport serving exclusively domestic flights, so if you wish, you can use not only land, but also air transport. You will be taken to the city center not only by taxi, but also special shuttles.
You can buy tickets and check the timetable on the official websites of the carrier companies – Volotea, Air Europa, Ryanair, Iberia, Vueling (air), Renfe, Feve, Ave (railway), Alsa (buses).
On a note! Valladolid has direct transport links with 180 cities, some of which are located in other countries.
Prices on the page are for December 2019.
Having decided to get acquainted with the sights of the city of Valladolid (Spain), take note of some useful recommendations:
- Going for a walk, put in your bag a copy of your passport certified by the hotel. This will not only avoid the loss of an important document, but also quickly solve problematic situations.
- Do not go alone to distant areas of the city, especially at night. Give preference to the central part of Valladolid, especially since the main number of entertainment venues is concentrated here.
- Walking along the sidewalk, try to stay away from the carriageway – this will save you from robbers-motorcyclists.
- If you don’t know which cafe or restaurant to choose, just look out the windows. There are almost no people in the hall? Feel free to go further – this place is not in great demand among visitors.
- To call to another city or country, use the telephone booths installed near large supermarkets and government agencies. They work on special plastic cards that are sold at any newsstand.
- In Valladolid, there is a strict ban on photographing street police and strategic objects. As for the local population, before taking a picture, you need to ask permission.
- The average tip size is 5-10% of the order amount. In addition, a small cash bonus should be left to the taxi driver and the maid.
- There are practically no public toilets in Valladolid, so you can go to the first institution you see.
- To save on car rental, contact the rental points located further away from the city center. Better yet, use municipal buses. Thanks to the developed transport system, you can easily get to any object of interest to you.
- Also remember that for violation of traffic rules in the city there are heavy fines. And they concern not only motorists, but also pedestrians.
Sights of the old town of Valladolid: