This adorable town northwest of Madrid has great energy, probably the result of the University students who populate the town and can be seen everywhere. The city center seems designed for walking and there are numerous places along the way to stop and rest or people-watch.
My walking tour begins in the southern part of the centro, at the Puerta de San Pablo. Follow Calle de San Pablo north to find the Convento de las Duenas, on the right. Check out its cloister for some interesting carvings on the capitals. Ahead on the right as you continue northward is the Plaza de Colon, an attractive square with a 15th century tower, the Torre del Clavero at its northern end. Note the mudejar architecture. Back on Calle de San Pablo, just a bit further on the left is the Palacio de Fonseca, which dates to 1538.
Then continue north to the city’s masterpiece, the Plaza Mayor. It is spectacular, rivalling Madrid’s main square for elegance and size. Wander around the square and be sure to spend some time sitting at an outdoor cafe, relaxing and checking out the passers-by.
When you leave the square, exit at the southwestern corner and come upon another square, Plaza del Corrillo. Here you will find the Iglesia de San Martin, one of the city’s many churches. From the square continue south on the Rua Mayor to the Casa de las Conchas, easily noticeable because of the sculpted scallop shells which adorn its facade.
If time permits, turn right at the Cass and detour back northward along Calle de la Compania to see the Palacio de Monterrey, a Renaissance palace on the left. Then return to the Case de las Conchas and resume the walk.
Further south, as you reach a large square, the University is on the right and ahead on the left are the Old and New Cathedrals, side-by-side and connected. The New Cathedral is first travelling south. Check out the interiors of both; the altarpiece of the Old Cathedral is particularly noteworthy.
Continue south the edge of the city center where you began and then look to the right. Spanning the Rio Tormes is the Roman Bridge which was built in the 1st century AD. Fifteen (15) of its original arches are still intact.