The region of Castilla y León (Castille and Leon), situated in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, is widely considered to be the birthplace of the Spanish language. In addition to its linguistic importance, Castilla y León also possesses an impressive artistic heritage that remains intact today, and is evident in its cities and towns, its streets and roads, and which comes together in perfect harmony in the region´s architecture and contemporary art. The cities are so beautiful that three of them have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Cities: Ávila, Salamanca and Segovia. Also worth to mention are the cultural paths that cross the region, famous roads that have been travelled since the dawn of time: el Camino de Santiago (the Road of Santiago), which covers more than three thousand kilometres and opened Castilla y León up to other cultures and ways of life; la Vía de la Plata (the Road of Silver), an ancient roman road that brings together unique customs, traditions, art and gastronomy; el Camino de la Lengua Castellana (the Road of the Spanish Language), which links four of the historic landmarks of the Castilian (Spanish) language: Santo Domingo de Silos, Valladolid, Salamanca and Ávila.
This region, so rich in monumental and cultural heritage, in beautiful and diverse countryside, in gastronomy and the hospitality of its people, is considered internationally as the ideal place to learn Spanish.
Avila is located only one hour from the capital of Spain, Madrid. City walls and fortifications, palaces, monasteries, convents and churches make up its rich artistic heritage, the result of a wealthy history in which all three of its cultures coexisted. Ávila is the city fortified with excellence. Each of the nine gates through the walls beckon the traveller to enter and explore the hidden corners of this medieval World Heritage City. Ávila is also a modern and contemporary city, open to all who come to delight in its tranquility and beauty.
The history of this city has always been linked to knowledge, the arts and the sciences due to its University, the oldest in Spain. Daily life is centred around the magnificent Plaza Mayor, meeting place for both young and old alike, and the focal point for local events. In its buildings and streets every artistic style is represented, from the medieval to the Baroque, which here has its own unique variation, "El Plateresco", cut from the typical sandstone of Villamayor, and which turns gold at sunset. For this reason Salamanca is known as the "Golden City". The fifty thousand students that study here give the city’s nights a vibrant and unbeatable atmosphere. Together with its many cinemas, which host important premieres, plays and variety of music concerts, this makes Salamanca one of Europe's most enticing cities.
Valladolid is the administrative centre of the autonomous region of Castilla y León. The city is well connected with Madrid, only 55 minutes away by high speed train. Valladolid conserves an important monumental heritage in its old quarter, especially aristocratic residences and religious buildings. Two annual events deserve special mention: "la Seminci", International Film Week, an unmissable date in the diary of the Spanish film industry, and "la Semana Santa", declared to be of International Tourist Interest (a designation given to certain festivals in Spain), during which processions displaying authentic Castilian religious art parade through the city. Some of the best vineyards and cellars of the Destination of Origin "Ribera del Duero": Vega Sicilia, Pesquera de Duero, etc. can be found in the province of Valladolid, and the Museo de Provincial del Vino (Provincial Wine Museum) in Peñafiel is one of the most important in Spain.