Like so many great cities in Europe, León was founded by the Romans. With a history going back to antiquity, León has a large amount of richly cultural things to see, and delicious nourishment to eat and drink. Here is the must-have travel guide for the Spanish city of León.
1. Get Your Private Tour Guide… Sort of
Before you visit the city, try contacting AEGEE-León’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/aegeeleon/. Depending on availability, our members might be able to give you some tips or (digital) assistance for booking your trip or for when you are discovering León.
2. Meet Isidore and Marc
Two of the main attractions in Leon are the Basilica of San Isidoro de León and Convento de San Marcos. The former is built on the site of an ancient Roman temple during the early tenth century as part of the monastery of Saint John the Baptist. In 1063, the church was rededicated to Saint Isidore of Seville. The San Marcos also used to be a monastery, before becoming an actual dungeon during the Spanish Civil War. Nowadays the building has become a hotel.
3. Get Ready to Walk (and Party)
The Barrio Húmedo, or ‘wet district’, is the nickname for both the ancient centre of León, surrounded by the still largely intact roman walls, and the relatively large number of bars and clubs that are packed closely together between these same walls. The Barrio Húmedo; visit it during the day, and during the night; visit the Barrio Húmedo.
4. History? I Prefer the Present
The Museum of Modern Art; or, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MusAC), is one of the most recognisable buildings in all of León because of its avant-garde architecture. The building is covered in brightly coloured, rectangular panels and only hosts art from the latest generation of artists, meaning art from the last twenty to thirty years.
5. But Wait, There Are More… Churches
If you are in the mood for seeing another church, then this one will blow your mind. The Santa Maria de León, also known as ‘the House of Light’, is the city’s gothic cathedral. It looks like they built a tall building on a bridge that is adjacent by two towers, and, unlike the San Isidoro, this one is built on the site of a Roman bath house.
6. Mucho Mosto
When you are in León you have to try ‘mosto’, a sweet, non-alcoholic kind of grape juice. It is made from pressed grapes before they are converted into wine, but, depending on the grape, it might taste a bit like apple juice. It can be served chilled with a slice of orange and an olive, or bought in a store. Enjoy.
You should try to visit ‘La Candamia’, a park next to the Torío river on the outskirts of León. It is possibly the best location in the city for recreation, relaxation, and, if you climb all the way up the mountain, for the best views of León.
8. Barter Much?
If you are in León on a Saturday, it is really worthwhile to go to Plaza Mayor and visit some of our local markets, surrounding the square.
It is a relaxing way to spend (part of) your day, strolling down the streets, browsing or maybe buying some products.
9. Spare Some Cheese?
Would you like try some good food? Have you, however, only ordered a drink? Do you like free stuff? Then why not try some of our world famous ‘tapas’. It comes free with every drink you order; every drink… it is literally FREE food. What are you waiting for, come to León.
Written by Laura Pérez, AEGEE-León
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