Spain is the third country in the world with the most World Heritage cities and monuments, only behind Italy and China.
It has, neither more nor less, that 15 cities declared by UNESCO. They are:
- Alcala de Henares
- San Cristóbal de La Laguna
- Santiago de Compostela
And now with the summer where we have a little more time (in addition to a very good climate, why not take advantage of discover the treasures that each one hides?
How to go through them? The best way is to rent a car, both to do different routes and go from one to another with total freedom, as well as to visit the islands when visiting Ibiza (Balearic Islands) or San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Tenerife, Canary Islands). Consulting Liligo's guide on how to rent a car you will enjoy our tours without any problem.
Heritage of Alcalá de Henares
Just 20 minutes from Madrid we find Alcalá de Henares, a place to enter the Golden Age at the hands of Miguel de Cervantes, who was born in this city.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1998, it is mandatory to visit its emblematic corners starting, of course, with the Birthplace of Cervantes located in the middle of Calle Mayor (of medieval origin) where the environment in which the writer grew up is recreated.
In addition, we must travel the University of Alcalá, founded in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros and which represents a clear example of Spanish Renaissance.
The Corral de Comedias, the Regional Archaeological Museum and the Magistral Cathedral, built in 1497 and in the Gothic style, are three other sites that we must discover, like the Casa Hippolytus or the Complutum Archaeological Park ruins.
Of course, we must accompany all this with its exquisite gastronomy where the garlic soup and roast lamb and kid stand out.
Undoubtedly, the main characteristic of Ávila is its impressive medieval wall, which surrounds the city and contains 87 towers and 9 gates, which makes it the best preserved urban walled area in the world.
Currently it is possible to walk 1,700 meters of the walkway (out of a total of 2,515), and it is an essential visit in this city.
In this city we not only find its wall, but it is essential to discover the Romanesque Avila, with El Episcopio, the Cathedral, the temple of San Pedro or Ntra. Sra. de la Antigua as great exponents.
Also the Avila Palaciega that, as Azorín said, “Ávila is, among all the Spanish cities, the most from the 16th”, Containing an enormous heritage that reflects the splendor that the city had between the 15th and 16th centuries; wave Jewish Avila, where we must see the inscription in the basilica of San Vicente in Gothic script where, according to tradition, the Jew who built the primitive church is buried.
To finish (although we left many things in the inkwell), we must follow the footsteps of Santa Teresa. From here was Santa Teresa de Jesús (Ávila, March 28, 1515), and in this city she wrote a large number of her texts.
And, of course, that a trip to Ávila cannot be done without trying some of the typical dishes from Avila, where the beef steak stands out, although we must also try the Beans of the Boat and the Subjects of Santa Teresa.
Baeza, gateway to Andalusia, It is located in the center of Jaén and its beauty can be appreciated from a distance when we are arriving there, thanks to its unmistakable silhouette where the tower of its Cathedral stands out, one of the obligatory visits together with the Town Hall, the Seminary of San Felipe Neri, the Rubín de Ceballos Palace House and, of course, the twin gates, the Puerta de Jaén and the Arco de Villalar, which at the time were the access point to the city surrounded by walls.
Baeza also highlights its arabic past. The Cathedral stands on an old mosque, but also among the remains that still remain from that past, we find the Puerta de Úbeda and the Torre de los Aliatares.
its gastronomy It is another of its strong points, where we will find Roman, Jewish, Islamic, Moorish and Mudejar influences. Some of its typical dishes are the orza loin, pipirrana, ochíos (bread made from extra virgin olive oil, paprika and matalahúva) and the famous baezana cod.
Hundreds of corners await us in the old city of Cáceres, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1986 for being one of the urban ensembles of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance more complete of the world.
Unmissable are the Co-Cathedral of Santa María or the Palace of the Veletas, which is currently the Provincial Museum of Cáceres, as well as the Bujaco Tower, the Arco de la Estrella, the main entrance to the walled enclosure.
Get lost in its streets between medieval fortified houses and renaissance palaces It is mandatory in this city, which proudly shows the traces of all those cultures that passed through here, from the Neolithic onwards, which include Vetons (and the impressive boars that we can find here), Romans, Visigoths and Almohads, among others.
Heritage of Córdoba
To say Cordoba is to say the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, one of the most incredible monuments in the world and the most important in the entire Islamic West.
In it we can find the complete evolution of the Umayyad style in the country, as well as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque Christian styles.
Its location is the history of a place that was always dedicated to worship. Here the Basilica of Saint Vincent for the Visigoths, on which the first mosque was built, and after the conquest by Abderramán I, it was destroyed to build the first Alhama Mosque, although inside we can find remains of each of the previous ones.
But Córdoba is not only the Mosque. It is also synonymous with “courtyards”. The patios of Córdoba They are world famous, and although in the first fortnight of May of each year we can appreciate them all in their maximum splendor thanks to the Cordovan Patios Festival, throughout the year it is possible to visit some of them.
But nevertheless, Córdoba is a city that has much, much more to teach. The Palace of Viana, its gates and walls and each of the corners of the city are essential, as are, without a doubt, the city's Arab baths, both those of Santa María and those of the Caliphate Alcazar.
