Ponferrada Castle, Spain – All you need to know

A Knights Templar fortress, the Ponferrada Castle in Northern Spain is a favorite stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela.

Ponferrada Castle, a medieval fortress in Leon, Spain.

There are hundreds of castles in Spain that you can visit but only a few of them are Knight Templar fortresses. The fortress in the city of Ponferrada (Castillo de los Templarios) as well as Peniscola Castle are among them.

Where is this Templar’s Castle?

Northeast from Madrid, in the autonomous region of Castile and Leon.

People walking up to Ponferrada Castle entrance.

How to get there

From Madrid (Spain’s capital) – Via the A-6 motorway/highway. The 250-mile/400-kilometer drive takes 3 hours and 45 minutes. The bus will take you there in 5 hours.

From Santiago de Compostela (pilgrims’ capital) – Via the A-6 motorway/highway. It takes 2.5 hours to get there (You will cover 124 miles/200 kilometers). Another alternative is taking a bus (The Alsa bus operator covers this distance in 4 hours).

It is only 45 minutes by car from Astorga – another interesting place on the Camino de Santiago routes. There you get to see a beautiful Gothic cathedral as well as an Episcopal Palace designed by Antonio Gaudi, the famous architect of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Ponferrada medieval fortress walls and towers.

Road tripping

If you are planning a Spain road trip and want to explore Northers Spain, you could add the Castle of Ponferrada on the list of must-visit places in Castile and Leon.

Or if you need some help with organizing your trip, get inspired by our Castile and Leon travel itinerary. You can easily add this destination to it.

Another road trip itinerary option would be Madrid – Avila – Salamanca – Ourense (optional) – Santiago de Compostela – Lugo (optional) – Ponferrada – Leon – Burgos – Segovia – Madrid.

Castle stone walls, cylindrical towers and an arched entrance.

What to see at Templar’s Castle of Ponferrada

One of the largest fortresses in the North of Spain in medieval times. Double and triple defense system, towers you can climb, walls you can walk on and a Templar library.

Quick info:

  • Parking on site: No
  • Toilets/restrooms: Yes
  • Souvenirs: Yes
Medieval castle walls and Basilica of Our Lady of the Encina.

Opening hours

The opening times of Ponferrada Castle vary depending on the season. I have included the latest information (as of May 2024), but these times can easily change.

The castle is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

It closes for siesta no matter what the season and reopens at 4 p.m. or 4.30 p.m. in summer.

The closing time varies and can be at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. in low season or 8.30 p.m. in summer.

Important: The castle can change its opening and closing times during special festivities like the Holy Week (Semana Santa) so check before you arrive.

If you are planning a visit, make sure to double-check the official website of Castillo de los Templarios.

Admission fee

  • Adult – 6 euros (around 6 USD)
  • Reduced tickets 4 euros (pilgrims, seniors)
  • Kids under 14 – FREE
  • Wednesdays – FREE for everyone
View from castle to St. Andrew's Church.

Expert tips & more info

  • Whether you are a traveler or pilgrim on the Camino Frances route to Santiago de Compostela, know that to visit this Templar Castle you need to be well organized. Don’t leave it to the last minute like we did. You don’t want to rush through the grounds just because it is almost closing time! There is also a cut-off time for selling tickets. In general, the ticket office will not let you in 30 minutes before closing time.
  • For more information or if in doubt, visit the local tourist office in Ponferrada. Its address is: Calle Gil y Carrasco, 4.
  • Mondays are closed!
  • Dogs are not allowed on the grounds.
  • Count with about 90 minutes for a leisurely visit.
  • Parking: There are a few free car parks in the area. The biggest one is accessed from the “Avenida el Castillo” street. It is 2100 feet/650 meters from the castle. Another one, closer to the castle is located on the “Calle Mercado Viejo” street. This one is 3 minutes away by walk.
  • Free entrance is also available during special days and national holidays. Here is the list:
  • 23rd April (Day of Castille and Leon)
  • 12th October (Spain’s National Holiday)
  • 6th December (Day of the Constitution)
Ancient Ponferrada Castle courtyard, wooden staircase to the tower.
Visitor are exploring castle of Ponferrada, overlooking a city and mountains.

Who were the Knights Templar?

It was a French military order of highly skilled knights in the Middle Ages era. Their main role was protecting Christian pilgrims on their travels to Holy sites.

Panoramic view to castle ground and surroundings.

Our experience and more helpful info

If you are a Knights Templar fan, then visiting Ponferrada Castle is a must for you. My advice is to get an audio guide to get the most out of it. 

Now, I am not really into audio guides but in places where there is no (or barely any) information in English, it is a great way to learn about sites you visit.

Some places (like the Gothic Cathedral in Burgos) have a QR code and you can download the guide to your phone. I enjoyed this option because I could also listen to it at home.

Our visit to this templar’s castle was quite rushed. Because of the lack of time, we literally speed-walked through the grounds.

To avoid this, I have one advice for you: Check the opening and closing times and be aware that they do have a siesta. It is one of the things Spain is known for but tourists often forget about it.

On our travels around Spain, I have noticed that many sights close during this time and so do restaurants which can be quite inconvenient. Know that this does vary from region to region and closing for siesta is not the case everywhere.

If you are sightseeing in Spain’s most visited cities then chances are there won’t be many sights closed for siesta at all. If you are planning on exploring this Iberian Peninsula country off the beaten track, count with it and always double-check.

Most of the rooms in the castle were empty without any displays in them. I understand it is not a Royal Palace but it would be nice to look at some more artefacts.

Now, that being said, make sure not to miss one tower called Torre de Moclín. It is there where you find some displays of what life in the past looked like. Also don’t miss the Templar library (like we did)! It is located in the hall called “Sala de los Azulejos” in the “Palacio Nuevo” part.

Impressive Ponferrada Templar Castle.

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