Palencia is a city and municipality in the autonomous community of Castile and León, capital of the province of Palencia, Spain.
It is an important industrial center of Castile and León.
Tourism and main attractions
Calle Mayor: this is the main street of the city and the center of commercial, administrative and cultural activity in Palencia. In this street and in its surroundings are the most interesting civil buildings.
Plaza Mayor and Town Hall: the Plaza Mayor was built in the 17th century to celebrate public festivities and the market. Three of its sides are supported and it is presided over by the Town Hall, a neoclassical construction from the 19th century.
Palacio de la Diputación: Neo-Renaissance style building from 1914, designed by the Palencian architect Jerónimo Arroyo. Its main façade stands out and the works of artists from Palencia that it houses inside.
Casa del Cordón: 16th century building topped on its façade with a Franciscan cord. Inside is the Provincial Archaeological Museum. It is the only Renaissance civil monument in the city.
Puentecillas: bridge of Roman origin, renovated in the 16th century. The oldest in the city, it is for pedestrian use. In one of its entrances is the famous Bolus of Patience.
Puente Mayor: stone construction from the 16th century, renovated and enlarged at the end of the 18th century.
Iron Bridge: from the beginning of the 20th century.
Colegio Villandrando: notable Neo-Gothic and modernist style building on Calle Mayor. Designed by Jerónimo Arroyo, the ceramics that finish off the façade, the work of Daniel Zuloaga, stand out.
Hospital de San Bernabé: located in the vicinity of the Cathedral. Founded in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 15th century.
Casa Junco: noble construction from the 18th century, in the Baroque style. Located on the main street.
Casa de Flora Germán: Modernist building by Jerónimo Arroyo.
Council of Accounts of Castilla y León (Casa de Ramón Alonso): Jerónimo Arroyos’ building located at the confluence of Calle Bocaplaza with Calle Mayor (one of the most sophisticated areas of the city). It has two interesting towers with colored stained glass windows.
Post Office Building: built in 1916 according to the project of Jacobo Romero.
Main theatre: built in the 19th century on the model of Italian theatres. After suffering a fire in 1826 it was rebuilt and remodeled.
IES Jorge Manrique: it is the largest high school in Palencia and in one of its domes is the Jerónimo Arroyo museum.
Mercado de Abastos: Notable Palencia building for housing a large market and for being the only iron and glass work in Palencia, designed by Juan Agapito Revilla and built in 1898.
Casino of Palencia.
Cathedral of San Antolin: main monument of the city of Palencia, built in Gothic style. It has been a National Monument since 1929. In its interior it keeps numerous and valuable works of art, among which the following stand out:
The main altarpiece, one of the first examples of the Renaissance in Spain.
The collection of tapestries, with excellent samples of this art.
The Crypt of San Antolín, one of the first Romanesque-style buildings in Castile, with a Visigothic section.
The retrochoir, an excellent work of Flamboyant Gothic, with a Flemish triptych by master Jan Joest.
The martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, painting by El Greco, one of his most outstanding works.
Cristo del Otero: key work of the sculptor Victorio Macho. Erected in 1931 on one of the hills that surround the city, crowning an old hermitage, it is a 30-meter-high sculpture (the third largest of Christ, after the statue of Christ the King in the Polish city of Świebodzin and the Christ of Rio de Janeiro). The colossal construction dominates the entire city and is the main symbol of the Palencia capital.
Church of San Miguel: its religious-military tower is another of the most representative icons of Palencia. Temple from the 12th century, it is an excellent example of the primitive ogival style. Inside, there is a Christ from the 14th century, altars from the 17th and 18th centuries, one of them with a Flemish Pietà, and remains of Gothic mural paintings. It was declared a National Monument in 1931.
Church of San Francisco: Franciscan foundation from the 13th century, it underwent modifications in the 16th century, which altered its original Gothic character. It was the seat of the Cortes Generales in the 14th century and a royal residence. Inside, its Mudejar coffered ceilings, a good collection of altarpieces and images and a chapel completely covered with skulls stand out. National Monument since 1962.
Convent of San Pablo: it was the foundation of Santo Domingo de Guzmán in the 13th century. The current church dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, and the belfry of the main façade from the 18th. Outside, the apse with Renaissance windows stands out. Inside, the main altarpiece and the tombs of the Marqueses de Poza stand out. Declared a National Monument in 1931.
Santa Clara Monastery: the church dates from the 15th century, with a main altarpiece from the 18th century.
Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (also called Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Calle): Jesuit church built in 1584. It houses the 40 cm carving of the Virgen de la Calle, patron saint of the city. It was declared a National Monument in 1982.
Church of San Juan Bautista: small but beautiful Romanesque temple. It is a National Monument since 1981.
