Things to do in Leon Spain- Best Free Guide

One of the most popular historic town, there are many things to do in Leon Spain on your perfect holiday.

The city of Leon is a part of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon and is located in the northwest direction of the Iberian Peninsula. The city is the largest municipality in the province and was founded as the military encampment in the 29 BC.

The city experienced the partial depopulation due to the Umayyad conquest of the peninsular area in the 74 AD. Post this event, in the year 910 AD the historical events in the city were witnessed and thus the city became the capital of the Kingdom of Leon which includes a few smaller towns and cities.

Due to the historical events in the city, it was registered as the UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 2013. The prominence started to decline in the early Middle ages partly because of the loss of independence after the union of the Leonese Kingdom with the Crown of Castile which consolidated in the year 1301.

The historic and architectural heritage, the numerous festival celebration and the location on the French Way is a perfect for the domestic and international tourists.

This article will give you a list of things to do in Leon Spain for you to spend a perfect holiday exploring the architecture and enjoying your trip.

Things to do in Leon Spain
Photo by jötâkå on Unsplash: Things to do in Leon Spain

Leon Essentials

How to get to Leon Spain: Hire a car and drive from Madrid.

Hiring a car in Spain: The Bay of Kotor is the perfect place for a road trip. Use Discover Cars to find the best price on a rental car in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia.

Where to stay in Leon:Apartamentos m.bell (Apartment). Silken Luis de León (mid-range) – self-contained apartments near the Old Town. Hostel Covent Garden (budget) – basic accommodation in the heart of the city. 

Best time to visit Leon

The best time to visit León is from November to March, being a dry and not hot period; at night, however, it can get cold. In April and May, temperatures can reach 34/35 °C (91/93 °F), and although the air is dry, the sun is very strong.

List of Awesome Things to do in Leon Spain

A perfect mix of art, culture and architecture, the city of Leon has alot to offer its tourists! Here’s a list of all the things you can experience.

Take the Walking Tour

How about starting your trip of the beautiful city by taking the Walking Tour of the city and Cathedral.

You can take a guided walking tour of the city of León. Visit the interior of the cathedral to see the stunning Gothic stained glass windows, then stroll the streets of the historic Roman Quarter. The duration of tour is somewhere around two and half hours and you will get to know more about the history of the city.

It is always good to start your journey of exploration of the city by taking the walking tour.

Recommended Trip – Walking Tour of Leon and Cathedral

Things to do in Leon Spain

Basilica de San Isidoro de Leon

Things to do in Leon Spain
Things to do in Leon Spain

The Basilica de San Isidoro de Leon is a church located in the city of Leon and was built on the site of an ancient Roman temple. The Christian roots of the city can be traced back to the 10th century when the Saint John Monastery was built.

In the 1063 the basilica was rededicated to the Saint Isidore of Seville and previously was built in the pre Arab time. The basilica was designed in the Romanesque style of architecture and had many additions of architecture styles over the century. Another primary style of architecture included the Gothic style and the arches one the crossing of the transept depict the Islamic art.

There are many styles that merge in the interiors and the exterior and look harmonious as a whole.

Things to do in Leon Spain

Santa Maria de Leon Cathedral

Things to do in Leon Spain
Things to do in Leon Spain

Santa Maria de Leon cathedral is also known as the Leon Cathedral is a catholic church and is under the name of Virgin Mary. The cathedral was the first building to be declared as a monument by the Royal Order of Spain in the year 1844.

The building was initiated in the 13th century and is known to be one of the best works in Gothic style of architecture with French influences. The cathedral is known for the dematerialization of the gothic art to the extreme as it is the reduction of the walls to their minimum expression to be replaced by the stained glass and constitutes the largest collection of medieval stained glass in the world as the total area of the stained glass is nearly 1,800 square metres.

Prior to the church, the site was a Roman Bath and the present day cathedral is built in brick masonry and has three naves which are finished in semi circular apses. The central nave to Saint Mary. The cloister was also built on the north side.

The plan of the building is a replica of the Reims Cathedral. The building is 90 metres long, 30 metres high and 29 metres wide. The building is divided in three naves from the entrance to the transept. The cathedral has a feature of the roof being larger than usual and the cathedral is covered with quadripartite rib vaults shaped in rectangular sections. The transept is covered in Baroque style dome of the 17th century.

The cathedral has 125 windows and has a large central rose window which is located in the central portico, between the two spire towers as well as the main chapel and the north transept.

If you are not planning to take the walking tour of the Leon City then we would recommend you to take the Guided tour of the Cathedral Interior and Exterior to know about the history of this place.

