Valladolid is a reasonably large industrial city to the northwest of Madrid. It is one of the major regional center in Castile-Leon. The city has an older core with some interesting buildings. However it has focused more on industry than tourism. Nowadays the population of Valladolid is near 322,000 inhabitants.
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Valladolid is in the centre of Spain's central plateau and hydrographically is in the Duero Basin. The average elevation 698 m. Its coordinates are 41° 38'N 4° 43' W.
Valladolid's climate is continental, dry, and characterised by high temperatures in summer and cold in winter. Rainfall is distributed fairly irregularly throughout the year.
Valladolid Airport (IATA: VLL) is 15 minutes from the city centre. There's a daily bus shuttle to the city at 05:15, 16:15, and 19:20. Timetable changes at weekends and holidays (Bus info: +34 983230033).
- Ryanair offers direct flights to Valladolid from London Stansted, Milan Bergamo, and Brussels Charleroi.
- Air France offers direct flights to Valladolid from Paris.
- Iberia offers direct flights to Valladolid from Barcelona and Malaga.
The most common way to reach Valladolid by train is from Madrid (check the Spanish rail company, Renfe). €11-30. There is a high speed Spanish train AVE that connect Madrid and Valladolid (200 km) in less than an hour. Purchasing the ticket by Internet in advance (at least 15 days) the price is €12 (Jan 2008). There are train connections to other places.
- Alsa provides a regular bus line from Madrid. Fares are similar to rail (€11-20).
Distances to/from Valladolid: Madrid 190 km, Burgos 125 km, Leon 140 km, Salamanca 115 km
Valladolid has a good bus service, but you can easily get around the city centre on foot.
Cervantes Museum, Calle Rastro, 6, ☎ . Tu-Sa, 09:30-15:00; Su & holidays,10:00-15:00. One of the most fascinating things to do in Valladolid is visiting the centuries old house of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Spain's most famous work of literature, Don Quixote, published in 1605. He lived here from 1604-1606. General admission, €3; reduced admission, €1.50; free admission on Su.
Museo Nacional de Esculturas (National Sculpture Museum), Cadenas de San Gregorio, 2, ☎ , fax: +34 983 259 300. Tu-Sa, 10:00-14:00 & 16:00-19:30; Su & holidays, 10:00-14:00. The best cultural thing that Valladolid has is the Polychrome Wood Museum. Some of the sculptures are used during the Easter holidays when Valladolid becomes a famous city because of its religious traditions. General admission, €3; reduced admission, €1.50; free admission on Sa, 16:00-19:30 & Su, 10:00-14:00.
San Pablo. Next to the museum there is the San Pablo church with a beautiful façade. On the side you will find the Palacio de Pimentel. Legend says that mother of Phillip II wanted to have her child baptised in San Pablo, but they were staying at the Palacio of the Pimentel family and due to the position of the door, the child was to be baptised in the nearby San Martin church. So that the Queen could have her way, baby Phillip II was taken out by a window facing San Pablo square.
Casa-Museo de Zorrilla. Jose Zorrilla is one of the most famous pucelanos (common name to refer to someone from Valladolid, as the city is also known as "Pucela"), a well-known Romantic poet and dramatist. To find his house, take the little street on the right as you go from San Pablo to the Museo de Esculturas.
- One of the oldest and most interesting areas is the area beside San Martin Church. Really old, all the streets surrounding the area have a special charm.
Catedral and Iglesia de la Antigua. Not far away (3 minutes walking) from San Pablo you can find the Antigua church, representing the Romanesque style in Valladolid. In front of it, there is the cathedral, which is unfinished because the architect Juan de Herrera was called to build the Escorial. You can see one of the main towers missing.
School of Law and University Square. One of the essential stops is the old university, which is still in use. It is very close to the cathedral, and the façade is breathtaking! The entrance is protected by a group of columns on top of which rest several lions.
Plaza Mayor. The main square is attractive, and hasn't suffered too much over the years.
San Benito (Take the street on the right side of the Town Hall in the main square). A huge, Gothic church is found. On the side of San Benito there is the monastery, where concerts and open-air cinemas are organised during the summer. Nearby you can find some remains of the city walls and the market hall, which has an attractive design in iron.
