Centuries of history contemplate the visitor of León, from the time of the Roman legions, passing through the reconquest of the peninsula, the splendour of the powerful Kingdom of León and the uprising in the War of Independence, to the modern city of our days. A course of years and people who have left their mark on it as monuments, traditions and legends that give character to this beautiful city.
The route through Leon history and legend guides us through some of the main monuments of the city, at the same time that we submerge ourselves between its streets and its people, we put ourselves in the skin of the pilgrim on his way to Saint James or we escape with imagination to past times. A journey through the history of this city getting to know and visiting real architectural treasures that blend perfectly with the most modern Lion, with the gastronomic and social, with the cultural and tourist. Values that fall in love and leave their mark on the visitor with each step through the streets of León, providing a range of different possibilities among which there is no doubt you will find the one that best suits your preferences.
The square that houses the monument to this noble lions, which seems to observe us from the top of its privileged position, not only divides the tree-lined promenade that accompanies the river Bernesga as it passes through Leon, will also be our starting point and end of this route through the heart of this remarkable city. Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán forged a great part of his fame as a soldier in the wars and disputes of the south of the peninsula. His legend is eternal in the heroic defense he made of Tarifa, where according to the story, Guzman the Good threw his knife from the top of the walls to behead with him his own son before handing over the city.
With the attentive gaze of this heroic character, we begin our journey through León by walking along one of its main arteries, Ordoño II Avenue, a glamorous road that pays homage to the royal founder of León. This avenue takes us directly to the very gates of the historic centre where the Saint Marcelo Square awaits and the rich historical and artistic complex that surrounds it. Here, different buildings of different architectural styles rival and compete for our attention, telling us about the long and important history of this ancient city. The Palace of the Guzmanes of the 16th century and a clear Renaissance exponent fuses almost perfectly with The Botines House, the work of the brilliant Gaudí. Nor can we leave aside the building of the old consistory of the city or the church of San Marcelo that complete complete such a unique and crowded square.
The long history of León goes back many years, as shown by the well-preserved walls that delimit its historic centre. There are several points or places where, in addition to going through them, we can contemplate the different periods that have been printed on its walls. We will say goodbye to Ancha Street, which ascends towards the cathedral, to leave the Palacio de los Guzmanes behind us and retrace the steps taken by the pilgrims who come to León through its old quarter following Rúa Street. This typical Leonese street takes us past the convent of the Franciscan sisters where we will continue, without detours, now along Herreros street. The parish church of Nuestra Señora del Mercado precedes our arrival outside the walls where we will be surprised by the well preserved Roman Wall of León.
The entrance gates of this great wall are several, gates such as The Arch of the prison, or Castle Door, the only one that is conserved and that we will be able to visit later. Now it is time to walk through this area of the wall following the interior promenade that starts on our left just after leaving through the Moneda Door. This walk embedded between the imposing walls takes us without any loss to the end of this stretch of wall, where we will return to enter the historic centre of León ascending along Misericordia Street. This new street takes us directly to another of the icons of the city, the Húmedo Neighborhood, whose neuralgic point is in the Saint Martin's Square to which we arrive quickly. Numerous and noisy streets arrive to it, very frequented by the Leónese and the visitors of this beautiful city.
We cross the Saint Martin square to start the quick descent down Plegarias street, or not so fast depending on our stops motivated by the food of the different premises that we find on our way, to find ourselves in front of the imposing León's Main Square. Rooted traditions, bustling markets and well-known legends merge with the singular architecture of this coquettish square full of years of history. The Viewpoint or Consistory Building, with its characteristic spires, marks out a square that is partly porticoed, which disputes the protagonism with the famous staircase that crosses the narrow and steep passage that leads to the Sol Door Square, through which the Gallic rider who guarded the Leon rebels who stood up to Napoleon's troops rushed with his horse.
After looking out onto such steep stairs, we also escaped from this beautiful square by climbing up the street Mariano Domínguez Berrueta that leads us directly to the nearby Regla Square where the impressive Cathedral of León awaits patiently. Begun in the 13th century, this Gothic style work stands out among other things for its colossal and colourful stained glass windows that make it a true architectural treasure, known by the nickname of the beautiful Leonesa. Not exempt from legends such as that of the mole that prevented progress in its construction and whose skin hangs over the door of San Juan. Its beauty, both exterior and interior, surprises those who visit it, being almost forced to devote more time to it than expected, time that undoubtedly will not be badly invested.
After the costly farewell of this emblematic monument of León, we head towards another not much less interesting, the Royal Collegiate Basilica of San Isidoro, a jewel of Spanish Romanesque architecture. For it we can cross the crowded street Ancha until the Palace of the Guzmanes and bordering it to follow the course of the street Cid, main artery of the Romantic Neighborhood and another one of the essential points of the tapeo in Leon. Or leaving behind the main door of the cathedral we enter the labyrinth of narrow streets that descend in search of the park of Cid Campeador and the street Cid. Monastery in its origins, stands out not only for its perfect Romanesque, also for its long history and the great importance it has held for years as attested, for example, the unique Royal Pantheon that keeps at the foot of its church, or the real cultural jewels of its museum.
From here we are a few steps away from the only gate that is still preserved from the wall of León, the Castle Door or the Arch of the Prison, which we will reach by walking along the side of the basilica without leaving, for now, the walled enclosure. Returning to the Saint Martino square, at the back of the basilica we will go in search of the exterior of the wall, so as not to deviate from the long and straight urban route that will take us to the Convent of San Marcos. We arrive at this old pilgrims' hospital after a bustling route along Renueva Street first and then Suero de Quiñones Avenue. Joya Plateresca saw how the illustrious Francisco de Quevedo was enclosed in one of his dark dungeons for a long time, which warns us of the many uses that over the years has had this beautiful building. Once we have enjoyed this royal place, all that remains for us to do is to follow the quiet park that runs along the banks of the River Bernesga and that will bring us back sooner than expected to the Guzmán the Good square where we begin this route through León history and legend.
Map of the route
This map is a sketch made as an example of the route, in no case represents the best or the only itinerary to follow. Its development has not taken into account the current rules of circulation or the state of the places through which it passes and that could affect its layout.
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According to some accounts in the house that is located in front of the basilica of San Isidoro lived for a few years Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, the Cid Campeador. One thing that can be verified is the existence many years ago of a settlement in this same area of the Roman Legion VII, given the remains that have been found in recent excavations carried out.
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The Tapeo by the neighborhoods of the Humid and Romantic, where you can enjoy and know the rich gastronomy that León offers while you walk its crowded streets or if you prefer you can sit in one of its well-known places.
Distance of the route
4 Km This distance may vary depending on the route we follow through León.
Duration of the tour
1h 30min It is the approximate time that it will take us to cross the total distance, it can vary in function of the itinerary that we follow. To this time we must add the time we dedicate to each place.
Time of year
All year round
Historical, cultural and gastronomic. This route gives us to know great part of the history and the culture of the city of León.
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Route information updated on 18-01-2019. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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