Episcopal Palace: in this severe Neoclassical style palace, formerly the residence of the Palencia bishops, is the Diocesan Museum, with an important collection of works of art of all styles from the Romanesque, highlighting those by authors such as Pedro Berruguete, Alejo de Vahía or Juan de Valmaseda, which make it one of the main museums of its kind at a national level.
- Provincial Archaeological Museum
- Contemporary Art Museum
- Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art
- Cathedral Museum
- Jeronimo Arroyo Museum
- Victorio Macho Museum
- Footwear History Museum
Gastronomy and the best restaurants
The main speciality of Palencia is locally produced lechazo (suckling lamb). Traditionally suckling lamb is roasted slowly in a wood oven and served with salad. “Menestra de Verduras” is a mixture of vegetables cooked with chopped pieces Spanish ham, onion, garlic and spices is another traditional dish.
Palencia also offers a great assortment of lettuces, leeks, wild mushrooms, peppers, asparagus, endives and beans. Some legumes, like white beans and lentils are particularly good and cooked in hot dishes with chorizo.
The sopa de ajo, a traditional winter garlic soup dish, made with bread mixed with paprika, water and garlic and cooked slowly. A raw egg is often whipped into the soup as it is served.
Morcilla is a form of black sausage made from pig’s blood. In Castile the pig blood is often flavoured with pieces of pork fat, onions herbs and spices; the addition of rice gives a distinctive texture and flavour.
There are three Michelin list restaurants in the city:
Casa Pepe´s, Avenida Manuel Rivera 16, 40 – 60 EUR • Traditional Cuisine
Ajo de Sopas, Paseo del Salón 25, 20 – 49 EUR • Modern Cuisine
Terra, Pedro Fernández de Pulgar 6, 20 – 50 EUR • Modern Cuisine
The Baptism of the Child: on January 1, of National Tourist Interest. Unique festival that is celebrated around the church of San Miguel with a procession and a “pedrea” of candies.
San Antón: it is celebrated on January 17 in the vicinity of the church of San Miguel.
Festival of Virgen de la Calle (Las Candelas): February 2. Patron saint of the city. In the parish of Nuestra Señora de la Calle, the image of the Virgin, known as “La Morenilla”, is venerated and is carried in procession to the Cathedral.
Holy Week: March-April, (first spring full moon) is the most important festival in the Palencia calendar, as it has the distinction of Festival of International Tourist Interest.
Pilgrimage of Santo Toribio: the Sunday closest to April 16, Festival of Regional Tourist Interest. A “pedrea” of bread and cheese is celebrated at the foot of the Cristo del Otero.
Caracolada de San Marcos: held on April 25.
Feria Chica: days around Pentecost. Popular party in Palencia called “chica” because it is the second most important when compared to the San Antolín fairs.
Corpus Christi procession and mass: Sunday closest to Corpus Thursday. The procession and mass are organized by the Penitential Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher and the Cathedral Chapter.
Saint John’s Day (colloquially “San Juanillo”): June 24. Copatrón de Palencia, a procession is carried out in which the San Juan of the brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher parades. From its headquarters it reaches the Plaza Mayor. At night the Bonfire of San Juan takes place.
Festivities of San Antolín: patron saint of Palencia, on September 2. There are processions, parades, bullfights. It is the main festival of Palencia.
Procession in honor of San Francisco: after mass, the Brotherhood of San Francisco performs a small parade with the image of the Saint.
Transport and how to get to?
Valladolid Airport is the closest airport to the city at 45 kilometres. There are daily flights to Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Brussels and other destinations.
The city also has a busy railway station, given its strategic location as a hub for north and north-west railway connections in Spain. There are several services from Palencia railway station to Valladolid – Campo Grande, Madrid (Chamartín and Príncipe Pío), León, Burgos, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Santander, 3 daily trains to Barcelona Sants, Bilbao – Abando, A Coruña, Santiago, Oviedo and Zaragoza – Delicias, 1 daily train to Albacete – Los Llanos and Alicante.
Distance by car to other main cities of Castile and León and Madrid
Ávila 1 hr 55 min (187 km) via A-6 and A-62
Burgos 59 min (90.0 km) via A-62
León 1 hr 29 min (133 km) via A-231 and CL-615
Salamanca 1 hr 42 min (168 km) via A-62
Segovia 1 hr 43 min (165 km) via A-601
Soria 2 hr 28 min (204 km) via CL-619
Valladolid 49 min (52.9 km) via A-62
Zamora 1 hr 36 min (149 km) via A-11 and A-62
Madrid 2 hr 38 min (260 km) via AP-6 and A-6
Area: 94 km² (municipality)
Coordinates: 42°01′00″N 4°32′00″W
Population: 77 090
Time: Central European UTC +1