CAS35459 Cavalry Academy building on Zorrilla Square in Valladolid. Shutterstock (9:2 banner crop)

Valladolid travel guide

About Valladolid 

Valladolid in Castilla y León is the region's would-be capital and is a thriving modern city with a strong cultural heritage, known as the 'capital of the tapa'.

Valladolid's history dates back to the 11th century, even at one point being declared the capital of Spain by Carlos I, and the city has seen many historical figures pass through such as the writer Cervantes and the famous explorer Columbus who died here. The Reyes Católicos (Catholics kings) were betrothed in this city which, although Castiila y León has no official capital, serves the purpose of one. Today, Valladolid is a modern and pioneering administrative capital at the end of the Ramal del Sur of the Canal de Castilla route which ends in a scenic channel just before it flows into the river Pisuerga.The city itself is situated on a hill between the northern branch of the river Esgueva and the river Pisuerga which criss-cross in the valley below. There are many wonderful churches and palacios to visit such as Santa María de la Antigua, in the heart of the city centre, with its 13th century Romanesque tower and its beautiful vaults and buttresses, the church of San Pablo that contains one of the city's most well-known facades from the Gothic Hispano-Flemish period and the Palacio de Fabio Nelly de Espinosa, which is today the Valladolid Museum.

The Valladolid Museum (Museo de Valladolid) is well worth a visit with 2 sections dedicated to archaeology and the fine arts. Art lovers will also enjoy the Contemporary Arts Museum and the National Sculpture Museum. The city has lots of parks and gardens including the Campo Grande, a large romantic garden with aviaries, statues, fountains and over 30 different bird species in the garden such as Indian guinea fowl, and the La Rosaleda rose garden that contains all the rose varieties of Spain. Enjoy the outdoors in the valley below the city and go canoeing, boating, hiking and more. If you are looking for vibrancy and colour then be sure to visit Valladolid at festival time, with the Semana Santa(Holy Week), Fiesta de San Pedro Regalado and the fiestas y ferias de San Lorenzo, a 10-day celebration of the city's patron saint, all events that you will never forget. Other cultural festivals including music festivals, a street theatre festival and SEMINCI, an international film festival, ensure that there is always something happening in Valladolid throughout the year!

Wander through Valladolid's pedestrianised shopping streets and discover lots of small and medium-sized shops selling fashions, home decor, perfume, gifts, jewellery and speciality foods and wines. The city also has many crafts shops and craft markets where you'll find pottery, jewellery, ceramics and leather products. Known as the 'capital of the tapa', Valladolid hosts the National Contest of Pinchos and Tapas each year. Enjoy different tapas, each specifically paired with a different well-chosen wine in the city restaurants, where you'll even find tapas served to make a whole meal! Dishes using fish such as sea bream and hake, lechazo (suckling lamb) and piñones (pine nuts) are also popular.


  • Country: Spain

  • Region: Castilla y León

  • Province: Valladolid

  • Population: 313,000

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