Route of Charles V in Spain

In the whole history of Spain, Charles V is considered one of the best kings. And the fact of being able to visit today the same places that the ruler visited, especially because he was in the last years of his life, makes it a very meaningful and interesting experience.

This Emperor, Charles I of Spain and V of Germany, embarked on his last journey in 1556, which began with his departure from Brussels until he disembarked at the Port of Laredo in Spain, where he began his route through this country until he reached the Monastery of Yuste.

Unfortunately, the early death of his father and the mental incapacity of his mother to take the reign made him the only heir at the age of 7 to the kingdom of Castile and later to the kingdom of Aragon. At the age of 20, he became the Emperor of the Holy Roman German Empire.

He ruled Spain for 40 years. But of the many trips, he made to this peninsula, the most commemorated and remembered trip is the last one, which is popularly known today as the Route of Charles V.

A little about the biography of Charles V of Spain

In the XVI century, the most important ruler of Spain was this monarch, reigning in this country from 1516 to 1556 as Charles I. But at the same time, he was also the Emperor between 1519 and 1558 of the Holy Roman Empire, the crown he inherited from his grandfather Maximilian I of Habsburg, taking the name of Charles V. 

His parents Philip I, also called “The Handsome”, and Joanna I, known as “The Mad”, inherited a vast territory including part of Europe and America. In addition, he was the grandson of the Catholic Monarchs, from whom he inherited the crowns of Aragon and Castile.

After a series of premature deaths and alliances between dynasties, this young man, at the age of 20, became the most powerful monarch in Europe. Then, both Charles and his son Philip II turned Europe into power at the level of culture and art.

He had the idea of establishing a political empire that was under the values of a single religion, which ensured both the peace and prosperity of those nations involved and external aggressions, for example, from the Ottomans. 

In other words, he needed to ensure the unity of Europe between the Christian and Catholic religions. However, he had many obstacles to achieving it since he feared leaving the total power to a single ruler.

What is the objective of reviving Charles V’s itinerary through Spain?

Through some walks and tours, the idea is to relive that great chapter in the history of Spain, especially because it was his last trip, shortly before he died. It is a journey that covers about 550 km starting in the north of the country, specifically in the region of Cantabria, to reach the region of Extremadura.

It passes through a diversity of provinces to know the geography of Spain and better understand the historical trajectory of this Emperor; besides being able to enjoy the festivities and even taste the varied gastronomy of the country.

His last route took place in September 1556, where he began his journey in Spain and ended in February 1557 in the Monastery of Yuste, a trip that lasted about five months. That is why, at the end of September, this disembarkation of Charles V is celebrated; and people make parades, dressed as the time and thus remember this event of his past.

What is the route of Charles V’s trip through Spain, and how can we complete it today for tourism?

His itinerary covered 3 of the regions of the country, such as the region of Cantabria, followed by Castile and Leon, and ending in the region of Extremadura. As already mentioned, its journey began in Spain on September 28, 1556, in the region of Cantabria, municipality of Cantabria, arriving by sea to the port of Laredo.

Today is the beach La Salvé, where a bust of the monarch is located and the old town, a nice place to visit. Imagine seeing the arrival of at least 50 boats in an extension of more than 4 Km. He stayed there for seven days and then continued his journey, and in a period of 3 days and more or less 60 Km, he reached the region of Castilla y León, at the level of the province of Burgos, to make his stop in Medina de Pomar. 

Here he stays two more days to continue his journey due to indigestion from eating so much pickled food. We find the 14th-century castle and the Alcázar de Los Velasco in this town, which we can visit. 

Then, the monarch continues towards the city of Burgos. At present, about 100 km from it, there are three important monuments: the Royal Monastery of Las Huelgas, the Cathedral and the Arch of Santa Maria, representing the figure of King Charles V. 

Continuing his journey, he arrives in the province of Palencia, exactly in Venta de Baños, recommending a visit to the Visigothic basilica or church of San Juan de Baños, which he ordered to be built as thanks for the healing properties of one of the fountains. Then continue your journey to Dueñas, passing through the province of Valladolid to visit Medina del Campo and the spectacular Castillo de la Mota.

Also, the city of Valladolid, very nice, to be calm and stroll, besides knowing the old Royal Palace, where Charles V stayed. It also reaches the province of Salamanca, specifically what is today the old town of Peñaranda de Bracamonte, declared a Historic and Artistic Site. Then it continues to Avila, specifically in Barco de Ävila, the castle that hosted the monarch.

Now we leave the region of Castilla y León to continue to the region of Extremadura, at the level of the province of Cáceres. Here we visited the town of Jarandilla de la Vera, where the Parador Nacional of the monarch, the palace where he stayed, stands out.

Finally, we arrived at Cuacos de Yuste, at the Monastery of Yuste, belonging to the Hieronymites, which has a palace attached and very similar to the palace of his birth; dependence chosen by the monarch to spend the last days of his life. He died there on September 21, 1558.

Posted in Europe, Spain.