There’s something special about Christmas lights when traveling. It makes the discovery of far away places even more magical.
While the medieval city of Valladolid is always captivating, when decorated for Christmas it becomes even more enchanting.
In north-central Spain just one hour north of Madrid by train, Valladolid is an unknown gem. In 1469, the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon married here. Later, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Castile and ultimately the capital of united Spain.
The Plaza Mayor was the first great plaza in Spain and the model for others in Madrid and Salamanca among others.
During the holidays, the plaza becomes a winter market for gifts and treats like churros with warm chocolate for dipping and roasted castañas (chestnuts.)
Stretching across the city’s cobblestoned streets, illuminated decorations create a festive ambiance radiating outward from the plaza.
Each year, various belenes (Nativity Scenes) are on display throughout the city as a way to share the craftsmanship and history of these cultural traditions.
Many families visit the same belenes each year as part of their family’s holiday celebrations.
This belen, Belén Monumental, is on display in the Sala de Exposiciones de Las Francesas. Interestingly, its theme this year is based on the movie, Avatar.
As you wander through the illuminated streets, tapas await around every corner.
Fodor’s describes this Spanish region as:
…the “Tapas Capital of The World,” thanks in part to the success of the National and International Tapas Competition, which takes place in Valladolid during the first week of November every year. It’s a place that takes its food just as seriously as its wines…
In our opinion, La Tasquita at Calle Caridad 2, serves the city’s best calamari. Order it along with una clara (Spanish lager draft beer like Mahou mixed with carbonated water) and you won’t be disappointed!
More of our favorites to try are Los Zagales, Vinotinto, and La Taberna del Herrero.
While you’re in Valladolid for the holidays, we also recommend that you visit Manuel Iborra for their high quality turron. Almond and Yema Tostada flavors are our favorites. With their compact size, these make unique gifts to take back home as well!
For lighthearted insight into what exactly is turron and what are the most common flavors, we enjoyed reading this post: https://mrdach.com/what-is-turron-seriously-spain-i-need-to-know
To view more photos of the belenes (nativity scenes) visit this page.