City guides

León city guide

Cathedral of Leon

Make Leon the right way!

León is the second-largest city and capital of the región of Castilla y León, León is located in the north of Spain and is one of the main stops on the Camino de Santiago . Discover the best things to enjoy in Leon, best time to visit, and much more in this Leon city guide.

León started off as a military campsite in the year 29 AC and would become a settlement in the year 74. After centuries of growth, León became in the year 910 the capital of the Kingdom of León, and was one of the main forces behind the reconquering of the peninsula from the Moors.

León was also the site of the first-ever European court in 1188 under the rule of King  Alfonso IX. Because of this fact, the city was declared in 2011 as the birthplace of parliamentary government. 

León city guide - Table of Contents

Modern art museum of Leon (MUSAC)
castilla leon coat of arms

Practical information to plan your visit to León

5 top reasons to visit León

Leon is one of Spain’s lesser-known cities, but it has a fantastic collection of things to do and see for tourists. In León, you will find a large number of amazing, historic buildings with great architectural value, a city filled with a deep and rich history, and tons of delicious local delicacies. Let’s go over the top things to see and do in León: 

The Basílica de San Isidoro

The Basílica de San Isidoro was built in 1063 and was chosen to be the resting place for the old monarchs of the kingdom of Castilla León. It is both a church and college located at the edge of the Old Town. 

The basilica houses the Royal Pantheon, covered in stunning colourful frescoes and the Oriental and Biblical Museum, and a collegiate library. Definitely, a must if you are visiting the city. 

San Isidro might sound familiar to some as he is the patron saint of Madrid and a wonderful celebration is held in his honour every year in the countries capital

Gaudí’s Casa Botines

Yes, that Gaudí. Antoni Gaudí is known around the world his unique style and for the amazing buildings he designed in Barcelona: the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Casa Mila and the Güell Park. Casa Botines is one of the buildings he was commissioned to design in northern Spain. This amazing fortress-like building was built in 1892 for the Hispano-Colonial Bank of Barcelona. In 2017, Casa Botines opened its doors to the public and can now be explored on the inside. 

Cathedral and Museum

The Cathedral of León or the Catedral de Santa María de Regla de Leon, was designed in the fashion of French gothic cathedrals. It was ordered to be built where the palace of King Ordoño II once stood. 

The building was constructed as thanks to God for assisting in the defeat and expulsion of the Moors from Spain after the reconquest. 

The cathedral features an amazing facade, decorated with a huge rose window and stained glass. Visitors can tour the inside of the cathedral and enjoy some of the exquisite objects on display at the museum.

The Museo de León

The Museum of León is a history museum, that chronicles the history of the region of Castilla y León. it is one of the largest and oldest such museums in the region and features artifacts that date as far back as the Bronze and Iron Ages. One of the more unique collections featured in the museum is the collection of ancient artifacts found in las Las Médulas, an old Roman gold-mining site.

Convent of San Marcos

The convent of San Marcos is one of León’s most famous attractions. The complex is much more than just a spectacular medieval Monastery. It’s made up of the convent itself, now a luxury hotel, a 16th-century church, and a fascinating archaeological museum. The original building was gifted to the city of León by king Fernando the Catholic (husband of Isabel).

It is widely regarded as one of the most important Spanish Renaissance buildings in the country.

Best time to visit León

For better or for worse, León is one of Spain’s lesser-known touristic destinations so, if you are looking to avoid crowds, this shouldn’t be an issue. 

As for the weather, León is located, as we have mentioned in northern Spain, so winters can get cold and dreary. Aim for May, June, or July for warm and pleasant weather. 

Weather in León

León presents a continental climate, characterized by big contrasts with hot summers and cold winters.

interactive tourist map of León

Recommended attractions in Leon

Leon is one of those unknown cities which holds however many things to enjoy.  Its Humedo district is one of Spain´s most lively tapas and wine areas, and where eating and drinking is still incredibly affordable. Many monuments like San Isidoro or the Cathedral offer a fantastic contrast between romanesque and gothic styles, and its modern art museum only adds to this. 

Best things to do Near León

Burgos city guide

Burgos city guide

Our Burgos city guide has all the information to plan the perfect getaway to this amazing, historical city of Northern Spain. Discover much more than just the cities legendary Cathedral.

Camino de Santiago: the Camino Francés
el camino de santiago

Camino de Santiago: the Camino Francés

The French Way of 775 kilometres unites towns of Saint Jean Pied de Port and Santiago. It was recuperated in 1971 and has signals on the whole path, with 112 hostels and 4 shelters. It is the most famous of all the different “Caminos”

Video of León - The city in a nutshell

Other cities in old castilla or Castilla y Leon