Located in the north of Spain and a crossing point on the Camino de Santiago, León is one of those cities that you have to visit thanks to its spectacular monuments, its gastronomy, its history and its beautiful cathedral.
Walking through its streets is an experience that you will not be able to forget. Its historic center is very secluded and small, so visiting León in one day is not unreasonable.
Here you have a walk through the city with the most important things to see in León.
A walk with the best things to see in León in one day
1. The Cathedral, the best thing to visit in León
The best thing to see in León is its Cathedral. It is located in the Plaza de Regla and is a perfect place to start a walking tour of this beautiful city.
It is the jewel of León and it is a Gothic temple that began to be built in the 13th century on the old Romanesque cathedral on the same grounds where the royal palace was.
From the outside of the Cathedral, its two imposing towers stand out above all else, enclosing a beautiful façade with a large central rose window.
But its stained glass windows, which you can admire from inside, is possibly the most famous thing about the Cathedral of León. It is, without a doubt, the best set of stained glass windows that we can find in the world.
From the Plaza de Regla starts the main street of the old town of León, Calle Ancha, which we can begin to walk after admiring the contrast between the cathedral and the buildings that surround it.
2. The Plaza Mayor of Leon
Walking from the Cathedral along Calle Ancha, on your left we have one of the most famous and lively neighborhoods in León, the Barrio Húmedo. In it we can find numerous bars, restaurants and pubs that give life to the city.
The Plaza Mayor has a trapezoidal shape and is made up of arcades on which two-storey brick houses are located.
In this square is the Consistory, of baroque style, being the most remarkable building of it. But in the Barrio Húmedo there are also other squares such as Plaza del Grano or Plaza de San Martín.
And if you want to do your shopping, be sure to visit Calle Rúa, one of the most commercial streets in the city.
3. The Romantic Quarter. Another neighborhood to visit in León
On the other side of Calle Ancha is another of the neighborhoods that make up the Old Town of León, the Romantic Quarter, made up of narrow alleys that wind around the Parque del Cid Campeador.
In the Romantic Quarter we also have numerous bars and restaurants.
But it stands out above all one of the essential monuments to see in León, the Basilica of San Isidoro.
It is one of the main examples of Romanesque architecture in Spain and, in addition to its impressive architecture, it also stands out for its collection of paintings and sculptures. The Royal Pantheon is the highlight of the basilica.
Next to it we can find a part of the Walls of León. They are from the time of the Romans and their conservation is quite good.
4. Casa Botines and the modern part of León
Returning to Calle Ancha and on the way to the Bernesga River, we arrive at Plaza de San Marcelo, where two of the essential buildings to visit in León are located, in addition to the Church of San Marcelo, which is also located there.
One of them is the Casa Botines, in neogothic style and one of the few monuments of Gaudí that we can find outside of Catalonia.
Of this beautiful house we must highlight its towers, its windows and the portal where there is a sculpture of Saint George killing the dragon.
Next to Casa Botines is the Palacio de los Guzmanes, right where Calle Ancha begins. It dates from the 16th century and is the seat of the León Provincial Council.
Thus we arrive at the Plaza de Santo Domingo, where the Old Town of the city ends and where the most modern part and the expansion begin. There, the fountain in its center and the Museum of Léon stand out, where we can learn about the history of the province.
5. The Old Convent of San Marcos and the MUSAC
A little further from the city center, but which we can reach thanks to a pleasant walk along the Bernesga River, we have the Old Convent of San Marcos, the last essential monument to visit in León.
It currently houses the Parador de Turismo and its origin is due to the Catholic Monarchs to fix the headquarters of the Order of Chivalry of Santiago.
It is in the Plateresque style and its great façade is one of the best-known images of León. Of the complex, the Cloister and the Church should also be highlighted and you cannot leave León without visiting this jewel of the city.
6. The MUSAC
After visiting the Parador, if we continue our way north we will reach the MUSAC, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilla y León, one of the world references of this art since it was inaugurated in 2005.
The MUSAC is the last point of our walk through León and in it you will be able to enjoy the temporary and permanent exhibitions related to modern art after becoming one of the reference museums in Castilla y León.
You can find more information on the official León tourism page.