Palencia is a city of 79,000 people (2018) in Castile and Leon. Palencia offers many well-conserved monuments and a postcard-worthy main street. It has many parks, each with their own characteristics and setting. And culinary secrets waiting to be discovered.
Palencia is the picturesque capital of an eminently Castilian province of the same name. It doesn't feature in the main tourist trail in the region, and it cannot compare to the beauty of Salamanca, León, Burgos or Segovia or the museums and urban dynamism of Valladolid.
Two hills surround the city in its north-east area. On the closest stands the 30-metre high statue of Christ known as the Cristo del Otero, the fourth-tallest statue of Christ in the world.
The Canal de Castilla runs close to the city.
Summer in Palencia is a pleasure, but it ends early and there is cold weather from September. The winter is long and severe. The people of the city can be found outdoors and in the squares and plazas year-round.
Culture and politics
Palencia is known in Spain for being culturally insular. It is an aging city, as the youth tend to move to the larger surrounding cities. Immigration is a recent addition to Palencia, and it may bring some diversity to a city that has been a closed.
Palencia seems to be the forgotten city among the great Castilian For example, the city is in the shade of Vallodolid, which is close by and much larger. Some locals are upset by the windmills that have appeared in the surrounds of the city, spoiling the views of the Christ of Otero. At the same time, the citizens of this city of 83 000 inhabitants enjoy a great quality of life in this neat, quiet, green, wealthy and gastronomic city.
The city has a busy railway station, given its strategic location as a hub for north and north-west railway connections in Spain. There are several services from Palencia railway station to Valladolid-Campo Grande, Madrid (Chamartín and Príncipe Pío), León, Burgos, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Santander, 3 daily trains to Barcelona Sants, Bilbao-Abando, A Coruña, Santiago, Oviedo and Zaragoza-Delicias, 1 daily train to Albacete-Los Llanos and Alicante.
The AVE train does not yet reach Palencia.
Valladolid Airport is the closest airport to the city at 45 km. There are daily flights from Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Brussels and other destinations.
Palencia is well-linked to other town and cities of Spain:
- A - 62 Valladolid, Madrid
- A - 65 Benavente, León, Asturias, Galicia
- A - 67 Santander
- CL - 610 => A -62 Burgos, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Barcelona
- C - 613 Sahagún
- C - 615 Guardo, Riaño
- C - 619 Aranda de Duero, Soria
Palencia has a bus station next to the train station. ALSA and other bus companies link Palencia to many Spanish cities and towns and it is especially useful for travelling to places not linked by train, such as the south-west of Spain.
Palencia has a bus service formed by 6 daily lines, managed by Palbus. The fleet is 18 buses. There are 26 stops with electronic panels with the arriving of the next buses. There is also a night bus, free Wi-Fi in all buses and intelligent systems with voice at the buses announcing the stops.
- The Roman bridge across the Carrión river was replaced by the medieval bridge one of three arches: the old section of the city is on the left bank, the modern suburban development is on the right bank.
- La Olmeda Roman Villa (Villa Romana de La Olmeda) is a well-preserved 4th century AD house. With 27 rooms and 3,000 m² of space, it is best known for its mosaics, the most important of which depict great mythological scenes and can be found in its main hall. Several of the rooms in the villa also contain the remains of the Roman hypocausts. In addition to the main building, the villa site is surrounded by other Roman ruins such as numerous burial sites and a set of thermal baths.
- The old city walls were more than 10 m high and can still be traced; the alamedas or promenades along them were laid out in 1778.
- 1 Cathedral of Palencia, Plaza de la Inmaculada, s / n, ☏ . The flamboyant gothic cathedral, built from 1321 to 1504 and dedicated to San Antolín, stands over a low vaulted Visigothic crypt; its museum contains a number of important works of art, including a retablo of twelve panels by Juan de Flandes, court painter to Queen Isabella I of Castile. The Archeological Museum contains Celtiberian ceramics. Adult €5, under 26/65 and over €4, under 12 free.
- The 13th-century church of San Miguel, the San Francisco church.
- The Calle Mayor (High Street), is a pedestrian, 900-m-long street where many excellent examples of the 18th-, 19th- and early 20th-century architecture can be seen.
13 south of the city, in the village of Baños de Cerrato, is the oldest church on the peninsula, a 7th-century basilica dedicated to Saint John and built by the Visigoth King Reccaswinth (died 672).
Palencia has a substantial forest of 1,438 hectares (3,550 acres) 6 km away on a plateau above the city, known locally as the "Monte el Viejo" ("Old Mount"). This park is a popular amusement area for the locals.
The main speciality of Palencia is locally produced lechazo (suckling lamb). Traditionally suckling lamb is roasted slowly in a wood oven and served with salad. "Menestra de Verduras" is a mixture of vegetables cooked with chopped pieces Spanish ham, onion, garlic and spices is another traditional dish.
Palencia also offers a great assortment of lettuces, leeks, wild mushrooms, peppers, asparagus, endives and beans. Some legumes, like white beans and lentils are particularly good and cooked in hot dishes with chorizo.
The sopa de ajo, a traditional winter garlic soup dish, made with bread mixed with paprika, water and garlic and cooked slowly. A raw egg is often whipped into the soup as it is served.
Morcilla is a form of black sausage made from pig's blood. In Castile the pig blood is often flavoured with pieces of pork fat, onions herbs and spices; the addition of rice gives a distinctive texture and flavour.
Despite being an inland province, fish is quite commonly consumed. Brought from the Cantabrian Sea, fish such as red bream and hake are a major part of Palencia's cuisine. Salted cod is another common dish. Rivers from the Cantabric Mountains bring the famous trout, grilled with bacon. Crayfish is cooked with a thick tomato and onion sauce.
Palencia has a variety of different breads including fabiolas, roscas or panes. The pastries and baked goods from the province of Palencia are well-known. Rice pudding and leche frita or fried milk (a mix of milk, sugar, flour and cinnamon with a delicious and jelly-like texture) are favourite desserts.
Palencia is a producer of wines. Those that are certified as Designation of Origin Arlanza are improving with a taste similar to those of Ribera del Duero and Toro.
- Hotel Eurostars Diana Palace, a mid-range hotel towards the outside of the city centre. Clean and functional. Parking is available - entry to the parking area is via a car-lift, and subsequent narrow drive-way - for those who enjoy the challenge of a tight parking space.