In its heyday during the 13th through 16th centuries, Valladolid was an epicenter of Spanish culture and life. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand got married here in 1469, and multiple philosophers and saints came to teach at local institutes of higher learning. Today, the city has evolved into an economic hub known for its modern, industrial buildings and nightlife. While a limited number of historic monuments remain in Valladolid, there are enough to convince travellers to spend a few nights before moving on through the rest of northern Spain.
Valladolid retains a unique Spanish character – helped by a select group of architecturally significant landmarks. Among them, the Museo Nacional de Escultura stands out for its ornate Gothic facade and interior collection of sculptures dating back to the Middle Ages. The Iglesia de San Pablo, a church and former convent built during the 1600s, is an excellent example of Isabelline Gothic architecture, while the 15th-century Palacio de Santa Cruz is indicative of the Early Renaissance. A visit to Valladolid is not complete without seeing the Plaza Mayor, the city's central square surrounded by arcaded porches, narrow streets and monuments including the Town Hall.
When in Valladolid, it's worth spending an hour or two discovering Casa de Cervantes – the 16th-century house where Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes lived when his seminal work, 'Don Quixote', was published in 1605. After some sightseeing, the verdant Campo Grande offers a sunny, green space for a picnic or simple relaxation.