Section 14 - Castile and León

Valladolid - Tordesillas - 41Km

A large part of our route overlaps with the Senda del Duero Trail (GR14).
We’ll leave Valladolid on an excellent asphalted cycling trail. On the way to Simancas, we’ll connect with another great cycle tourism route, the Madrid Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago.

Simancas is worthy of a relaxing stop. Once known as Septimancas, it became an important communications node in Roman times; the road that connected Emerita Augusta (Mérida) to Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza) passed through it.

The most prominent monument is the National-Historical Archives, located in a castle built in the 15th century by Admiral of Castilla Don Alonso Enriquez. A century later, it changed its function, housing the archives where the documents of the Crown were stored, with the subsequent architectural transformation. Currently, it mainly stores documents from the Modern Age and is considered one of the most important in the world.

After leaving Simancas, we head to Tordesillas by dirt trails that are generally in good condition. From the majestic medieval bridge over the Douro, you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Tordesillas. In this town, the New World was divided during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs in the so-called Casas del Tratado (Houses of the Treaty), two 15th and 16th century buildings. It was here that, in 1494, the treaty was signed by which Castilla and Portugal established the borders of their Atlantic domains.
In 1509, Queen Joan I of Castilla, Joan the Mad, arrived. While she was imprisoned for almost half a century, Charles I, Phillip II and other members of the royal family visited this place.  The most important building today is the Monastery of Santa Clara, part of Spain’s National Heritage. A Mudejar palace transformed into a monastery, it is one of the best examples of Mudejar art in Castilla y León.

Tordesillas, declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1977, belongs to the Rueda Wine Route, a territory of contrasts in which innovation and tradition come together to give life to a wine with its own name and international fame. This town boasts a great infrastructure of restaurants and hotels and extraordinary sightseeing options.

Points of Interest

Heritage: 7
  • Purist and sober, it clearly shows the influence of the Roman style in its entire architecture and decoration. It does not contain significant art treasures, although in its time it did own a painting by El Greco. Today however it holds a rich musical archive of 6,000 works considered by some authors to be unique in Spain and a 16th-century altarpiece by Juan de Juni.

  • This church still includes Romanesque elements such as the tower and the north cloister, which is of the 13th century. There is no doubt that the tower stands out among the monuments of the city and has become its symbol. It is located at the foot of the church and access is from inside. The arches are decorated with nail tips. The tower retains its roof in the shape of a pyramid with its tiles in the form of scales, as the distant model for this tower is from Lombardy. The cloister is related to that of Las Huelgas de Burgos; it is on the north side of the building as it constituted a viewpoint over the branch of the River Esgueva which formerly flowed below it. In the 14th century the main section of the Romanesque building was demolished to leave only the tower and the portico.

  • It was built on the orders of Gutiérrez, a rich capitalist who entrusted the project to J. Ortiz de Urbina, who drew up the plans. It was built on two levels joined by a stairway with a balustrade and a base of glazed tiles. The first floor has gaps for shop windows with iron railings separated by pilasters, which crowned by capitals with plant motifs extend to the second floor which is used for flats.

  • The monastery was founded by John I in 1390. The church consists of three large naves covered with star-shaped cross ribs, all of which have been worked in stone. Work on the current church was initiated in 1499; its architect was Juan de Arandia and it was designed by Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, being built between 1569 and 1572. The monastery was not begun until the last 16th century. The church is separated by a plateresque screen. It has a long monasterial façade which follows the canons of El Escorial; most of its works of art are now in the National Sculpture Museum.

  • The Plaza Mayor of Valladolid is rectangular in shape with a statue in the centre of Count Ansúrez by Aurelio Carretero (1903). The plaza was rebuilt by Francisco de Salamanca after the fire of 1561; the reconstruction process was completed in the 17th century. It was the first Plaza Mayor of Castile to have been planned with a regular structure and this system was subsequently repeated in other cities such as Madrid. It is surrounded by arcades which extend into the adjacent streets and its dormer windows were installed in the 18th century.

  • The medieval bridge of Simancas still shows signs of divisions in its masonry (a Romanesque characteristic) in some of its 17 arches and is where the three categories of drovers' roads come together: calzada, cordel, and vereda. It stands before the pillory and the façades and turrets of the old walls.

  • The castle has occupied this strategic site since the time of the Moslem invasions and was successively held by Arabs and Christians. It was built in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries by the Admirals of the Armada of Castile, the powerful Enríquez family, and is currently owned by the Ministry of Culture and houses the Simancas General Archives. The influence of Juan de Herrera can clearly be seen in its roofs. Work on the castle was completed in the 17th century by Pedro Mazuecos and Diego de Praves, members of the Valladolid classicist school.

Gastronomy and wine: 2
  • Valladolid is one of the Spanish cities which have worked hardest at its tapas. Here we will find numerous areas and premises in which to taste and enjoy both tapas and larger portions with traditional flavours and also more novel proposals. One of the reasons for this boom is the National Tapas Competition of the City of Valladolid.


  • The Bread from the province of Valladolid is a protected food in Castilla y León which has had its own Brand Guarantee since 2004. The bread made in the province of Valladolid has a long tradition dating back to the 9th century. We suggest you taste the traditional Castilian garlic soup made with bread from Valladolid.


Shops and cycling services: 1

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Comments: Section 14

Section 14

Valladolid - Tordesillas - 41Km: 41

  • Elevation
  • Heritage