Parador de León
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- Twin rooms (170)
- Double rooms (15)
- Room with living room (15)
- Capacity (400)
- Conference room
- Central heating
- Air conditioning
- Canal plus
- Deposit box
- Gift shop
- Credit cards
- Currency exchange
- Disabled facilities
- Station (1km)
Parador de León - 16th century monastery (5*)
The Parador de León is one of the biggest jewels of the city of León and one of the most important Renaissance buildings in Spain. Construction on the original building began in the 12th century thanks to a donation from the Infanta Doña Sancha, and the building was subsequently enlarged by Fernando el Catolico. The Plateresque façade of this impressive monastery will move you and you will no doubt be drawn to its intricate decoration, with medallions and statues mixed with Xacobean motifs (of Saint James of Santiago) and figures from the classical ages.
The cloister was built between the 16th and 18th century and a hidden library is housed in the upstairs cloister with a balcony, with choir and church views, parts of this dating back to 1537 and 1543. The building has served several different roles in its time, including as a prison, hospital and pilgrim’s hostal, and is a recognised route marker for the Camino de Santiago. It is well worth joining an organised tour to discover the historical significance of the building and its development over the centuries (this can be arranged in the Parador’s reception). Such is its celebrity that the facade of the Parador de Leon is often used as a backdrop for televised news reports and it has featured in several films, most recently 'The Way' with Martin Sheen.
Numerous works of art and decorative elements grace the interior of León’s Parador. These include paintings from the Flemish school, tapestries, sideboards, as well as works by contemporary artists such as Lucio Muñoz, Vela Zanetti, Redondela, Álvaro Delgado, Ochoa, and Vaquero Turcios.
The original monastery building houses the reception, bar, restaurant as well as the superior rooms and suites, affording them a great deal of style and character. Standard rooms are situated in a modern wing alongside, affording them space and modern comforts.
There is a sizeable car park controlled by a security barrier behind the Parador.
- Ask for a garden view.
- Walk down Los Cubos to the side of the cathedral to see the restored old city wall.
- Enjoy tapas in the Romántico or Húmedo districts (often offered for free if you order a drink).
León is a municipality located in the north west of the Iberian peninsula, capital of the province and the autonomous community of Castile and León. Founded as the Roman military camp of Legio VI Victrix in 29 B.C., its establishment was consolidated by the final settlement of the Legio VII Gemina from 74 A.D. The settlement became the head of the Kingdom of León in 910, actively taking part in the ‘Reconquista’ against the Muslims, becoming one of the fundamental cities to help shape the kingdoms of Spain.
In the War of Independence León was one of the first Spanish cities to rise, and a few years after the end of the war in 1833, its rank rose to provincial capital.
It has a great heritage and numerous monuments, one of the most outstanding Easter processions in Spain and it is an indispensable step on the Camino de Santiago. You can walk through history visiting the Pulchra Leonina Gothic Cathedral (built on the site of the Roman Baths, a Royal Palace and the first Romanesque Cathedral in all Spain), the San Isidoro Basilica (which is a museum and a Pantheon- where 33 members of the Leonese court lie), the Botines House (built by Gaudí in 1982), Palace of the Guzmán family - built on the site of the old wall between the years 1559 and 1572. This is just a small window into what this historic city offers to visitors.
The Parador de Leon is scheduled to close for renovation from 15th December 2017 until 28th February 2020.
Restaurant meal times & typical dishes
Breakfast is served from 7.30 to 11.00 and from 7.30 to 11.30 on sunday. Dinner is served from 20.30 to 23.30.
It may be possible to arrive up to 22.00 and still enjoy a meal.
In the restaurant: Sahagum lamb rice with "Botillo" sausage and salt beef terrine with goat cheese and reineta apple.
- B. Ainsley
Magnificent. A museum. They had plain clothes officers sitting on each floor to watch the precious items, we thought at first it was a guest who'd been kicked out of his 'habitacion' by his wife!
