Royal Sites in Castile-León
Would you like to visit monument buildings set in surroundings of stunning beauty? Come to Castile-León, in inland Spain, and stroll through the beautiful rooms of these so-called “Royal Sites”. Impressive, luxurious palaces and monuments, in wonderful condition, that will carry you back to a time of splendour. Get carried away.
The Region of Castile-León has thousands of monuments, but amongst these there are four that are very special. These are the Royal Sites, founded by monarchs, now in the care of Spanish National Heritage. Four buildings with enormous cultural and artistic value, open for you to explore. Come and discover them for yourself.
You could start your visit at La Granja de San Ildefonso Royal Palace, in Segovia, just 90 kilometres from Madrid. A royal summer palace in the 18th and 19th centuries, you will love its period furniture, characteristic tapestries and its paintings. Don't forget to look up at the ceilings: they have domes decorated with frescoes and stunning lamps in crystal and bronze. Beauty and luxury are not only to be found inside the building, however. There are splendid gardens to stroll around, with ponds, waterfalls and fountains where water shoots up to 40 metres in the air. A real fairy-tale setting awaits.
Would you like to see how the glass to be found in many works around the palace is made? Then visit the San Ildefonso Royal Glass Factory and its Glass Museum, which has a range of temporary and permanent exhibitions with unique pieces on display.
Just 15 kilometres from this monument is another wonderful surprise: Riofrío Royal Palace. This building is perfect to discover the romantic atmosphere of the 19th century, with large rooms, interior patio and two stunning main staircases. This palace was used by the monarchs as a hunting pavilion. If you visit you can enjoy paintings by masters such as Veláquez and Rubens on the subject of hunting and there is also a hunting museum, one of the largest of its type. Furthermore, if you are a nature lover, you can walk in Riofrío Forest that surrounds the palace. This area of countryside covers more than 625 hectares and there are many buck and deer to be seen.
The solemnity of monasteries
Castile-León has much more to offer besides these two palaces. Come and discover the silence and tranquillity of two beautiful monasteries. Firstly you can visit the Royal Santa Clara Monastery, in Tordesillas (Valladolid province), just 145 kilometres from Segovia. It is one of the finest examples of Mudejar art in Castile-León, and you are sure to enjoy its small patio, richly-decorated ceilings and the "Dorada" (golden) Chapel. A perfect day out that you can round off with a trip around the monastery's old Moorish baths. Its beautiful murals are very well conserved and will transport you back in time.
Finally, a journey of 125 kilometres will take you to Burgos, where you will find Santa María la Real de las Huelgas Monastery. It is home to monks to this day. Here you can see, not only stalls and altarpieces, but also its defensive tower, famous cloister and museum of medieval textiles and paintings. You will also notice the tombs of the monarchs who founded the monastery, and their successors.
Nevertheless, your visit does not have to end here, because Castile-León has much more to offer. Discover San Isidoro Royal Collegiate Church (León province) home to the tombs of 23 monarchs, the Royal Pilgrims' Hospital in Villafranca-Montes de Oca (Burgos), the Royal English College with its impressive libraries, and the Royal Butchery in Medina del Campo (both in Valladolid). These are just a few of the options. Choose your favourite way to enjoy art and history in a unique, privileged region: Castile-León.
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