Two days in Villafranca del Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo, on the Camino de Santiago, is a wonderfully peaceful little town in the hills in the East of Léon in Northern Spain. If you only have two days in the town then do see these sights.

The Church of Santiago is where the Camino enters the town on the way to Santiago. And it is here that Pilgrims could be pardoned if they were too ill to continue to Santiago.

Villafranca del Bierzo on the Camino de Santiago
The Church of Santiago in Villafranca del Bierzo

Just down the road is the Castle of the Counts of Villafranca and you can easily access both from the Parador. Just walk up the old, walled road from the Parador. The building is not open to the public.

Villafranca del Bierzo on the Camino de Santiago
The old walled road leading to the Castle
Villafranca del Bierzo on the Camino de Santiago
The Castle in Villafranca

Wander down the Calle del Agua, which is probably the original route of the Camino de Santiago. The street is lined with grand houses which have huge crests over the big entry doors.

Pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago
A pilgrim in the Calle del Agua

At this point you will probably need some refreshment so head for the Plaza Mayor where you will find lots of pilgrims, local people, and very few tourists. If you are lucky it will be market day and you will see octopus bars!

Villafranca del Bierzo on the Camino de Santiago
The Plaza Mayor in Villafranca

The Alameda Gardens are just a few minutes’ walk away and lovely to wander through. On a hot day there are plenty of plane trees which shade the walkways around the gardens.

Villafranca del Bierzo on the Camino de Santiago
The plan tree walkway around the Alameda Gardens
Villafranca del Bierzo on the Camino de Santiago
The Alameda Gardens

And on your second day you need to visit Las Médulas, an extraordinary World Heritage Site of devastation created by Roman gold mining.

Las Medulas
Las Medulas
Las Medulas
Las Medulas

This was all I managed but there is so much more to see and do if you stay for longer! We should have visited the Monastery of Carrecedos, it would have been good to get inside more of the churches in the town. I would have liked to visit the Convent of La Anunciada, and it would be fascinating to visit the Natural Park of the Sierra da Enciña da Lastra. Next time!