Leon is located in the northwest of Spain, on the Way of St. James (El Camino de Santiago), a popular Christian pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. This means that the city’s cathedral is an important religious tourism stop-off destination.
León was founded as a Roman military encampment in 29 B.C., became part of the Kingdom of Asturias and eventually capital of the Kingdom of Leon that fought the Moors. It was host to the first Parliament in European history and recently celebrated as the birthplace of Parliamentarism. It took part in the uprising during the Spanish War of Independence and gained the status of provincial capital.
Leon’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSAC) is architecturally distinct and Casa Botines is a Modernist tour de force by Antoni Gaudí. Leon’s Basilica of San Isidoro is the resting place of the city’s ancient monarchs and an amazing example of Romanesque architecture. The Cathedral is probably the best example of Spanish Gothic architecture in the classic French style.
Local tapas are usually free when served with (bought) drinks. Typically Leonese cuisine dishes include local garlic and vegetable-vermicelli soups, a blood sausage variant (morcilla), a cured/smoked beef dish (cecina), pork intestine stuffed with meat (botillo), a meat/vegetable mix (el cocido leonés) and a sweet known as mantecadas.
On a typically León-style night out, meet up at the Cathedral then head into Barrio Húmedo and Plaza San Martin where there are many Tabernas from which to choose. Other good tapas locations include the Corte Ingles and the MUSAC. Restaurants in the Parador San Marcos and Plaza San Martin are also generally good. As a bonus, you can walk everywhere within the compact city centre.
Posted : Thursday, April 12th, 2012 at 10:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save