An authentic and charming Catalonia City
Lleida is one of the oldest towns in Catalonia, 175 kilometres west from Barcelona. I went to visit it last July as a new Parador was about to open and I was kindly invited by the Lleida Tourist Office to explore the city for a day.
A new Parador
Lleida Parador has been a long-term project of the city, it has finally opened its doors this August. We arrived before opening day and what a treat, we felt very privileged being able to walk around this beautiful 4-star deluxe hotel before everyone else! As a typical Parador it’s in a converted historical building, the Roser Convent, a 17th century building in the old town. The restaurant/breakfast room is where the old church was. The 53 luxury rooms are in the main building, spread in 3 floors around the most beautiful well-preserved of clusters.
What to visit
From there all Lleida monuments are few steps away. Uphill its most famous one, the Seu Vella, Lleida’s ancient Cathedral and Castle. The architecture is a splendid mix of Romanesque and Gothic, but surprisingly quite empty in the inside. The cathedral was converted into barracks around 1707.
In this Cathedral, you will find one of the biggest and most impressive Gothic Cloister in Europe. You can enjoy the most breath-taking views over the city from its ornate Gothic windows. On a clear good day you can see as far as the Pyrenees.
Going down was quite easy, an elevator takes you to the main shopping street. Our next stop was to the ‘new’ Cathedral, Seu Nova, to see the famous ‘Virgen del Blau’. This is an unique Virgin with a bruise in her forehead. According to legend, when she was at the Seu Vella, a hammer was thrown at her by a very jealous master sculptor. This did not break or damage the figure, miraculously only a bruise came out on her forehead!
How to get there
Lleida is only one hour by train AVE from Barcelona. Make sure you book in advance, you can find good deals, as little as 17 euros per ticket!
Places to Stay:
Parador de Lleida
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