Villafranca del Bierzo is a picturesque medieval village just 187 KM from Santiago de Compostela and is located between the historic templar city of Ponferrada and O Cebreiro the gateway to Galicia. In the middle ages, Villafranca was first mentioned in 791 and then in the 9th century was a resting place for pilgrims.
In 1070, during the reign of Alfonse VI of Leon a monastery was founded here to cultivate wine and a borough of french pilgrims rose up around it which gave the town its name and meaning – Villafranca = “French Town”.
This medieval village is dominated by a massive still-inhabited feudal-fortress and is a great place to stroll the streets soaking up the quaint architecture and enjoy some of the local traditional cuisine and wine.
While strolling this quaint village you might want to visit the Romanesque Church of Santiago to see the Puerta del Perdon (Door of Pardon) – it was a sort of spiritual consolation prize for exhausted pilgrims who couldn’t make it over the mountains and onto Santiago de Compostela.