Itinerary San Juan de Ortega - Burgos
Today’s stage is not extremely long; however, it does go over 25 kilometres. The route mainly runs through the typical landscape of the Castile region, however there are no major hills.
San Juan de Ortega (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: Remember to call and make a reservation if you plan on visiting the Atapuerca archaeological site today. Buen Camino!
Leaving behind the monastery of San Juan de Ortega, we head over to the local road, where a wooden cross stand. At this point, there is a historical variant of the Camino de Santiago that is used infrequently, which continues on the left towards Santovenia de Oca, Zalduendo and Ibeas de Juarros.
We will ignore it and continue straight on a trail that heads into a wild pine forest, towards Agés (km 3.7). In this town, we can visit the parochial church or the temple of San Miguel, which are located among the town’s traditional architecture.
We leave Agés on the shoulder of the road that will take us to Atapuerca (km 6.3). The road divides the town in two parts and acts a main street, so without realising it we will find ourselves in the centre of town.
Atapuerca (Km. 6,3)
Practical tips for this section: In Cardeñuela de Riopico, you will find bars and pilgrim shelters. Buen Camino!
Before leaving the town, we get off the asphalt and turn left on a path full of stones. The path advances through the scrubland and after passing a farm, it begins to head slightly uphill to a huge wooden cross (km 8.5).
A yellow arrow at the base of the post tells us that we must continue parallel to an old wire fence. Upon reaching the sign that indicates we are at 1,077 metres above sea level, we will begin the descent to the valley of the Pico River. There is a quarry at the bottom and even further down, the city of Burgos.
On our way down, we will find a crossroads on the left that will take us to our next town, Villalval (km 10.7). From this town, where we will find a church in ruins, we will once again take the local road to Cardeñuela Riopico, where you can visit the church of Santa Eulalia.
Cardeñuela Riopico (Km. 12,3)
Practical tips for this section: In Orbaneja del Castillo, you will find bars and pilgrim shelters. Buen Camino!
Crossing Cardeñuela Riopico and following the path for two kilometres, we will reach Orbaneja del Castillo (km 14.3). From here, we will continue along the road and cross the AP-1 on an overpass.
Shortly after, in about 200 metres, next to a single-family home, we find two signs. One tells us to head straight to go to Villafría, and the other points us the left, with the Río option, which goes to Castañares (km 15.3).
The first option is tougher, since after Villafría there are many kilometres separating us from Burgos, which will have to be travelled next to the N-1 road. In addition, the path runs through an industrial zone and an urban landscape. For this reason, we opt for the variant that heads off to the left.
So we turn left and take a dirt trail that we will follow until reaching the airport’s fence (km 16.9). We remain glued to the fence until the town of Castañares, next to the N-120 road.
Castañeras (Km. 19)
Practical tips for this section: In Castañares, you will find the “Peregrina-T” bar/restaurant, where they provide information on the trail that runs along the river walkway, in addition to offering a free map of the area. Buen Camino!
From this town, the signage tells us to continue to Burgos on the side of the N-120 road, which passes through the town of Villayuda. You can’t get lost by following this option. However, there is an alternative that avoids the tedious entrance into Burgos, which is much more attractive.
This path is the river walkway next to the Arlanzón River, which leads to the centre of the capital. Although it is not the historical route, and the more traditional pilgrims prefer the other option, this alternative is beginning to gain more and more followers.
To take this path, in Castañeres we have to cross the N-120 road on a crosswalk, and continue straight on Óbidos street until the end. We go around the edge of a large factory on the right and cross the Arlanzón River on a pedestrian bridge, where the river walkway begins.
If you have trouble finding this turnoff, your best bet is to ask someone at the Peregrina-T bar, or ask someone from the town. Once we’re on the walkway, we will continue along the riverbank for more than three kilometres to then arrive at the Fuente del Prior beach (km 22.4).
Burgos (Km. 26,7). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: Burgos has many interesting places to visit and it is a very nice city. Some pilgrim shelters allow you to spend more than one night or you can stay at a different type of accommodation that offers greater flexibility. Like most of the big cities on the French Way, it is worth spending at least a day (or more) visiting Burgos. See you tomorrow!
