Particularly important in its economy is the agri-food industry, while an increasing number of tourists are attracted by its cultural heritage. Soria was mentioned by UNESCO as a good example when including the Mediterranean diet in its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Although there are remains of settlements from the Iron Age and Celtiberian times, Soria enters history with its repopulation between 1109 and 1114 by the Aragonese king Alfonso I the Battler. A strategic enclave due to the struggles for territory between the kingdoms of Castile, Navarre and Aragon, Soria became part of Castile definitively in 1134, during the reign of Alfonso VII. In Soria was born Alfonso VIII, and Alfonso X had his court established when he received the offer of the throne of the Holy Roman Empire.
Booming during the Late Middle Ages thanks to its border location and its control over the bovine industry, Soria went into a slow decline over the next few centuries. It was seriously damaged during the Peninsular War. The city preserves an important architectural heritage (extensive medieval walls, Renaissance palaces and architecturally distinctive Romanesque churches) and is home to the Numantine Museum (with pieces from the nearby Celtiberian city of Numantia).
Soria is easily accessible by train, bus or car from Madrid, the sea ports and airports of Northern Spain. With high speed rail being widely available in Europe it is easy to travel to Spain & Soria from the United Kingdom without flying. One suggestion is to take to Eurostar from London to Paris, change onto the hotel train overnight to Madrid where you can catch a region train or bus service to Soria.
Northern Spain has many airports now served by the budget airlines, such as Vitoria-Gasteiz, Valladolid, Zaragoza and Bilbao, giving the visitor more options regarding the port of arrival, all of which are in easy travelling distance to Soria.
The city is served by the Soria Railway Station, with daily services from Madrid via Guadalajara. There are also many bus lines to neighbouring cities.
Getting around the province is best done with either a local tour company or by hire car. Public transport is limited to the town of Soria. There are daily buses out to most of the rural villages but they tend to run once a day each way so are not that practical for tourists and visitors.
The small, remote, 11th-century hermitage of San Baudelio with its painted frescos is worth a visit. There is said to be around 100 years difference between the construction of the hermitage and the paintings. The frescos are of Arab and Christian influence and are some of the most important 'mozarabe' art.
- San Baudelio (Painted Frescos), Casillas de Berlanga (Soria). Apr May Sep Oct: 10:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00; Jun-Aug: 10:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00; Nov-Mar: 10:00-14:00, 15:30-18:00; Su holidays: 10:00-14:00; closed M and Tu except if public holiday. €0.60.
A short distance from the picturesque village of Vinuesa, high up in the ‘Sierra Urbion’, in an area of lush, dense pine forests, renowned for its abundance of wildlife is the magnificent ‘Laguna Negra’ or Black Lake. This glacial lake was formed during the last ice age; its impressive 80 m (260 ft) high granite walls cast a black shade over the waters below. Make sure you allow enough time to soak up the magic of this area, a favourite and inspirational place for the Spanish poet Antonio Machado. This peaceful place can also be accessed from the GR86, one of the walking tracks that crisscross the province. If you have a passion for mountains, with suitable equipment a hike from here of about 2 hours will bring you to the birthplace of the mighty Douro River which ends its course on the Portuguese coast.
- 1 Laguna Negra (Glacial Lake), 18 km from Vineusa (signposted). The Lake can be visited all year round. As there is no entrance fee, there are no opening hours.
- 2 Hermitage of San Saturio.
- A few kilometres north of the town are the ruins of Numantia, a Celtiberian town whose inhabitants destroyed it rather than let it fall to Scipio. In Soria is the Museo Numantino, devoted to the archaeological remains of this and other sites in the province.