Osuna, a small town in the province of Seville, has become increasingly popular among tourists after being featured in the hit TV series, Game of Thrones. But there is more to Osuna, Andalucia, Spain than just its Game of Thrones fame. This town is a hidden gem, full of history, culture, and stunning architecture. If you have limited time to spare but you want to explore a bit of the province of Seville, here’s how to make the most of one day in Osuna.
An Overview on Osuna
You could say that Osuna is a hidden gem in Andalucia, as its unknown to many foreign travellers. This is why I am going to tell you why you should visit it. Osuna is a picturesque town with a population of around 18,000 people. It is located approximately 90 km east of Seville and 140 km north of Malaga. The town’s history dates back to the Roman era, and it played an important role in Andalucia during the Islamic rule. It is a town that has been able to preserve its Andalusian essence, making it a charming destination for travellers looking to immerse themselves in the authentic Spanish culture. In this article, we will explore the best things to do in Osuna in one day, from visiting its most impressive museums to indulging in local gastronomy.
Osuna for the Game of Thrones Fans
Fans of Game of Thrones will probably know that Osuna was featured in Season 5 of the series. The Plaza de Toros, also known as the bullring, was used as the filming location for the fighting pits of Meereen in episode 9, “The Dance of Dragons.”
The bullring was also used for the famous fighting scene from the Danzak’s Pit, in the same episode. In real life, the Bullring is a major landmark of Osuna, being designed by the same architect who created Plaza de Espana in Seville.
A Little Bit About the History of Osuna
Dating back to the Roman era, Osuna has been inhabited by various cultures, including the Moors and the Christians. During the 13th century, Osuna became a very important strategic defence town, at the border line with the Kingdom of Granada.
In the 16th century, Osuna became a centre for learning, and the famous University of Osuna was established. The university attracted scholars from all over Spain and Europe, making the city a hub of intellectual activity during the Renaissance. This is when many of the emblematic buildings in Osuna started to be built.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Osuna experienced a period of great prosperity, when the nobility and the religious class started to compete with each other in who can build the most beautiful palace with the most intricate decorated facade. The wealth of the sudden rise of the local landowners allowed the town to commission beautiful baroque and neoclassical buildings, which can still be admired today.
How to Get to Osuna
Osuna is easily accessible by car or public transportation from several major cities in Andalucia. The fastest way to get to Osuna from anywhere in Andalucia is by car, as the trains and buses are a bit slow. However, if you don’t have a car, the public transport is reliable and affordable. The closest main city to Osuna is Sevilla.
From Sevilla: You can take a direct train from Seville to Osuna, which takes around two hours. The bus is the best option, connecting the two cities in just one hour and a quarter. Alternatively, you can drive, which takes just over 1 hour.
From Malaga: You can take a train from Malaga to Osuna, which takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. You will have to change in Antequera. The direct bus from Malaga to Osuna takes just over two hours and a half. Alternatively, you can drive, which takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
From Granada: You can take the train from Granada to Osuna, which takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. You will have to change in Antequera, as there is no direct service between these two cities. The bus is another option but the journey takes just over there hours. Alternatively, you can drive, which takes around one hour and 40 minutes.
Where to Park in Osuna
If you’re driving to Osuna, the best place to park is the car park next to the Plaza Mayor, in Plaza de la Encarnacion. Click here for the exact location. It is centrally located and just a short walk from all the main attractions. If you are parking on the side of the street make sure to check the lines painted on the ground. White lines mean free parking, blue allow you to park there for two hours, whilst green are for residents only. Do not park on yellow lines.
The Best Things to Do in One Day in Osuna:
Explore the Old Town
As you wander through the old town of Osuna, you can feel the weight of history all around you. Each step down the narrow, winding streets reveals a new layer of this town’s storied past. Start your exploration of Osuna’s old town on Calle San Pedro, a street that has been recognized as one of the most beautiful in all of Europe by none other than UNESCO. As you stroll along, take in the charming facades of the traditional Andalusian houses that line the way, each one a testament to the town’s rich cultural heritage.
As you continue your walk, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Osuna at Plaza Mayor. Take a moment to pause and look up at the pretty buildings that surround the plaza, their very different architecture and the fountain that dominates the centre of the square.
As you explore the old town, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for hidden treasures tucked away down side streets and alleyways. You never know what you might discover – a beautifully preserved courtyard, a hidden chapel, or a quirky local shop selling artisanal wares.
Admire the Gorgeous Palaces in Osuna
Osuna’s rich history and the noble families that once called the town their home, left the town with gorgeous palaces that can now be admired and visited. One palace that you won’t want to miss is the Palace of the Marquises of La Gomera. This magnificent building dates back to the 18th century and is a true masterpiece of Andalusian Civil Baroque architecture. It has an impressive façade, combining Baroque elements with pieces of colonial architecture.
The Palacio de Los Cepeda is another noteworthy palace considered one of the most beautiful in Osuna. Built in the late 18th century, this stunning building is a historic stately house that can be visited free of charge.
Palacio Cilla del Cabildo is another striking palace in Osuna that you should not miss. Built in the 18th century as a granary, you wouldn’t think this building wasn’t a stately home or a noble’s residence.