I can honestly recommend all that we stayed at and assure you that the room with lounge at Leon, was indeed a separate lounge, and frankly, the room and its' position in the Parador exceeded expectations.
- Mr T Jones
Leon is certainly a 'one-off', it has a good feel about it, especially as a stop for walkers (pilgrims!) on their way to Santiago de Compostela! We stayed in a very nice room overlooking the Plaza...
- Sandra Jegat
Great food, interesting show round of the older parts. Great to stay somewhere of historical importance without the pricetag. We were impressed.
- Mr G Messett
My wife and I stayed at this jewel of a Parador for 2 nights on the first leg of a 7 night self-drive “Rutas” tour organised by Keytel in the UK who specialise in Parador holidays. The Hotel is a 5 star wonder and is like staying in a medieval palace complete with furniture, paintings and atmosphere but with all the modern comforts. Originally the 12th century monastery/hospital of San Marcos on the Way of St James, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela it is a veritable museum complete with fine service and sensible prices. The city of Leon is compact and walkable from the hotel with one of the finest cathedrals in the world within the old Roman walls part of the city. The hotel has been extended from the original building and attached church but is beautifully and artfully done so that from the interior it is impossible to spot the seams and the new part has been designed to look like the old down to the corridors and room doors which are identical. Our room was delightful, spacious, beautifully clean and comfortable. Free car parking was plentiful in a private, controlled area at the rear of the property. Dinner was excellent and well served, as was breakfast in a separate room. Overall service was excellent.
How to get there
The Parador is located in the Plaza de San Marcos, next to the bridge of the same name over the river Bernesga. From Madrid it can be reached along the main N-VI road, after passing Valladolid and Benavente, at 130 and 66 km respectively. From Oviedo (120 km), it is reached by the N-632 or along the A-6 motorway.
Benavente - 70km
Villafranca del Bierzo - 131km
Cervera de Pisuerga - 133km
Zamora - 135km
Madrid/Bilbao Airport - 360km
Region & Cuisine
CASTILLA y LEON
In 1983 the existing regions of Castilla la Vieja (Old Castile) and León were united to form Castilla y León. Occupying one-fifth of the country’s territory, Castilla y León is the largest of Spain’s Autonomous Communities and comprises much of the central and northern areas of the country.
Given its size – over 94,000 square kilometres – there is naturally an enormous variety of landscape within this region with mountains of varying grandeur to the north, west and south, and woodlands and fertile river plains dominating the central area. The river Duero, Spain’s largest river and the country’s principal source of electrical power, more or less bisects the region from east to west before flowing into Portugal – where its name changes to the Douro – and reaching the Atlantic in the city of Porto. The climate of Castilla y León is ‘continental’, typically with long, hard winters contrasting with moderately warm summers.
Along with the variety of terrain, the region also maintains a tremendous variety of plant and animal life. A hardy species of oak, the holm oak which can withstand both heat and cold, is found everywhere throughout this region. Chestnuts abound in the fertile areas of the Duero and its tributaries, while forests of Scots pine predominate in the Sierra de Gredos in the south. The wildest parts of the region are home to protected endangered species like wolf and brown bear; deer and wild boar are found in the mountains in the north, and mountain goat in the Sierra de Gredos, while also to be seen in this region are the imperial eagle, the tawny vulture and the ubiquitous stork.
But if only one word could be used to describe Castilla y León it would have to be ‘monumental’. The region comprises nine provinces and the nine provincial capital cities are collectively a living museum of the history, heritage and culture not only of Castilla y Leon but, to a large extent, of Spain itself.
A brief note on some of these cities:
AVILA A medieval city, encircled by its hugely impressive and wonderfully preserved walls dating from the end of the 11th century, intimately linked to Saint Teresa and with a complex of palaces, churches, convents and monasteries.
BURGOS One of the key links in the cultural chain running the length of the Way of Saint James, Burgos was the capital of Castile during the Middle Ages. Its Gothic cathedral, the third largest in Spain, is the most important of the city’s many monuments.
