Castile and León, Spain, is a northwestern region of the country, bordering Portugal. It is within short driving distance from Madrid. Like many Spanish regions, it was once a kingdom in its own right, and still holds some of that individualized flavor. For example, while Castilian Spanish is the dominant language, there are three other local languages unique to the area.
The region is a mixture of a plateau surrounded by mountains. With lakes, rivers, and forests, this is a scenic landscape. Summers are warm and dry. While winters aren't quite as hot, it is still a good climate year-round.
Castile and León is further split into nine provinces; Salamanca, Avila, and Segovia are notable of these. When visiting the Salamanca region, you'll quickly discover that this place is known for their pigs -- to be specific, the black forest ham. If you visit the small town of La Alberca, you may find a black pig that is annually raised by the community and then auctioned off. Since the pig isn't owned by any one person, it roams around the cobblestone streets, surprising visitors. Avila, the city representing the Castile and León province of Avila, displays famous town walls. The city is surrounded by the structure built in medieval times in Romanesque style. Segovia further shows medieval and Roman influence with a series of aqueducts and other architecture.
While not as large and ornate as cathedrals you may find in Madrid or Barcelona, towns throughout Castile and León offer insight into the locals' world. Catholicism is the dominant religion, and you can visit a cathedral to get a glimpse of art, architecture, and traditions of the area.
Because the towns in Castile and León are relatively small and spaced out by rural area, this provides opportunities to explore the outdoors. Travelers can enjoy hikes in the mountains, or walking outside of the towns to spot farm animals. Even though the towns are small, you can still find everything you need if you look hard enough. A pharmacy, a post office, a church, and a place to get food are standard. On the downside of this, the towns being few and far between does make it difficult to get around. If you are not with a tour group, you will probably need a car as a bus will only serve limited places in this area. Castile and León, Spain hostel options are also limited in some towns, but the Castile and León, Spain hostels you do end up using will be well priced.
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I visited Burgos in July 2003 and instantly fell in love with it, what a beautiful city, what a place to live, I will definitely go back soon.
I just visited Segovia and absolutely fell in love with it! A must see of Spain!
Palencia is a lovely province, or was when I stayed there in 1989. The part I was in - the Aguilar de Campoo region - is sort of high desert and on the fringe of some pretty healthy mountains. This part of Palencia was fairly unpopulated and can get pretty cold in the winter and at night. But the days are lovely …
Salamanca is the best place in the world.
Avila is a beautiful city. I went to Avila to visit the sites of St. Theresa of Avila (aka. Theresa of Jesus). I took a train from Madrid to Avila. It was a beautiful train ride. There is a lot to see in Avila, especially if you are interested in St. Theresa. If you are on a tight budget, then Avila should not …