If you’re looking for a unique and educational experience, head over to the Palacio de Govantes y Herdara. This 18th century palace used to be the seat of the old Courts in Osuna. A beautiful example of Andalucian Baroque architecture, unfortunately this building has been left in disrepair and it can’t be visited. However, you can admire the façade from the outside.
Visit the Collegiate Church and Museum of Sacred Art
The Collegiate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption was founded in 1535 and built on the site of a former church which burned down.
The western wall of the building houses the primary entrance, known as Puerta del Sol, is decorated with different grotesque symbols and inscriptions. On the left and side you can see the unfinished tower, which was hit by lightning and never been repaired.
Stepping inside the church, you will be greeted by a spectacular display of intricate carvings and lavish ornamentation. The ornate altarpiece, adorned with gilded sculptures and paintings created by famous artists, is a true work of art. But the highlight of the church has to be the Chapel of the Immaculate which displayed the carving of Christ on the Cross created by Juan de Mesa in 1623.
The Museum of Sacred Art, which houses an impressive collection of religious artifacts that span several centuries, is located in the old sacristy of the Collegiate Church. The oldest pieces are a chalice and a processional cross designed in a Flemish style.
Enjoy the Best View of Osuna
When you visit the Collegiate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Osuna, make sure to take a moment to walk around it and admire the stunning view of the town from the outside of the church. The view from this vantage point also offers a unique perspective of Osuna’s historic centre, with its winding streets and traditional Andalusian houses.
Check Out the Monasterio de la Encarnación
The impressive Monasterio de la Encarnación is a 16th-century convent initially built as a hospital. From the beginning 17th century it was transformed into a religious school, but it didn’t stay like that for long as by the end of the century, it was transformed again into a convent for nuns.
Whilst from the outside it might not look like much, the interiors are stunning. The main altar of the church is a proper work of art, with Baroque and Neoclassic architectural elements, as well as many sculptures, carvings, and paintings.
See the Old University of Osuna
If you love exploring unique cultural sites, the Old University of Osuna is a must-see attraction. Built in the 16th century, this historic building was once a hub of knowledge and education, attracting students from all over Spain. It was used between 1548 and 1824. Centuries later it was adapted to the 21st century, and classes started again here in 1996.
Even if it’s an active university, it can still be visited year-round for a few of 3 euros.
Visit the Plaza de Toros in Osuna
The Plaza de Toros is a significant attraction in Osuna, Spain. It was constructed in the 18th century by Anibal Gonzalez, the same architect who designed Plaza de Espana in Sevilla during the Expo 29.
In addition, the Plaza de Toros gained worldwide recognition when it was used as a filming location in the fifth season of Game of Thrones. This historical building was featured in the “Fighting Pit of Meereen” scene.
While the Plaza de Toros has been a place for bullfighting, it is also a location where visitors can learn about the history of bullfighting in Spain. I don’t support this practice at all and will never attend a bullfighting event, I think it’s animal cruelty, but I also think it is important to learn about this cultural aspect of Spain. And you can do this at the museum from Plaza de Toros which is open weekends only for guided tours.
Stop by the Museum of Osuna
The next stop of this day in Osuna is the Museum of Osuna located in the 18th century Palacio de los Hermanos Arjona y Cuba. The museum is small and displays the paintings of Juan Rodríguez Jaldón and Rodolfo Álvarez Santaló. It is however a very popular museum for another reason – what makes this museum special for Game of Thrones fans is that it features two new rooms dedicated to the show. The producers of the series donated several props, including a White Walker, replicas of swords and some costumes, that are now on display at the museum. If you’re a fan of GOT, this is a must-visit location in Osuna.
Pass Under the Arco de la Pastora
The Arco de la Pastora is an iconic monuments in Osuna, Andalucia. It is a triumphal arch built in 1794 century during the reign of Carols VI. It features two supporting a semi-circular arch with an inscription on top.
See the Coto de las Canteras
As you plan your day trip to Osuna, don’t forget to add the Coto de las Canteras to your itinerary. This is a unique place, a quarry that has been transformed into an auditorium. This is where most of the stone used to build the palaces in Osuna was taken from.
Today, you can visit the 25 meters high natural auditorium and even take part in an event, if you happen to be in town at the right time. It is only open on Saturday and Sundays between 10am and 2pm, so plan your trip accordingly.
Have Dinner at Casa Curro
To end your day in Osuna, head to Casa Curro, one of the town’s most popular restaurants. This charming eatery serves traditional Andalusian dishes and tapas. And if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll be happy to know that this was Emilia Clarke’s favourite restaurant while filming in Osuna. She even celebrated her birthday here. The crew used to come here very often for lunch and dinner.
In honour of the series, the restaurant has developed a special tapas menu featuring dishes named after the main characters in Game of Thrones: Khaleesi, Arya, Lannister, and others. The tapas are very affordable, at prices between 2-3 euros.
So, order some tapas, sip on some sangria, and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of this popular establishment.
And this concludes this one-day itinerary for Osuna. I hope you enjoyed discovering the town’s most beautiful streets, impressive palaces, historical churches, and unique attractions. Osuna can be considered a hidden gem in Andalucia, and I’m sure it will capture your heart.
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