Hola Amigos! Stuart here from Spain Speaks. One of my fav cities in Spain is a little known city of only 65,000 people in the region of Castilla y Leon.
Ponferrada combines history, good quality of life, superb gastronomy and one of best and least known wine regions in Spain, El Bierzo.
La Faraona has 100 Parker Points, which says a lot of the quality of wine. It is a strong wine unlike a Rioja - full of flavour, tasty and available in every bar and restaurant here. There’s a lot to love about Ponferrada!
It is a manageable city, easy to get around in about 10/15 minutes on foot but you can also go everywhere and scooter or bike. It in is a beautiful setting, with surrounded by hills and mountains nearby.
A lovely river flows through the city, and although it is not for swimming it is very characteristic of this part of the world. Landlocked and surrounded by mountains, Ponferrada is great for outdoor activities, such as biking or hiking in the mountains.
A great day out could be getting out into the mountains for the day and coming back for a nice meal! Although it is in Castilla y Leon, there is a separatist movement within Leon as they want their own community.
Though they speak Leonese, Spanish and Gallego, you will mostly hear Castellano (Castillian Spanish).
Ponferrada’s pride and joy is a magnificent castle, but there are no shortage of monuments. The old part of town is very small, and you can walk it easily. Similar to the rest of the north, Ponferrada is situated in one of the best parts of Spain.
With a lot to see and do and filled with warm, friendly people and their great service, there is a great quality of life, with an easy-going “live and let live” attitude making for a wonderful experience. My first trip here was 30 years ago and I never get tired of it, despite its size there is a lot to do in the city and the surrounding area.
Out of the old part of town it is quite modern, with shopping districts filled with life in the summer months in particular. Though the winters are harsh, the summers are lovely. And it is no surprise Ponferrada is a destination for national tourism too, with its great local produce and regional cuisine.
On market day the town bustles, with fruit and veg vendors common but other great local varieties are available too. A standout is the local beans, typical of the cheap and cheerful mentality prevalent in the town. There is a great tapas culture here, regularly serving food free when you purchase drinks.
The wine shops or “vinotecas” are plentiful and are great places to pick up a bottle. They’ll be
happy to recommend!
Great food, people and wine makes Ponferrada a great place for an adventure. Do not skip it if you
are in this part of the world!