LEON Another monumental city with two thousand years of history. The cathedral is considered one of the best examples of Spanish Gothic and the Cathedral Museum is one of the most comprehensive of its kind. The Parador here, a restored 16th century monastery, is itself one of the city’s most impressive monuments.
SALAMANCA A venerable city, declared by UNESCO as part of the Heritage of Mankind in recognition of its artistic legacy. Salamanca’s university, founded in 1254, is one of the oldest in the world and is no doubt responsible for Salamanca’s reputation as one of Spain’s liveliest cities. Life here revolves around the magnificent ‘Plaza Mayor’ built between 1729 and 1755 and generally recognised as the finest main square in the country.
SEGOVIA A city symbolic of the old kingdom of Castile, among Segovia’s innumerable treasures is the Castle in Spain ‘par excellence’ – the Alcazar, a medieval fortress reconstructed in 1862 after a devastating fire. The emblematic symbol of Segovia is the fantastic 2,000-year old Roman Aqueduct: 728 metres in length with 163 arches and constructed in granite blocks cut so perfectly that no mortar was needed, this is one of the best preserved monuments of Imperial Rome.
VALLADOLID The capital city of Castilla y León, Valladolid preserves some of the finest examples of Renaissance art in this region – notably the College of Santa Cruz whose library contains around 13,000 volumes printed between the 16th and 19th centuries. A university city, Valladolid enjoys the reputation as the Spanish city where the most correct Castilian (Castellano) is spoken. And for those into castles in Spain, the surrounding countryside is full of them!
The culinary tradition of Castilla y León has something for everyone, with pride of place going to roast meats prepared in traditional wood-fired brick ovens – most famously ‘cochinillo’ (suckling pig) and tender lamb. Also for non-vegetarians, Avila is known for its excellent beef and veal, Burgos for its ‘morcilla’ (blood sausage) and much of the region for its many varieties of chorizo. There is no shortage of game throughout this region either, with some less-obvious examples being quail, partridge and pigeon which provide local speciality dishes in the provinces of Valladolid, Segovia and Zamora respectively.
Pulses also figure prominently in the region’s ‘country’ cuisine in soups and stews, particularly chick-peas in Zamora, lentils in Leon and succulent ‘El Barco’ large broad beans in Avila. A wide range of artisan confectionery is very much a feature of Casytilla y León, including the ‘rosquillas ciegas’ of Palencia, the sugared almonds of Salamanca and the delicious ‘yemas de Santa Teresa’, emblematic of Avila.
To go with all this, there’s no shortage of wine from this region. Rueda, Toro and El Bierzo all produce distinctive wines of high quality, but for the very best (and unfortunately the most expensive) it has the be the ‘denominación de origen’ of Ribera del Duero, some of whose wines are nothing short of superb.
No description of Castilla and León would be complete without a mention of two of the region’s smaller towns, not least because two of Spain’s finest Paradors - in our opinion – are located there. LERMA, some 20 miles south of Burgos, is a town with great artistic heritage and a noble air exemplified by the Ducal Palace, begun in 1605 and now the Parador. And in LA GRANJA DE SAN ILDEFONSO, just 7 miles outside Segovia, is the magnificent Royal Palace of La Granja, built between in 1720 and 1735 in the style of the Palace of Versailles and with delightful French-style gardens complete with statues and fountains – a very popular place to visit for the people of nearby Madrid. The impressive Parador here, opened by King Juan Carlos in June 2007, occupies the restored 18th century royal summer residence.
Please be aware of the following:
- 'Special Offers' are subject to the availability of a number of rooms per night and/or a specific meal basis.
- Age restrictions apply to the 'Golden Days' Offer (for those aged 55 and over) and the 'Young Persons' Offer (for those aged between 18 and 30). All reservations made using these tariffs are checked upon your arrival at the Parador(s) booked to ensure that at least one person in a room qualifies for the restricted tariff. In the case that you do not qualify for the restricted tariff, the Parador will apply the standard rate without exception and you will be required to pay a supplement locally. However only one person (per room) needs to qualify for either of these two reductions.