Previous school year, I went on an exchange with Spanish students from Benavente. We explored various places and went on many excursions in the area of Castilla y León, situated in north-western Spain. Of course, we also visited cities like León and Salamanca, went on hikes, and got to taste the authentic Spanish gastronomy. I can honestly say we all had a blast on our final school trip. Here are 3 highlights in Castilla y León!
1. Visiting Salamanca City
Salamanca is a lovely and romantic city that’s definitely worth a visit. Have a look at the impressive New Cathedral (Catedral Nueva), admire the historic architecture of the La Clerecía church, and take a walk to Plaza de Juan XXIII. Are you curious about those scary-looking gargoyle statues? Well, you can find those at the beautiful Casa de las Conchas! Maybe you can even try to find the Padlocks of love at this old Salamanca well in the Huerto de Calisto y Melibea garden.
2. Easter Processions during Semana Santa
Are you planning to visit Castilla y León in spring? Then you should definitely enjoy the festivities during Semana Santa, or Holy Week. Semana Santa is the Spanish Catholic tradition of commemorating the Passion of Christ. These festivities take place the week directly before Easter. Most interestingly, Holy Week processions always involve an elaborate float (Paso). The people in the procession will carry this paso along the route. This float is always adorned with statues of Jesus,Virgin Mary, or other saints. Amazingly, these pasos are still physically carried and some can weigh over a 1000 kilograms!
3. Hiking in Sanabria Lake Natural Park
Sanabria Lake Natural Park (Parque Natural del Lago de Sanabria) is a wonderful piece of nature in Castilla y León. The park is especially great for an energetic hiking session on a sunny day, just like we did. Sanabria Lake is the largest glacial lake of the Iberian Peninsula. Additionally, there are a few other smaller lakes throughout the park, distributed across the mountains and their canyons.