Castile & Leon, the largest region of Spain, offers one of the most authentic and varied Spanish experiences. Located on a high plateau edged by mountain ranges, it is rich in history and diversity. With a large expanse of land and a population of only 2.5 million, it presents the opportunity to explore Spanish culture away from tourist throngs.
The name, Castile, which translates as ‘castles’ refers to the many fortifications established over the centuries to deter invaders.
Many of the walled towns and cities, like the medieval Avila, are designated UNESCO Heritage Sites. Segovia, one of the oldest cities in Spain, has an extraordinary Roman aqueduct which still serves the city. Easter processions in the towns of Valladolid and Zamora are of such significance that they have been designated Festivals of International Tourist Interest by the Spanish government.
Beginning in early Moorish times with sheep raising, the wide-open spaces of Castile are home to sheep, goats and cattle, all of which form the foundation of local cuisine.
In the river valley, are vineyards producing the impressive Ribera del Duero wines of which Vega Sicilia is probably the best known.
Other locations that attract tourists. are: the Roman gold mine (a UNESCO site); part of the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago (UNESCO); and Casa Botines in Leon, one of only 3 Gaudi architectural works outside of Catalonia.