Things to do in Leon Spain

Museo Casa Botines Gaudí

Things to do in Leon Spain
Things to do in Leon Spain

Casa Botines is a modernist building in Leon Spain an is designed by Antoni Gaudi. The museum is dedicated to Gaudi an displays art from the 19th and 20th century. The building is one of the emblematic buildings an is designed with elements mixed with medieval air and neo-gothic characteristics. The building consists of four floors, a basement and an attic. Gaudi chose an inclined roof and placed towers in the corner in order to reinforce the neo-Gothic feel.

In order to ventilate and illuminate the basement, a moat was created around the two of the facades. There are six skylights which are supported by the iron tie beams illuminate and to provide ventilation to the attic.

Things to do in Leon Spain

Plaza Mayor de Leon

Things to do in Leon Spain
Things to do in Leon Spain

Plaza Mayor de Leon, is a square with mixed use buildings as it contains arcades and half floor houses. The square has the street markets along with the bars and nightclubs. During the summers and festival times, the bars and cafes terraces are very busy.

La Plaza Mayor is a square which hosts several outdoor events. The architecture of the place is Baroque style. The square is located in the wet district of the Leon due to the bars. The square is known to be a full pedestrian area and i still accessible by foot and cars as there is availability of the underground parking.

The square has similar Spanish characteristics as it is surrounded by houses with arcades where the bars are in high number. During a good weather, the number of people in the terraces is high in these bars. The Plaza Mayor is also known to be the venue of traditional market of fruits, vegetables and small animals such as rabbits or chicken every Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

The concerts, tapas fairs or traditional meetings of Good Friday procession take place in this square. The square also served as the bullring and there are two most notable buildings such as the Old Town Hall and a Plaza Mayor. The old town hall has Baroque style of architecture on two towers.

Things to do in Leon Spain

Convento de San Marcos

Things to do in Leon Spain
Things to do in Leon Spain

The Convent of San Maros is one of the great architecture marvels in the city of Leon. The convent is converted into a tourist hostel in the city. The building is a great example of Spanish Renaissance.

In the 16th century, the medieval building was in poor condition and was restored after being demolished. The facade of the building was built in pearl of the plateresque style. The facade is a single canvas with a wall of two bodies and two floors, topped with openwork cresting and candlesticks.

The first body has a semi circular windows and plateresque pilasters, the second has balconies and columns with balustrades. The plinth features medallions with Greco characters and figures from the history of Spain. The cover and main entrance have two bodies plus a Plateresque style comb and the Baroque style elements in 18th century. The baroque style opening of the church is one of the highlights of the building.

Things to do in Leon Spain

Plaza San Martin

San Martin square or the Plaza San Martin is popularly known as the Plaza de las Tiendas due to the large number of shops which are concentrated in the square. Currently the square is also known as Plaza de las Bars due to less number of shops left.

The square is small and is completely pedestrian friendly as it has been made a no vehicle zone The square is accessible to the other parts of the city such as the Plaza Mayor, Riano, Grano Jabalquinto Palace etc.

The place is not a place for drinks but for wine and tapas. The square hosts the artistic exhibition and other events. The square is completely restored and renovated and is used for more commercial use than festive.

Things to do in Leon Spain

Calle Ancha

Calle Ancha is an important pedestrian street in the old town of Leon. The pedestrian network crosses from the Plaza de Santo Domingo to the Plaza de la Regla where the Leon Cathedral stands. The transit centre for the commuting within the city is also located in the close proximity.

The area is known for great commercial spaces such as the shops for clothing, accessories, jewelers, perfumeries, electronic stores and souvenir shops. The commerce of the space is spread out in the narrow alleys of the Old Town. There areas which are also famous for food near the Calle Ancha.

Things to do in Leon Spain

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León

Top Things to do in Leon Spain
Top Things to do in Leon Spain – Source

The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, or MUSAC for short, is a museum of modern art in the Spanish city of León. This cultural institution, which Felipe, Prince of Asturias officially opened in April 2005, aspires to be a “Museum of the Present” and solely gathers works created by the most recent generation of artists between 1992 and 2012.

The museum has gained recognition on a global scale for its cutting-edge programming and collection of works from the twenty-first century. The New York Times, for instance, called it “one of the most stunningly audacious museums to hit the Spanish cultural landscape in years.”

Things to do in Leon Spain

That was all about the top things to do in Leon Spain, Do let us know if you think we have missed anything from our list and something which you enjoyed exploring in Leon Spain.

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