Monday, May 28, 2012

Castillo hunting in Castilla y Leon

When the novio suggested driving through Valladolid to drink wine and see castles before we went to a communion, I jumped at the offer. A weekend away from Madrid (that doesn't involve a frisbee) was just what the doctor ordered. I knew I would need some relaxation and wine drinking to prepare me for the massive quantity of familia I was about to meet on Sunday. 

The novio and I picked up our rental Minicooper (haha) on Friday and drove northward to Valladolid. Our first stop was Coca a small town between Madrid and Valladolid with surprise, surprise a castle. We stopped to take pictures, dar una vuelta (take a walk), and have a drink.

We stopped for the night in Peñafiel a small town in the heart of the famous wine region Ribera del Duero. As we drove in, the impressive castle stood at the top a hill looking ominously over the city. 

In the morning we awoke to a rainy and cloudy day. The castle looked gloomy as we walked up to take the tour and check out the wine museum. I was excited to try some of the wines that Ribera del Duero offered and do a wine tasting with a sommelier. I will admit that I love drinking wine but I know nothing about it. 

Wine Museum

After a quick tour of the castle we headed down to try four regional wines. As the sommelier explained how to evaluate a wine through sight, smell, and taste, Alberto and I did our best to not look too tonto when she asked us what aromas we detected. 
The oldest Plaza Mayor in Spain!!!

Next we moved onto Medina del Campo which had another castle (are you sensing a trend here?) We passed on the 2 hour tour and walked around to take some pictures. 

We moved on to our penultimate town of the day Simancas that had a wait for it....a castle! But my favorite part was the historic bridge crossing over the rio Duero

To finish up our trip through Vallodolid, we stopped for the night in Tordesillas to check out their claim to fame, the Treaty of Tordesillas. The treaty established a line dividing Spain and Portugal for colonization purposes. 
Isabel la Catolica overlooking the city
Although its not the most well know region in Spain, Valladolid is an amazing province to spend a relaxing weekend drinking wine and seeing castles. What could be better?

Have you every been to Valladolid? What were your thoughts? Any recommended sites?


  1. I studied in Valladolid and love, LOVE Castilla y León. We had such a fun class trip to Peñafiel, where we drank a teeny old man bar out of wine while belting out Living on a Prayer. Good, good times.

  2. I think Castilla y Leon is one of my favorite provinces, the food is good and the people are really nice. And I love teeny old man always get the best stories out of them!

  3. I've never been to Valladolid, but it looks so pretty! I have a friend from there, and he told me never to go because there's nothing interesting there. But after seeing your post, I'm pretty sure he's lying. :)

  4. He definitely is! Castilla y Leon has a lot to offer even though it doesn't get as much attention as other regions. There is a lot of history, good food and nice people, what else could you want?