Forty minutes later, following the same walkway, we reach the bridge of San Pablo or the bridge of Cid, recognisable by its medieval sculptures (km 25.7). We cross the bridge and enter the Plaza del Cid square, which means we’re now in the centre of Burgos! Behind the monument is the pilgrim shelter.
Once in the city, after having regained our strength with a few yummy tapas at any of the numerous places you’ll find on the streets of San Lorenzo and La Sombrerería, an incredible feat of religious architecture awaits you, the Burgos Cathedral. However, the city has other architectural gems, such as the church of La Merced, the church of San Cosme y San Damián, the church of San Gil, the church of San Nicolás and the monasteries of San Pedro de Cardeña and Las Huelgas.
Don’t forget to explore what remains of the walled city, such as the Arco de Santa María gateway, the castle and its viewpoint, as well as the San Pablo bridge and the Post Office building. You should also go on a small tour of other emblematic buildings such as the Miranda House and the House of Iñigo Angulo, the Cordón building, the Miraflores Charterhouse, the Castilfalé Palace, the Cardenal López de Mendoza Institute or the Solar del Cid.
If you’re looking for places to relax in the afternoon, you can check out the main square, the El Cid square, San Juan square, Santa María square and the walkways of La Isla and El Espolón. And if you didn’t have enough time to head over to the Atapuerca archaeological site, we recommend visiting the Museum of Human Evolution.
What to do San Juan de Ortega - Burgos
During today’s stage, we will pass through several towns and will end up in Burgos, a city that is home to one of the most emblematic monuments in all of Spain: the Burgos Cathedral. Below, we’ve provided you with all the details on the different attractions in this stage.
The town of Agés belongs to the municipality of Arlanzón and has an area of 16 square kilometres and a population of 60 inhabitants. Its name comes from Arabic and in the testament of the presbytery of Nunu, from the year 972, it appears as Sancta Eugenia de Haggege.
In the town, you can visit the parish church from the 16th century. Here lie the remains of King García of Navarre, who was assassinated by Fernando I of Castile, in the battle that took place in Atapuerca in 1054. You can also visit the church of San Miguel.
Church of San Miguel
The church of San Miguel is located in the town of Agés. The construction of the building dates back to the late 12th century and is in a Romantic style.
Its structure is formed by a nave with a chevet that is topped with a circular apse. Inside, it houses an apsidal drum made in regular ashlar masonry, with a semicircular arch bordered by columns. There is also some remarkable decoration on the church’s corbels with representations of the heads of animals and peoples.
The town of Villalval belongs to the municipality of Cardeñuela Riopico and has less than 25 inhabitants. In the town you can visit the ruins of its parish church, which is expected to be restored and converted into a pilgrim shelter.
Cardañuela de Riopico
Cardeñuela de Riopico is a municipality that covers 11 square kilometres and has a population of about 150 inhabitants. In the town you can visit the church of Santa Eulalia, the dolmens and a Roman fountain.
Orbaneja del Castillo
Orbaneja del Castillo belongs to the municipality of Valle de Sedano, although in the past it was independent. There are 53 inhabitants who reside in the town.
Atapuerca is a small town with 180 inhabitants that has an area of 25 square kilometres. The town gained worldwide fame after the discovery of one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in the world in the 1950s.
The site is located in the Atapuerca Mountains, between the towns of Ibeas de Juarros and Atapuerca. It consists of a variety of cavities filled with fossils. It is currently considered to be the largest prehistoric site in the world.
At the sites, you can visit the Gran Dolina and the Sima del Elefante with a guided tour, where the fossils were originally discovered that gave rise to a new human species, the Homo ancestor, who lived more than one million years ago.
In another of the sites, Sima de los Huesos, the most complete collection of individuals from the Homo heidelbergensis species was unearthed. A total of 32 individuals of both sexes and different ages.
Another historical milestone celebrated by the town of Atapuerca was the battle between King Ferdinand I of León and Castile and King García Ramírez of Navarre. The battle is commemorated with a stone monolith and took place in the year 1045.
The fight ended with the death of the Navarrese monarch. This allowed Ferdinand I to recover the territories of Bureba and Oca that he himself had yielded to his brother.
