Home > Study in Spain > City Guide > Lleida
Lleida City Guide
- Places of Interest
- Getting to
- Getting around the city
As the capital city of the province of the same name, and one of the oldest towns in Catalonia, Lleida (its Catalan name) is a stunning medieval city which also boasts the oldest university in the Crown of Aragon. Traditionally, the people speak Catalan with their characteristic lleidatà dialect; however Spanish is still the dominant language.
In 2007, Lleida was named the Capital of Capital Culture and with a large number of annual festivals, its Aplec del Cargol is the biggest in the world of this sort. The agri-food sector is a huge importance to the city and there are also a huge array of natural areas and parks which are ideal for visitors to gain an insight into natural habitats of the local fauna.
Lleida enjoys hot summers and cold winters with its continental climate and the sheer beauty of its architecture is astounding. The city is rich in medieval history and offers a huge number of visitor sights to see such as the old and new cathedrals as well as an array of intricately designed churches. Whether you are looking for a cultural visit, an exploration of nature or simply to sample the delights of a historic city, then Lleida is ideal.
Places of Interest
The Seu Vella old Cathedral ("Lleida Castle")
This Lleidan jewel belongs to the Catalonian Museum of History. From here can be offered some breath taking views of the city by the "Llengua de Serp" (Snake's Tongue) or the Queen's Bastion. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1203 and it was supposedly built on top of a former Muslim mosque. The beautiful interior features show the clear influence of the artisans from Tuscany, Toulouse and Provence as well as the remains of Gothic mural paintings. Construction lasted all the way until 1431. Entrance to the Seu Vella is through the Canonja, which is the name given to the buildings which once housed the priests and canons of the Cathedral's Chapter. This is the city's remarkable emblem and a visit here should most certainly not go amiss.
The Castle of Gardeny
This castle was originally a monastery complex built during the second half of the 12th century and gradually throughout the 17th and 18th centuries it was extended to form a new military fort. Gardeny is a highly significant example of Templar architecture and although, through time, many changes were made which ended up altering its appearance, many of the buildings from the autonomous fortress are still preserved today. The complex is surrounded by walled areas, and has a number of majestic towers. It is a highly significant mark of Catalonian history and is a legacy of the former Crown of Aragon.
The Paeria Palace
This is the city's town hall and contains La Morra (the former 16th century prison located in the basement), the city archives and the inner yard. The palace is a highly representative work of Romanesque civil architecture in Lleida and is highly important in Catalonia as a whole. Paeria's architecture takes a mixture of various styles such as neoclassical and neo-medieval and is currently a highly important piece of interest for visitor into the city. It is open all week long except for Sundays so there is plenty of opportunity to make a passing visit.
This Romanesque church has gothic extensions and finishes and is the second most important church after the Seu Vella. The master builder of the Seu Vella , Pere de Coma, worked with sculptors and craftsmen at the end of the 12th century to make this church a reality. It also contains various pieces of art belonging to Lleida Diocesan Museum. In 2002, the bell tower was restored and its intricate beauty has been preserved. This is a stunning example of Catalonian heritage and is an ideal cultural sight to visit whilst in Lleida.
This is an example of Lleida's landscape and more natural sights. La Mitjana is a riverside wetland area which spreads to over 90 hectares and was declared an Area of Natural Interest in 1979. It is an ideal natural space to go for long walks, do some peaceful exercise and to appreciate the abundance of greenery and wildlife all at the same time. The plentiful woodland is home to a number of interesting plants and flowers as well as various animals and it is a great place to witness the natural environment of the city.
Museum of Lleida
This museum is an ensemble of the Lleida County and Diocesan Museums and with more than 7000m2 of exhibition space it is an excellent representation of the city's history, going all the way from prehistoric times and reaching up to the modern day. Filled with a rich collection of pieces and exhibitions such as the coin collection from the Provincial Council's Numismatic Department as well as pieces from the Cathedral Treasure, there are in fact 974 works of art and archaeological pieces on permanent display at the museum. Other such objects are items from the Bronze Age, the Iberian Era, the Roman Period, the Visigoth settlement and even rock-crystal chess pieces from Ager. A visit here allows an incredible insight into the city's past and proves to be both an interesting and educational trip.
Jaume Morera Art Museum
This museum was created in 1914 from donations by the painter Jaume Morera himself and provides an excellent insight into 20th century Catalan art. The works of art vary from 19th century realist landscapes to edgy modern art. There are also often temporary exhibitions which travel throughout Spain. This highly popular museum has many interesting pieces to offer and is open every day of the week except for Monday.
This museum is located inside an old mechanic's workshop and contains a wide collection of cars, motorbikes and engines as well as scale miniatures allowing visitors to understand the development of the automotive industry throughout history. This is ideal for car lovers and if even if you're not, it's a great place to learn about the motor industry!
Getting to Lleida
The city's airport was recently opened in January 2010 and this Lleida-Alguaire airport is located only 15km from the actual city. There are various international and domestic flights. This is the first commercial airport promoted by the Government of Catalonia and occupies a key site in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula with a network of different transport systems. There is an airport shuttle bus that will quickly and easily take you into the city.
Lleida's railway station, Lleida Pirineus, is served by both Renfe and Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya train lines. This allows a large number of services all over the country to enter the city. The High Speed Train (AVE) is also extremely popular as it significantly cuts travelling time and it means that you can quickly reach Lleida from important Spanish cities such as Barcelona, Zaragoza and Madrid.
Lleida Bus Station offers a number of important services throughout Spain and this mode of transport is highly popular for low cost travel. The company Alsina Graells runs services through La Seu d'Urgell, Solsona and Tàrrega if you are looking for a day trip and to explore the province a little more.
Getting around the city
The city is a small and comfortable size and with this it is easy to walk the streets to find everything that you are looking for. This allows you to marvel in the historical architecture and see the city for what it really is. In addition to this, the city offers great public transport in the form of buses, operated by several companies. The urban buses can be spotted as yellow with blue stripes and are owned by Autobusos de Lleida. There are a huge number of services offered by this company covering the whole city as well as a tourist bus which is great for seeing the sights, an airport bus which will easily get you to and from the airport and also a regular night bus which will take you to nearby clubs.