Campo Grande Park (Between the railway station and the centre). Very attractive and worth a wander through. The park alongside the river is less impressive and not really recommended.
Pasaje Gutierrez. A passageway "hidden" in the center of the city.
International Film Festival (Semana Internacional de Cine). One of the more interesting things you can do in Valladolid is attending the film festival. The main objective is to show and promote films of artistic quality which contribute to the knowledge of worldwide cinematography.
International Tapas Competition. In November, the most important tapas event worldwide. During one week over 40 tapas bars of the city offer tapas to the public.
You can buy sweets typical of the city or the province, such as Mantecados de Portillo. You can buy, of course, the best wine of Spain, because in Valladolid there are some of the most famous wines in the world, like the Vega Sicilia. But you also have a lot of delightful wines at all prices.
In the city centre, you can find many restaurants. Castilla y Leon is known for suckling pig and suckling lamb. In Valladolid, the suckling lamb is more famous, and there are restaurants where you go exclusively to eat lamb and the waiters ask you just for the drinks. You can also find good places to eat suckling pig.
Valladolid has been getting into the tapas culture in recent years. Unfortunately you have to pay for tapas everywhere in Valladolid. There are many cities in Spain where the tapas are for free with your drink. There is a tapas competition between Valladolid bars that is held once a year. It is so successful that the council created a national competition in 2005. If you want to visit Valladolid for a weekend it is worth checking when the tapas competition will be held.
You get another good chance at the beginning of September when the festival takes place. All the pubs put bars in the street, and next to the stadium you can find marquees from different Spanish areas where you can taste all the typical and famous Spanish dishes.
You find good tapas bars in the old part of the city centre, but one favourite is in Calle Correos, behind the council building. This pub won the tapas competition one year.
- Asado de lechazo
- Pan lechuguino
- Mantecados de Portillo
- Queso de Villalón
- Alimentos de la caza
- Rosquillas de sartén típicas de rocío
Parrilla de San Lorenzo, Calle Pedro Niño, 1 (In the basement of the cloistered convent of San Joaquín y Santa Ana), ☎ . Lunch, 13:00-15:00; dinner, 20:30-22:00. 16th century decor. Specialty is lechazo asado en horno de leña, roast lamb.
- The Castilla y Leon region is famous for its wines. There are three different wine areas in Valladolid: Ribera del Duero, Cigales, and Rueda.
- Ribera del Duero is one of the best wine areas in Spain. Vega Sicila vineyard, in Valbuena de Duero (25 km from Valladolid), can be considered one of the best wines in the world and is one of the most expensive wines available. The wines produced are mainly red, of the Tempranillo type.
- Cigales and Rueda, thought less famous than Ribera del Duero wines, are also good wine regions. Cigales has especially remarkable pink wines and Rueda has good white wines.
Hotel AC Santa Ana, Camino de la Flecha s/n (Outside centre), ☎ , fax: +34 983409921. Luxury hotel.
Hotel Amadeus, Montero Calvo, 16-18 (City centre), ☎ .
Hotel Felipe IV, Gamazo 16, ☎ . 127 rooms, bar, restaurant, gym, free Wi-Fi.
Hotel Ibis, Avenida del Euro 7, ☎ .
Hotel Juan de Austria, Paseo de Zorrilla 108 (City centre, near El Corte Inglés), ☎ .
Hotel Mozart, Menendez Pelayo, 7 (Town centre), ☎ .
Kris Parque, Calle Joaquín García Morato 17.
NH Balago, Calle Las Mieses, 28 (Near fairgrounds, 5 min from the Plaza Mayor, and the museums of contemporary art, sculpture, and the football stadium), ☎ .
NH Ciudad de Valladolid, Avenida Ramón Pradera, 10-12 (Town centre), ☎ . Close to shopping.
Around Valladolid are many tourist attractions which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO:
- Burgos (122 km)
- Cuéllar (54 km Splendid monument, one of the main centres of Moorish art. Noted for its ramparts, its castle, and the typically medieval urban cityscape.
- León (134 km)
- Madrid (193 km)
- Medina de Rioseco (40 km) Well-preserved medieval city. Churches, museums, good food.
- Olmedo (30 km) Miniature castles
- Palencia (47 km)
- Peñafiel (60 km) Wine museum and castle
- Segovia (111 km)