To visit the archaeological sites, you have to call to reserve in advance.
The opening hours and prices can be found at: https://www.atapuerca.org/apartado/151/horarios-y-tarifas
Telephone: +34 947 257 067
The city of Burgos has close to 178,000 inhabitants. The capital was founded in the year 884 by Diego Rodríguez Porcelos. Historically it has always been a very important city, largely due to the influence of the Camino de Santiago. In the 11th century, it was named the capital of the Kingdom of Castile.
The city has one of the most emblematic monuments in all of Spain, the Burgos Cathedral. But it also has other religious buildings that are worth visiting, such as the churches of La Merced, San Cosme y San Damián, San Gil and San Nicolás. In addition to the monasteries of San Pedro de Cardeña and Las Huelgas, which are located on the way out of the city.
There is also no shortage of civil architecture in the city, such as the home of Miranda and Iñigo Angulo, the home of Cordón, the Miraflores Charterhouse, the Castilfalé Palace, the Cardenal López de Mendoza Institute, or the Solar de Cid monument. And as evidence of the old walled city, there is the Arco de Santa María gateway, the castle and its viewpoint, the San Pablo bridge and the Post Office building.
The Museum of Human Evolution exhibits all of the discoveries made in Atapuerca. A great option for those who didn’t get the chance to visit the sites themselves.
As we walk around the city, we can enjoy visiting various squares, such as the main square, the El Cid square, San Juan square and Santa María square. As well as the walkways of La Isla and El Espolón. When leaving Burgos, we will find the old King of Burgos Hospital.
And, of course, there is no lack of great food in the city. Going out for tapas is typical in the area, and some of the best streets for food tourism are those of San Lorenzo, Sombrerería and the adjoining streets.
Arco de Santa María
The Arco de Santa María gateway is one of the twelve original entrances to the medieval city of Burgos. The structure was restored in the 16th century by Juan Vallejo and Francisco de Colonia. During the restoration, the gateway acquired its current appearance of a triumphal arch and included a representation on its façade of the Emperor Charles V, surrounded by important figures from Burgos and Castile.
The arch is part of a building and there are currently several spaces within the structure. It has a Pharmacy Museum that exhibits a large collection of pharmacy bottles from 1558 made in Talavera de la Reina, along with surgical instruments from the 16th-19th century, from the San Juan Hospital.
Then there is the Poridad Hall, which was a meeting place for the City Council of Burgos up until the 18th century, decorated with items related to El Cid and a wonderful Mudéjar coffered ceiling. In the main hall of the building there is a mural by José Vela Zanetti that honours Count Fernan Gonzalez.
Hours: Open every day. From Monday to Saturday (from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm) and Sundays (from 10:00 am to 1:50 pm).
The Burgos Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Construction began in 1221 and took three centuries to complete. The cathedral is considered to be the most representative monument in the capital of Burgos.
On the outside of the temple, you can appreciate the Gothic style of the cathedral. The central body contains a magnificent rosette and the gallery of the kings is located in the upper body. Its outstanding towers are topped with needles or spires of octagonal base, which were raised by Juan de Colonia in the 15th century and completed during the era of Bishop Luis de Acuña.
On the Door of the Coronería, the lintel represents the entrance to paradise, where you can see the image of the Archangel Saint Michael weighing the souls before letting them enter the kingship of God. On the Sacramental Door, there is an image of the Pantocrator next to the Four Evangelists.
The highlight of the temple is found inside. In the centre of the nave is the Cimborrio octagonal tower, formed by two floors and supported on four giant pillars. Under the marble floor is the tomb of Rodrigo Diaz, El Cid, and his wife Jimena. The small tower is covered by a dome with Mudéjar influences.
The Chapel of Saint Anne is presided over by the Spanish-Flemish Gothic altarpiece by Gil de Siloé, on which there is an allegory in the form of a genealogical tree of the Virgin Mary. The Chapel of the Condestable is covered by a spectacular starred vault. Its construction was commissioned by the Condestable of Castile to house his remains and those of his wife.
The Papamoscas is one of the main tourist attractions in the cathedral. It is an articulated 18th-century clock figurine that opens its mouth every hour when the bells chime.
