“They have very good houses and live very comfortably, and they are the most courteous people I have come across in Spain.” Andrés Navagero, 1526.
This Venetian traveller’s comment on 16th-century Burgos could equally apply today to the city where courtesy and courtliness still rule the roost. Formerly an important and prosperous trading town, Burgos achieved infamy as the seat of Franco’s Civil War junta and is still a sober and reactionary town, the heartland of Castilian conservatism. But Burgos is far from being stuck in the past; a committed program of inserting cycleways along every major road is ahead of its time in Castilla, and the new S-4 urbanization project has turned heads in the architecture world.
Burgos’s collection of superb Gothic buildings and sculpture, as well as its position on the Camino de Santiago, make it a popular destination, but the city copes well with the summer influx. Just don’t come for gentle spring sunshine; Burgos is known throughout Spain as a chilly city, epitome of the saying ‘nueve meses de invierno, tres meses de infierno’ (nine months of winter, three months of hell). The chills can be banished with the traditionally hearty local cuisine.
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