Castilla (the name is derived from the word `castle´) is perhaps what many people consider to be the `real´ Spain. The land of Don Quijote, that conjures up visions of vast plains, sweeping sierras, and oasis-like cities steeped in history rising up from the heat haze. ...
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Arrive in the airport of your choice and proceed to Segovia. Accommodation of your choice in Segovia.
A day in the remarkable city of Segovia. Here there are countless traces of the past to be seen in buildings and remains of the old city. Most remarkable of all its landmarks is the incredible Roman aqueduct that towers over the town. Although it dates from the 1st century AD, it was still in use until two centuries ago. The awe-inspiring Alcazar (which inspired Walt Disney) has presided over the city since the middle ages and the imposing 16th century gothic Cathedral is also quite spectacular. `Cochinio Asado´ (roast suckling pig) is just one of the many delicious local dishes one must try. Accommodation of your choice in Segovia.
Arrive in Salamanca, which as well as being Spain's most famous university city is also perhaps its finest exponent of Renaissance and Plateresque architecture. Salamanca has two Cathedrals in different styles; the newer 16th century cathedral and the adjacant 12th century Romanesque cathedral. The University, one of Europe’s oldest, features a stunning Plateresque facade. The Main Square, or Plaza Mayor, is without doubt one of finest in Spain. Other sights include the Baroque Town Hall, the 16th century Casa de las Conchas or House of Shells and others too many to mention.
Accommodation of your choice in Salamanca.
Make your way to Astorga, following the Ruta de la Plata or Silver Route. Astorga is about 30 miles west of Leon at a junction where the Silver Route and the Road to Santiago meet. Astorga has two principal monuments: the superb 15th century Cathedral (mixing Baroque and Gothic styles), and the adjacent Bishop’s Palace by Gaudi; his second work in the province of Leon. Accommodation of your choice in Leon.
Leon, as capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages, played an important role during the Reconquest of Spain from the Moors. The most important building is its Gothic Cathedral with stained glass windows considered by many to be the finest in Spain.
San Isidoro Basilica is another important building where will you find the Romanesque Royal Pantheon, superbly decorated with 12th century frescoes. Renaissance architecture is represented by San Marcos convent, nowadays the 5 star Parador de Leon. Gaudi also left his mark on the city when he designed the Casa Botines, now the Museo Casa Botines and one of his very few works outside of Catalonia. . Accommodation of your choice in Leon.
Today drive via Sahagun, visiting the mudejar churches of San Tirso & San Lorenzo, and onto Fromista where you can find the best preserved and purest Romanesque church in Spain, the 11th century Church of San Martin. Later continue to Burgos. Accommodation of your choice in Burgos.
Today head to El Burgo de Osma stopping en route at the Monastery of Domingo de Silos of the famed chanting monks. St Dominic gave the name to the monastery after rebuilding it in 1042 over a Visigoth abbey, dstroyed by the Moors. The ceilings are of Moorish style and the beautiful cloisters are Romanesque. Continue to El Burgo, where the most remarkable building is the 13th century cathedral. You can also see the Castle and the roman ruins of Uxama. Accommodation of your choice in Peñafiel.
Visit Penafiel close to the River Duero valley, and its 15th century medieval Castle. Later continue to Valladolid and back again to Peñafiel. Accommodation of your choice in Peñafiel
Valladolid, home to some of Spain’s best Renaissance art and architecture. Valladolid has witnessed innumerable important events throughout history including the death of Columbus who died in the city in 1506. At one time the famous Spanish writer Cervantes lived here too.
In the 16th century Cathedral we find the Diocesan Museum and in the Colegio de San Gregorio, the wonderful National Sculpture Museum, full of unique works from the 13th-18th centuries.
On the way to the walled city of Avila, stop in Medina del Campo to see the Castle of La Mota, a vast brick gothic-mudejar style castle of the 15th century situated on the outskirts of the town. Continue to Avila, one of the highest cities above sea level in Spain. The centre is encircled by well preserved medieval walls (11th century) best viewed from Los Cuatro Postes (The Four Posts). The Cathedral and San Vicente Church are also worth visiting. Accommodation of your choice in Avila.
Return to your point of departure.
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