The capital of Castile and Leon, Valladolid is a city bursting with life that combines history, tradition, nature, culture, gastronomy, wine tourism, the list goes on. It is a destination that has something for all tastes and that never ceases to amaze.
So grab a pen and paper, note down the main things to see in Valladolid and let yourself be surprised by the city!
The essentials on your visit to Valladolid
Valladolid, or Pucela as many people know it, boasts many attractions and monuments to discover its exciting history and its impressive cultural legacy. Take a stroll down its squares and streets, visit its palaces and allow yourself to fall in love with this vibrant city.
And to make sure that nothing is left unseen, we have prepared a list of essentials for you on your visit:
- Plaza de San Pablo: an icon and the nerve centre of the city. Home to the imposing church of San Pablo, whose façade is a spectacle you cannot miss.
- Church of Santa María de la Antigua: One of the city's landmarks. This temple is home to multiple impressive Romanesque elements, such as its tower, its belltower and a portico on the north side. The remainder of the building is Gothic and Neo-Gothic.
- Royal Palace: this building was constructed in the early sixteenth century by the Emperor Charles V. The current appearance of its façade is very different from how it once looked. Its inner courtyard and the imperial staircase are well worth a visit. In addition to Emperor Charles himself and his wife Empress Isabella of Portugal, Saint Teresa de Jesus and Kings Philip II and Philip III also took up residence here.
- Plaza Mayor: located at the heart of the city, just a stone's throw from other monuments including Santa María la Antigua or the church of San Benito. This square inspired the construction of other Plaza Mayor squares, like those in Salamanca and Madrid.
- Valladolid cathedral: This temple was an ambitious project that was never completed, as construction stopped at the transept. Its sombre interior gives visitors the opportunity to climb the tower via a panoramic glass elevator to take in views from a 60-metre-high viewpoint.
- Palacio de Santa Cruz: located in the vicinity of the cathedral, this building now serves as the rectorate of the University of Valladolid. It stands out on account of its façade of baroque civil architecture and is considered the first Renaissance building in Spain. It also boasts an impressive courtyard with a cloister spanning three heights. In its magnificent library is home to the Mozarabic copy of the Beatus of Valcavado. It is currently the headquarters of the University's rectorate.
- Palacio de Pimentel: since 1875, this palace that was owned by the Marquis of Astorga (Don Pedro Álvarez de Osorio) in the fifteenth century has been owned by the Provincial Council. Here, King Philip II was born on 21 May 1527. It is a documented fact that for him to be baptised in the church of San Pablo, a passageway was constructed from one of the windows of the palace to the door of the church. This window preserves its chains to this day.
- Colegio de San Gregorio National Museum: the former Colegio de San Gregorio, founded by Fray Alonso de Burgos, the bishop of Palencia, plays host to the Colegio de San Gregorio National Museum, home to the largest collection of polychrome sculptures in the world. The sculptors most represented here are Alonso Berruguete, Juan de Juni, and Gregorio Fernández. One curious fact is that this school saw classes imparted or received by great names such as Melchor Cano, Fray Luis de Granada, Francisco de Vitoria and Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, the great commentator on the discovery of America.
- Palacio de Villena: located opposite the Colegio de San Gregorio National Museum, the museum organises and assembles its temporary exhibitions here. It could also be referred to as Palacio de Pastrana, as its owners were the Dukes of Pastrana, Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda, Princess of Éboli, and her husband Rui Gomes da Silva. The princess was only twelve years old when she was married to this noble Portuguese knight. Later, he would become the talk of the court of Philip II on account of his legendary character (rather infamous).
- Plaza de la Universidad: a stone's throw from Plaza de Santa Cruz is Plaza de la Universidad, formerly Plaza de Santa María, as the square was formerly home (and remains still exist to this day) to the Marian collegiate church, the first Pincian temple, prior to the cathedral. The square was given its new name as it is home to the Faculty of Law of the University of Valladolid.
- Casa-Museo de Zorrilla: in a house on what used to be known as Calle de la Ceniza (now Calle de Fray Luis de Granada), which separates the birthplace of Felipe II and the palace of the Marquis Alonso Pesquera (now offices of the Colegio de San Gregorio National Museum) the Romanticist poet and playwright José Zorrilla was born. In this house-museum, which has been preserved as if time had not passed, you can view his death mask, awards and distinctions, laureate crowns and the romantic courtyard where the author of Don Juan Tenorio used to write.
- Casa del Sol: local residents have always called the former palace of the Count of Gondomar, Don Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, the Casa del Sol because of the sun that tops off its façade. This Renaissance-era palace is annexed to the church of San Benito el Viejo and forms part of the series of buildings that make up the National Sculpture Museum.
- Columbus House-Museum: taking Calle Real de Burgos and Avenida de Ramón y Cajal, we come to the Columbus House-Museum, which reproduces the house that Diego Colón, son of the Admiral, ordered to be built in Santo Domingo in 1509. The sailor, together with the Pinzón brothers, discovered American lands during his four trips on behalf of the Catholic Monarchs, before dying in Valladolid in 1506, being buried (for the first time, as he was buried up to four times) in the former convent of San Francisco, located in the Plaza Mayor.
- Cervantes House-Museum: time for a formal visit to Miguel de Cervantes house-museum. This honoured resident of Valladolid lived here in 1605 when his acclaimed work Don Quixote de la Mancha was published. The house in which he lived from 1603 to 1606 is now a museum, which is open for visits to find out more about how the famous author lived during his time in Valladolid.
- Campo Grande: this urban park is the largest in the city and worth particular mention are the peacocks that walk unbothered through these gardens. The perfect place to relax, rest, and of course, enjoy watching these majestic birds.
Holy Week in Valladolid
Holy Week in Valladolid is all about celebration, which has seen the occasion declared an International Tourist Attraction. The city is filled with expectation and tourists over the course of this special week, which represents a unique opportunity to visit Valladolid. Would you like to read more about Holy Week in Valladolid? We have it covered.
Valladolid by train
Are you looking for a different plan to discover all that Valladolid has to offer? At Renfe, we have prepared special thematic trains, meaning you can sightsee in a unique way.
- Wine Train: enjoy wine tourism and all the charms that the province of Valladolid has to offer on the Wine Train. We have eleven routes that take in the Ribera de Duero, Rueda, Cigales and Toro designations of origin.
- Zorilla Train: enjoy a day of culture and tourism in the city that saw the birth of the author of "Don Juan Tenorio", the poet and playwright José de Zorrilla.
- Canal de Castilla Train: take in the Canal de Castilla and enjoy different routes and activities in Valladolid onboard the Canal de Castilla Train. The perfect plan for a getaway with your family or friends, just 1 hour from Madrid.
How to get to Valladolid by train
Tempted to visit Valladolid? At Renfe, we make it easy for you. Take our AVE and Larga Distancia (long distance high-speed) trains and travel as quickly, comfortably and sustainably as possible.
Take a look at our routes and pack your bags!