Dozens of monuments, museums, churches and houses and palaces will wait for us to enjoy a unique urban complex, in one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and in the world.
The Cuenca old town It was named a World Heritage Site in 1996. Winding alleys with colorful and stately houses will make us enjoy one of the most charming cities in the country and one that is gaining more followers every day when it comes to tourism.
Among others, we must visit the current Provincial Historical Archive, which was the seat of the Court of the Inquisition and later, a provincial jail. At the time, it was part of the castle, as well as the Arco de Bezudo which today, together with a tower and some remains of the wall, belong to the remains of the fortress.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria and San Julián, in the Plaza Mayor, is a National Monument since 1902, it was erected in 1183, once the Castilian King Alfonso VIII took Cuenca in 1177 and ordered the building of the Catholic headquarters where the main mosque was located.
But without any doubt, Cuenca's main course is its hanging houses. These houses were very frequent on the entire façade of the Hoz del Huécar, but only three remain, restored at the beginning of this century.
From Gothic style, they still conserve many original elements, just as the original structure was maintained despite the restoration and therefore inside we find many wooden components.
Ibiza is known for its beaches and its nightlife, butdid you know that it is also a World Heritage Site? This was declared by Unesco in 1999, and it is of a mixed nature, that is, it is considered both natural and cultural heritage.
It is a natural heritage for being one of the great examples in the world of interaction between marine and coastal ecosystems; and for the diversity of marine life that sustains the endemic species Posidonia oceanica, which can only be found in this place.
On the other hand, it is cultural heritage due to the large amount of historical evidence that we can find in it. Ibiza played a fundamental role in protohistory, in maritime trade during the Phoenician and Carthaginian periods, as the archaeological sites of Sa Caleta, as a settlement, and Puig des Molins, as a necropolis testify to this.
But, we also find Dalt Vila, the "upper city", one of the greatest examples of renaissance military architectureAlthough its history is earlier, starting from the year 902 when the Arabs took possession of the island until the conquest by Jaime I of Aragón in 1235.
It is essential to walk through its streets, discover the Cathedral and simply let yourself be carried away by the medieval air that transports us to other times, in one of the most important tourist destinations in the world.
Unesco World Heritage since 1993, Mérida is a place that we have to know and visit at least once in our lives. It is one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world, built by order of Emperor Augustus and where it stands out, as soon as we arrived from Madrid, the imposing roman circus located outside the city.
Once in Merida, we must visit the archaeological site where we will know the true emblem of the city: the roman theater. Summer is also the best time to visit it to be able to enjoy some of the exquisite plays that take place in it in June, July and August, where they represent great classics in a unique environment.
Next to the theater we find the amphitheater, inaugurated in the year 8 a.C. and that it had a capacity for 14,000 spectators, who came to see gladiator fights, against wild beasts and naumaquias.
In the same enclosure we must see the Mitreo's house and enjoy its many rooms, patios and hot springs, its wall paintings and two well-preserved mosaics.
Also in Roman Mérida we find the Temple of Diana, the Aqueduct of Miracles, the Aqueduct of San Lázaro, and the Arch of Trajan, in addition to the incredible Roman Bridge.
But we will not only set ourselves in Ancient Rome in this city, but we will find dozens of Visigothic, Arab and medieval buildings, such as the Co-Cathedral of Santa María or the Basilica of Santa Eulalia y Hornito.
Salamanca was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988 due to its important historical and artistic heritage, where we must highlight its two Cathedrals, the Old and the NewBoth are spectacular, the Plaza Mayor, one of the most beautiful in Spain, the Casa de las Conchas, the Convent of San Esteban and the Major Schools.
Its architecture will dazzle you, starting with the Plaza Mayor, in the baroque or churrigueresque, name that comes from the surname Churriguera, architects who designed the square (Nicolás and Alberto Churriguera).
In addition, you should visit the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea, which is very close to the two cathedrals and where it is believed that the work "La Celestina" by Fernando Rojas is located.
The large number of convents in the city also deserve to be discovered, starting with that of San Esteban, of plateresque style and shaped like a triumphal arch, qualities that make it one of the great jewels of the Renaissance not only from Salamanca, but from Spain.
Get lost in its streets and come across Romanesque churches It is part of the obligatory walk, as well as finding the famous Salamanca Frog, paying close attention to the facade of the University, which is where it is located.
One tip, visit the Unamuno House Museum, from the 18th century and which functioned as the old house of the rectors of the University, which is preserved as the writer had when he held that same position.
Heritage of San Cristóbal de La Laguna
It is time to take a flight to go to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. To enjoy the island, it is necessary to rent a car, not only to be able to go to San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a World Heritage Site since 1999 and which we will talk about now, but also to to be able to visit Teide, the third largest volcano on Earth and located in a National Park also considered a World Heritage Site.
The lagoon, as it is also called, was declared Heritage for being “a unique example of a non-walled colonial city”, Where the first university in the Canary Islands stands out and is still active.
The city maintains its original 15th century layout intact, and both its conformation and its colors remind other great colonial cities in America such as Cartagena de Indias or Old Havana, among other.
