Sanabria Lake. Zamora. © Tico Luca. Patronato de Turismo de Zamora.

We suggest a trip that's particularly worthwhile. You're sure to agree. This is a journey of discovery where you'll learn all about the province of Zamora, in the Castile-León region in the interior of Spain. Although it may look like a small area, there are so many things to do here, a week won't seem long enough. Prepared to hear wolves howling, see your reflection in the waters of an enormous glacial lake and a river enclosed between walls soaring 200 metres high, and capture with your camera the greatest concentration of Romanesque art in the world. Here are the 10 key points in Zamora that will win you over:

  1. Doña Urraca gateway. Zamora.
    ©

    Ayuntamiento de Zamora

    Lovers of history, come hither!

    You'll find archaeological remains, a Roman past, and the chance to take a nocturnal tour of the illuminated Romanesque and Modernist buildings around the city of Zamora. But you'll also be able to see Toro's collegiate church and its famous portico of La Majestad, learn about the courtly intrigues at the Puebla de Sanabria Castle, visit the fascinating medieval monastery of Santa María de Moreruela, the churches and the Parador hotel in Benavente and see the charming typical mountain architecture of towns like Fermoselle.

  2. Landscape in Los Arribes del Duero. Zamora.
    ©

    Tico Luca. Diputación de Zamora.

    Breathtaking landscapes

    Hold on to your camera, because it may fall from your hands as you gesture in amazement. There are four key nature areas: Arribes del Duero (a canyon carved out by the Duero river with walls standing over 200 metres high, and where you can take a cruise), Lago de Sanabria lake (this is the largest glacial lake on the Iberian Peninsula, and according to legend, on the Night of San Juan you can hear the peal of the bells from the village submerged beneath its waters), Lagunas de Villafáfila lakes (the stopping place for thousands of birds), and Sierra de la Culebra (home to the greatest density of wolves in Spain).

  3. Ceramics. Pereruela, Zamora.
    ©

    Mynt. Patronato de Turismo de Zamora.

    Land of craftsmen and women

    The souvenirs we buy on our travels always look great back at home. In Zamora there are three places to visit. Moveros still conserves an old pottery-making tradition, and you'll find water jugs, casserole dishes and its most unusual piece: a "cantarilla" (jug). Also interesting is the pottery of Pereruela, where the casseroles and ovens are made with excellent clay. And you can't leave Carbajales without one of its attractively coloured embroideries. Not to mention the ceramics workshops in the area around the Arribes del Duero Nature Reserve, the toys from Fermoselle, the leatherwork in Galende…

  4. Villarín de Campos. Zamora.
    ©

    Patronato de Turismo de Zamora.

    In the traditional way

    That is how a number of popular constructions are made and conserved in Zamora. We can highly recommend taking a fun and interesting excursion to visit old watermills, ancient huts, dovecotes and barnyards; not to mention the curious "curtains" –stone barriers embedded in the ground that serve to delimit the different properties and create a very distinctive landscape. And on the subject of traditional dress, here's a curious fact: women from the Tierra de Alba area wear a costume featuring embroidery dating from the 16th century.

  5. Regatta on Sanabria lake. Zamora.
    ©

    Tico Luca. Patronato de Turismo de Zamora.

    A little action

    The natural attractions of Zamora can be enjoyed in various different ways. You can opt to go biking through landscapes full of lakes, Roman remains and fields of cereal. Or do you prefer water sports? These are available in some of its reservoirs. In winter, there's a snow shoe route that starts from the Laguna de los Peces lake. And what about trekking up to the pool at the San Martín cave, or hiking along a Roman road? Remember that Zamora stands on famous routes like the Silver Route and the Way of Saint James.

  6. Cheese and sausages from Zamora.
    ©

    Tico Luca. Patronato de Turismo de Zamora.

    Another tempting dish

    One of Zamora's great attractions is its cuisine, featuring a range of delicious recipes… You can begin with a starter of chorizo or good cheese from Zamora, and even visit a factory in Toro where you can try cheese with wine, honey and hot spice. Then there are chickpeas from Fuentesaúco, veal from Aliste, milk-fed lamb from Castile-León, wild mushrooms, peppers from the Benavente valleys… There's so much to choose from. And for dessert, some delicious "cañas" (cream-filled pastries).

  7. Bodegas Farina. Toro, Zamora.

    Raise your glasses to the land of wine!

    There are three Designations of Origin in Zamora: wine from Toro, Arribes and Tierra del Vino de Zamora. However the most famous is the wine from Toro, whose impact on the history of Spain has been significant; the first references to this wine date from the 12th century, and it is mentioned in works of literature such as La Celestina. In fact there are over 50 wineries in the Toro area dedicated to this wine, offering tasting sessions, the chance to enjoy the wine harvests, hear explanations about agricultural production, go on informative tours of the vineyards… Did you know there's even a Wine Museum in Morales de Toro?

  8. Stags at dawn during the mating season.
    ©

    Interior Legendario. Diputación de Zamora.

    Grab your field glasses

    Just in case you miss any detail when watching this assortment of wild animals at liberty, including foxes, deer, wolves and stags. There are companies that organise wildlife-spotting tours –like small safaris–, including breakfast in the heart of nature. These tend to take place in late September to coincide with the impressive mating rituals of the stags. And if you're a birdwatching enthusiast, why not head for the Villafáfila lakes and Señora de los Arribes on the Duero river, the home of the black stork. Or would you prefer to gaze at the starry skies? Why not sign up for a sighting with the Agrupación Zamorana de Astronomía (Zamora Astronomy Association).

  9. "Carochos" (masked figures) in Ríofrio de Aliste. Zamora.
    ©

    Tico Luca. Patronato de Turismo de Zamora.

    We're going to a party

    You're going to Zamora in winter? Then you're bound to have fun at the masquerades. Don't be alarmed if you see diabolical creatures wearing masks and accompanied by cowbells! If you're there in spring and autumn you'll see the popular festivities, when crowds of townspeople accompany the Virgin along a route steeped in emotion. Other attractions include the bullfighting festivals and of course the Easter week commemorations. The most moving is the one in the city of Zamora, which has also been declared an event of International Tourist Interest.

  10. One of the rooms in the Parador hotel in Zamora.
    ©

    Archivo Paradores de Turismo.

    Five more minutes…

    This is what you'll think when you're curled up beneath the sheets in your bed in any of the accommodation options in Zamora. You'll find hotels to suit everyone (some of them with their own winery and spa service) and a complete network of rural tourism accommodation. The country houses in Zamora are extremely inviting, and many offer outdoor activities as a way to learn more about traditional local lifestyles, horse-riding excursions, the chance to see donkeys from Zamora for younger visitors, how a traditional loom works…


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