Section 9 - Castile and León

Belorado - Burgos - 53Km

In Tosantos, you can admire the Church of San Esteban and the curious cave shrine of Our Lady of La Peña.

As we continue along the route, the landscape becomes more rolling due to the Montes de Oca mountain range, with valleys covered in dense vegetation and towns with traditional houses of great architectural value.

Villafranca –  Montes de Oca, at the foot of the mountains of the same name, will connect you to the history of the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago and the Visigoth era, when this town was an episcopal centre. Along the way, you’ll find the shrine of San Felices de Oca, of Mozarabic origin and an Asset of Cultural Interest.

Amid the thicket of the Montes de Oca, the important Monastery of San Juan de Ortega appears, a very interesting place to visit during this stage. Saint Juan de Ortega, who was responsible for the construction of a large number of bridges, inns and roadways to favour the pilgrimage, built the chapel of San Nicolás de Bari and later the Sanctuary of San Nicolás to protect travellers from highway robbers.

On the right side of the Route, we can pay an optional visit to Atapuerca. We recommend visiting the Atapuerca Archaeological Site, the ‘Rosetta Stone’ of human evolution, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. One of the world’s most important sites, it has led us to rethink the evolution of our species, offering a new vision of our ‘family tree’. Complement your visit to this unique place with a stop at the Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos, where findings from the site are exhibited.

After passing through Orbaneja, we arrive in Burgos, a city that preserves important vestiges of its medieval splendour. It boasts one of the greatest works of Spain’s Gothic period, its Cathedral, declared a World Heritage Site in 1984.
The Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago leaves its mark on Burgos on the street bordering the Cathedral and in many buildings that once served as pilgrim hospitals.

Burgos is well-connected and has a modern transportation network.

It is also the starting point of another great cycle tourism route in Spain: the Route of El Cid.

Points of Interest

  • This enclosed convent is run by Poor Clare nuns. It has coats of arms of the High Constables of Castile worked in different rooms as they gave it their protection. Its 16th-century Gothic church with its plateresque façade and an interesting main altarpiece in classicist baroque style can be visited, and chocolate sweetmeats made by the nuns can be bought from shops in the town.

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    Coordinates: 42.419496,-3.199088

  • This hospital dates from the 14th century. Behind its 15th to 16th century doorway a patio with remains from the 15th century can be seen. It was founded by Queen Juana Manuel of Castile in 1380 and was an important Jacobean institution; it has now been fully restored and is being used as a hostel for pilgrims.

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    Coordinates: 42.388627,-3.309908

  • This interior of this late 18th-century church contains an interesting baroque carving of the Apostle Santiago. It is noted for its cupola in La Rioja style that crowns the tower.

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  • In the 12th century San Juan de Ortega (Juan de Quintanaortuño), a disciple of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, devoted himself to repairing the roadway used by the pilgrims and founded the Monastery which today bears his name so as to take in travellers in the Montes de Oca. To this end he established a community of Regular Canons on the site where he was subsequently to be buried. This is borne out by a fine Romanesque sepulchre to which Isabel the Catholic added a mausoleum. A phenomenon of equinoctial light occurs twice a year to coincide with the spring and autumnal equinox; a beam of light enters through an ogive of one of the windows to light up little by little the Romanesque capital of the Annunciation.

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    Coordinates: 42.376421,-3.436714

  • We are talking about one of the most important archaeological and paleontological sites in the world as it has led us to rethink the evolution of our species to give a new vision to our family tree. Owing to all this Atapuerca was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997. Its deposits can be visited through the so-called Railway Trench in which various fossil sediments have been found; the "Abyss of the Elephant", the "Gallery Complex", and the "Great Doline" can be visited. Fossils of up to five different species which succeeded each other over time can be seen, of which the most important are Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis as they have allowed the documenting of a long and significant period of the sequence of human evolution in Europe.

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    Coordinates: 42.349682,-3.519608

  • The MEH holds the findings of the deposits of the Sierra de Atapuerca, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, with the aim of solving the mystery of the origin of man and his evolution. This exhibition and informative centre also explains not only the scientific disciplines involved but also the various interpretations and scientific theories so as to provide an overall view of human presence on earth and  to place these sites in the context of the new theories on human evolution.

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    Coordinates: 42.339651,-3.697280

  • The La Demanda Greenway is an amazing route along a trail which is practically intact and where the vegetation and the surroundings which saw the passage of the old trains continue to accompany the visitor. A large proportion of the route follows the course of the River Arlanzón; it starts at Monterrubio de la Demanda and ends in the village in the province of Burgos which bears the name of this river. The Uzquiza Reservoir is located in the vicinity and enriches the natural heritage of this greenway; it follows the route of an old mining train which stopped running in the 1950s.

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  • The production of Black Pudding from Burgos is historically related to the killing of pigs at home. In the 20th century Black Pudding from Burgos began to be produced in workrooms and factories in the traditional manner according to the recipes which have been passed down for generations. It has specific qualities which make it different from that of other areas of Spain; these are due to the use of horcal onion.

  • Vegetables have always been one of the main allies of the cooking of Burgos. Calderón de la Barca called the hotpot "the prince of stews". The dish takes its name from the pot in which it is prepared and is known for its filling ingredients: kidney beans from Ibeas and all conceivable products from the killing of the pig. It is a dish not to be missed when you visit Atapuerca and Ibeas de Juarros.

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Section 9

Belorado - Burgos - 53Km: 53

  • Elevation
  • Heritage