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A Guide to the Best Things to do in Burgos, Spain

Last Updated on 2nd March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

Burgos is a sunny city in Northern Spain that’s incredibly historic and has several architectural monuments that are world famous. Here’s your guide to the best things to do in Burgos, as well as travel tips and things to know before visiting!

Constable Chapel, Burgos Cathedral, Northern Spain

What is Burgos known for?

Burgos is most-famous for its stunning cathedral, which is constructed in the Gothic style. Burgos is also one of the larger cities on the route of the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrim route in Northern Spain.

Historic Burgos is also the capital of Castile and lies at the confluence of Arlanzón river tributaries. For more Spain inspiration, be sure to check out our top Spain quotes. Otherwise, be sure to read out one week in Northern Spain and Portugal itinerary to help plan your trip!

One week in Northern Spain and Portugal Itinerary: A complete guide to seven days in Western Europe!

Best things to do in Burgos

Burgos Cathedral

Hands down, the most important (and easily most beautiful) monument in Burgos is that of the fantastic Burgos cathedral.

Constructed in the Gothic style and boasting no fewer than 38 altarpieces, countless chapels, ornate religious imagery, and of course, being the final resting place of the legendary El Cïd, there are few reasons why you wouldn’t want to visit Burgos Cathedral on your next trip to Spain!

The cathedral was constructed in the 13th-century, though later architectural additions mean that the church is now a beautiful blend of various styles. One of the more striking features of Burgos Cathedral are the Gothic twin towers, which are reminiscent of those of Notre Dame in Paris.

Today, Burgos Cathedral is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The cathedral is open on a daily basis, though you’ll have to pay a fee to enter. As of 2022, an individual full-priced ticket starts from €9.

Burgos Cathedral exterior details in Spain

Paseo del Espolón

Picture perfect plane trees line the predominantly pedestrian pathway that follows the course of the historic city walls. Dotted with benches and several cafés, this stunning walkway is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city, and offers some of the best views of the river to be found anywhere in town.

Plaza Santa María

Directly outside of the cathedral, one of the best views to enjoy the two towers that the Cathedral is so famous for (and were inspired by the Paris Cathedral and Reims Cathedral) is Plaza Santa María, which is a little square directly off the main town square of Burgos.

One particular highlight of the Saint Mary Square is Fuente de Santa María (fountain). This ornate water feature is thought to be the oldest in Burgos and could date back as early as 1395. The last significant repair of the fountain occurred in the 1990s.

Plaza Mayor (Burgos Main Square)

One of the most bustling parts of town is the main town square, where weary pilgrims can be found scattered outside cafés and eateries. I highly recommend sitting here, if only for an hour or som t

A particularly popular drink in the summer months in Spain is Tinto de Verano, which is a blend of lemonade and wine served over ice. Buying tapas to go along with your drinks is also a popular Spanish tradition.

View of Burgos Cathedral in Spain

Arca de Santa María

Heralding the entrance to the ancient city of Burgos, a picturesque city on the ancient route of the Camino, the Arco de Santa María truly is a must-see while on any jaunt through the city. And not just because this is one of a former set of twelve entranceways that would have marked the beginning of ancient Burgos…

Arco de Santa María: The Medieval Gateway to Burgos in Northern Spain, Europe

Puente de Santa Marí

If you arrive in Burgos by car, then chances are that you’ll be parking up outside of the historic city centre (after all, the historic district of the Northern Spanish city is mostly car-free!) As such, your first historic monument in Burgos will be that of the Saint Mary bridge. Though there has been a bridge on-site for many centuries, that which you can stroll across today dates back to the 18th-century.

Puente de Santa Marí

Museum of Human Evolution

One of the few museums in Burgos is that of Museum of Human Evolution, which is known as the Evolucion de la Evolución Humana in Spanish. The building where the museum is housed is a modern glass affair, which was designed by Juan Navarro Baldeweg.

The museum collections subsist of archaeological finds from the Atapuerca mountain range, which in total comprise of over 200 fossils. As of 2022, an adult full-price ticket starts at €6.

Burgos Museum

Yet another museum in Burgos that’s worth checking out is the Burgos Museum, which details the history of the town and its surrounding area, as well as the Castile-León region. As well as exhibitions detailing prehistory, there is also a fine arts section which showcases art created in Burgos and the nearby region.

Mirador del Castillo

Those in search of an amazing view of Burgos need to look no further than the Mirador del Castillo, which is an observation deck offering stunning vistas onto the city below and towards the mountains beyond.

The viewpoint can be enjoyed by visiting via car or alternatively hiking up a number of steps. If you choose to walk up, just be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. Free to visit, there are various plaques at the top which detail a little of the history of Burgos, as well as the buildings which you’re looking at.

Mirador del Castillo

Castillo de Burgos (Burgos Castle)

One of the most historic buildings in the Spanish city is the ruins of Burgos Castle, which stands at 75 metres above the city. People have inhabited the hill where the castle ruins now lie since prehistory.

This being said, there has only been a castle on site since 884, when the city of Burgos was founded by count Diego Porcelos. Used by Napoleonic troops during the war of independence, the castle was blown up during a siege in 1813 and has lain in ruins ever since.

burgos castle

Monasterio de las Huelgas

Yet another ecclesiastical building that’s well worth checking out while in Burgos is the Monasterio de las Huelgas, which is known as The Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in English.

The Abbey is actually located on the fringes of Burgos (1.5 km from Burgos to be precise). The ecclesiastical complex was founded in the 7th-century and was once so powerful that it was in direct contact with the Pope in Vatican City. Today, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the Monastery in Spanish.

Monasterio de las Huelgas

Take a day trip to Santo Domingo de Silos

A smaller and more tranquil town a short drive away from Burgos is Santo Domingo de Silos. From discovering a historic monastery to wandering around the rolling hills which surround the buttery-stone town, Santo Domingo de Silos is best explored over the course of a few hours.

Hands down, the most important building in the village is the Benedictine monastery around which the rest of the town is built. The Monastery dates all the way back to the 7th-century (i.e. the Visigothic period) and can today be visited for a fee.

Main town square & town hall in Santo Domingo de Silos

What to wear when exploring Europe

In the summer, you can’t go wrong by pairing a cute midi dress with classic white tennis shoes for a laid-back smart casual look that’s just as chic for walking around a city’s cobbled lanes as it is for wandering coastal paths. I love this dress and have it in several colour ways. In terms of tennis shoes, this is my go-to shoe.

When it comes to winter in Europe, most places (with the exception of a few islands) can get pretty cold and so warm layers is a must. I find that cute ankle boots like these ones are the perfect mix of practical meets cute.

Shoulder seasons (spring and summer) in Europe tend to come with a mix of rainy and sunny days and so, again, layers are a must. Trench coats and sneakers are the best uniform to explore the continent in.

Finally, a cross-body bag like these ones is a must. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility. As well as being convenient and compact, it’s one of the safest ways to transport your valuables, all the while looking chic. I also recommend bringing along a travel adapter like this one so you can charge all of your electronics during your stay!

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Best of Burgos Spain Europe/ A Guide to the Best Things to do in Burgos, Spain

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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