It has a large number of churches and convents, and it is necessary to visit all of Town Halls, which not only transport us to the colonial era, but will also show us the charm of its patios.
Being considered throughout the centuries as the "place of the Canarian intelligentsia”, Here we find, among others, the Museum of History of Tenerife, the Ateneo de La Laguna, the University with its auditorium, the Museum of Science and the Cosmos, the Museum of Anthropology of Tenerife, and the headquarters of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, one of the most important in the world.
As a tip, get lost in its streets, enjoy the atmosphere, the climate, and each of its corners, as it is a city worth discovering.
Heritage of Santiago de Compostela
Famous for its impressive Cathedral and as a pilgrimage site of Christianity, Santiago hides many more things that deserve your visit.
The Mercado de Abastos, which has been in operation for 300 years; the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, built in 1501 by order of the Catholic Monarchs to attend to the sick and pilgrims; the Casa do Deán, from 1747; or the Casa do Cabido, in a baroque style from the mid-18th century, are just some of the monuments that we must visit in the city.
But, without a doubt, the unmissable is the famous Cathedral, the most outstanding work of Romanesque in Spain, the place where the pilgrimage to the apostle's tomb ends, and whose structure makes a great impression on us from the first moment we see it.
A city to know, discover and enjoy, not only one of the most beautiful environments, but also to soak up culture as we can do in few places.
Heritage of Segovia
Segovia, my adopted city and World Heritage Site since 1985, stands out above all things, for its impressive roman aqueduct, one of the most significant and best-preserved monuments of Ancient Rome on the peninsula, and the most important civil engineering work in Rome in Spain.
Little can be added about the aqueduct, but the best thing is that you see it for yourself and be amazed by its imposing presence, before continuing the walk along Calle Real, getting lost among stately houses and enjoying the Casa de los Picos, the Palace del Conde Alpuente, the Torreón de Lozoya or the Casa del Seal, before reaching the Plaza Mayor where we will find another of its treasures: Cathedral.
Of late Gothic style, it is considered the Lady of the Cathedrals for its elegance, although in reality its name is La Santa Iglesia Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción and San Frutos de Segovia. It is highly recommended to ascend to its tower and enjoy very beautiful views.
We continue on our way to Alcazar of Segovia, an impressive fortress that really looks like a ship, with a deep moat with a drawbridge, was one of the preferred residences of the kings of Castile and from here Isabel La Católica departed for the city's Plaza Mayor to be crowned queen.
An advice, I recommend that you see the Alcázar at night from the San Marcos neighborhood. The lighting and the atmosphere generated by seeing the Alcázar from there is of a unique beauty.
In Segovia, it is also mandatory to get lost in the Jewish quarter and discover the large number of Romanesque churches that the entire city contains. Churches such as San Lorenzo, San Millán, San Esteban, Santísima Trinidad, Santos Justo y Pastor or San Juan de los Caballeros, among others, deserve to be visited and thus discover the treasures inside.
One of the main cities of Roman Hispania and capital of the Hispania Tarraconensis province, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 thanks to its incredible archaeological site.
The Roman walls, the forum, the circus, the imperial cult enclosure, the Forum, the theater, the amphitheater, the early Christian cemetery, its great aqueduct and the Tower of the Scipios, are just some of the sites that we must discover in this city.
Your circus, built under the rule of Domitian, It was built at the end of the 1st century and was used mainly for horse racing, although there were also ludi circuses and theatrical games.
With a capacity of up to 25,000 people, it is one of the jewels of the place together with the Roman Forum, built in 73 by order of Vespasian. Yes, the same emperor who pushed for a urine tax in Rome.
To talk about the “city of the three culturesWe would need an article as long as this one. This impressive medieval city, named a World Heritage Site in 1986, was of great importance during the Middle Ages and Modern Times, standing out here as seat of the Catholic Monarchs.
Its Alcázar, located in a place that throughout history was fortified (since Roman times), the Primada Cathedral, the House of the Temple, the Cristo de la Luz Mosque or the Church of Santo Tomé, are just some of the Outstanding places that we must see on a visit to Toledo.
Like its monasteries, San Juan de los Reyes and Santa Clara La Real; or its imposing bridges (Alcántara, San Martín).
Unmissable is also discovering the Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue, the largest in Toledo and rebuilt in the 13th century, since the previous one was erected in 1180.
The best advice I can give you for this city is to go early, discover each of the corners that are hidden in its alleys, and discover the charm and atmosphere it has during the night, which will make you feel an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
When we visit Baeza we must visit Úbeda. Located right next to it, this city was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003 for the high quality of its Renaissance buildings.
Highlights the Vazquez de Molina Square, one of the most beautiful in the country and with a set of monuments that we must see. The Synagogue of Water, the Hospital of Santiago, or the Palacio Vela de lo Cobos, are a must-see in the city, as are its walls, its gates (del Losal, Granada and Puerta de Santa Lucía), and its towers (of the Arks, the Clock and the Knights).
Touring and getting lost in its walled enclosure is an experience that we must live, as well as discovering its churches, palaces and convents.
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