The beautiful Golden Staircase connects the Door of the Coronería with the nave. The Chapel of the Presentation was made by Master Juan de Matienzo at the beginning of the 16th century, at the request of the Canon Gonzalo de Lerma. The chapel is covered by a star-shaped vault.
The visitor centre was inaugurated in 2008. In this educational space, you can learn all about the historical, architectural and religious process behind the cathedral’s evolution.
Hours: From March to October it opens every day (from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm) and from November to March (from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm).
Mass hours: Weekdays (9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am and 7:30 pm), Saturdays and the eve of holidays (9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm).
Admission: General (€7), groups of over 15 people and people over 65 (€6), under 28 years old (€4.50), large families, unemployed people and pilgrims (€3.50), people with reduced mobility (€2) and children between 7 and 14 years old (€1.50). On Tuesdays admission is free from 4:30 pm.
There is a tourist pass (€8) that gives you access to the cathedral, the church of San Nicolás, the church of San Gil Abad and the Altarpiece Museum.
House of Miranda and Iñigo Angulo
The House of Iñigo Angulo is located in Burgos. The building has conserved the main and rear façades and has a three-sided courtyard, which is considered to be one of the best examples of Spanish Renaissance art.
The home stands out with its allegorical decoration with classic myths. On the two floors of the courtyard, we can observe the synthesis of the formation and humanist philosophy of Francisco de Miranda, who built the home.
The house of Miranda, next to the house of Iñigo, dates back to 1545 and was built as the home of the Canon of the cathedral, Francisco de Miranda. Together with the house of Iñigo Angulo, they are two clear examples of civil architecture in Burgos.
The decoration is in a Renaissance style and conserves important parts of the main façade, the back door, the courtyard and the stairs. The courtyard has a double gallery, which is decorated with inscriptions in Latin, coats of arms, grotesques, allegories and medallions with illustrious people from that time.
In the middle of the courtyard, there is a fountain with intertwined cyclops. On the first floor there is a huge Roman mosaic. Currently, both houses serve as the location for the provincial Archaeological Museum of Burgos.
Hours: Closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Saturday (from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm) and Sundays (from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm).
Admission: General (€1), under 18 and over 65 (free). On Saturdays and Sundays admission is free for everyone.
Casa del Cordón
The Casa del Cordón in Burgos is the palace where the Catholic Monarchs received Christopher Columbus after his second trip to America in 1497. The wedding of prince Don Juan, son of the Catholic Monarchs, and princess Margaret of Austria was also celebrated in this building.
Hours: Open every day. Weekdays (from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, and from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm) and holidays (from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm).
Plaza Mayor, City Hall and surrounding areas
The Plaza Mayor square in Burgos is located in the centre of the city and used to be the market square in olden times. The City Hall is also located in this square.
The City Hall was built on the site of the Puerta de la Carretas gateway in the 18th century. In a classic style, it was the work of the architect Fernando González de Lara.
There are several shopping streets close to the square, such as La Flora, La Paloma and Lain Calvo, which have a fountain in honour of the Goddess of Spring. On the streets of San Lorenzo or Los Herreros, you can find the church of San Lorenzo in a Baroque style. The space known as Las Llanas to the east of the cathedral is where the grain market used to be held in the past.
El Castle and its viewpoint
The castle is located in the highest part of the city of Burgos, on the San Miguel hill. Throughout history, many events have taken place at this fortress.
In 1276, King Alfonso X decided to surround the city with a new wall, which ran from the castle to the banks of the Vena, Pico and Arlanzón rivers. The longest fragment of the wall, which is still preserved today, goes from Paseo de los Cubanos until the Arch of San Martín.
The Arch of San Martín is one of the main gateways to the castle. It was built in the 14th century in a Mudéjar style. The door provided access to the Camino de Santiago, and kings would pass through it when they went to Burgos.
Another of the important gateways is that of San Esteban, which was built around the same date in the same Mudéjar style. The entrance consists of horseshoe arches made of brick and stone. The entrance represents the diverse cultures that have settled in the city.
Another part of the castle is the church of San Esteban, located on the eastern perimeter of the castle. The temple was built at the end of the 13th century and has a magnificent doorway from the 14th century, over which you can see a spectacular rose window.
