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We had lunch at a wonderful restaurant called Rincon de España. This restaurant was beside the Cathedral and we ate at the outdoor patio, where we could see the magnificent facade of the Cathedral.
Benny - DOH, silly me, I didn't look.......................
Thanks for that. That will be useful.
The wonderful gothic cathedral, UNESCO's World Heritage Site, is a MUST visit.
The royal monastery of Las Huelgas, founded in 1187, became the burial-place of the royal family. Immediately after its foundation, ladies of the noblest families began to take the habit at Las Huelgas. The characteristic peculiarity, however, which made this monastery famous was its abbess's exercise, for some centuries, of the 'vere nullius ecclesiastical' jurisdiction. The abbesses of Huelgas, in consequence of this privilege, issued faculties to hear confessions, to say Mass, and to preach; they nominated parish priests, appointed chaplains, granted letters dimissory, took cognizance of the first instance in all causes, ecclesiastical, criminal, and relating to benefices, imposed centuries through their ecclesiastical judges, confirmed the abbesses of their subject houses, drew up constitutions, visited monasteries, in a word, they possessed a full ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The origin of this privilege, then, must be sought in the king's intervention in the affairs of the Church, in the protection accorded by the abbots of Cîteaux and by the Roman pontiffs, and in the fact that several infantas were nuns in the monastery.
The Cartuja de Miraflores is a 11th Century Carthusian monastery. Only the church is open to the public. Inside is a multicoloured altarpiece, plated with gold, by Gil de Siloé. The same sculptor made the star shaped joint tomb of king Juan II and Isabel of Portugal.
The Human Evolution Museum is an educational centre to understand the evolution of man thanks to the Atapuerca sites.The museum includes the Atapuerca sites (near Burgos), educational facilities and Visitor Centre in the towns of Ibeas de Juarros and Atapuerca. By visiting the museum you can see the main fossils found in Atapuerca, and then, go by shuttle bus to the place they were found. Closed on Monday.
Typical local food: morcilla (black sausage) and lechazo (roast lamb). Wine from Ribera de Duero.
Revulgo - Great info. Thanks so much.
If you arrive in Spain by ferry from the UK or drive in from France at Donostia or Irun (San Sebastian, Pamplona) and are heading South do make the time for a visit to Burgos. A city much ‘passed by’ on the N1 from the North to Madrid, only a hundred odd miles from Bilbao or Santander and an ideal first stopover in Spain. Get used to the roads and the beauty of the land and have a comfortable and special evening in this beautiful city.
This year (2011) I was again staying in the Hostal Acanto (I have reviewed previously on Trip Advisor, and is still just as good) out in Gamonal an eastern suburb where originally the wool of La Mancha and Castilla y Leon was washed before being shipped to the Netherlands (this was the basis for much of the wealth and influence of the Kings of Castile. The Castle and the Cathedral that dominate Burgos are results of that wealth. But there are fascinating stories of the town rebelling against the castle. And; my ancestor Edward the First was married to the real love of his life Eleanor of Castile in the Las Huelgas monastery. In 1290, when she died he had crosses erected at every night stop of the journey of her coffin to London (Charing Cross is one, though not the original monument).
This June I managed to catch the Fiesta of San Pedro and San Pablo, this does involve bullfights but a lot more besides. The Saints day is the 29th of June but the celebrations and partying will swing between the weekend before and that after depending on ‘something or other’; so you need to find out which if you are going to catch it. Both in Gamonal and the centre of town (and possibly elsewhere) there are numerous wooden stalls set up selling tapas and beer or wine, each one from a different bar, café or restaurant each selling their speciality; all for €2.20 for tapas and drink. Pulpo in a creamy sauce, mini pizza, mini kebabs an endless variety of good nibbles. One night in Gamonal there was a Shakira tribute band on an impressive stage, all the grannies to gran-kids were dancing away... On the right night catch the fantastic fireworks display, I mean mega! And the marching competition, of brass bands and local filas or associations. The 12C cathedral is a must with its intense sense of time and history. Pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela drift through the town with their staffs and shell badges. Take a paseo of an evening along the river under the branch grafted plane trees that roof the walk from the El Cid monument (he came from here) and the Teatro Principal along to the gateway under the town hall into the Plaza Mayor; here just sit on the great marble benches and enjoy a community enjoying itself, the kids running round, lovers and old folks, pilgrims and tourists all in amicable observation of the life around them. Or continue under the cool, green, plane trees to the Puerto de Santa Maria, the grand gateway to the Plaza in front of the cathedral. The cafe across the steps from the front of the cathedral is great for breakfast. Behind the cathedral climb the steps up to the castle and look over the city and out onward to the stretching horizon of La Mancha and the great mystery and dust of Spain.
