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Valladolid is the capital of the Spanish region of Castile and León. The Plaza Mayor forms the heart of the city with in the center of the square a statue of the city's founder, Count Pedro Ansúrez. The square was constructed in the sixteenth century, but the city hall with the bell tower was built at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The small streets surrounding the square are extremely charming. The Palace of the Marquises of Valverde later became King Philip II's residence. Nowadays, the complex houses the Valladolid Museum, which is divided into two sections: Archeology and Fine Arts. In the archeological part you can learn more about settlements in the region in prehistoric times and the city's foundation in the eleventh century. In the other part you'll see paintings and furniture from the sixteenth up to the eighteenth centuries, Flemish tapestries, Spanish ceramics and utensils. Another part of the palace houses the Columbus Museum, dedicated to the originally Italian explorer who had such a great impact on Spain's history.
Construction of the city's largest church, the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, was initiated at the end of the sixteenth century, but the church was never completed. Due to financial problems, the church' left tower was never added. Inside the cathedral you can see a beautiful altarpiece dating back to the sixteenth century.
The Museo Nacional Colegio de San Gregorio is better known as the National Sculpture Museum. It houses a huge collection of bronze, stone, wooden, clay and ivory sculptures (including altarpieces, choir stalls, mausoleums and procession statues). The collection comprises an extended period of time, from the Middle Ages until the present day.
The Museo del Dulce Cubero is unique. Here you can see scale models of key buildings in Valladolid – churches, castles, palaces and other buildings – made out of... sugar!
The writer Miguel de Cervantes lived and worked in Valladolid between 1603 and 1606. His house is now a museum dedicated to this most important writer from Spain's Golden Age and one of the best-known works from Spanish literature, Don Quichot, of which he wrote parts here. The house and Cervantes' study are decorated in the style of the beginning of the seventeenth century.
Spain navigated the world's oceans and Spain's explorers were trained in Valladolid. In addition to colonies in Central and South America, Spain had possessions in Asia, including the Philippines. Artworks and weapons from that country can be seen in the Oriental Museum, which also houses a large collection of Chinese porcelain and paintings. It is one of Europe's largest Asian art collections.
The former Monastery of San Benito is home to the Museum for Modern Art. The rooms are grouped around a charming courtyard and the collection gives a good impression of the main artists and movements in Spanish art from the beginning of the twentieth century. Over 800 objects include works by for example Rafael Barrados, Julio González, Miquel Barceló, Joan Miró, Antonio Tapies and Eduardo Chillida.
If you like to go shopping, you have to go to the Calle Santiago, where you'll find most of the luxury boutiques. And don't forget the beautiful covered shopping arcade Pasaje de Gutiérrez from 1885.
In July and August, Valladolid provides the setting for The Nights of San Benito. Everywhere in the city there are musical performances, exhibitions and other cultural activities. In addition, in November of every year, the International Tapas Competition is held. In over forty tapas bars, participants' creations are served to the guests, who subsequently pass judgment.
South of Valladolid lies Spain's highest city, Ávila de los Caballeros, at an altitude of 1127 meters. This city is completely enclosed by a two-and-a-half-kilometer-long fortification wall with 88 towers and 9 gates, dating back to the Middle Ages. This beautiful medieval city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We recommend parking your rental car in one of the city's parking garages. An electronic information system indicates which garage has availability.
Valladolid Airport is located 10 kilometers northwest of the city center and you can easily reach it by rental car. From the beltway, the Autovia A-60 runs past the airport and the exit is clearly signposted.