The church is formed by three naves with simple barrel vaults and a cloister. The Altarpiece Museum is located inside the church, which exhibits altarpieces and other artistic gems from the Burgos dioceses. Among them is the altarpiece of the Virgin of Castrillo Matajudíos, from the 16th century.
During the French occupation, the castle served as barracks and as an ammunition dump for the French army. In 1813, after General Wellington’s Anglo-Saxon troops occupied Burgos, they decided to destroy the castle. The destruction had such a big impact on the city that it ended up affecting the stained glass windows of the cathedral.
Today, after having been carefully restored, the castle is a site worth visiting, where you can walk along the inside of the walls. You can also head over to the visitor centre La Cueva del Moro, where the famous well is located with its spiral staircase made of stone and with 335 steps.
From the castle’s lookout, you can fully appreciate the historic, artistic and natural heritage of the city of Burgos.
Hours: Open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm). The tunnels are closed from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Admission: General (€3.70), the well and tunnels (€2.60).
Church of San Esteban
The church of San Esteban is located in the city of Burgos. It was built between the last third of the 13th century and the first half of the 14th century and was built on the site of an old Romanesque temple.
The structure is formed by three naves covered by simple ribbed vaults. The church has a portal from the end of the 13th century that consists of a pointed arch with three archivolts, decorated with the images of saints. Statues appear on the sides that act as columns.
Images appear on the tympanum in honour of Christ and Saint Stephen. Especially noteworthy is the rose window over the door. We can see influences from the Burgos Cathedral in this church. The temple also has a Gothic choir, decorated with floral motifs in a Flamboyant style, the work of Simón de Colonia and Nicolás Vergara.
The temple has a 14th-century cloister, the only one from this era in all of Burgos. The cloister is the burial place for several important families from that time. Today, the church is home to the Altarpiece Museum, belonging to the Archbishop of Burgos.
Hours: From September 14th to June 30th it is closed. The rest of the year it is open from Tuesday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm).
Admission: There is a tourist pass (€8) that allows you to access the cathedral, the church of San Nicolás, the church of San Gil and the Altarpiece Museum.
El paseo de la Isla
Paseo de la Isla, in Burgos, was created in the last third of the 19th century by the Burgos bourgeoisie. This walkway begins next to the Arch of Santa María and continues until reaching a magnificent botanical garden. Among the exotic vegetation, you can find the ruins of a Romanesque portico from the 12th century.
El paseo del Espolón
The Paseo del Espolón is an elegant landmark in the city of Burgos. This tree-lined promenade is a meeting place for locals, connecting the Arch of Santa María with the Principal Theatre, from where you can see the Consulate of the Sea, a simple building with the image of an anchor on its façade.
Solar del Cid
According to legend, this is the site where the ancestral home of El Cid “the Champion” was located in Burgos. The estate was located next to the Arch of San Martín. Today, there is a monument on this site with the coats of arms of Burgos and San Pedro de Cardeña.
King of Burgos Hospital
The King of Burgos Hospital, located in the city of Burgos, was built in 1200 at the request of Alfonso VIII and his wife Leonor de Aquitania. Given its generosity and wealth, the hospital became the most famous on the entire Camino de Santiago.
The kings of Castile always protected this building, and today it houses the office of the rector of the University of Burgos and its School of Law.
Mass hours: Sundays and holidays (12:00 pm).
Church of la Merced
The church of La Merced is located in the city of Burgos and dates back to the 15th century. When the Order of Mercy was established in Burgos, in the second half of the 13th century, they settled into a primitive temple far from the city. They remained there until 1419, when they moved to the church that we can now see today.
The building was built with the help of the wealthiest families in the city, such as the Castillo family and the Pesquera family, who are buried in the church. At the end of the 19th century, the church was occupied by the order of the Jesuits, who completely restored it.
Of the original convent, the church and part of the cloister still remain, in a Renaissance style, which are possibly the work of Juan de Vallejo. The church’s portico is in a Flamboyant style and the Castillo and Pesquera families’ coats of arms can be seen.
