A Visit To The Sagunto Castle Valen... x
A Visit To The Sagunto Castle Valencia: (Castillo de Sagunto)

Burgos Spain Guide – Best Things In The Castile Capital

Feb 2, 2020

 

Burgos Cathedral Burgos Spain front view
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I’m not going to lie. I never even considered visiting Burgos before our recent visit to the north of Spain. Our original plan had been to visit Valladolid, just a bit south of Burgos, but thanks to the inconvenient  bus departures, we decided to forego Valladolid and visit Burgos instead. Was it a good decision? It certainly turned out to be. Burgos did not disappoint. Here is your Burgos guide and reasons to consider the city as part of your Spain travels.

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Alsa bus station Burgos
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Arriving in Burgos with dear old trusty Alsa bus. Comfy seats, wifi on most buses and not too crowded.

Burgos Spain Guide:

The first thing that hit us as we arrived in Burgos bus station on the foggiest night ever was the cold. It was freezing! Several degrees below zero. Our plans to see the city that evening were crushed as you could barely see in front of you. I had actually been a bit afraid as the visibility was near zero the closer we came to the city from the freeway. I assume the bus drivers are used to it though and we made it safely.

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The next days turned out to be sunny, still cold (below zero), but we had scarves and gloves so it wasn’t too bad, and it was a nice change from Valencia weather. Upon seeing the city in the morning, we decided to tack on an extra day to our trip, just like we had in Bilbao.

Best things to do in Burgos:

Looking back, I would have added even one more day to our trip as we didn’t get to do everything. This just means we have to return l guess :-).

Burgos Cathedral:

 

Burgos Cathedral front view #burgos #spain
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The most beautiful cathedral in Spain in my humble opinion.

Nothing to say except WOW! We were both simply blown away. Often touted as one of the best Cathedrals in Spain, I can without a doubt say that l agree wholeheartedly. I would even go as far as to say the very best. This UNESCO World Heritage Site simply outshines the Seville Cathedral which was until now my favourite.

 

stairs inside the burgos cathedral
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The Escalera Dorada (golden staircase),  gorgeous isn’t it?

Having lived in Seville for two years, I was a bit biased but l grudgingly admit that the Burgos Cathedral is simply amazing. Gothic architecture at its best. It’s a classier, posher version of the Seville Cathedral if that makes any sense. After seeing so many cathedrals over the years, and being somewhat jaded, I’m very glad that we decided to tour this one. 

 

wife and husband in ivory at cathedral
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The Lord nobleman and his wife who were benefactors. The detail on the carvings were stupendous, right down to their dog.

The Burgos Cathedral is one the many stops along the Camino del Santiago pilgrimage and so we ran into lots of people walking the route. In fact, we were not able to stay for the added night at the same hotel because there were many journeymen scheduled to arrive at the hotel so we had to find another.  The cost of entry was €6 per person for this self guided tour and totally worth it. The fact that it was off season meant that we were free to linger and actually see the artefacts. There were few tourist groups, but certainly nothing compared to the summer times.

man sitting next to pilgrim statue at Burgos cathedral Spain
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Federico making a new friend. This pilgrim welcomes all the weary travelers.

Related Reading: Bilbao Guide

Burgos Museo of Evolucion Humana:

museum of evolution Burgos Spain
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Burgos Spain Guide: The entrance to the museum of evolution

 

So close, but yet so far. Both the hotels we stayed at were within walking distance of this enormous museum but unfortunately, the full day we had was Monday, and of course they were closed. From what l’ve read of the museum, it is indeed worth visiting. Just make sure you schedule accordingly. Within the confines of the museum, you can find the story of human evolution. A whole floor is devoted to Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Fossils, thousands of years old (over 8,000 years) discovered in the towns nearby are on display. There is also a shuttle bus that can take you to the discovery site in Atapuerca. 

Arco de Santa Maria:

 

arco de santa maria Burgos Spain with open arch and sculptures
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During the middle ages, Burgos had a total of 12 medieval doors and the Arco de Santa Marita is one of them. The interior holds temporary displays of art, a huge mural from a famous artist who was born in Burgos by the name of Jose Vela Zanetti. The arc was rebuilt by Roman Emperor Charles V in the 16th century and the faces on the arc are important dignitaries like the founder of the city and the Castilian knight El Cid. 

Puente de San Pablo Bridge:

bridge in Burgos, puente de san pablo bridge in our Burgos Spain guide to the best things
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Very reminiscent of Valencia this bridge was. Not jaded though, it’s still thrilling to see.

 

Leading to the plaza El Cid and the old town, this beautiful, vaulted arch bridge reminds me of many in Valencia. It’s believed to have been standing since the 13th century, and one of the twelve bridges in the city. The Arlanzon river below has all but dried up. A picturesque spot in the city, especially at night.

