Spreading through the provinces of Palencia, Valladolid, Leon and Burgos we find Tierra de Campos, an area known for its cereal production, wolves, birds of pray and Great Bustard populations, pigeon and cheese production and for its navigable Canal de Castilla, that covers 207km, among many other attractions.
Once populated by the Vacceo tribe, one of the oldest inhabitants in Iberia, the area was colonized by Romans and later by Gothics from whom the area takes its name: Campos Goticos. It later became the battle field between the Kingdoms of Leon and Castilla before the Catholic Monarchs unified the country in the 15th century.
Talk about an undiscovered area of Spain located about an hour away from either Valladolid, Palencia where lots of hidden treasures await you. This is the kind of region you have to put some love and effort into getting to know.
Some of the historic vestiges include the Roman bridge at Valderaduey or the remaining rollos or justice columns at Villalon de Campos, Mayorga or Aguilar de Campos to name a few. These were used by local landlords to apply justice in the name of the King. They were banned later on but locals have kept them as a tribute to history.
In regards to their medieval jewels, the Church of San Miguel in Villalon de Campos is a good example, built in brick, following the original Spanish Mudejar arabic style with Gothic elements. Also the church of San Justo y Pastor, boasting an amazing mudejar wooden ceiling in the village of Cuenca de Campos, is another wonder that deserve special attention.
No region of Spain is deprived of great culinary delights and traditions. This area is no exception. From its Lechazo or suckling lamb, its amazing legumes like the lentils or garbanzo beans, the delicious pigeon or their grilled version of the Castillian soup or their Pata de Mulo sheep cheese, all will satisfy the most demanding palats.
Pigeon growers are well known here. This practice goes back centuries and provides a delicacy to eat like in the old days, with your hands. This is not just your average park pigeon, it is a very special one and these tiny birds remain very tender as they have not taken any flights yet. The time of the year to try them is Summer.
Stop by Restaurant La Tata in Cuenca de Campos, where Goyo knows its secrets and produces some of the regions best dishes. This village is well known for its Pigeon houses or Palomares, where they grow them.
The cheese Pata de Mulo is one of the varieties of cheese you find in the area. Villalon de Campos is where this fresh cheese is produced. Like with other Spanish cheeses, this one goes particularly well with quince jelly or membrillo.
Museum lovers also have their choice here. The Bread museum provides an ambitious display and illustration of how they make the world famous Castille bread. You also have the museums of the shoes and the cheese, both in Villalon de Campos or the thematic visitor centers dedicated to hunting, old harvest machinery, etc.
If you are touring Castilla Leon region, spend at least one night in Villalon de Campos or nearby and try to enjoy some of its attractions. A good time to go is in Spring and Fall, and especially for its Festivities like the El Vitor, where locals go on a procession with burning pig wine skins or the Holy week in Cuenca de Campos.The area offers some friendly and rustic accommodations like:
- Hotel “Venta del Alón” de Villalón de Campos.
- Centro de Turismo Rural “La Quinta del Canal” en Tamariz de Campos
- Casa Rural “El Encuentro” de Villalón de Campos. Very nicely restored old farm house offering laugh therapy classes and other treatments.
- CTR “Bodega La Tata” en Cuenca de Campos.
- CTR “El Rincón de Doña Inés” en Villanueva de la Condesa
- CTR La Huerta Mantilla
To enjoy the local home made food try:
CTR “Bodega La Tata” en Cuenca de Campos for their pigeon in summer months or their delicious meat and legumes, especially the Cocido. CTR La Huerta Mantilla also offers very unique local cuisine including their lentils and lechazo tiny stewed lambs. Last, in Villalon, Restaurante Peña de Villalón de Campos is great for lamb, Castilian soup or other local specialties.
I hope these tips will facilitate your discovery of this hidden region of Northern Castilla. If, on the contrary, you rather have an Spain travel expert plan your trip or guide you around the area, contact me at email@example.com