This church has a basilica plan with a transept and an ornate choir with Gothic elements. The tombs of the convent’s patrons can be found in the presbyteries, in a Renaissance style.
Other elements that grab our attention are the neo-Gothic altarpieces of the chapels located on the sides of the temple, the work of sculptor Saturnino López Gómez at the beginning of the 20th century. There is also an amazing organ by Cavaillé-Coll, which dates back to the late 19th century and was restored very recently.
Mass hours: Weekdays (12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm), eve of holidays (8:00 pm and 9:00 pm) and holidays (12:00 pm, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm).
Church of San Cosme y San Damián
The church Cosme y San Damián in Burgos was built at the end of the 15th century, beginning of the 16th. It was built on the site of an older temple.
In this building, we can highlight the Plateresque porch on the north side that dates back to 1552, the work of Juan de Vallejo. It is formed by a semicircular arch, with medallions of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the spandrels and fine fluted columns. The tower is in a Neoclassical style and dates back to the early 17th century.
The temple has a basilica plan with a transept that is covered by star-shaped vaults. The presbytery is presided over by a Baroque altarpiece from 1663, made by Policarpo de la Nestosa and the sculptors Juan de Pobes, Juan de los Helgueros and Clemente de Quintana. The tomb of Cristóbal de Andino is located in the gospel nave, a bullfighter from Burgos who died in 1553 and designed the tomb himself.
Other works of art found inside this church are the Renaissance ashlar masonry, originally from the Abbey of San Quirce, along with a Romanesque stable from the beginning of the 17th century.
Mass hours: Monday to Friday (8:30 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 am and 7:30 pm), Saturdays (10:00 am, 12:00 pm and 7:30 pm), Sundays and holidays (10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm).
Cardenal López de Mendoza
The Cardenal López de Mendoza Institute is one of the most important Renaissance-style buildings in the city of Burgos. The building presents a combination of Late Gothic and Renaissance elements.
Construction began in 1538 and did not finish until 1579. Ever since it was built, the building has been dedicated to teaching activities. It is made of high-quality ashlar masonry, especially the façade where limestone was used from the well-known Hontoria quarries.
Several stonemasons participated in its construction, such as Juan del Campo, Baltasar de Castañeda and Pedro de Resines, among others. The sculpture located in the centre of the portal, along with the coats of arms, are the work of Diego Guillén and Antonio de Elejalde, his successor. The carpentry work was done by Juan de Eras and Miguel de Osma.
The building’s façade is flat and horizontal, forming a large wall divided into seven bodies separated by square-section buttresses. At the ends of the façade, circular buttresses have been placed with the cardinal’s coat of arms.
Since 1905, the building has housed the Museum of Natural Sciences, created by Professor José López de Zuazo. The museum has two spaces, one exhibits a collection on flora and fauna; while the second has a collection of laboratory materials and an agriculture-oriented classroom.
Plaza del Cid
The Plaza del Cid square is located in Burgos, next to the eastern façade of the main theatre. In the square there is a statue of Cid el Campeador on horseback, the work of Juan Cristóbal. Nearby there is also the set of eight sculptures made by Joaquín Lucarini and placed on the bridge of San Pablo.
Monastery de San Pedro de Cardeña
The monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña in the city of Burgos dates back to the year 899. The monastery was founded by the Benedictines, representing an important spiritual and cultural centre in the city during the early years when Castile was being built up.
The building originally had a Romanesque style, but in the year 853 it was sacked by the army of Abderramán III, which is the reason why currently only the tower and the cloister remain.
After the confiscation, the building was occupied by various religious orders until 1936, when it was abandoned by the religious community and became a prison for republican prisoners. Later on, in 1942, the Cistercian monks resumed their monastic life in the temple.
For centuries, the monastery housed the remains of El Cid and those of his wife Jimena. Hence, on the outside of the building, the austere façade in a Baroque style is presided over by the image of the warrior. The aesthetics of the sculpture is very similar to that used to represent Saint James the Moor-Slayer. You can see some damage to the statue that was caused by the French army during their occupation.
The looting by the French troops affected the tomb of El Cid, with the skeletal remains being scattered throughout the temple and stolen by the soldiers. This event has led many European museums to claim they are the ones to be in possession of El Cid’s bones.
