Covarrubias (Burgos)

  • Arlanza valley, going to Covarrubias / ALC
  • Arlanza river bank. Village of Covarrubias, in the province of Burgos / ALC
  • Coming into the village of Covarubias, province of Burgos / ALC.
  • The building of the Castile Archive (16th century), where Philip II's coat of arms can be seen on the façade. Covarrubias, Burgos / ALC
  • The village of Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC
  • Traditional construction with adobe bricks in the village of Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC
  • Collegiate church of San Cosme y San Damián un the village of Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC
  • Statue of Kristina, princess of Norway (13th century) in Covarrubias, Burgos / ALC
  • Arlanza river as it flows across the village of Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC
  • Arlanza river. Covarrubias, Burgos / ALC
  • Wall town of Covarrubias, Burgos / ALC
  • Tower of Doña Urraca or Fernán González in the village of Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC
  • Covarrubias main square. Province of Burgos / ALC
  • Take it easy, you´re in the Way of el Cid / ALC.
  • Órgano de la iglesia de Santo Tomás. Covarrubias, Burgos / ALC
  • Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC
  • Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC.
  • Tower of Fernán González or tower of Doña Urraca (10th century). Covarrubias, Burgos / ALC
  • Pillory of Covarrubias, province of Burgos / ALC
  • Monastery of  San Pedro de Arlanza, Burgos / ALC
  • Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza, Burgos. Panoramic view / ALC
  • El río Arlanza, entre Hortigüela y Covarrubias, Burgos / ALC
  • The hermitage of San Pelayo, next to the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza, Burgos / ALC

To get into Covarrubias is to immerse in the deepest history of Castile. Its location, on the banks of the Arlanza river and in the valley of the same name, has enabled its settlement since pre-Roman times. Even when its present look is later in time, in the Early Middle Ages Covarrubias acquired the identity that today distinguish it as one of the most charismatic villages within the province of Burgos. This is possible largely because it was an outpost in the Castilian forefront against the Caliphate, and also because of of its connection with the Castilian Count Fernán González (10th century).

Fernán González is one of the great figures, both historical and legendary, of Castilian history, closely bound to the origins of the at the time unborn kingdom of Castile. The relation of Fernán González with the village would be prolonged in its offspring. His son Garcí Fernández, founded in 972 the Infantado de Covarrubias.

According to scholars, as located in a strategic place between Burgos and Silos,  it is very likely that el Cid passed through Covarrubias and sighted the walls of the town from the Arlanzón river, as travelers use to do today.


What you can see and do in Covarrubias

Covarrubias is a medieval town of great tourist and cultural interest. Both its historical buildings and the medieval town centres are very evocative for travellers, who we recommend should enter the town under the Arch of the Archive of the Advance of Castile (16th century) in the style of the architect Herrero.

The Arch leads to the Square of Doña Urraca, the centre of the town, and from there to the Tower of Fernán González, also called the Tower of Doña Urraca, dating from the 10th century. It is a watchtower and defensive fortress close to the River Arlanzón. Its shape like a truncated cone and impressive silhouette give an idea of the importance of Covarrubias as an advance post in the Early Middle Ages.

The ex-Collegiate of St Cosme and St Damian is nearby. This is a mainly Gothic 15th century church which is worth visiting as numerous surprises can be seen inside: the cloisters, the famous 17th century Covarrubias organ, which is still in working order, the sepulchre of Fernán González, and the impressive parish museum with a large number of religious art objects, particularly the Triptych of the Wise Men, a polychrome carving from the late 15th or early 16th centuries.

From the collegiate, visitors can take the promenade of La Solana, parallel to the course of the river and the old walls, which were demolished in the 16th century on the orders of the personal physician pf King Philip II, the ‘divine’ Valles, so that the wind would sweep clean the streets of the town, which was beset by the plague. From there, you can cross some streets and small squares to the 15th century Church of St Thomas, built on an earlier Romanesque one of which some remains are preserved in one of its naves and in the font, which is Romanesque, like that of the neighbouring Mecerreyes. However, the most striking attraction is the stairs to the balcony, in a plateresque style.

From St Thomas’s Church, travellers can return to the Square of Doña Urraca to get their strength back in one of the town’s restaurant, specialised in Castilian dishes: olla podrida, roast lamb and home-made desserts based on fruit and cream.


You also should not miss

  • Strolling round the streets. Memories of the Middle Ages are visible in the narrow streets of Covarrubias and in the small squares with porches, which were used for markets and meetings of the inhabitants. Most buildings in the old centre conserve the traditional building style based on adobe and timberwork.
  • The ex-collegiate is another of the great attractions of Covarrubias and lovers of Gothic art will find many reasons to visit it. Equally, if you’re interested in the history of the foundation of Castile, it is one of the places you cannot miss because the tombs of Fernán González and some of his descendants are inside. The sarcophagi are very simple and not very flamboyant, but their interest does not lie in what visitors see but in their capacity to evoke the past.
  • The Monastery of St Peter in Arlanza. 7km from Covarrubias, along a winding road that climbs into the Mamblas Mountains, among thick forests of oak, Spanish juniper and holm oak, the Monastery of Arlanza was possibly founded in the late 9th or early 10th centuries under the protection of the father of Fernán González. Although it is now in a state of semi-ruin, its Romanesque foundations are still evident even if the Gothic and Herrerian styles prevail. This is one of the monasteries from the foundation of Castile; and its location in lovely scenery next to the River Arlanza and the centuries of history accumulated in its walls fully justify a visit.

Rev.: JGG 16.09.21

Useful information

Rev. ALC: 23.07.18