Mountain Castles: Puebla de Sanabria, Cornatel and Ponferrada.

Around these three castles you will not only find history, you can also enjoy mountain landscapes.
In both foothills included in the mountains of León, these forts give you the variety of the seasons provided by their shared forest diversity: pines, oaks, chestnuts and fruit trees.

Spring envelopes the landscape with greenish tones, yellows turn around the overcrowding summer, autumn gives the harvest and finally the changing winter with its intermittent snowfalls.

In additon of these, fluvial beaches and bathing places contrast with frozen lagoons in a wide thermal range all around different seasons.

Hiking is the activity more demanded and allows most to contemplate the landscape but nowdays is growing up birthwatching as a mountain areas are. The cultural tourism activities in the castles innovate in its dynamic offer with dramatized visits, concerts, children's events and various workshops.

The gastronomic mycological events and in relationship with tasting of chestnuts are a real claim to attract visitors to these mountain castles and their surroundings.

Several restaurants offer specialized meals with local products in additon of that small producers market gives visitors the opportunity to buy them.

To go along this proposal of traveling you must take a car and, of course, having no hurries. The winding roads offer marvellous stops to enjoy the landscape and this is the perfect cause to continue.

Dont forget stay more than one day to enjoy the magic of night lighting offered by the stone walls with legends inside and manors of this shared lands in the mountains of the Spanish Northwest.

Recommended for all public.


Where does the route take place?

  • Castle of Puebla de Sanabria
  • Castle of Cornatel
  • Castle of Ponferrada

Know castles and palaces in this route

While being amazed by the Templar Castle is very easy, getting to know it is not that simple. With its 8,000 m2 of surface, it is considered one of the most important castles in the northwest of Spain and it is the main emblematic feature of the city of Ponferrada.

Its military architecture answers to centuries of history, where different inhabitants have left their imprint through subsequent constructions, reforms, abandonments and restorations. Having being declared National Monument in 1924 and Cultural Heritage Site (BIC, for its Spanish initials), it is not until the end of the 20th century when a great effort is made to restore the walls and rooms of the Castle.

The result is a multipurpose monument, where different exhibitions, musicals and recreational, didactic and religious activities take place. It has always had a privileged location in every respect. Geographically, it is an obligatory stopping point between the Plateau and Galicia, and a must for the pilgrims on their way to Santiago.

Tactically, its location on a hill on the banks of the Sil River has allowed the protection and defence of its territory and of the Way of Saint James. Locally, it is a reference landmark in the old town. Around it, we find important monumental buildings: the church of San Andrés, “las Cuadras” (Tourist Information Office), “Casa de los Escudos” (Coats of Arms House) (Radio Museum), the Basilica of Our Lady of the Encina, the convent of la Purísima Concepción, the old prison (Museum of El Bierzo), the Tower clock and street, the Town Hall and the old main square of las Eras.

The Templar Castle, the Way of Saint James and the city of Ponferrada have a closely linked past and future, since their stories are intertwined and it is not possible to get to know one without explaining the relationship with the others.

The current castle of Puebla de Sanabria was built on the same site as the XIII century castle. Of this previous site, few data are available, since its scarce remains have only allowed to influence its plant. Some historians have wanted to see as the only fortification before the current one a strong tower, known as "Losada", however, the majority tend to think that the Plenomedieval construction was a castle on the same site and similar in size to the current one.

It belongs to the group of castles with a clear relationship with the power for the benefit of noble families that in certain circumstances supported the monarchs in their companies. Arrived at the hands of the III Count of Benavente, Alonso Pimentel, it is possible to assume that the new castle began towards the middle of the XV century, as can be deduced from his testament, dated in 1455.

This could be undertaken by the IV Count, Rodrigo Alonso de Pimentel with his wife María Pacheco, who between 1477 and 1482 will build most of the work. Although to these corresponds most of the works of first building, it must have been his successors, Alonso de Pimentel and Ana de Velasco, who would finish the works definitively.

Nowdays the castle is one of the most visited monuments in the province of Zamora, with more than 60.000 visitors in 2019.