Aerial view of Burgos and its cathedral © Shutterstock

Burgos travel guide

About Burgos 

Burgos in Castilla y León is a well-preserved medieval city, famed for its spectacular Gothic cathedral, and many other religious buildings that made it an important stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

Founded in the 10th century by Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos under orders of Alfonso III, Burgos is a city of stunning religious architecture with its masterpiece, the 13th century Gothic cathedral, recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are many beautiful churches in the city such as the Iglesia de San Esteban with its glorious rose window and cloister in purest Gothic style; the Iglesia de San Gil which contains outstanding altarpieces, paintings and sculptures; the Baroque style Iglesia de San Lorenzo which was erected in the 17th century, and the Iglesia de San Cosme y San Damían with its wonderful Gothic facade.

On the outskirts of Burgos you can find the Monasterio de Silos, San Pedro de Cardeña, the Monasterio de Rodila and Cartuja de Miraflores with its Gothic church, altar pieces, magnificent choir stall and tombs by Gil de Siloé. There is also much civil architecture to enjoy, especially Burgos' most impressive palace, the Casa del Cordón, a 15th century Renaissance building with exquisite ornamentation on its facade, and the Hospital de la Concepción which has served as a shelter for travellers since its construction in the 16th century.

The best introduction to the city is the Arco de Santa María which served as the gateway through the walls that surrounded the city or visit the Mudejar arch of San Martín where royalty used to enter. Explore the history of the area at the Burgos Museum and the outstanding Museum of Human Evolution, a unique museum where you can see the fossils excavated from the Atapuerca site and then take a shuttle bus to the site itself to see where they were discovered. Findings at Los Yacimientos de la Sierra de Atapuercaprovide evidence of the oldest human presence in Europe - the Homo Antecessor - dated to a million years ago and you can meet realistic reproductions of 10 of our prehistoric ancestors in the Gallery of Humanoids.

Burgos is a city that celebrates its traditional festivals in style and on January 30th, the fiesta de San Lesmes, patron of the city, is celebrated and the Saint's panecillos (bread rolls) are shared out. The fiesta of San Pedro and San Pablo, known locally as the Sampedros, is a huge festival that take place on June 29th but continues for the rest of the week with parades, dancing, fireworks and more!

Burgos is famous as the home of El Cid Campeador, the Christian nobleman and military leader and a statue in his honour can be found in the Plaza de El Cid opposite the Puente de San Pablo (the bridge of San Pedro). Burgos is full of bookstores, silversmiths and souvenirs shops and the best traditional and folk crafts shops are to be found in downtown Burgos around the cathedral.

Local specialities include Queso de Burgos (a soft white cheese made from whey), Ibeas beans, roast meats and Morcilla de Burgos(blood sausage). Hotpots and fish dishes such as river crab salad and codfish á la Burgalesa are popular.

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