Burgos: Description and History

Burgos CatedralBurgos, two hours north of Madrid, is known as a center of Spanish tradition.

Home to one of Europe’s most beautiful Gothic cathedrals, Burgos was and continues to be an important stop on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route  that has been in existence for over one thousand years and that spans the width of Northern Spain. Burgos is also famous in literature as the birthplace of El Cid. To this day, Burgos retains many of the customs of provincial Spanish life.


Please see “Useful Links” for more information on Burgos History, Tourism, Arts, and Culture.

Keeping with the tradition of mixing the modern and the medieval, Burgos boasts the most comprehensive wireless internet networks in all of Spain.  Free to the city’s residents, the public wi-fi allows you to read your e-mail while admiring the splendor of the Cathedral, doing your homework while sitting on the terrace of a café in Plaza Mayor, or even updating your Facebook on a bench in front of the Arco de Santa María.


A view of the Catedral from the Castillo    Burgos gate muralla   Burgos church


9Burgos is a vortex of modern and medieval. Every time you turn a corner you find a new church or 800-year-old wall, but under it might be a cool bar, bakery, or bookstore. Hipsters, punks, and families with small children bustle around in the shadow of the cathedral and stone archways that haven’t moved for centuries. Since it’s not a huge international city like Madrid, it’s very easy to get to know the locals and be immersed in Spanish language and culture. Surprising things for me were the amount of green space outside the city (besides casually sporting a ninth-century castle it boasts a hill full of hiking trails leading up to it), the hopping bar culture, and the large number of local festivals and celebrations in the spring. There’s also a strong sense of political and environmental activism. Ample bike lanes. Historic statues and architecture. Good ice cream. A gorgeous baroque theatre. And every day someone, somewhere, is playing the accordion in the street. Some of my favorite activities were running beside the river, sitting in the sunshine in the Plaza Mayor with tapas or coffee, and set out to explore with no plan other than to see what was going on that day.” Meg Boeni (2015)