Country: Spain Language: Spanish Currency: Euro (€)
León is an astonishing city in northwest Spain, combining grand architecture with charming laneways. The León Cathedral is an absolute beauty, displaying incredible Gothic architecture. León is also the home to one of the only Gaudi buildings outside Catalonia. You can even get a photo with a bronze statue version of the man himself! During the day, revel in the historic architecture and, once the sun goes down, enjoy the festive atmosphere that engulfs the city.
CTW Must See
The gorgeous Gothic style León Cathedral was built in the 13th century over ruins of ancient Roman baths from the 2nd century. However, the cathedral was not fully completed until the 19th century. The León Cathedral features over 100 stained glass windows that illuminate the tall pillars inside the cathedral perfectly. Most of the windows date back to between the 13th and 15th centuries! The cathedral is home to one of the oldest choirs in Spain, and holds a huge collection of sacred art. The ticket price to enter the cathedral is worth it, as the interior is just as majestic as its facade.
Casa de los Botines
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, Casa de los Botines is an attractive modernist building in the Old Quarter. Built in 1892, Gaudi designed the building to complement León’s symbolic architecture. Therefore, the building features tall towers on each corner, in neo-Gothic style. The building spans over four floors and took just ten months to complete. The building, designed to be a palace, is now a bank, so it is freely accessible during the week to visit.
Plaza Mayor is accessible from many different streets in León, as it is located in the heart of the Old Quarter. The beautiful square was once used as an important farmers market, a place for public executions, and bullfighting. After a fire destroyed most of the square, Plaza Mayor was built featuring beautiful Baroque architecture that lines three sides of the square. On the fourth side of the square sits the Old Consistory. The square is still the home to a local farmers market, and holds a plethora of festivals and carnivals throughout the year. The cafes and bars that line the square fill up at night, when the city comes alive.
Basilica de San Isidoro
The Basilica of San Isidoro sits at the top of the Old Quarter, and dates back to the 10th century. The museum was dedicated to St. Isidore of Seville in 1063, and now houses his tomb and relics. The Basilica de San Isidoro is said to be the best Romanesque buildings in Spain! The basilica is free to enter, but the museum will cost a small fee. The museum allows access to the Pantheon of the Kings, and has valuable treasures on display and is one of the oldest Romanesque Cloisters in Spain!
Convento de San Marcos
A former convent, Convento de San Marcos is now a luxury hotel just outside of the Old Quarter. There is still a church within the building, as well as the museum of San Marcos. This museum contains some ancient art and artifacts dating back to Roman and Medieval times.
MUSAC - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León
This contemporary art museum, established in 2005, is located just a short distance from the Old Quarter. The museum facade features multicolored window panels, and is one of the more modern buildings in León. The museum is full of artwork from 1992.
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