Castle of Cornatel

24446 Priaranza del Bierzo, León

Cultural Visit

The Castle of Cornatel stands on a hillock of the Aquilanos Mountains, about 800 meters above sea level, in Villavieja, in the municipality of Priaranza del Bierzo, province of León.
It is a construction of a single wall covered by a walk (adarve) of defensive round, totally crenellated to the one that was acceded by means of ladders flown of slate. The abrupt rock in which it rises forced its builders to adapt the different buildings, raised at different heights, to such special circumstances, configuring an enclosure with a triangular plan.
Two of its flanks are walled, while the third, on the northeast slope, is especially impregnable naturally, since it is located vertically on a ravine at an approximate height of 180 meters on the stream of the Indrina, which runs at his feet. 
Several authors have referred to this castle since the end of the 19th century, almost always describing the remains visible on the surface or recording some historical data. Apart from these works, the building has been the object of several legends in relation to its possible connection, at a certain moment, to the order of the Templars, who were about one hundred years, from 1213 to 1312.
In this line the most well-known work is the novel of the Berciano romantic author Enrique Gil y Carrasco, entitled The Lord of Bembibre.

The current castle, built entirely of slate masonry, is dated, practically in its totality, on the end of the XV century, at the time of the first count of Lemos, lord of it. However, its historical origins could be traced back to much earlier dates that link it with the castle of the early medieval of Ulver, abundantly quoted in the documentation of the time, a theory accepted by most of the authors who have written about this fortification. However, some of them, among which we can mention Fernando Cobos, architect in charge of the Cornatel Master Plan, pointed out the existence in the surroundings of the castle of several depopulated with remains of structures that could have corresponded with Ulver.

We Recommed

The magical nights of Cornatel are a popular celebration of medieval atmosphere that takes [...]


January, February, March and April:

  • Open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays from 10:30 to 17:30
  • Closed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

May and June:

  • Open from Thursday to Sunday: from 10:30 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 20:00
  • Closed: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

July and August:

  • Open from Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 to 14:30 and 17:30 to 20:30
  • Closed on Tuesday.

Septembre and October

  • Open from Wednesday to Monday from 11:00 to 18:30
  • Closed on Tuesday.

November and December:

  • Open from Friday to Monday from 10:30 to 17:30
  • Closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.



24446 Priaranza del Bierzo, León

How to get there:
  • From Ponferrada take N-536 through the towns of Villalibre de la Jurisdicción, Priaranza del Bierzo and Santalla, taking the deviation to the left in the direction of Cornatel.
  • From Ponferrada, you can reach it following the N-120 (direction Orense), after crossing the river Sil, Villalibre de la Jurisdicción, Priaranza del Bierzo and Santalla. The abrupt relief between the basin of the Bierzo and Carucedo is saved by the winding road that ascends to a height (15 km from Ponferrada) from which, after taking the detour of Villavieja, a narrow road leads, between vineyards and meadows, after more than 2 km, at the foot of the castle of Cornatel. From there, a steep trail, which opens into the lush vegetation, leads to the castle's original entrance door. It was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (B.I.C.) on April 22, 1949