wice Spain’s capital city and seat of government in days gone by, Valladolid is now something of an industrial powerhouse in the north-central area of the country. It is situated on the Pisuerga River 200 kilometres north west of Madrid and is the capital of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon, Spain’s largest division, and so is part of Castile’s famed historical region. Nicknamed Pucela by some, the city also falls in the wine-making Ribera del Duero region and its climate ensures an extremely hot summer followed by a particularly cold winter. Due to much recent urban growth Valladolid has a population of more than 320,000 while in its wider urban area it is thought there are something like 400,000 inhabitants. Its reputation as an industrial city conjures up images of a noisy and polluted city, and although this is true, it has a number of special places of interest, including various monuments and religious buildings, as well as museums and other leisure and cultural activities. Rather strangely it even has an unfinished cathedral (link to attractions). Valladolid plays host to one of the world’s oldest film festivals each October, Seminci, which sees approximately 80,000 visitors come to the city to catch a glimpse of the big names and latest film stars. The eighth century Moorish conquest of the Iberian Peninsula didn’t leave Valladolid untouched and the then small village had to wait until the 10th century before it regained its freedom. The village grew from then on and was enhanced no end by Count Pedro Ansurez until his death in the early 12th century. Giving some idea as to its growing role as a prestigious Spanish city, from the 13th century onwards Valladolid attracted a number of high profile guests, not least Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon who married there in 1469. Also in this century Valladolid became the official residence of the Kings of Castile and indeed remained as the country’s capital until 1561. During this time Christopher Columbus lived in the city and his life even came to an end there in 1506; there is a museum to commemorate the house in which he died. It was King Philip II who decided to move the seat of government away from Valladolid and to Madrid, although it was brought back to the north 40 years later by his son Philip III. It enjoyed only a short stint as capital this time round however, authority being transferred back to Madrid just five years later. There are still a number of monuments and buildings that exist from this time bringing a certain cultural importance and sense of occasion to the city. It is also home to the former house of writer Cervantes who dreamt up the famous Don Quixote character. More recently, following the civil war that blighted the country during the early years of General Franco’s reign, there was a period of growth and an outbreak of industrial development. Today it is produces the likes of cars, flour and ironware in abundance. As well as its film festival, its links to author Cervantes and its position as the former seat of government, Valladolid is also famous for its Easter week processions. In fact, Semana Santa has proven such a draw that it was made an official International Tourist interest. Holy Week is a time of much activity in the city which culminates in the passion procession where 31 16th and 17th century sculptures are paraded through the streets in imitation of the final events before Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Valladolid is also home to Spain’s second oldest university (after Salamanca) which began life in the 13th century. It joins other features of the city, such as the Church of Santa Maria la Antigua, Plaza Mayor, Valladolid Castle and the Royal Palace as impressive insights into the city’s past. There are also museums such as the National Sculpture Museum and the Science Museum which provide all important insights at the heart of this fascinating city
By Air Valladolid airport is 15 minutes from the city center. There's a daily bus shuttle to the city at 5:15AM, 4:15PM and 7:20PM. Timetable changes at weekends and holidays. Air France offers direct flights to Valladolid from Paris. Iberia offers direct flights to Valladolid from Barcelona and Malaga By Bus Ryanair offers direct flights to Valladolid from London Stansted, Milano Bergamo and Brussels Charleroi. . Also provides a regular bus line from Madrid. Fares are similar to rail By Train The most common way to reach Valladolid by train is from Madrid . There is a high speed Spanish train AVE that connect Madrid and Valladolid (200 km) in less than an hour. Purchasing the ticket by Internet in advance (at least 15 days). There are train connections to other places.