Canal de Castilla: one of the most important hydraulic works in Spain

The Canal de Castilla is undoubtedly one of the most expensive historical infrastructures that have been built in Spain. Nevertheless, its profitability was immediate for the towns it passed through. Even today, with its paths and locks, this canal is more than just a waterway, it is also a major tourist resource. Let’s meet him!

History of the Canal de Castilla

The idea of ​​a water canal running through part of the Castilian-Leonese plateau was not new. It had always been dreamed of the possibility of uniting these large areas of cereal cultivation with the Cantabrian Sea. Finally, it was in the middle of the 18th century when this incredible project was launched.

At that time Fernando VI reigned, and the main defender of the project was the Marquis of Ensenada. With them it was approved that the works of the Canal de Castilla, which on paper was much more ambitious than its final result. For example, there was a branch that would connect Segovia with the town of Villanueva de Duero; this and some other sections were never carried out.

Keep in mind that the work was pharaonic, slow and very expensive. That’s why, it was interrupted several times and public funds were lacking to complete it.

Due to this, they had to resort to a private concession to complete the works and, in addition, to be able to exploit them economically later. That is why the Canal de Castilla as we know it was not finished until 1849.

The current Canal de Castilla

Today, you can enjoy the Canal de Castilla from a tourist point. There are various activities that the towns that bathe its waters have launched. For example, there is various tourist boats that navigate the canal, like the one that sails from the town of Herrera del Pisuerga in Palencia. There, in addition, is the Interpretation Center of the Canal de Castilla and the Pier.

play sports

Except for this boat tour and others that have their embarkation points in towns such as Medina de Rioseco in Valladolid, Villaumbrales in Palencia or Melgar de Fernamental in Burgos, the rest of the activities around the Canal de Castilla have a marked character of active tourism, and also sports. Therefore, it is an excellent destination for lovers of outdoor sports.

Give pedals next to the channel

As is customary in canals, being artificial watercourses, engineers created paths parallel to the flow of water. In addition, these are paths with hardly any slope.

Today, these trails provide us with the most pleasant and healthy bike rides, with routes such as those that depart from the town of Alar del Rey in Palencia.


Obviously, these same routes are also feasible for hikers. In fact, there is a GR-89 Path —Great Route— consisting of 210 kilometers, which logically should not be done often. It is clear that we can alternate the itineraries, and even make them compatible with other activities.


Canoeing is one of the sports alternatives that different adventure tourism companies offer us, such as those in Herrera del Pisuerga, to row sections. In this way, we can discover a sport as complete as kayaking.

Enjoy the Canal de Castilla

After all, these ways of visiting the Canal de Castilla are the best to enjoy this magnificent work of engineering, one of the most spectacular in Spain. Without a doubt, it is a way to travel that is most enriching, physically and mentally.

Beyond getting in shape, this visit can lead us to discover very unique places, such as Fromista or Medina de Rioseco. If you like sports tourism, prepare your trip to the Canal de Castilla!

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