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The medieval major towns

The Way of Saint James crosses El Bierzo from east to west for seventy kilometres. Throughout this interesting stretch, it is possible to find towns that were born as the result of medieval pilgrimages and that thanks to them achieved a magnificence which they are still proud of.


The capital of El Bierzo is at a crossroads between the Meseta (a plateau), Galicia and Asturias. The town, whose origins go back to the ancient times, is nowadays the commercial centre of this region.

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Main square
Its construction dates back from the 16th and 17th centuries. There we can also find the Town Hall, the Clock Tower, among other buildings of great interest.
Clock Tower Street
It runs from the main square Plaza del Ayuntamiento to the square Plaza de la Encina. There are several notable buildings in it, such as the convent of La Concepción and the prison of the town, today the Museum of El Bierzo
Basílica de la Encina
The square Plaza de la Encina was the town historic center. Nowadays it has been restored and preserves good porticoed houses. From this square, the most typical streets of the historic center depart, such as the Rañadero or the Paraisín. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Encina, patron saint of the region, keeps in its interior interesting altarpieces, such as the Mator of the pre-Churrigueresque style.
Templar castle
It is the symbol of Ponferrada. The current building is the heir of the former Templar castle, part of whose wall still stands.
 Barrios de Salas
Old village made up of three boroughs that keep a great monumental wealth and that nowadays belong to Ponferrada. Worthy of mention is the Church of San Martin, a Cultural Heritage Site from the 16th century, with Romanesque remains. Salas de los Barrios preserves a rich civil architecture of mansions of rural nobility, with large wineries and old wine cellars.


A medieval village heavily influenced by the Way of Saint James, with the parish Church of San Nicolás in the city centre, several hospitals and a stone cross at the exit of the town.

  It offers the visitor all its beauty and peace. In its restaurants and taverns, we can taste all the gastronomy from El Bierzo, paired with a good wine of the Qualified Designation of Origin Bierzo.

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Shrine of las Angustias
Built on a small 11th-century hermitage, the current building houses the carving of the Virgin of Las Angustias and a majestic neoclassical throne.
Medieval or Roman bridge
It crosses the Meruelo River. The masonry of the three oldest vaults (built in the structure of the bridge) suggests its Roman origin.
Real street
With traditional architecture and very well preserved noble emblazoned houses.


Located in the centre of the hoya berciana (the basin of El Bierzo), it lies along both banks of the Cúa River. The oldest data concerning its settlement dates back from the Paleolithic. Abundant remains of the Iron Age can still be found. It is currently a town that owes its prosperity to its farming activities, but mainly to its famous wines with the Qualified Designation of Origin Bierzo.

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Churches of Santa María de la Plaza and Santa María de la Edrada
 Hospitals of San Lázaro Santiago and Santa Catalina
Headquarters of the Regulatory Board of the Wines of El Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo

Its origins go back to the Early Middle Ages. It owes its name to the influence of the Franks who had their neighbourhood there and to the Monastery of Santa María de Cluniaco (Cluniac Reforms). It has an extraordinary monumental wealth.

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Calle del Agua
It has an impressive traditional architecture, manor houses and religious buildings from the 16th to 17th centuries. The palace of the Álvarez de Toledo, the one of Torquemada and the Convents of La Anunciada, of La Concepción and the one of San José stand out.
Castle - Palace
With a square floor plan, the building work started in 1514. Burned by the French in the Peninsular War, their remains were for years the prison of the town.
Church of Santiago
Romanesque building with a single nave and rectangular plan. Its northern door is known as "The door to Forgiveness (la puerta del Perdón)" that grants the jubilee indulgence without having to reach the Cathedral of Santiago to those sick people or who have suffered a serious accident during their pilgrimage.
Church of san Francisco
It was part of a disappeared Franciscan monastery. Gothic building of the mid-fifteenth century with two twin towers of the 17th century.
San Nicolás el Real
 FIt was a Jesuits school and nowadays it is a school of the Vincentians. It was founded in the 17th century.
La Colegiata
 It stands on the plot of Santa María de Cluniaco. The second Marquises of Villafranca in the first half of the 16th century boosted the construction.

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