There are many great places to eat, as anywhere in Spain, bad food doesn’t last. I have a soft spot for the Casa Ojeda in the plaza by the mansion of the Constables of Castile. I’ve eaten just inside and out on the square, always great but if you really want a stuffing session book yourself in for 9pm or so in the restaurant proper upstairs above the oven (you’ll see).
The Hostal Acanto (http://hostalacanto.com/ )is my favourite place to stay, a little way out on the N1 – Calle Vitoria but they have secure parking underneath and it only costs €0.85 on the regular, clean and great buses to the centre of town. In town the Hostal Acuarela (http://hostalacuarela.com/ close to the Plaza Espana) is also run by Gregorio and his sister Anna who are the most helpful people and is a great modern place to stay.
I have stayed in other Hotels in Burgos from the big modern Puerta de Burgos and Almirante Boniface to the old style Melia Fernan Gonzalez and the Norte y Londres, they are all good but check rates and parking.
My book ‘BRS’..... has routes and places like the garganta de yecla that are not far away and well worth a visit if you have the time.
Be aware that 12th October is a national holiday in Spain. This means all shops, supermarkets and otherwise will be shut. I would check for museum opening times, although I don't think you should have a problem.
Also, unless you're really interested in such things, I wouldn't bother with Atapuerca, it will be packed as it's a holiday, and it is really not worth the hassle, we were really disappointed when we went. There are other, more interesting things to see around Burgos.
Also, if you're driving between Burgos and Santander, depending on the route you take, the following are worth a stop:
Aguilar de Campoo is an interesting town with castle, monestary, partly walled centre and riverside cafes.
Orbaneja de Castillo is a beautiful village hanging off a rock in the Ebro gorge, just off the N623 after Valdelateja (also pretty). Really worth a stop, beautiful waterfall, impressive scenery full of vultures, and nice bars by the river.
Puente Viesgo is a spa town, the N623 runs right through it, lovely river walk, some excellent restaurants, the area's best prehistoric cave art caves, and a famous spa. Also really worth a stop.
Also the best damn ice cream in the north is made in Ontaneda, where the N623 also runs through, look for the little house on the right after you pass through the main town. Try the cheese ice cream, or the delicious honey with orujo (the local spirit).
Also stunning views coming over the Puerto del Escudo (mountain pass) on the N623.
You've got the best week for it too, what fantastic weather we're having at the moment!!!
Las Huelgas is also a nice visit. http://www.monasteriodelashuelgas.org/
The Burgos castle is also kind of a fun visit, although it's mostly just the ruins / foundation that's left (Napoleon’s retreating troops dynamited it in 1813). If you're not claustrophobic, you can go down into the narrow, damp tunnels.
The Paseo del Espolon is lovely, and Burgos also has a lovely park that runs along the river that makes for a very pleasant stroll.
If you are at all interested in the Camino de Santiago, part of the Camino route crosses the University of Burgos campus (where I was a student), and several parts of the campus date back to medieval times (a pilgrim's hospital).
There are several nearby attractions that may merit a visit; I particularly enjoyed the castle at Cuéllar and the mudéjar church Iglesia de San Martín (don't miss the Center for the interpretation of the Art Mudéjar).
Also, you could visit Santo Domingo de Silos, the Benedictine monastery made famous for its multi-platinum Gregorian chant CDs recorded there. The monastery itself makes for an interesting visit (medieval pharmacy, cloisters) and some good photo opportunities.
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