Real Basílica de San Isidoro


Even older than León's cathedral, the Real Basílica de San Isidoro provides a stunning Romanesque counterpoint to the former's Gothic strains. Fernando I and Doña Sancha founded the church in 1063 to house the remains of the saint, as well as the remains of themselves and 21 other early Leónese and Castilian monarchs. Sadly, Napoleon's troops sacked San Isidoro in the early 19th century, but there's still plenty to catch the eye.

The main basilica is a hotchpotch of styles, but the two main portals on the southern facade are pure Romanesque. Of particular note is the Puerta del Perdón, attributed to Maestro Mateo, the genius of the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. The star vaulting above the extravagantly beautiful altar are especially worth lingering over.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby León attractions

1. Real Colegiata de San Isidoro

0.01 MILES

Attached to the Real Basílica de San Isidoro, the stunning Panteón Real houses royal sarcophagi, which rest with quiet dignity beneath a canopy of some of…

2. Muralla

0.02 MILES

Abutting the southwestern corner of the Real Colegiata de San Isidro is a fragment of the former muralla (old city wall). The wall dates to the 1st…

3. Museo Gaudí

0.16 MILES

Antoni Gaudí's contribution to León's skyline is the castle-like, neo-Gothic Casa Botines (1893), though the zany architect of Barcelona fame seems to…

4. Palacio de los Guzmanes

0.16 MILES

León's recurring Renaissance theme finds expression in the splendid Palacio de los Guzmanes (1560), where the facade and patio stand out. The latter is…

5. Museo de León

0.17 MILES

Spread over four floors, the exhibits in this well-presented city museum begin with stone artefacts in the basement, thereafter journeying through the…

6. Museo Sierra-Pambley


This stately house dates from the 19th century and was built by Segundo Sierra-Pambley, who founded one of the first schools in the region in 1887. The…

7. Ayuntamiento

0.21 MILES

Close to the main entrance into the old town, the ayuntamiento (town hall) occupies a charmingly compact Renaissance-era palace.

8. Farmacia Alonso Nuñez

0.22 MILES

Don't miss the fabulous Farmacia Alonso Nuñez at number 3. It dates from 1827 and, aside from the displays of anti-wrinkle creams and condoms, the…