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Discover the Monasterio de las Huelgas in Burgos

By Asiel Sánchez |

The Monasterio de las Huelgas in Burgos is one of the most representative attractions in Spain. Visit this incredible monastery.

Are you traveling to Spain? Do you want to visit a place that’s totally out of the ordinary? DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, knows that travelers like you enjoy attractions that are rich in history, art and architecture. Spain has lots of them. The Cathedral of Seville, the Royal Chapel of Granada and the Alhambra are just a few examples. This time, we suggest you visit one of the most important historical centers in Spain: the Monasterio de las Huelgas (Abbey of Santa María la Real de las Huelgas).

Abbey of Santa María la Real de las Huelgas

This monastery is located west of downtown Burgos, in the region of Castile, only a few kilometers away from the Arlazón River. The name of Santa Maria is due to the fact that the monastery was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It’s also known as Monasterio de las Huelgas referring to the meadows that were once worked by peasants. “Huelgas” were places located away from busy settlements.

Today, the Monasterio de las Huelgas is famous for its history and because it was declared Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931. It currently belongs to the National Artistic Treasure of Spain. Keep reading to find out why.

History of the Monasterio de las Huelgas 

The monastery is very old. Its construction was ordered by the royal couple Alfonso VIII of Castile and Leonor Plantagenet of England in 1185. It was inaugurated in 1187. Since its foundation it has been inhabited by nuns of the Cistercian order. Although many centuries have passed, the construction and its religious community remain, demonstrating the mastery of its builders and the faith of its devotees.

It was Pope Clement III who authorized the foundation and consecration of the Cistercian female monastery. Today, we know the monastery was built because the king and queen wanted to found a Royal Burial. They wished to have a place where they and their descendants could rest in peace. In your visit, you can see some of the royal mausoleums.

Something that makes the Monasterio de las Huelgas unique is that it continues to be home of the enclosed order of nuns, who don’t have any contact whatsoever with the tourists. Therefore, there are very specific visiting hours.

Characteristics of the Monasterio de las Huelgas

You’ll see love at first sight is possible when you visit the Monasterio de las Huelgas. Its marvelous architecture is wide and complex, and from outside it looks like a walled fortress of unparalleled beauty. One of the most beautiful spaces is the Romanesque cloister, located near the main courtyard. Another must-see is the church, which follows the Cistercian construction model with three elongated naves. Take advantage of the fabulous natural lighting to take pictures of the architecture. Consider that the best time of the year to make fantastic shots is spring.

The main altarpiece of the temple dates back to the eight century. It has an image of the Assumption and beautiful decorative elements such numerous musical angels. Enjoy the calm atmosphere of the interior. Don’t leave before seeing the southern wall, where you’ll find an original Baroque organ.

How to Get to the Monasterio de las Huelgas?

The exact address of the Monasterio de las Huelgas is Los Compases s/n, Burgos, on the A-I Madrid-Burgos road. The best way to get to Burgos is by train. Take the Madrid-Burgos train of the Regional Line, get off in Chamartín station. However, you can also take the bus Line 7 and get off at the Monasterio de las Huelgas.

Visiting Hours of the Monasterio de las Huelgas

The visiting hours are from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 14:00 h and from 4:00 to 18:30 h. Remember that the schedule changes on Sundays and on holidays to 10:30 to 15:00 h. We recommend arriving early because in order to access the Monastery you have to purchase your tickets an hour before your visit. If you prefer, you can reserve your access online.

What to Do in Burgos, Spain? 

Visiting the Monasterio de las Huelgas will take you a couple hours, but when you finish you can visit nearby attractions. If you feel hungry, you can eat in one of the local restaurants whose specialty is fish and dry vermouth, a beverage prepared with spices such as cinnamon.

Burgos’ Castle

Another place worth visiting is the Castle of Burgos with its medieval walls and streets dedicated to illustrious poets. Choose one of the authors you discover during your walk and then buy a book as a souvenir at the bookstores located near the University of Burgos.

Cathedral of Burgos 

You can’t leave the city without visiting the Cathedral of Burgos. This magnificent building was listed as a World Heritage Site and it’s one of the best samples of Gothic art in Europe.

Burgos’ Museum of Human Evolution (MHE)

Stay an additional day in Burgos and visit the Museum of Human Evolution (MHE), which is located on Paseo de la Sierra of Atapuerca, on the riverbank of the Arlanzón River. Its permanent exhibition helps understand our evolution since the first hominids appeared on Earth. Enjoy the visit by downloading the museum application here: Android or IOS.

Atapuerca Archeological Site

Finally, complement your stay in Burgos and add a tour to the prehistoric archaeological site of Atapuerca, a great wonder!

Now you know more about the Monasterio de las Huelgas in Burgos, don’t hesitate to visit it. There’s a lot to see in the Spanish city of Burgos. Are you ready to discover it? Don’t forget to pack your camera and your best photos with us.