Arriving in Palencia is arriving home. Palencia is the home where endless generations have left a trace of family memories, regardless of their origin. These memories remain in special places in the city. You can notice them in its museums – the Victorio Macho Museum, the Diocesan Museum, the Archeological Museum and the Water Museum. Some others remain in the sculptures and monuments that mark the way through the streets of the city, such as El Cristo del Otero, The Cathedral or Casa Junco.
Palencia, with its inviting surroundings welcomes you to its parks and squares where life rhythms keep in step with time. A no showcase city, Palencia however loves to be admired from the inside and outside, from its Main Street to El Cristo del Otero and Monte el Viejo. We could name Palencia the same as its well known Cathedral: La Bella Reconocida or The Beautiful Rediscovered.
Finally, as one would expect, the visit to the city finds its reward with the taste of the local cuisine. Palencia’s gastronomy reminds us of traditional flavors once left in our memory, like those of the traditional, wise and plentiful stoves.
The first impression travellers get after exiting the AVE station in Palencia is only the beginning of what is to come on their journey throughout the city. The Jardinillos Park welcomes visitors as they leave the train station and precedes a number of other parks in the city such as Parque del Salón, Huerta de Guadián and Isla dos Aguas. As visitors enter the city, on one side they find several historic monuments such as the San Pablo, Santa Marina and de la Piedad convents. On the other side, they find the Main Street or Calle Mayor, the commercial hub in the city, full of beautiful buildings surrounded by cloisters and balconies featuring typical decorations mainly characteristic of the architect Jerónimo Arroyo style.
The journey through the city must include a visit to the Cathedral (La Bella Reconocida) and churches such as San Miguel, Las Claras, San Lázaro, San Juan Bautista (with a Romanesque point of information) and Nuestra Señora de la Calle. Other must see sites include the Diputación (Provincial Government building), Mercado de Abastos (Food Market), the Plaza Mayor (Main Square) and the bridges over the Carrión River.
It is important to leave enough time to visit the city’s museums. Some of the museums Palencia offers are The Archeological Museum located inside Casa del Cordón, the Cathedral Museum (Museo Catedralicio), the Diocesan Museum (Museo Diocesano), the Victorio Macho Museum (Centro de Interpretación Victorio Macho) located at the bottom of the Otero Christ Statue, the Water Museum (Museo del Agua) located at the old canal dock warehouse, and the Fundación Díaz-Caneja Museum.
Palencia’s main holidays allow visitors to see the city in its most vibrant times. Some of these holidays are the San Marcos or Santo Toribio Pilgrimage festivities; the Candelas festivity celebrated on February 2; the Feria Chica or San Antolín (the later celebrated on September 2); Easter Week and Carnival are all festivities that welcome visitors.
Palencia has always been a crossroad to nearby attractions thanks to its strategic geographical location. In fact, its location has made Palencia an ideal link to other national and international destinations, making the city perfectly connected to other cities in central and northern Spain as well as Europe.
Palencia is only thirty minutes away from the Castile and Leon capital of Valladolid and has a constant flow of trains, including the AVE fast train. Palencia is also well connected by road having easy freeway access to other cities in the autonomous region and other nearby cities.
Palencia’s vast and rich cultural patrimony throughout the province has made possible the development of various touristic routes from the Palencia mountains (Montaña Palentina) or the Camino de Santiago, to ancient Roman Villas and Romanesque routes. This offering brings visitors a variety of choices that result in an unforgettable experience.
There are other pleasant ways for visitors to enjoy their time in Palencia. Besides parks and gardens throughout the city, there are open and relaxing natural surroundings where one can do sports, enjoy outdoor activities, relax or simply find other people of similar affinities. Some of these areas are parks such as Ribera Sur, Huertas del Obispo, El Sotillo, La Dársena del Canal (the Canal dock warehouse), and Eras de Santa Marina.
A couple of places in the city offer a privileged scenic view. One is the Otero hill, which offers a beautiful view of the city and is the location of the Christ Statue (El Cristo del Otero), designed by the famous sculptor from Palencia Victorio Macho. Another scenic viewpoint is the Casa Pequeña lookout, in Monte el Viejo, from where you can see the entire city and its outskirts. The well known Monte el Viejo is also a natural recreational space with sport courts, municipal outdoor swimming pools, a deer reserve and numerous hiking routes, and it represents a place for families and friends to have fun. Eight kilometers away from the city center, in Autilla de Campos, we find another scenic lookout with an impressive view of a large part of the province.
Palencia is relatively flat and it is easy to move around by bicycle or roller skates. Bike lanes throughout the city make biking a comfortable and relaxing way to get around.
When it is time to rest, travellers can enjoy sitting at restaurant terraces along pedestrian streets. Visitors can enjoy a variety of dishes from tapas to fast food or sit down meals, savoring everything from the most traditional dishes to the most avant-garde cuisine.
Palencia city, located in the southern part of the province offers a rich gastronomy. Some of the most renowned and typical dishes are Castilian soup (sopa castellana), vegetable stew (menestra palentina), roasted or baked lamb (lechazo asado or entreasado) and lamb chops (chuletillas de cordero), one of the most famous dishes of our cuisine.
Some typical products we find in the province are trout, snails (typical food to eat during the San Marcos and Santo Toribio festivities), crayfish from Herrera de Pisuerga and cheese.
As a showcase of the excellent products from Palencia, there is a food fair (Naturpal) every first weekend in October where artisans from the region sell their typical gastronomic products.
After enjoying a wonderful meal, we cannot forget to try desert. Some typical deserts are leche frita (fried custard), tocinillos de cielo (egg and caramel custard), hojuelas con miel (thin flaky cookie with honey) and rosquillas (ring shaped pastry). Just the thought of it makes me want to take the next AVE train to Palencia!
From your visit to Palencia you will want to take souvenirs and share the experience with those who are important to you. Beautiful photographed spots will remain as a memory of your journey and souvenirs such as artisan ceramics and exquisite sweets will travel back with you. Above all, you will take with you pleasant memories that will remind you to come back and visit us again.