- Location: North-west of Spain
- Attraction Type: City
- Significance: A monumental city with a wealth of artistic interest
- Best Time To Visit: The city celebrates the Fiestas of San Juan from June 21st to 30th. So you can visit during this time.
- How To Reach: Daily flights are available from Madrid and Barcelona. You can even avail of the bus service from Madrid’s Estación Sur de Autobuses.
- Nearest Airport: Leon Airport
Leon draws in huge tourists as it is a monumental city with a wealth of artistic interest. The city of Leon is one of the most diverse provinces in Spain. Along with high mountains covered in snow in winter and steep cliffs and valleys sheltering lakes and gorges, on the one hand, there are also fertile plains surrounded by woods, orchards and meadows where many rivers and streams pass by.
Leon has a Mediterranean climate with continental influences in a few areas and Atlantic in others. Winters are mostly very cold and snowfall is common and summers are mild and relatively short.
History of Leon
The year 68 AD is supposedly the origin of Leon. It was during this time that the Roman Legio Septima Gemina (the army formed by Emperor Galba with men from the Iberian settlements) was quartered here. This settlement stood at the confluence of the rivers Bernesga and Torio to stop the advance of the Cantabrian and Asturian highlanders.
Leon became the most important city in Christian Spain during the reign of Ordono II. After being sacked by Almanzor it was rebuilt by Alfonso V and was enlarged during the 11C.
In the 16th century, the economic life of the city declined and did not revive until the 19th century with the development of mining. By the mid-20th century, Leon rose due to a thriving industrial sector.
Monuments of Leon
Hostal San Marcos (Parador de Leon): It is one of the best sites in the city of Leon. Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela have been staying in this splendid building since its reconstruction in the early 16th century. Later it was converted into a monastery, however, in the 17th century it was used as a prison and during the Spanish Civil War served as an army barracks. Today it stands as one of Spain’s most impressive hotels. A part of the building has been turned into an Archeological Museum of Leon.
Leon Cathedral: Built in the 12th century, this magnificent gothic cathedral with two tall towers covered with beautiful sculptures is a must-visit. The tall stained glass windows of the cathedral get illuminated at night. The museum inside the cathedral has a great collection of paintings and sculptures.
Casa de Botines: This neogothic style building was designed in the 19th Century by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. The towers at the corner make this building look like a fairytale castle.
Basílica de San Isidoro: It has an interesting museum and royal pantheon of St. Isidoro with sculptures, works of art and medieval textiles. The burial place of 40 kings, queens and princes of Leon and Castile, with 12th-century Romanesque frescoes is also quite interesting. The monastery museum and library contain some rare and outstanding treasures from the 900s, 1000s, and 1100s.
MUSAC: This modern art gallery boasts of exhibitions of well-known Spanish and international artists. Every year the museum hosts an international music festival.
Fundación Vela Zanetti: This 12th-century mansion houses the collection of works of the internationally renowned artist Vela Zanetti who lived in Leon for most of his life.
Palacio de Los Guzmanes: The building serves as headquarters to the provincial parliament. It is a luxurious 16th-century building with a beautiful indoor patio.
Accommodation and Hotels in Leon
Some of the best hotels in Leon are given as follows: Hospederia Guts Muths, NH Plaza Mayor, Silken Luis de Leon, Aparthotel Campus San Mames, Cortes de Leon, Tryp Leon, El Emigrante Luso Hostal, Eurostars Leon, Husa Alfonso V, FC Infantas de Leon, Parador de Leon, Posada Regia, Villa Mencia and many more. If you can afford, then stay at the Parador in Leon, Hostal San Marcos.
While in Leon, try eating in Vivaldi. It is one of Leon’s best restaurants serving innovative cuisine using traditional products. The restaurant Alfonso V is more traditional with classic local dishes and some modern options. You can visit Cocinandos as well as Bodega Regia for some delicious food.