My Visit to the Ponferrada Castle, On The Camino De Santiago

December 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

I tired from my first climb of the day but didn’t care because in front of me was the Ponferrada Castle. I had never seen anything like it. In Canada, I had visited two castles but they were just over one hundred years old and resembled large houses. The Ponferrada Castle was built in the thirteenth century and had great walls, towers… From Page 153, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days. I’ll stop right there because it sounds like I had never seen a real castle before. Well… I hadn’t. Not only was I was amazed when I first saw the castle, I was even more excited to walk inside.

Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago, in the chapter, Day 15: Wild Spanish Lavender. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons). I left my last post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Molinaseca To Ponferrada, just after I crossed the bridge over the Río Boeza, and entered the town of Ponferrada. For the majority of pilgrims, the short climb from the Boeza would be the first hill of the day to contend with.

Facing me, were the towering walls or ramparts of the Ponferrada Castle or Castillo de Ponferrada. The blue sky was a pleasant change from what I had during the morning and previous day.

Walls, Castle, Ponferrada Spain, blue sky


The footprint of the castle is huge and covers an area of 16,000 square meters.

Walls, Castle, Ponferrada, blue sky


The castle was built in the early 13th century over what was once a pre-Roman fort. For many, it’s best known for hosting the Knights Templar’s Grand Master of Castille. For about 100 years, the Knights Templar were entrusted to protect the Camino de Santiago.

Moat, Castle, Ponferrada Spain, blue sky


The watchtowers at the main entrance. Since the castle was first built, most of the structures have been rebuilt, and the entire complex, at least recently, has been constantly maintained.

Lookout and flags, Castle, tower


The main entrance was built with three lines of defence: the moat and two large gates.

Entrance, Castle, Ponferrada Spain, tower moat


The Iglesia de Santa María de la Encina or Basílica de La Encina from the upper walkway.

Iglesia from Castle, Ponferrada, tower


Back down to a more rustic area of the courtyard. Medieval castle courtyards served many purposes: children played, animals grazed, and fruit and vegetables were grown. Adjacent buildings held animals, people, the main kitchen, and all kinds of materials for storage.

Courtyard and Walls, Ponferrada Castle, stone


Obviously, this building had been recently rebuilt. This is part of the Templars’ Library and the Ponferrada Investigation and Study Centre, which holds approximately 1,400 books, with many important to the history of not only the region, but all of Spain.

Interior, Ponferrada Castle, grass, clouds Castillo de los Templarios


 Poppies and mustard provided a nice show amongst the grasses and walls.

Walls and Mustard, Ponferrada Castle, grass, flowers, blue sky


Poppies and Mustard, Ponferrada Castle, grass, yard


Looking toward the modern area of Ponferrada.

City View from Ponferrada Castle, blue sky


Tower and Walls from Lookout, Ponferrada Castle, stairs

This tower had a steep staircase, that I barely fit through with my backpack on.

Tower Ponferrada Castle, door


Steep Staircase Ponferrada Castle, stairs


If you’re in the area either as a tourist or a pilgrim, I really recommend that you visit the Ponferrada Castle. Admission is 4€ and I believe Wednesdays are still free. Backpacks can be left unattended near the entrance, but I chose to carry mine.

Tower and Walls Ponferrada Castle, yard

I hope you enjoyed this post as I visited one of my highlights on the Camino Francés. On my next post, On The Camino De Santiago in Ponferrada Spain, I’ll continue my walk through Ponferrada and the Bierzo Valley. Please join me.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


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