León (Spain) in Photos
Leon is a small city in Northwest Spain, founded by the Romans and later the capital of the Kingdom of León. The city was strategic in the Reconquista, the reconquering of Spain by Catholic forces over the Muslim Moors (culminating in 1492 upon the conquest of Granada).
We were meant to spend a week in León. Then the coronavirus hit. We’ve ended up spending over 3 months in lockdown in León which has given us lots of time to explore this pretty city.
Lots of photos of León in this post.
León Cathedral, officially Santa María de León Cathedral, is the tourist highlight of the city. It is an majestic Cathedral with incredible stained glass windows (I’ll have a post coming up on the Cathedral. It’s one of the most impressive Cathedrals in Europe).
The Plaza Mayor, León’s main square, is a block from the Cathedral. It was the commercial heart of the city in the middle ages. It (usually) holds markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. During our stay that’s been put on hold…but it’s been interesting to see the Plaza waking up over the last few weeks after months of strict lockdown.
Calle Ancha is León’s main street in the Old Town, a wide street with lots of stores, restaurants and impressive buildings.
The Barrio Húmedo is the nickname given to the old part of the city located within the mostly intact Roman walls. You’ll find tons of little streets with bars, clubs and restaurants. It’s usually very vibrant and we’re slowly seeing it coming back to life…
The Convento de San Marcos is about a 15 minutes walk from the Center. It’s both one of the most beautiful buildings of León and a symbol of the Spanish Renaissance. Today it has a church, museum, and a luxury Parador hotel.
Next to the convent is the San Marcos bridge, built in the 12th century.
If you walk across the bridge you’ll get to Parque De Quevedo on the other side. Pretty park with peacocks.
Also not far from the Convent of San Marcos is the Contemporary Arts Museum (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León).
Besides León Cathedral and the Convent of San Marcos, the other must see religious building is the Basilica of San Isidoro (Basílica de San Isidoro). Located about 5 minutes walk from the Cathedral.
Roman stone walls still surround parts of the city (see the map I include at the bottom).
León’s old town has a lot of pretty squares. Our favorite is the Plaza del Grano.
The Casa Botines is one of León’s most interesting buildings (on the left, located next to the beautiful Palacio De Los Guzmanes). It was designed by Antoni Gaudi and built in 1891.
Some more photos to get a sense of León
Above: The León sign next to the cathedral
Above: old door on typical street of the Barrio Humedo
Above: León Cathedral at night
Above: Avenida Ordoño II, the main street in Leon leading from the train station to the Old Town
Above: waking up from lockdown…dog eating ice cream
Above: Fountain on Plaza St. Isidoro
Above: Hospital (right behind the Cathedral)
Above: another angle of León Cathedral
Above: Old city gate (Arco de la Cárcel) near Basílica de San Isidoro
Above: details at The Convento de San Marcos
Above: Plaza de la Inmaculada
Above: Plaza Mayor. Since lockdown ended it’s been buzzing (mostly young people though..)
Above: Plaza de Santo Domingo
Above: The square in front of the Cathedral
Above: León Cathedral interior
Map of León (click to enlarge)
León is an attractive city. As a tourist, 3 days will allow you to see and explore everything. We’ve been here 3 months and honestly León has been the perfect place to be in lockdown: it’s a relaxed, pretty city with lots to see within walking distance and we’ve been blessed to meet very nice people (including our Airbnb host Mariateresa) who have been very welcoming and accommodative.
Thank you León!
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