Spain's capital until 1561, Valladolid is a great place to go to avoid the tourist hordes. Valladolid is big enough to feel like a metropolis, but small enough to explore the central districts on foot. This ancient city has a good claim to being the cradle of Iberian culture; it's certainly cons hindered by many to be the home of the purest form of spoken Spanish - Castellano. The atmospheric old city here is a labyrinth of crooked alleys, churches, palaces and stalls selling everything from chorizo to clams.
There are some fine museums and a lively bar scene - it's the perfect place to indulge in a tapeo, or tapas.
Valladolid is also a good base for exploring the Castilian heartland, a treasure-trove of towns and villages set in sweeping plains backed by mountain ranges.
The attractions are numerous here. Museo Nacional de Escultura is full of polychrome wood sculpture, and the Colegio de Agustinos houses the third-largest collection of oriental art in Europe. Museo Patio Herreriano, or museum of modern art, houses a permanent collection of Spanish art from 1918 to the present day. The Pisuerga River runs through the park of La Rosaleda, offering white sand beach, pleasant for paddling on a hot day. Campo Grande, near Zorilla square, boasts peacocks and other wildlife.
The 14th century Iglesia de Santa Maria la Antigua is very interesting and the city's cathedral has a fine altarpiece, and there are other treasures in the attached Museo Diocesano y Catedralicio. Don't miss the house where the author Cervantes was briefly imprisoned, and the house where Columbus saw out his days. The Castilian cuisine here varies from suckling pig to cabeza de ternero (calf's head) and from Galician goose barnacles to rough country rioja. Navigable and a little off the beaten track Valladolid is a great destination for a city break. The best months to see Valladolid are May, June and September, when Valladolid hotels are also easier to come by.
Ryanair offer direct return flights to Valladolid out of Stansted. Prices vary depending on when you go, but it's worth shopping around. Valladolid can also be reached by bus or train from Madrid. The very cheapest flights to Valladolid can be found on the bargain page online. It is also possible to find and compare the cheapest spring and summer bank holiday flights to Valladolid. Cheap flights to Valladolid are available with Ryanair from London and as far as other parts of the UK go, it might be slightly easier to find flights to Madrid, and to drive to Valladolid from there.
Valladolid Airport is just 7 miles NW of the town of Valladolid. From here it is about 130 miles south to Madrid. Largely due to the arrival of Ryanair the passenger traffic at Valladolid has grown from just 195,000 passengers to over 400,000. The Valladolid arrivals hall is fairly small with only two carousels. The departures area at Valladolid airport includes 8 check-in desks.
Flights to Valladolid can be found by using online search controls. Select your departure airport and the months you wish to travel. Then click the search button to find the airline tickets to Valladolid.