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León (Spain)

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Leon is a city in Spain.

Get in

Bus

From Madrid: Buses leave from Estación Sur de Autobuses at the metro station Méndez Álvaro several times a day, a round trip costs between 20€ and 40€ per person. [1]. There are also a couple buses per day that leave at Moncloa station in Madrid.

Train

Trains also leave depart from Atocha (Madrid south station) and from Chamartin (Madrid north station) to León several times a day. [2].

Starting in 2008 it is possible to travel by train from Madrid in aprox. 3 hours thanks to a new generation of fast trains (ALVIA). For those landing in Valladolid there is a convenient fast train taking less than two hours to León.

There is also a direct train connection to Pontevedra and Barcelona.

Plane

León's airport (La Virgen del Camino), is near the city, and has daily connections with Madrid and Barcelona. You can fly with Air Nostrum (Iberia) or with Lagunair. Another option is to fly to Valladolid with Ryanair and then take a bus at the airport to León, the company ALSA operates daily direct services from Valladolid airport to León

Get around

León offers many leisure options. Anyone interested on outdoor activities can enjoy visiting the natural park of "Picos de Europa". For those interested on trekking and culture, León is one of the main stops in the St James' way

See

Cathedral leon.jpg

The city of León was founded by Romans, as a matter of fact its own name originates from the name Romans gave to the city "Legio VII". Tourists that come to León can enjoy many monuments such as the city walls, the superb gothic cathedral or romanic monuments such as the Church of San Marcelo. As well as the cathedral with its superb stained glass (try to see it when the sun is streaming through) there are at least three must-see attractions;

  • The collegiate Church of San Isodoro' (11th century) and the adjoining Pantheon of the Kings of León. The ceiling paintings in the latter are breathtaking.
  • The former Hospital de San Marcos is reckoned by many to be Spain's very best Parador.
  • The Casa Botines is one of the few buildings by Gaudi to be found outside of Barcelona.
  • MUSAC, the new Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Palacio de los Guzmanes, a 15th century palace.
  • Palacio de los Condes de Luna. It's on restoration works.
  • Roman Walls
  • Museo de León, set IN Edificio Pallarés , a 20th century building in Santo Domingo circus.
  • Fundación Vela Zanetti, the museum about Zanetti's paintings.

Other villages

The village of Astorga features:

  • The Walls - Astorga sits on a spur of rock, with mountains to the north and west. It has extant city walls to the south, east and west. You can walk along the walls to the south and gaze up in awe from one of the more scenic car parks to the north.
  • The Bishop's Palace - Most camera crews doing Gaudi do not get as far as Astorga. The Bishop's palace is a fantastic piece of non-functional design. Balconies open over halls, walls curve and the whole flows. More conservative than other of his designs but still too much for the bishops, who never lived in it. It also has a museum dedicated to the Pilgrims way - which is not worth diverting to see.

Do

Go bar-hopping and/or clubbing in the "barrio húmedo", a charming old neighborhood with narrow streets, which tremendous concentration of pubs, discotecas, and restaurants. This area isn´t usually very active during the day-time and can get fairly rowdy at night. However, despite how many people may be stumbling around drunkenly at 3am, this neighborhood is very safe, even for unescorted females late at night.

It´s customary for people (especially those college-aged) to stay out clubbing until the break of dawn, then go to a local "cafetería" (cheap restaurant oriented towards snacks) and eat "churros con chocolate" with their friends before returning home to finally go to bed.

Buy

From the Cathedral, to the Bernesga River, there are two of the main streets, Calle Ancha, and Ordoño II, full of shops. In the middle of Ordoño II there's Alcázar de Toledo street, with sucursals of Spanish shops. In La Chantría area, there's El corte inglés. If we take Bus 13 in Santo Domingo circus, we can go to the shopping centre.

Eat

The inhabitants of Leon do enjoy cook and eating out with friends and family, as a result the variety of restaurants and food specialties is large. Within the wide range of Leonese cuisine the following dishes are the most representative: Cecina (cured, smoked beef), morcilla (a superb variant of blood sausage), botillo (a dish of meat-stuffed pork intestine), garlic soup, el cocido leonés (a mix of meat with vegetables and chickpeas, served after a vegetable-vermicelli soup) and mantecadas (a sweet).

Another very important part of the gastronomy of León are the tapas that you can get in most of the many bars in the city. The most important thing about these tapas is that they are free unlike in most cities in Spain. It is a very common thing to do to go "de tapas" or "tapear" i.e. to go for a few drinks ("un corto", which is a very small beer, "una caña", which is roughly half a pint of beer or "un vino," a glass of wine) just before lunch but more normally as a light form of dinner.

Any tourist visiting León will enjoy the ancient streets of "Barrio Húmedo". There it is possible to visit many bars in which tapas are served along with nice wines from "Tierras de Leon", "Ribera de Duero", "Vino de los Oteros" o "Vinos del Bierzo".

You can also visit some villages near Leon with vineyards such as Valdevimbre. There you will find caves that are as old as 300 years. Originally they were dug for wine cellars since they maintain nearly the same temperature year round. Today they are still used to make wine. Some of them have become restaurants or pubs.

The oldest cave-restaurant was opened in 1979 and it is called La Cueva del Tunel[3]. It has a typical decoration with an Indian touch. Sometimes one ventano (cave room) is converted into an Indian bazaar.

In Los Poinos [4] you can find a mix between new cuisine and typical food from Leon.

In any of the Cuevas restaurants you will be able to enjoy the typical food from Leon such as cecina, callos, morcilla (blood pudding), etc. all those traditional place will be accompanied by local wines as Pardevalles[5], Tampesta, Barcillo or Los Palomares (inside the new D.O. Tierras de Leon).

Valdevimbre is 23 km from Leon and you can drive there or get a taxi for approximately 25EUR from Leon.


Cave-restaurants

La Cueva del Tunel [6]: The oldest and the most special cave-restaurant in the village of Valdevimbre, open since 1979. It is a must place to visit for all those who travel to the region of Leon.

Inside this cave you will find an unforgettable eating experience due to its relaxing atmosphere and fabulous plates. It has a typical decoration with an Indian touch. Sometimes one ventano (cave room) is converted into an Indian bazaar.

They offer genuine old-fashioned Leon's food as embutido (chorizo, ham, cecina, etc.), cheeses, blood sausages, the best Leon's beef meat steaks, Tortilla Guisada, mushrooms, etc. In addition, you will be able to enjoy a big variety of Spanish wines and specially those tasteful local wines from the new D.O. Tierras de Leon and known internationally as Pardevalles [7], Tampesta, Barcillo or Los Palomares.

Drink

The region has many areas devoted to winery. As a matter of fact some of them are internationally recognized for their quality: "Ribera de Duero", "Vinos del Bierzo", "Rueda" and "Tierras de Leon" are some examples.



There is a unique wine variety typical from Leon, the Prieto Picudo.

Sleep

Cheap

Medium

  • Hotel Paris, set in Calle Ancha. 100 mts to Cathedral
  • Hotel NH Plaza Mayor. Set in the middle of Barrio Humedo. 300 mts to Cathedral

Luxury

Get out

In León province:

Outside León province:



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