From the monastery’s church, built in the 15th century, you can access the cloister, which is also in a Romanesque style. The cloister is called “The Holy Martyrs” in tribute to the 200 monks who were executed by Muslim troops.
The monastery’s capitals are made of local sandstone and decorated with plant motifs. The tower, also in a Romanesque style, dates back to the 11th century. The tower is known as the “Tower of Dona Jimena”, because of the allusion to the use of the church as a refuge for the wife and daughters of El Cid during his exile.
The various lootings and the numerous times that the temple’s management changed hands have led to there being few artistic works of value inside, although the walls themselves are living proof of a long, important history. At present, the visitor can go on a tour of the temple and relive its history with the testimony and help of the monks.
Hours: Closed on Sundays. From Monday to Saturday (from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and holidays (from 12:15 pm to 1:00 pm, and from 4:15 pm to 6:00 pm).
Admission: 2 euros.
Monastery of las Huelgas
The monastery of Las Huelgas is located in the neighbourhood of Huelgas, in Burgos. The temple is next to the monastery of the Miraflores Charterhouse, which together make up the most important set of monasteries in the city.
The building was founded by King Alfonso VIII and his wife Doña Leonor of England to be used as a royal pantheon. But it acquired such importance that it became the main monastic centre in Castile, with various towns and convents depending on it.
Of the entire structure, the most outstanding feature it the architectural beauty of its church, built in a Cistercian style, although it was significantly altered over time. The remains of the founding kings are located in the main nave, in beautifully coloured sepulchres and accompanied by the coatx of arms of Castile and the Platagenet family.
The chapels are also of special interest. The chapel of Santiago is in a Mudéjar style, while the chapel of La Asunción was made in an Almohad style.
Hours: Closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Saturday (from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm), on Sundays and holidays (from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm).
Admission: 6 euros. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, admission is free in the afternoon.
The Castilfalé Palace in Burgos is located on Ferán González street, right by the Camino de Santiago. It was once one of the most dangerous areas in Burgos, since the rich merchants had their homes here.
The building was built in the middle of the 16th century and features the typical style of the Burgos Renaissance. Its name comes from its former owners, the Counts of Castilfalé.
In 1565, it passed into the hands of the merchant and ruler Andrés de Maluenda, and the building was transformed into a manor house. In the 17th century, the property belonged to the Brizuela family and was known as the house of the Brizuela during the 17th and 18th century.
At the end of the 18th century, Antonio Valdés y Bazán and Bailío General de Marina lived here, who gave the property to Heliodoro Jalón, Marquess of Castrofuerte, who transformed it into a tenement house.
The building is made of stone and brick, although each of its owners carried out their own restoration work. The portico, the patio, the vestibule and the monumental staircase have been preserved from the original palace. The most attractive part of the building is its beautiful main doorway, which has a decorated semicircular arch surrounded by balusters.
Hours: Closed Saturdays and Sundays. From Monday to Friday (from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm).
Plaza de San Juan
Pilgrims are constantly passing through the Plaza de San Juan square in Burgos. Here you can find the San Lesmes complex, consisting of a monastery, a church and a hospital. Only parts of the hospital remain and, as for the monastery, only the chapter house and the cloister can be seen today.
Church San Gil
The church of San Gil in the city of Burgos was built in honour of the Saint, whose fame reached the city thanks to the pilgrims who passed through it. The temple is next to the city wall and has simple facades.
The structure is formed by three naves with a transept, covered with a star-shaped vault. We can find chapels in each of the three naves. The chapel of La Cruz, in a Late Gothic and Early Renaissance style, houses the well-known image called the “Christ of the Holy Drops”, which led this church to acquire certain fame as of 1836. The carving dates back to the 13th century and is of a considerable size. Originally, the sculpture was in the neighbouring Trinitarian monastery.
The chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Buena Mañana has been given this name because of the strict schedule that the clergy follow in the mornings. The chapel houses the main altarpiece from the 15th century, decorated with images that combine Flemish painting with Germanic plasticism.
The chapel of La Natividad, with Late Gothic and primitive Renaissance influences, is perhaps the most beautiful of the chapels. The work of Juan de Matienzo, inside it houses the remains of its founders: Juan de Castro and his wife, Inés de Lerma.
