Covarrubias is a Castilian medieval town with years of history. Here you can find a beautiful collegiate church, a medieval keep with a siege weapons museum, a monument to a Viking princess, beautiful houses of Castilian architecture, … and even a viking hermitage of the 21st century in honor of San Olav!
Covarrubias is a benchmark in quality rural tourism for a long time, not something now. He won the national award for the best restoration in 1978.
How to get to Covarrubias?
It’s easy to get to this beautiful medieval Castilian town, but it will take about 40 minutes from Burgos. You have 2 options:
- Most direct road: Take the Soria road (N-234) until you reach Cuevas de San Clemente village, where you must take the turnoff to Covarrubias (BU-901). They are 42 km long in total.
- Freeway (much of the road): It is not the shortest path, but it is the fastest and easiest (recommended with snow in winter). Drive from Burgos on the N-I towards Lerma (40 km). There, take the BU-904 road, which will take you directly to Covarrubias (23 km). If you come from the South of the province, such as from Aranda de Duero, this is the best option.
When to visit Covarrubias?
Although any time of the year is good, we recommend you visit Covarrubias in spring. In addition to having a pleasant temperature, several degrees more than in Burgos capital, it is at this time when the hundreds of cherry trees bloom in this beautiful medieval Castilian town. Quite a sight to behold!
What to see in this Castilian medieval town?
Park the car at the entrance of the town and go to the entrance arch to the old town. Walk on foot and enjoy calmly the beautiful monuments, streets and houses that you will find …
The first thing you will find will be the Puerta Real, where you will access the medieval village of Covarrubias. It is in this beautiful and majestic building where the writings associated with the Advancement of the Kingdom of Castile (territorial jurisdiction of a governor) were stored. Today it houses an exhibition hall and the Information and Tourism office.
Continuing the path, you will leave on the right the town hall square and several restaurants. Already on this street, you can see beautiful and old houses with the typical architecture of the Castilian medieval town: exposed wooden beams and white walls. You can even see the year of construction of some of them (1856!)
Going a little further, you will reach one of the most representative buildings in Covarrubias: the Fernán González´s keep. Built by this mythical count of Castile, this building served to defend the town, along with the walls and the river.
It is also known as Torreón de Doña Urraca since, according to legend, Count Fernán González had his daughter Doña Urraca locked up (other sources speak of sandwiching). The reason, his refusal to marry the prince his father chose. Medieval times …
Today it is a Museum of medieval weapons. If you like medieval history, the fortresses and the weapons that were used in the sieges, be sure to visit it.
In the square you can also enjoy the beautiful decoration of the houses, the result of the inhabitants’ commitment to tourist excellence. There is no corner of Covarrubias that has no special decoration!
Continuing along the side of this beautiful square you will see more typical medieval houses, with their well-preserved balconies and arcades. This one in particular is the house of Mrs Sancha, the wife of Count Fernán González. A historic building with a age of more than 500 years.
Even one of these houses has become an antique store with a multitude of curious objects, some of them true oddities. We couldn’t resist and bought some chestnut bark baskets . What a difference in quality to what you find elsewhere!
A little further on you have the famous collegiate church of San Cosme and San Damián. Its cloister, altarpieces, chapels and organ, which is still played, are wonders of another era. It also houses the mortal remains of illustrious people of the Kingdom of Castile: Count Fernán González, his wife Mrs Sancha, his daughter Doña Urraca, Princess Kristina of Norway,
And right in front of the collegiate church, the statue in honor of Princess Kristina of Norway. Married to the infant Carlos, son of Alfonso X the Wise, was buried at her death in the collegiate church of Covarrubias (her husband was responsible for the temple).
According to the legend, Princess Kristina put as a condition to marry that her husband built a chapel in honor of St. Olav, patron of Norway. This request was not fulfilled in life, but after his death.
But not a little later, but in 2011 a Viking-style hermitage was built on the outskirts of Covarrubias thanks to the collaboration of several entities: Junta de Castilla y León, Covarrubias City Hall and the Princesa Foundation Kristina from Norway Today it is managed and shown to the public by the non-profit brotherhood of San Olav (read more about the Viking Hermitage of San Olav).
By the way, it is such a well-kept town that even its wastebaskets are wonderful …
To end the visit to this beautiful medieval Castilian town, we continue through the area of the Arlanza River and the old city walls. We chose a random street and walked the road back to the car enjoying for the last time these beautiful streets and medieval houses.
Where to stay in this beautiful Castilian medieval town?
You have several traditional places in the same town (between 50 m. and 600 m. from the center of Covarrubias). However, if the accommodations are full, or there is none that catches your attention, you can stay in one of the nearby towns: Santo Domingo de Silos village (around 18 km), Lerma town (around 23 km) o Salas de los Infantes village (around 26 km). These villages have many places to visit and are close to Covarrubias.
You also have a camping on the outskirts of the village, in case you like this type of outdoor accommodation.
Where to eat in Covarrubias?
There are several restaurants in the villa, being the most classic for its gastronomic offer Casa Galín. They also have accommodation and a rural house within the villa.
If you want to take blood sausage, we recommend that you buy it in “Morcillas Milagros”(calle Dimas Camarero 4). They have a touch of anise that makes them delicious.
Events during the year in this medieval Castilian town
If you do not have any preference for dates, we recommend that you come to Covarrubias when the following activities are carried out:
- Cherry party: Medieval market celebrating the collection of cherries. In addition to cherries, you can buy artisan products of all kinds, such as bread, sweets and cakes. There are also magic activities, puppeteers, medieval costumes, falconry demonstrations, etc … It takes place in mid-July.
- Festivities: In Covarrubias they are carried out in honor of San Cosme and San Damián. Here you can enjoy different performances and activities throughout the villa. They take place on September 26 and 27.
- Pilgrimage of Saint Olav: Pilgrimage from Covarrubias to the Hermitage of San Olav. It takes place on July 29, day in honor of St. Olav.
- Slaughter of the pig: Demonstration of the traditional slaughter to make sausages, black pudding, hams, etc … It is usually held on the third weekend of January.
Other places to visit
- Santo Domingo de Silos village: It stands out for its Abbey of Benedictine monks, famous for their Gregorian chant. A well-kept town with buildings worth visiting, as is Covarrubias. It is located 18 km from Covarrubias.
- Gorge of La Yecla: Live a small adventure touring a natural canyon, but well conditioned for the visit. Here you can enjoy the magnificent tour and the fauna and flora of the place. It is 20 km from Covarrubias and 3 km from Santo Domingo de Silos village. (Read more about the gorge of La Yecla)
- Lerma town: Important town of Castilla at the beginning of the 17th century. It is famous for its impressive Doge’s Palace (nowadays a National Parador), as well as for the collegiate church of San Pedro, Monastery of the Ascension of Our Lord, … and its beautiful cobbled streets and Castilian houses. It is located in full national I 23 km from Covarrubias by the provincial road BU-904.
Covarrubias is a must see if you like to enjoy the history, art and tradition of a Castilian medieval town. Write it on your travel list and complement your visit with other beautiful villages of northern Burgos.
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Kiss and hugs.