 

El Cid statue in Burgos Spain guide seated on horse and drawn sword in brass
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The most famous and fearless son of Burgos on his horse.

At the end of the bridge stands the statue of El Cid. El Cid was a very famous warlord with a rich and complicated history. A Burgos born man, he rose up to become a fearless fighter who ended up ruling the kingdom of Valencia till his death in 1099. His wife actually succeeded him as the ruler of the kingdom for three years before she was forced to surrender. I find his history fascinating. If you have time, visit his hometown of Vivar, just a few kilometres from Burgos city where everything is dedicated to the fierce warrior.

Paseo del Espolon:

 

paseo de epsolon Burgos
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Lovely place to visit in Burgos. The summertime must be even more wonderful. The stores were closed for siesta, there is a jogging path along the river to the right of this picture along with benches and fountains

This gorgeous tree line wide promenade is a lovely spot to sit and people watch. There are restaurants all alongside and it leads to the Arco de Santa Maria. I’m pretty sure it’s where the “old monied” people reside. It’s just that elegant. It was lovely sitting on the bench and watching kids on the carousel.

 

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Plaza Mayor:

 

black female at plaza mayor
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The plaza mayor is similar to others with porticoes and cafes with narrow streets leading out.

One of the main squares in Burgos. Like all the other ones in Spanish cities, this was yet another beautiful spot in the city. Filled with locals and tourists people watching or having drinks on the terraces and surrounded by colourful buildings in the old town of Burgos.

 

Mirador del Castillo Burgos:

 

Mirador Burgos view of city
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What an amazing view of the cathedral from the top. Image source

A stunning vantage point from which to see the city below you, and one of the most popular attractions. The views of the Burgos Cathedral from above is pretty impressive from the images we’ve seen. We didn’t climb up the steep hill. Next time we might attempt it or just take a cab (didn’t know that was an option then 🙂 ).

 

statue of bull in Burgos Spain guide with the best things to see and do
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Could l live in Burgos? Yep! I think so, even though l would hate the winters (my bones would ache too much). Burgos is a great big city with a vibrant old city centre that was larger than expected. The prices were reasonable and the whole city was clean. If you’re short on time, you can see the highlights of the city on a day trip from Bilbao. The bus ride was under two hours and we used the Alsa bus company, one of the biggest in Spain.

Where to stay in Burgos:

 

room at hotel forum evolucion
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Our lovely room at the hotel.

Our first night was spent at the Hotel Forum Evolucion, located just a stone’s throw from the museum and less than few minutes walk from the bus station. We really liked it, and it was centrally located, about a two minute walk from the museum of evolution. The room was quite nice and is mid range in price. We paid just over €41 per night. A very lovely bottle of wine awaited us, a nice touch indeed. They also offer breakfast for an additional eight euro per person which we declined. There is a cafeteria just down the street where you have a huge selection of pastries, sandwiches and coffee for a fraction of the cost.

The second hotel was also nice, but maybe one star less. It is quite close to the other hotel but l wouldn’t recommend it. The staff was nice, but the bathroom had no ventilation (mild mould) and it was just okay for the night. There were quite a few backpackers and l think the price was fair for what you got.

 

Some of the other places we didn’t get to visit include the Burgos castle, the monasteries, and some other beautiful churches. All in all, there is plenty to see in this fabulous capital of of Castile. I think this might be one time l would recommend having a rental car so you could visit the places outside of the main center. You can compare prices on this site to find the best deal.


 

Food in Burgos:

The food in Burgos was very good, something to be expected in the whole of Spain. Tapas are of course a staple, so l don’t have to tell you we had plenty. One restaurant in particular that we can recommend is La Casona, located in the old center. We actually ate there twice because we have no problems returning to places we enjoy.

Oxtail plate with mashed poptatoes
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Delicious slow cooked oxtail with mashed potatoes

 

anchovi
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Federico loved this as he is a big anchovy fan.

 

 

eggs with meat
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I think this is typical food from the region. Eggs with beef and some other stuff. Whatever. It was fantastic.

 

How many days in Burgos to visit?

These are just some of the things you can do in Burgos. I was surprised that Federico liked the city as much as he did. The people were very friendly, and seemed to take pride in the fact that Burgos was colder than Bilbao (something that surprised us because it was not as far north). I think a total of at least two full days would be fine to visit the city. Three days would be ideal. We intend to come back as we both really enjoyed our time there.

Burgos Guide Wrap Up:

One thing is clear to us now, we have been ignoring our own backyard for too long and we are making up for it this year as much as we can. This trip, which has included a stop in Santander, has definitely sparked our interest in visiting other gorgeous parts of Spain. My Spanish is improving and l’m getting more confidence daily. Yeah!!!!

