- Region: Castilla y León
- Province: Valladolid
Peñafiel in a Nutshell
In north-central Spain the Duero river flows through a valley of limestone soils where some of Spain's finest wines have taken root, the Ribera del Duero, where 200 bodegas form the DOC region.
Perched on a cliff above the city and the Duero is the impressive Castle Peñafiel. At 210 meters long and only 35 meters wide it would resemble a ship if you could see it from above. The castle was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt several times, the walls and towers were constructed in the 13th-14th centuries, the keep is from the 15th. It has a double defensive wall.
The town has some prehistoric remains, but it was during the Reconquest where most of the urban center was settled at the base of a previous fortress on the site of Peñafiel's current castle. During the tenth century, Penna Fidele became a famous stronghold against Islam by virtue of its position along the frontier lands separating the Christian north and Muslim south.
For a map of the region, see: Ribera del Duero Map and Guide.
How to get to Peñafiel
Peñafiel is between the towns of Valladolid and Zaragoza on the N122. It is west of the N1-E5 highway that runs north from Madrid.
Penafiel is on the Coria - Salamanca - Soria - Zaragoza - Barcelona Train Line. There are busses from Madrid, Valladolid, and Aranda.
What to Visit in Peñafiel
- The Castle
- The Museo Provincial del Vino (Wine Museum) in the Castle.
- The Archeological Museum, where you can see the life of the pre-roman inhabitants.
- 'Casa de la Ribera', an example of the traditional architecture of Castile in the Plaza del Concejillo, showing how people lived in the early 1900's in this part of Spain.
- Plaza del Coso
- One or two of the many bodegas to taste a Ribera del Duero wine. For a video introduction to the region, see: Profile of the Ribera de Duero.
Staying in Peñafiel
We stayed at the Hotel Ribera del Duero, a fine hotel overlooking the castle with restaurant and bar. Double rooms with air conditioning went for less than 70 Euros.
Ribera del Duero: Avda. Escalona 17, 47300 Peñafiel (Valladolid) España. Telephone: 983 88 16 16 or 983 87 31 11 --Fax: 983 88 14 44
There are also some casas rurales, rural houses, for rent in the immediate area. Casas Rurales (In Spanish).
Around Peñafiel, there are some hotel-restaurant-bodegas starting to pop up. While I haven't stayed in one, it looks like a great deal for tourists with a car who'd like to spend the day touring, then come back to a rural hotel and taste a bit of wine and then have dinner.
For more on the region, see our Ribera del Duero Map and Travel Guide.
Cuisine in Peñafiel - The Horno Asador
Most of the restaurants in Peñafiel have a traditional roasting oven called the Horno Asador. It differs from other ovens made of firebrick, which provide way too intense of a heat for the delicate meats the Horno Asador was designed to cook. They're made instead from roofing tiles or adobe. Baby lambs, suckling pigs and fowl are seasoned and placed in an earthenware dish with a little water and roasted slowly for several hours. What comes out is an incredibly tender flesh that doesn't need a knife to be cut.
Look for "lechazo" on a menu. That's the suckling lamb that's cooked in the asador. The animals are 35 days old at the most. "Churra" lambs, one of the oldest races of sheep in Spain, is considered the best quality.
We have two pictures of Lechazo being served and the horno asador it was cooked in.
Peñafiel - The Castle (6 Pictures)
Peñafiel - City Views (4 Pictures)