The strategic location of the province of Soria made it a valuable territory for the different kingdoms that fought for years for its control. Celtiberians, Romans, Visigoths, Muslims and Christians engaged in a thousand battles and not a few sieges, each of them contributing their special character to this land and to the cultural and architectural heritage that we can enjoy visiting it today. Fortresses, castles and totally walled villas dot every corner of the province of Soria from north to south, from east to west, and in all cases they are a must for every route. Living history with which to remember past times by putting ourselves in the shoes of the people who inhabited them.
There are many stops that we could include in this route of the castles and fortresses of Soria, an itinerary that takes us to visit some of the most important defensive sites that Soria treasures, many of them celebrated for the battles that were fought there or for the illustrious characters that visited them. Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, Almanzor or Publio Cornelio Escipión, among others, passed through these lands marking the course of their history, besieging and conquering their castles, fortresses and towns, leaving behind them myths and legends that add to the charms of every corner to be visited. Without a doubt, this route will provide us with an experience full of sensations as we walk along the walls, towers and outbuildings of every castle in Soria that we visit, of every medieval walled town that we visit and of every corner that we discover during our visit. Historical facts that took place in each place add their notoriety to the value that these fortresses and castles have and allow us to make a detailed reconstruction in our minds of each one of them, imagining them in their maximum splendour besieged by powerful enemy armies.
To begin this route of the castles and fortresses of Soria and to do so by visiting the well-cared-for medieval town of Calatañazor and its imposing castle, which is equally loaded with history and legends, is to immerse oneself fully in an authentic journey through time. This medieval fortress, also known as the Castle of the Padillas, sits as if it were an eagle's nest, on top of a steep rock from which this area of the province of Soria is dominated. Its origins date back to the twelfth century, when it witnessed the defeat of the Muslim troops of the caudillo Almanzor at the hands of the Christians when he was apparently returning from one of his usual incursions into the northern kingdoms. The same town of Calatañazor that is fortified forming the same defensive framework with the castle under which it is located, invites us to walk through its streets and discover every corner of this town of a marked medieval character.
We begin our journey through the castles of the province of Soria, leaving behind, for the moment, some of the nearby fortresses that are found in this region of Soria, to set off towards the castles of the north, towards the first line of defence that once separated the Christian kingdoms of Al-Andalus. Our second stop is the Castle of Hinojosa de la Sierra, or rather the remains of what was this ancient castle of which today part of the keep is preserved and which, together with the nearby palace of the Hurtado de Mendoza, highlights the importance that this town and its castle held in past times. An importance that is partly due to its unbeatable location from which this area of the Duero River valley and the passage towards the mountains of the Urbión and Cebollera ranges are controlled. A natural environment of great beauty that surrounds this castle and that undoubtedly brings an added value to your visit.
We continued our journey through the lands of Soria, being tempted to visit the battered castle of its capital, as well as approaching the famous Archaeological Site of Numancia, before heading to the small town of Aldealseñor. In addition to its stately houses, the tower-palace also known as the Salcedo family's fortress awaits us there. The original 10th-century tower stands out before we reach this village, at its feet, and in the 16th century the present palace was built, which together with it forms this monumental complex with surprising features. The Aldealseñor tower is a defensive tower from which to control the passage of people and goods through this region of Soria.
Several fortresses call our attention to the north of Soria, already in the foothills of neighbouring La Rioja. The control of these northern valleys was fundamental for the defence of the kingdoms, hence the large number of castles and fortifications on either side of the mountains. Like for example the Castle of Yanguas, right on the border between the two regions or the Castle of Magaña, our next stop on this route of the castles and fortresses of Soria. It was built during the 15th century, most probably around the defensive tower, today the homage tower, which used to stand there. This medieval fortress stands out for its state of conservation, within the deterioration that this type of building usually endures. Climbing up to its location to go behind its walls is a task that requires a good effort to save the unevenness that separates us from the castle and its access, an effort that is undoubtedly worth taking on.
We follow the border line drawn by the mountains that delimit the north of Soria to set a course for the next place we will visit in this itinerary. Example of the different civilizations that inhabited these lands, the town of Ágreda conserves part of its old architectonic patrimony. A patrimony that goes from the Arab walls of Ágreda, happening through the rest of the Christian walls, the palaces and watchtowers or the towers that we can visit in our route by the city. An open book, the one of its patrimony, that allows us to form an advanced idea of the historical importance that Ágreda has had from its idyllic location on the feet of the Moncayo regio being door of entrance to the fertile valley of the Ebro.
We continued our journey heading south, surely following some of the routes taken by the different armies that fought for control of this territory. Not far from the capital Soria, almost hidden as if it were only reserved for the pilgrims of the route of the Way of Saint James that passes through here, the Castle of Almenar de Soria awaits us. Illustrious and regal were the characters that passed through it, Carlos II or Felipe V stayed there and even Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was inspired by it for some of his stories. This well cared for castle began its journey in the 10th century, seeing how little by little its rooms were enlarged until they reached their current complex formed by several towers and galleries.
Our route takes us through Soria in search of its southern border, not without first seeing us in the not inconsiderable obligation of a visit to the town of Almazán, which preserves a rich architectural heritage and part of its ancient wall, to then head to the unique Medinaceli. Located on top of the hill that dominates this strategic crossroads, Medinaceli traces its important and long history back to time immemorial. Its castle, an old Arab fortress, has seen royal figures pass by, converting Medinaceli into the magnificent monumental complex it is today, a town with true architectural jewels such as the remains of its castle, converted into a municipal cemetery.
