It is the economic and political centre of the comarca of Sanabria.
It was the seat of the military, ecclesiastical and political power that over the centuries generated a rich architectural and monumental heritage. In 1994 the town was declared an asset of cultural interest in the category of a historical complex.
Since 2017 the city has been a part of the network “The most beautiful villages of Spain“.
The Castle of the Counts of Benavente, built on a full medieval fortress in the mid-15th century (1455-1499) by Rodrigo Alonso Pimentel, 4th Count of Benavente.
It occupies a privileged position within the promontory on which the old part of the city sits.
Built in granite ashlar masonry on a quadrangular ground plan, it is guarded by semi-cylindrical cubes that are unevenly distributed, a drawbridge and all this dominated by the great interior and free-standing keep, which is popularly known as the Macho.
Church of Santa María del Azogue, built in the 12th century, Romanesque, but with important transformations in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It is located in the Plaza Mayor, closing this urban area on its eastern side.
It has a Latin cross plan, with a polygonal headboard reinforced with buttresses and a transept with ribbed vaults.
The southern door is located under a porch located between the tower and the south arm of the transept. It consists of three round archivolts flared on jambs.
The City Hall is another building declared a monument. It is located in the Plaza Mayor, closing one of its sides. It has a rectangular plan, built in masonry.
The façade has a porch on the ground floor, into which three wide semicircular arches and Doric columns open, and above it, a porticoed gallery with four arches.
At each end there is a tower, twin to each other, which are covered with slates of irregular slabs, in the traditional way of the Sanabria region.
Also of special mention is the Fort of San Carlos that was located outside the walls, at the exit to Portugal, near one of the three gates, that of San Francisco, on a rock from which you can have a good perspective of the town.
It has a pentagonal shape, it still preserves the remains of a pit and buttress.
The hermitage of San Cayetano (17th century, Baroque) is also interesting for the tourists.
Finally, the Sanabria lake – the largest glacial lake in Spain and the Iberian Peninsula is about eight km from the city.
How to get to?
From Zamora 1 hr 25 min (114 km) via N-631 and A-52
From Valladolid 2 hr 7 min (201 km) via A-6 and A-52
From Madrid 3 hr 32 min (354 km) via A-6
Area: 81 sq. km
GPS coordinates: 42°03′19″N 6°38′01″W
Time: Central European UTC +1, in summer +2