So, you’ve seen all the Goya paintings that Madrid has to offer, eaten as much jamon as humanly possible at El Museo del Jamon and want to get away for the weekend. Where do you go? Our suggestion is head north to the former capital of Spain and home of El Cid, Burgos.
Burgos is about a two and half hours drive or bus ride from the Avenida de America bus terminal in Madrid. Burgos has an airport and is serviced by Iberia but most find it is cheaper to fly into Bilbao or Madrid and take the bus into town. Bus tickets run around 15euro and can be purchased the day of. Once you arrive at the bus station in Burgos, you are only a few meters from the center of the old town. Simple cross the bridge over the Arlanzon River and you’ve arrived!
There are few cities with as dramatic an entrance as Burgos. To enter the city square one must walk through the enormous and elaborate Arco de Santa Maria, the medieval gate built in the 14th century. Once inside the gate, you can explore the medieval streets and browse the many shops. On nice days, all the cafes spill out onto the street with little tables where late lunches are served.
Arco de Santa Maria
Plaza del Rey San Fernando, 7, 09003 Burgos, Spain
After lunch, go on a stroll along the river, whose path also happens to be part of the Camino de Santiago, which passes through Burgos on its way from St Jean Pied de Port to the Santiago de Compostela in the west. If you are not intrepid enough to cross the length of Spain, like many do each year copying the pilgrims of yesteryear, you can at least say you walked some of the journey.
The Gothic Burgos Cathedral dominates the cityscape. It is the finest example of medieval architecture in all of Spain, a World Heritage Site and the burial place of El Cid- the national hero of Spain for his fight and conquering of the Moors.
City Square, Burgos, Spain
The other major site to see is the Monasterio de Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas located on the outskirts of town, about a 20 minute walk or short bus ride. The Abbey also happens to be near the modern Burgos University. The abbey was built in 1180 and is the burial place of many past royals.
Abbey de Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas
Calle de Compases de Huelgas, 09001 Burgos, Spain
All photos © Jennifer Kellas