Palacio del Duque de Lerma, Parador de Lerma

Plaza Mayor, 1 09340 Lerma Burgos

Cultural Visit

The amazing ducal palace at Lerma, now a Parador, is located in the upper part of the city. The hotel features a central courtyard surrounded by lovely columned galleries. The elegant majesty of this palace from the era of the Hapsburgs and its lovely interiors, with beautifully designed lighting and décor, will make your stay an unforgettable experience.

The Plaza Mayor (Main Square) is opposite the main façade of the palace. At night, the lights of the Parador make it look even more magnificent and stately. The medieval quarter, Arch, Cárcel Bridge, San Blas Convent, Santo Domingo Monastery, Pasadizo del Duque (Duke's Passage) and former collegiate church of San Pedro are just some of the treasures you won't want to miss.

The area around Lerma is well worth a visit. 22 kilometers away is Covarrubias, a lovely village where San Cosme y San Damián Collegiate Church and Doña Sancha and Doña Urraca squares invite travelers to enjoy a leisurely visit, imagining that time has stood still in the Middle Ages and that little has changed since the year 987, when Count Fernán González founded the town.

About half an hour away by car is another treasure: the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, a Romanesque jewel which has become a place of spiritual and artistic pilgrimage. It is also not far to beautiful Aranda de Duero, city of wine, monuments, history and culinary expertise.

Live the History

The Palace of Lerma is the main building of one of the most important urban projects of its epoch. Beside it there are several convents, a large square and the enormous terraced gardens over the River Arlanza made this city an artifi cial and ephemeral court of the Spanish Baroque period.

The grand, new palace planned by the Duke, the royal favourite of King Felipe III, took advantage of the ancient medieval castle of Lerma and entrusted the building to Francisco de Mora, the king’s architect. It was built in successive phases: in the fi rst in 1602 the castle was adapted and, subsequently, in a second phase (1613-16) a new annexed building was built beside the north façade. In a fi nal phase (1616-18), both houses were joined, to give it its current aspect, with the fi rst house-castle fi tted inside. This complexity is scarcely visible in the fi nal result of a building with a rectangular design and the typical layout of the Castilian palaces of the XVII century: a large central patio surrounded by arched galleries where a wide stone stairway starts. In the exterior, the contrast between the stone and the slate roof gives it an air similar to the Escorial enhanced by the four corner towers spire. The only outstanding part of the simple two fl oor façade with lintel like hollows is the main door fi nished o by a by a curved pediment and, over this a wide balcony fl anked by two ducal coats of arms. The architectural sobriety concealed a rich and sumptuous interior which housed the splendid collection of the Duke of Lerma, one of the most important of in Europe in the XVII century. 

The Duke of Lerma, the Royal Favourite 

For twenty years, he was the most powerful man in Spain. The Royal Favourite since 1599, he transferred the Court to Valladolid for fi ve years (1601-1606) in order to weaken the power of his enemies in Madrid, converting Lerma into a strategic point due to its proximity to the new Court. When he fell into disgrace in 1618, his town and palace were condemned to oblivion. The Duke of Lerma has passed into history as an example of the concentration of power, corruption and nepotism in a century which witnessed a very serious economic and political crisis. He began the policy of royal favouritism which was none other than the abandonment of the functions of the monarch in the hands of a strong man who, as in this case, had all the resources of power at his disposal. Before dying, King Felipe II was afraid of the infl uence which Lerma might infl uence over his son, the young and fi ckle Felipe III, and he cast him out of the Court. This was in vain as, after the death of the king, Gómez de Sandoval returned to Madrid and began to exercise absolute power for twenty years, dominating the new monarch and accumulating one of the largest fortunes of his time through favours and scandals. He approved the signing of a Peace Treaty with the Netherlands for twelve years and the expulsion of the Moriscos (Muslim converts to Christianity). Both of these occurred in 1609, and are considered to be the two most important events of his time as Royal Favourite. 

The Virgin on the Throne.

A carving is exhibited in the Parador and is considered to be one of the most valuable pieces of the artistic collection of Paradores due to its antiquity (XIV century) and its large size. It is a fi gure of Our Lady made in a single, polychromatic gilded plaster piece in the Flemish style. Its transitional style is evident in the contrast between stateliness of its frontal pose as compared to the naturalism of its expression. The angels who hold the crown are posterior, probably from the XVIII century.




Plaza Mayor, 1 09340 Lerma Burgos

How to get there:

The Parador is located in Lerma's Plaza Mayor (Main Square) with access from the A-1 motorway: exits at km. 200 and km. 203,towards Burgos and Madrid, respectively.

  • Airport   200 km
  • Train Station    36 km
  • Port    185 km