Located in the heart of Castilla y León, Valladolid is its capital. What many people don’t know is that it was the capital of Spain for 5 years at the beginning of the 17th century and that it has played a very important role in the history of our country.
Of the main cities of Castilla y León, it is not where we will find the most spectacular monuments but if you decide to visit it you will discover that it also has its charm.
That is why here we are going to tell you what to see in Valladolid if you only have 1 day.
A walk with the best things to see in Valladolid in one day
If you want to complete your visit to Valladolid, we recommend some of the following activities and excursions, very interesting, and with which you will get to know the city in a different way:
- Guided tour of Valladolid
- Crypts and ruins of Valladolid
- Visit to the Cathedral, climb to the Tower and Diocesan Museum
- Balloon ride over Valladolid
1. The Campo Grande Park
It is best to start visiting Valladolid through the Campo Grande Park. It will be, without a doubt, the first place you see if you arrive in the city from Madrid by AVE.
But if you go by car, we recommend you park in the car park that is under the park or on the other side of the river where the Millennium Dome is located, one of the pavilions of the Zaragoza Expo in 2008, which was transferred to Valladolid as leisure center and fairs and congresses.
The Campo Grande Park is the largest in the city with 115 hectares and with interesting points of interest such as its pond with waterfalls where you can take a boat ride. Its most famous inhabitants are the peacocks that we can find throughout the park.
If you have arrived by AVE, before entering the park from the south, we can admire the Church of San Juan de Letrán, in baroque style, and the Convent of Augustinian Filipinos, where the Oriental Museum is also located. Very close is the Plaza de Colón, where the Monument to the Discovery of America is located.
2. Zorilla Square
In the northern part of the Parque de Campo Grande we find the Plaza de Zorrilla
We can get to it by crossing the park or along the Paseo de Recoletos, admiring its spectacular buildings where the 19th century bourgeoisie lived.
In the Plaza de José Zorrilla, one of the most beautiful places to see in Valladolid, in addition to the monument to the great writer, we can find a large fountain, which takes on a beautiful color at night, and the surprising Academy of Cavalry, the best example of the pucelana architecture of the early twentieth century.
3. The Plaza of Spain in Valladolid
From there we can continue straight ahead towards the most central area, but first we suggest going towards the Plaza de España, meeting halfway with the Casa de Cervantes, the place where the author of Don Quixote lived for 4 years at the beginning of the 17th century..
In the Plaza de España we find interesting buildings such as the Bank of Spain or the Church of Peace around a fountain with a sculpture of a globe of the world.
Our path continues towards the Cathedral, stopping our walk at the Pasaje Gutiérrez, one of the few commercial passageways that were built in Spain.
4. The Cathedral of Valladolid
From these narrow streets of Valladolid you will already be seeing the silhouette of the Cathedral, which dates from the 16th century and where we can also visit the Cathedral Museum.
The Cathedral of Valladolid is known as “The Unfinished” since Juan de Herrera began to build it but did not finish it due to the economic crisis of the time.
Observing its main facade we see a large tower, which can be climbed, but in the original plans there were two towers.
The second tower collapsed in 1841 and that is why we can only see one today.
Also, if you go to the back you will see that the building ends abruptly and the ambulatory is missing. That is another of the unfinished parts of a cathedral that was only built up to the transept.
Its interior is very sober and lacks decoration and it can also be seen that it was only built up to the transept. However, all this does not mean that the Cathedral of Valladolid is not worth it.
In the back of the cathedral we find the Statue of Miguel de Cervantes right next to the University, whose facade is a true work of art.
You can also climb the Cathedral Tower and have great views.
5. Church of Santa Maria La Antigua
In this northern part we will find numerous churches and beautiful buildings that not everyone knows, since few dare to enter these narrow streets where you will find various secrets of the city’s history.
Close to the cathedral is the Iglesia Santa María La Antigua, founded in the 11th century and one of the most spectacular churches to visit in Valladolid.
Despite its multiple renovations, we can still admire its great tower and its Romanesque portico that form an enviable ensemble with the rest of the Gothic-style building.
6. Saint Paul’s Square
Walking down Calle Angustias we arrive at Plaza de San Pablo, the square where the largest number of architectural gems in Valladolid are concentrated.
In it is the Palace of Pimentel, the Palace of the Marquis of Villena, the Royal Palace and above all the Church of San Pablo, which for many is the most beautiful church in the city.
The Church of San Pablo was founded in the 13th century and is one of the most beautiful constructions of Gothic art. Next to it is the National Museum of Polychrome Sculpture.
7. The Church of San Miguel
Having enjoyed much of Valladolid, we still have to visit its beautiful Plaza Mayor and its surroundings where tapas is almost a religion.
On the way to the Plaza Mayor of Valladolid we still have some unique buildings such as the one that houses the Museum of Valladolid or the nearby Church of San Miguel, of Jesuit architecture and built in the 16th century to be the headquarters of the Society of Jesus.
8. The Church of San Benito
Nearby is another of the most spectacular churches to see in Valladolid, the Church of San Benito, which is one of the oldest in the city.
Its façade is missing its two original towers, demolished in the 19th century, but it’s still worth it. Attached to the church is the Patio Herreriano Museum, in the cloister of what was the former Convent of San Benito, with contemporary art works by Dalí, Miró and Chillida.
9. What to see in the Plaza Mayor of Valladolid
And after this beautiful walk enjoying the architecture, especially religious, of Valladolid, we arrive at the nerve center of the city.
On other visits we have preferred to start in the Plaza Mayor but here we want to finish there.
The Plaza Mayor is the main meeting point for people from Valladolid and tourists.
Its most unique building is its Town Hall and around it there are a series of arcades reminiscent of the main squares of Madrid or Salamanca.
It is a good idea to sit down and rest on one of the terraces of its bars and watch life go by in this square, one of the largest in Spain and where a market was once held.
10. South of the Plaza Mayor
Towards the south the commercial zone of Valladolid extends, with the stores of the most important franchises and also other more traditional ones.
Calle Santiago is the main one of them all and through it we can reach Plaza de Zorrilla and Parque de Campo Grande, the place where our visit to Valladolid began.
It must be said that in this network of commercial streets was the old Convent of San Francisco, already demolished, and that it is famous for being the place where Christopher Columbus died and was buried. Unfortunately, this building has already been lost.
You can find more information on the official Valladolid Tourism page.