Pin it for later:

Burgos Spain Guide. Where to stay and best things to see #burgos #spain #visitburgos #castileleon #spaintravel #northspain
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Have you ever been to Burgos? Would you consider adding it to your Spain itinerary or is it too chill for you?

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18 thoughts on “Burgos Spain Guide – Best Things In The Castile Capital”

  1. What a great find! I am happy that the bus schedules were strange because otherwise I wouldn’t have learned so much about this beautiful city. A real surprise indeed, with brilliant views and amazing things to see and do.

    I think that this type of trips – mostly unplanned, the “wherever the bus takes us” kind – are the best and most rewarding at times. It certainly was in this case!

    Reply
    • Yes! We absolutely loved making up our schedule on the fly. That was my reason for not booking a return flight. We loved it so much that we plan on repeating the same thing in a different region of Spain and working our way back down to Valencia via train, bus or whatever form of transport will work. A very successful experiment. Fede especially was surprised at how much he enjoyed Burgos. It was bigger than l expected and also reminded me of Valencia.

      Reply
  2. The name of the city caught my eye. All my elementary grades were spent in Burgos Elementary School in the Philippines. It looks very pretty and we are thinking of returning to Spain in 2021. I ahave a dear friend who also lives in Valencia.

    Reply
    • I wonder if they got the name of your school from this Burgos. That would be cool. It certainly is a very pretty. I hope you guys get to visit. I wonder if l’ve run into your friend at some point. It is a big, but yet small city :-).

      Reply
  3. I’ve traveled in Spain quite a bit, but hadn’t even heard of Burgos. It looks just lovely, especially that cathedral! I bet it would be especially nice to visit in the shoulder seasons, i.e. April-May and September-October: not as cold, but also not as crowded as it must get in the summer.

    Reply
    • I’d only heard of the cathedral, and it was just recently too. It certainly wasn’t a place l had even considered. I was shocked that it would be colder than Bilbao which l had wrongly concluded would be colder :-). Yeah, the shoulder season would be a sweet spot to visit. We would love to go back.

      Reply
  4. Just when you think you’ve seen enough cathedrals and historic architecture an experience like this comes along. Once again Spain is in our thoughts and Burgos looks like an amazing place to start. But I think we’ll wait for Spring;)

    Reply
    • Haha! Wise decision on waiting for Spring. I am constantly being surprised at the beauty of Spain and especially history. I actually like the thought now of visiting less famous places such as Burgos. I always wonder what makes one city click, and others not so much. It is definitely worthy :-). Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  5. I’ve been to Spain many times but haven’t even heard of Burgos before I read your post. You make a compelling case to visit it – the monuments alone make it worthwhile. Although I’d probably aim for a season when it’s a bit warmer. lol

    Reply
    • Haha! I think it’s a good idea to wait till the weather is a bit warmer… I bet Spring time is gorgeous around there. The cathedral alone l think makes it worth going, and l now consider myself a fan of El Cid after knowing his history.

      Reply
  6. I am hoping to walk the “Camino de Santiago” this year, so I will plan to stop in Burgos for few days. I am glad you ended up there on a bit of an impromptu situation and it turned out really good. The Cathedral looks beautiful, looks like you can easily spend quite a bit of time exploring it. Great guide, thank you and yes keep exploring Spain and improving your language skills.

    Reply
    • You are definitely brave souls… haha! It just seems like torture to me :-). I am really liking the “just head out and hope for the best” thing we did on this trip and plan to do more of it around Spain. Lovely surprises to be experienced. The Cathedral is indeed beautiful and it would make a nice resting hub during your walk. I am certainly giving Spanish a run for its money :-).

      Reply
  7. Your post brought back great memories of our visit to Burgos in July 2018 during a whirlwind tour of that area with our niece’s husband (one crazy driver). We spent a few hours in the Cathedral and I agree that it’s a beautiful place. I also found some gorgeous doors in Burgos (I have a thing for doors), and I’m hoping my pictures from the trip are on our external hard drive. If not, it will give us an excuse to revisit once we are settled in Spain. We are counting the days!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad the post brought back good memories of your trip. Haha at the crazy driver… it’s the reason l chose for us not to drive. Federico is a crazy driver, totally reverts back to being Roman and it really makes me nervous and would have ruined the trip for me, and l’m sure for him because l am a backseat driver :-).

      I was really surprised at how much l loved the Cathedral despite being a bit jaded. Haha! I think you shouldn’t look too hard for your hard drive and just go back for another visit :-). I tend to notice really big doors. I used to love checking out the door knockers in Malta. It’s a fun hobby, so l can imagine you have quite a collection of door images. Nice! The time will go by fast and you’ll be here before you know it!

      Reply
  8. I’m always amazed at how many fantastic under-the-radar towns there are in Spain. I’ve just added Burgos to my wish list…

    Reply
    • Spain certainly does have a lot of still hidden gems. Burgos is definitely one of them :-).

      Reply

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