Hours: Closed on Tuesdays. On Sundays it only opens during hours of worship. Rest of the week (from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, and from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm).
Mass hours: Weekdays (12:00 pm and 7:45 pm) and in summer (12.00 pm and 1:00 pm).
Admission: 1.50 euros. On Wednesday afternoons, admission is free. There is a tourist pass (€8) that allows you to access the Cathedral, the church of San Nicolás, San Gil and the Altarpiece Museum.
Plaza de Santa María
The Plaza de Santa María square is located next to the Burgos Cathedral. The space is dominated by the presence of a fountain that dates back to the 18th century and is dedicated to The Virgin and Child.
The square has been the protagonist of important historical events, such as the welcoming of kings and bishops in the cathedral, processions, etc. In the past, the square would host the town’s fresh fish market.
Bridge of San Pablo and the Post Office
For centuries, the bridge of San Pablo connected the historical city of Burgos with its extension to the south of the Arlanzón River, where important religious centres were located like the convent of the Trinitarian order.
In 1915, on the lands where the monastery of La Trinitarias was formerly located, the Post Office building was built.
Church of San Nicolás
The church of San Nicolás de Bari in Burgos dates back to 1408 and was built under the patronage of Bishop Cabeza de Vaca. It offers a simple structure, with a portal with a pointed arch. The tympanum represents Saint Nicholas who is seated and surrounded by Saint Sebastian and Saint Vitores.
Inside the temple, there is an impressive stone altarpiece that is the work of Francisco de Colonia, dedicated to the life of Saint Nicholas. At the bottom of the altarpiece are the remains of the patron, Don Gonzalo López de Polanco and his wife, Leonor de Miranda, along with other tombs such as those of Constanza de Maluenda and Alfonso de Polanco.
The main altarpiece measures 15.55 by 9.04 metres, and the work dates back to the 15th century, financed by the Burgos merchant Don Gonzalo Lopez de Polanco prior to his death. There is an image on the altarpiece in which you can see the struggle between good and evil, along with a mediating angel.
Hours: Closed on Wednesdays. On Sundays it only opens during hours of worship. Rest of the week (from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, and from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm).
Admission: 1.50 euros. On Mondays, admission is free.
Museum of Human Evolution
The Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos is the work of architect Juan Navarro Baldeweg. The facilities exhibit discoveries from Atapuerco with some of the most important human fossil finds in the world. The innovative exhibition provides the visitor with an educational experience on the subject of human evolution and our future.
This glass building was built on a large plot of land in Burgos where the convent of San Pablo once stood.
Hours: Closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Friday (from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, and from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm), Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm).
Admission: General (€6), groups, students and large families (€4), children under 8 and adults over 65, as well as unemployed people (free). On Wednesdays (from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm) and on Tuesdays and Thursdays (from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm), admission is free.
The Miraflores Charterhouse is located on the site of an old royal Palace-Alcazar of Miraflores in Burgos. Its origins date back to 1442, when king John II donated a hunting lodge to the order of the Carthusians, which had been erected by his father Henry III of Castile, to be converted into a monastery. Years later, Queen Isabella I of Castile chose the monastery’s church as the place to bury her parents, Don Juan II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal.
The building was restored in the second half of the 15th century, under the direction of Juan and Simón de Colonia. In 1484, the restoration was completed, and at the end of the same century, Gil de Siloé made the main altarpiece along with the sepulchre of the Kings and Prince Alfonso the Innocent.
The monastery consists of a single nave with a stellar vault and large windows, topped with a polygonal apse. The spires and pinnacles, as well as the cresting, can be observed on the outside.
The interior of the church is presided over by the presbytery, where the royal sepulchres and the main altarpiece by Gil de Siloé are located. Inside the church, different spaces can be distinguished, such as the choir of the Fathers in a Gothic style and the choir of the Brothers, in a Renaissance style.
Hours: Open every day. From Monday to Saturday (from 10:15 am to 3:00 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and Sundays (from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm).
Mass hours: Every Sunday and on holidays at 10:15 am.
Admission: Free, donations are accepted.