Travels in Spain: Burgos

After our trip to San Sebastian/Donostia, Jesse’ family had to drive back to Madrid to catch their plane back to the States, so instead of making them go out of their way to drop us off in Gijon, we decided to stay a couple nights at a city along the way, Burgos, in the community of Castile y Leon. The Burgos cathedral is famous and the third largest in Spain, and traveling in the cold of March meant we could find lodgings for a good price, so we stayed two nights and came away very impressed by the city.

We arrived under grey skies near the city center/old town at our hotel, and we were lucky enough to get the top floor, the 11th, with a large balcony and breathtaking view of the city.

Burgos under ominous skies

Jesse decided to take a nap as we had awoken early, I decided to take a walk by myself and headed into the city, under cloudy skies that occasionally opened to drizzle. The Burgos cathedral is easy to find, as it towers over everything, and I headed that way. On the walk, I saw a sign for the Burgos castle, and took a set of steps toward it, and then another set, and then another.

It was quite the uphill hike from old town to reach the castle, which was, at this point fairly dilapidated (I learned inside why). There was an entrance gate and a worker in the window, but the entry was free, and he waved me in. The remains of the interior of the castle are very open, and there are metal walking paths that wind around the whole castle, heading up to the other ramparts. The castle was originally built in 884 as a fort for a local Count and began the city. It was later used a palace for the king Alfonso X, then as a base by the French when they occupied Spain in the years 1809-1813. Upon their retreat, the French destroyed the castle so it could not be used against them later.

The inside of Castle Burgos

There are placards throughout the walk describing the history and use of the castle, in Spanish, English, and French. The views of the Cathedral and city are great and recommended the hike up for some great pictures. There is also a walking path around the castle and a creative rock pond as well.

On the way back down toward the town I walked past a new mural, right next to the cathedral, called MonkeyBird, done in 2021, that was painted on the side of a building, and looked very fresh and new; a stark contrast to the hundreds-years-old cathedral right across the road from it.

I crossed back over the Rio Arlanzón, and there are three bridges that pass over the river, in order to reach our hotel on the other side. Jesse was ready to go when I returned and we crossed back over the river, taking a different bridge (Puente de Santa María) and walking the Paseo de Marceliano Santa María, which was lined with statues and well manicured and oddly shaped grand bushes; it felt a little like being in an ancient garden.

As the sun set on the city, we headed to the Plaza Mayor, which is quite spacious, as we went in search of pintxos(or pinchos). Pais Vasco (Basque county) is famous for their pintxos, which we have enjoyed in our previous travels to Bilbao and San Sebastian/Donostia. León and Burgos are also famous for Pintxos, and dare I say, are even better. We started at one spot, shared a couple pintxos and a couple beers, and then repeated that at a couple other Pintxo bars. Pintxos can be eaten in a couple bites, so perfect for sharing. With our appetites satiated, we walked back toward the hotel, and found that the city we had seen earlier in the day looked even more impressive at night.

The next morning we crossed the third bridge into the old town, the Punete de San Pablo, which is lined with statues of saints and warriors, and culminated in the famous statute of the Spanish knight El Cid.

We were on our way to the Casa del Cordón, which was where, in 1497, the Spanish Kings met with Cristobal Colon, known to the English speaking world as Christopher Columbus. Now it is a modern art gallery, as well as a bank and offices. The art gallery was sparse, situation on two floors, but well presented with paintings, pottery and sculptures of local and international artists. Entry was free, which was a bonus.

After the gallery, we walked through the Plaza Mayor (as opposed to some other cities we have visited, the Plaza Mayor in Burgos is truly at the heart and center of Old Town), past the Cathedral to the Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos (CAB), which is the contemporary art gallery, situated on three floors. Entry was also free here, and each of the floors was devoted to one artist in the revolving artist gallery. Our favorite floor was devoted to the Artist Anaisa Franco, who created interactive art pieces, one involving taking a picture of one’s face and adding it a gumball machine-like installation on the wall, with other previous visitors faces bouncing around. Another was called a “Space Iriscope” where one put their eye up to a scope and a picture was taken, and then on the floor to ceiling screen behind, the iris was morphed into different galaxies, back to iris, and then another galaxy. It was certainly very different from our next stop…and I’ll share where we went in the next post on Burgos!

Published by Phil Barrington

Currently living in Spain, Accountant by Day, Writer by Night. Lover of baseball, travel ,and spreadsheets. Check out my blog:

One thought on “Travels in Spain: Burgos

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: