Burgos is a province that has a lot to offer, with a great heritage. However, if there is one thing that stands out, it is the beauty of its villages, each with its own characteristics that make them special. Thus begins this journey through the most beautiful villages in Burgos, where not falling in love with the views is impossible. Some of them are even part of the most beautiful villages in Castile and León.
If Orbaneja del Castillo is known for anything, it is because it is a village crossed by a spectacular 25-metre high waterfall that runs in the form of a staircase. After the waterfall, before the Ebro reaches its end, the water has formed pools of a unique turquoise blue. Its little more than 50 inhabitants are truly privileged, especially after getting to know its charming old town. Within the walls of the canyon of the Ebro River, this Historical Site stands out for its mountain style houses and narrow streets.
Frías is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful villages in Burgos. On the banks of the Ebro and between the lands of Las Merindades is this monumental complex characterized by its medieval layout. The village is crowned by the Velasco castle and the church of San Vicente, dominating this Historic-Artistic Site. The houses are also very peculiar, as some are attached to each other and others hang from the rock. To complete the picture, a wall partially surrounds the urban complex, where two of the old three gates are preserved, the Medina gate and the Postigo gate.
With almost a thousand inhabitants, it is one of the great unknown places of Burgos, especially in terms of its rich heritage. Located in the Odra-Pisuerga region, its origin is one of the most curious. Known by Segisamone and Segisama, “the strongest”, in the time of the Turmos or Turmodes, later a Roman legion under the command of Octavian Augustus settled in this place. In terms of civil architecture, two Roman bridges stand out, the arch at the entrance to the town and the wall, the main square with the town hall… As for the church of Santa María la Real, which dates from the 12th-13th centuries and is in the Gothic style, it is remarkable.
The streets, monuments, houses and natural environment in which Covarrubias is located have made it a Historic-Artistic Site. With essences dating from the Celtiberians, Romans, Visigoths, the Middle Ages and the Baroque, Covarrubias, in the region of Arlanza, is one of the most beautiful villages in Burgos and also one of the most interesting. Among its monumental heritage, the Fernán González tower stands out, as it is known to be the first Castilian defensive construction, dating from the 10th century. Inside, there is a splendid exhibition of siege weapons from the Middle Ages.
As if this were not enough, in the old town of Covarrubias there are seven monuments listed as Sites of Cultural Interest. For example, the Tower of Doña Urraca, from the 10th century, or the former collegiate church of San Cosme and San Damián de Covarrubias, among others.
Only two hours drive from Madrid is Lerma, which makes it one of the most popular destinations among Madrid’s residents for a mini getaway. Known for its good steakhouses, Lerma also has a lot to see. Thus, the old town of Lerma is located on the slopes of a hill and today keeps spaces of the old medieval enclosure. For example, the town square or the arch of La Cárcel. Also noteworthy is the building of what used to be the Ducal Palace, now a Parador. It was built in 1617 in the Herrerian style. Also important are the convent of San Blas, from 1627, and the collegiate church of San Pedro, with its beautiful three-nave floor plan.
Oña is located on the meander of the River Oca. It still has some of its walls and gates. However, its spectacular nature is associated with the Royal Monastery of Oña. A stone building with a church of medieval origin. Here the Burgos Gothic style is common, although elements of the original Romanesque construction can still be found. Inside the monastery lies the pantheon of the last counts of Castile.
In addition to the Royal Monastery of Oña, we recommend a walk through the old part of the town, whose origins date back to the Middle Ages. For lovers of Romanesque art, visit the parish church of San Juan.
Mahamud is part of the judicial district of Lerma and is settled in the region of Arlanza. With just over 100 inhabitants, it is one of the most curious villages. Its history began in the 10th century, when some Mozarabs settled in the area and gave their name to the town. A walk through Mahamud leads to the parish church of San Miguel, which dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, combining late Gothic and Renaissance styles. Inside the temple are hidden works such as the Romanesque baptismal font from the 13th century and the main altarpiece. The Rollo in the main square, with its five metres in height, is where the public executions took place.
As far as tourism is concerned, Santo Domingo de Silos forms the so-called “Arlanza Triangle” with the neighboring towns of Covarrubias and Lerma. Here the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos is well-known, and some researchers point out that it is linked to the history of the Cid Campeador, since he and his wife donated some of their belongings to the monastery. Currently, Santo Domingo de Silos is on the Camino del Cid.
In addition to the Benedictine monastery, the Yecla gorge and the church of Santo Domingo de Silos, built on top of an older one, which houses a medieval museum with the chalice of Santo Domingo from the 11th century, are also worth seeing.
In the south of the province is another of the most beautiful villages in Burgos, Peñaranda de Duero. The complex formed by the village, the castle and the palace of Avellaneda has been declared a Historic-Artistic Monument. The town centre with the remains of the ancient wall is one of the most interesting points of Peñaranda de Duero. However, if it is known for anything it is for the palace, one of the most famous noble mansions of Renaissance architecture in Spain.
Peñaranda Castle, on the other hand, stands on the top of a rock, overlooking the horizon. In the village you should also see the convent of San José, the former collegiate church of Santa Ana and the Jimeno apothecary’s, where a traditional 12th-century apothecary’s shop is located.
In the region of Las Merindades is one of the most unknown villages of this selection: Puentedey. The bridge is one of the most striking places in the village, especially the history it hides. It is really a natural bridge, created by the tireless passage of the Nela River, which over millions of years has carved a natural arch in the rock, continuing its path towards the Ebro. The first settlers attributed this natural work to God, calling it Puente Dei, that is, a bridge of God.
In addition to this natural wonder, in Puentedey the palace of the Brizuela family and the church of San Pelayo, which combines very different styles such as Gothic and Romanesque, stand out. On the façade you can see a rough image of San Jorge fighting a dragon. In the surrounding area you should not miss the impressive Ojo Guareña karst complex.
Castrojeriz is a significant stop on the Way to Santiago, as it crosses the town longitudinally for more than 1500 metres, being the longest crossing on this Jacobean route. Catalogued as an Asset of Cultural Interest, Castrojeriz attracts attention for the value of its heritage. The remains of the castle of Castrojeriz crown the landscape giving it a special character. At its feet, is the imposing church of Nuestra Señora del Manzano, which began to be built in 1214. Another temple to see in Castrojeriz is the church of San Juan with outstanding spaces such as its 16th century cloister. Not to be missed are the ruins of the convent of San Antón, on the outskirts of the town. From the convent stands the arch that formed a tunnel through which the pilgrims entered and left.
Capital of the Ribera del Duero, it is famous for its monumental heritage with outstanding buildings. Its gastronomy is also very popular, an example of which are the excellent wines of the Ribera del Duero Designation of Origin. The monuments to be seen in Aranda del Duero are divided between civil and religious ones. Among the former, the palace of the Berdugo family, of Renaissance origin, the medieval bridge of Conchuela and the more than 300 underground wine cellars, among others, stand out. Of the latter, the church of Santa María la Real with its Elizabethan Gothic façade, the church of San Juan and the sanctuary of the Virgen de las Viñas, among others, are impressive.
In the region of Ribera del Duero is also Gumiel de Izán. Classified as a Historic-Artistic Site, it preserves vestiges of its medieval fortress as well as part of the wall that surrounded the town. The arch of the Mesones is one of the five gates through which it entered Gumiel de Izán, reformed in 1786 as can be read in an inscription here. Walking through its cobbled streets is a real delight, while observing the stone houses with their heraldic coats of arms.
Among its attractions, one very significant is the church of Santa María, located in the main square. It is of cultural interest and was built on top of a previous one, of which a door has been preserved. Although this temple is of Gothic style, the stairs and the facade are baroque. Around the town centre there are several hermitages of interest.