The old part of town is small but very pretty and well preserved, with nice squares. The town’s principle monument is the Knight’s Templar Castle which has recently been restored and dominates the old part of town. The modern part of the city is more business orientated with bigger shops, supermarkets etc.
One of the nicest things about the area, is that you always get a small tapa pinxcho with every drink, making it a very cheap town to go out in.
Ponferrada is in an area of beautiful and varied countryside, with some great places to visit including Las Medulas an old Roman gold mining area and Balboa, a traditional old hill village, where Pallozas, traditional thatched roundhouses, have been restored and are opened as bars and restaurants.
The villages surrounding the town are in themselves a reason to come to the area – in particular the village of Molinaseca, which like Ponferrada, is a stop on the Camino de Santiagoand a lovely place, where many of the house owners have turned the downstairs floor into bars.
It does get lovely and hot in summer, but it also gets really cold in the winter months and a little snow is not uncommon. Ponferrada is in a valley and in the middle of the night in December or January, the wind comes off the mountains bringing snow with it, and is truly as cold as anywhere I’ve ever been. Fortunately everywhere in this region has good central heating (unlike many parts of Spain), but come summer time, its hard to remember all this when the open air swimming pool opens, and you are sunbathing in 35 degree heat.
Being so close to the mountains also means that you can go skiing in the winter months cheaply and easily.