We say goodbye to Medinaceli to set off in search of the next stop on this route of the castles and fortresses of Soria. To do this we will go back up the province, following the steps that the dying Almanzor took in his agonizing flight from Calatañazor to Medinaceli. This route takes us to the coquettish town of Rello, located on the rugged cliffs that form part of its defensive network. Once inside, the town invites us to visit it calmly, entering what was once its castle and walking through its well-cared-for, cobbled streets that still preserve their distinct medieval character, making this town a monument of great charm.
We continue our journey after saying goodbye to the town of Rello to visit another of the spectacular castles or rather monumental sites in the province of Soria. Berlanga de Duero sits at the foot of its imposing castle, a fortress that has survived all the enlargements that have been planned around it. Today, in addition to the castle, we can see the artillery fortress that was later built, the colossal wall that defends the hill on which it sits and the remains of the once spectacular Palace of the Marquises of Berlanga. In short, an architectural ensemble of considerable beauty and not little history, which denotes the importance that Berlanga de Duero had in the control of these lands near the mighty Duero.
We continue our route leaving behind us Berlanga de Duero to set course for one of the most important and largest fortresses of its time, the Castle of Gormaz. The dimensions and location of this castle are surprising, as it gradually becomes visible on the horizon. On the hill on which it sits there is a considerable amount of land, a hill which, together with the walled enclosure that marks it out, made this Castle of Gormaz an almost impregnable fortress for anyone who dared to besiege it. Of Muslim origin, its construction dates back to the ninth century and throughout history its important strategic position has contributed to its successive enlargements and improvements. These improvements made it a reference point and today we can discover them during our visit while we go through the remains that are preserved from each area of the old castle.
We cannot continue with our route without first making a detour in search of one of the fortresses that controlled the southern border of the current province of Soria. A fortress that experienced disputes as important as the one between the Catholic Monarchs and the lord of the town of Caracena, who was forced to demolish his castle by royal order when he lost his dispute with them. The Castle of Caracena that we can visit today on this route of the castles and fortresses of Soria is the result of the subsequent reconstruction that was carried out on the remains of the battered castle, hence its architectural style more adapted to artillery defence than the previous castle.
Already in Roman times the next castle to which the proposed route leads was of great strategic importance. Gate of Castile, the ancient Castle of San Esteban de Gormaz has lived through many battles over the dispute for control of this territory bathed by the tireless River Duero. The castle, of course, stands on the top of the hill under which the town of San Esteban de Gormaz is located. Little remains of what was once this important defensive site to which we have access not without effort and from which we enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding environment allowing us to get an idea of why its importance for the different kingdoms that fought over it.
As usual in these lands, it was the Celtiberians and later the Romans who were the first to realise the strategic value of the next stop on this route through the castles and fortresses of Soria. Osma Castle has its origin in the 10th and 11th centuries, the fortress suffered several extensions that can still be seen today during your visit. At its feet sits the town of El Burgo de Osma which adds to its rich monumental set the restored remains of its ancient wall. The Castle of Osma has many battles and even legends that accentuate even more the important history that it treasures within its walls and that enriches the visit to this castle in Soria.
We leave behind El Burgo de Osma and its castle to go up one of the two rivers that bathe it. Its course takes us to the legendary castle that takes its name from it, the Castle of Ucero. Its impressive location, dominating the whole valley of the river Ucero and being the gateway to the Natural Park of the Lobos River Canyon makes a visit to this castle and the effort required to get there a more than justified adventure. Its history dates back to the 12th century and, even in its condition, it surprises with its size and the architectural details it preserves. Nourished is the history that it treasures, as much as the beauty of its surroundings that from its splendid location we can admire, with the town of Ucero at our feet and the river running through the valley, a river that according to legend could be accessed from the castle through a hidden passage allowing to resist, without hardly any hardship, the sieges to which this castle was subjected.
We say goodbye to Ucero, heading towards the final destination of this route of the castles and fortresses of Soria. Our itinerary brings us closer to another unique castle that watches us from the top of the hill where it stands. This is the Castle of San Leonardo de Yagüe, a town crossed by the Way of Saint James whose castle is originally from the 16th century and is also known by the name of Castle of Abaluartado due to its structure which prepared it to resist artillery attacks, in the Renaissance style typical of the time of its construction. It also consists of a palace that, together with the thick walls that protect it, has barely withstood the passage of time and the damage suffered during its years of abandonment.
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.
The route can vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties, traffic rules and the evolution suffered by the natural environment where it is located. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or improper use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications, and/or the operation of its electronic guides, nor for the variations for the aforementioned reasons in their descriptions and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity, complying with traffic regulations. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. All times are approximate and take an indicative character. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns and places of tourist interest are published as a guide and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before carrying out any activity, value your technical knowledge, your physical form, inform yourself about the meteorology and the variations that the route could have suffered, equípate correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, not surpassing your capacities. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment, as well as the traffic rules wherever you go. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in its descriptions are for guidance only.
¿Did you know that...
In the whole province of Soria there are more than 100 fortresses, including castles, fortified houses, fortified churches, towers and defensive watchtowers. This defensive network, generally of Muslim origin, helps us to understand the importance that this territory had in ancient times.
Don't miss out...
Some of the places you will pass through, which although they do not belong to the route, are worth visiting, such as the Hermitage of San Baudelio or the Lobos River Canyon Natural Park.
Distance of the route
424 Km. This figure may vary depending on the route we follow
Duration of the route
From 3 to 4 days
Time of year
All year round
Historical, cultural and landscape. This route shows us a large part of the territory of Soria
HOW TO GET TO
PLACES TO DISCOVER
DON'T BE IN DOUBT
You will also be able to discover what surrounds you, the localities, the places of interest or the fountains, the rest areas and much more.
Discover what surrounds you
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