I´ve visited Baeza three or four times now. Mostly in Summer, when the intense Andalusian heat pounds down on the cobbled streets. This visit was in January on an icy cold winter day.
Baeza together with it´s grand neighbour Úbeda is one of the gems of Jaen Province. Unspoilt by mass tourism. If you avoid visiting on the weekend, you´ll enjoy the Andalusian charm just as I did on a January day. Both Úbeda and Baeza are UNESCO World Heritage sites since 2003.
What to See in Baeza
This guide is a list of the main sights in the city of Baeza. Most of them are close to the main square Plaza de la Constitución. When you arrive into Baeza you will find parking on this square. (Pay at the parking metres in blue zone parking). It´s busy with cafés and restaurants all the way around the large open space.
Plaza de la Constitución Baeza
Clearly the social hub of the town. The Plaza de la Constitución is a wide open space at the centre of the old town. It´s an open pedestrian walkaway, with a bandstand and even a small children´s play area. Seen in the photo above is the old corn exchange (1554) on one side of the square. This part of town is always busy with locals. Even as far back as the 16th century, it was the city´s main marketplace.
Now in the porticoed arches around the square restaurants compete for hungry customers. Some are tapas bars and others offer more fine dining options. I have eaten at Los Arcos and Casa Gregorio over the few visits so far. El Pajaro is one of the mid range options on the square.
When Baeza celebrates it´s Mid August Fair, the casetas are set up on this square. Lots of open air bars and stands serving fried fish and typical tapas.
Plaza del Populo
A little further on from Plaza de la Constitución is the Plaza del Populo. By far one of the most charming spots in Baeza. On one side of the square you have the Puerta de Jaen. The old gate was built in 1476, would have been the gateway for the old road to the city of Jaen. The gateway was once a section of the walled medieval city.
In the centre of the square is the Lions fountain. The fountain´s origin was not in Baeza, but in Castúlo, an Ibero-Roman village close to Linares. (populated from the Neolithic age until 1227) Castúlo is now an archaeological site. This Roman fountain was moved to Baeza in 1510. The fountain has lions and oxen around it´s base. The fountain is crowned with a statue of Imilce, Iberian princess and the wife of Hanibal.
Also on the square is Baeza´s Tourist information office. This building was once the public archive. Next to the tourist information is a stepped street that takes you uphill to the Cathedral. You can also wander through the Jaen archway up a sloped street too. On the Plaza del Populo is a 16th butcher´s building La Antigua Carnicería, which is now used as the city´s Courthouse.
- Open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 7pm.
- Saturday, Sundays + Holidays 9.30am to 3pm.
Consecrated in 1147, it´s one of Spain´s oldest Cathedrals. As with many Andalusian churches and cathedrals, its was built on the site of a mosque. In 1529 the new Gothic style Cathedral was built and work continued until 1593. Later there were other modifications and additions over the centuries.
Opposite the Cathedral is the San Felipe Neri Seminary, an educational institution, founded in 1660. Now belonging the to Universidad Internacional de Andalucía.
In the centre of the square is the St Mary´s Fountain, built in 1564, it´s the symbol of Baeza.
Baeza Tourist Train
In Baeza there is a tourist train from Plaza del Populo. The route takes you round the main points of interest. I remember that some of the narrow streets were quite tight and it seemed like the train would get stuck. It´s a fun option especially on summer days or if you have younger children.
Get tickets and information at Populo Servicios Turistícos or Tourist Information.
The streets surrounding the Cathedral are timeless. They are narrow with some of the typical walkways joining buildings (cobertizos). I spotted this beautiful balcony, opposite the cathedral too. So Andalusian.
Paseo de las Murallas
To get great views across the countryside and witness the endless Olive groves that Jaen has. Head to the Paseo de las Murallas. It´s a short walk from the Cathedral and offers a panoramic view over the countryside.
Palacio de Jabalquinto
Built between 1450-1499, the Palace of Jabalquinto is another building belonging to the University. (UniA). With a stunning gothic façade, inside it has marble patio and grand baroque staircase. A home for noblemen up until 1720, it then became a residence for religious scholars.
Calle de San Francisco
Another main thoroughfare in Baeza is the Calle de San Franciso. Along this road is the food market, the town hall and the old San Francisco Convent.
Calle de San Pablo
Another main street in Baeza is San Pablo. It´s lined with grand palatial homes and shops. One of the palaces is now a Hotel, Palacio de los Salcedo, just one of a seven Hotels in Baeza.
Half way up the street is St Pauls Church which dates from the end of the 15th century.
Puerta de Úbeda
As well as the Jaen Gate, Baeza also has an Úbeda Gateway to the east of the old town. Connecting Baeza to the city of Ubeda by road. This monument has a small visitor centre which opens daily. Inside they offer information about the walled medieval city.
Baeza – Where to Eat
- El Archediano is located on Calle Barbacanas. It has an outdoor patio area on a pedestrianised alley. Access through the Aliatares gate or through Arco de las Escuelas. It´s a popular tavern that´s busy with locals.
- El Pajaro is an elegant tavern in one of the porticoes on Plaza de la Constitución. They have outdoor and indoor seating. It´s on Paseo Portales Tundidores, 5.
- Restaurante Vandelvira is on Calle de San Francisco, set inside a 16th century convent, el convento de San Francisco. The restaurant is a reference for regional cuisine. Stuffed pigs trotters, Baeza style cod and Patridge paté are just a few of their house specials.
- Casa Gregorio – Flipper on Plaza de la Constitución. A busy popular bar with tapas and daily specials. When I visited I ordered this dish ´patatas a lo pobre´
- Casa Juanito another classic restaurant in Baeza. They have their own olive oil production under the label. Oleo Viana. House specials are artichokes or fried goat. They specialise in Andalusian and regional dishes. They also have an extensive wine list with local D.O´s Address: Paseo Arca del Agua
- Best options for cake and coffee is Virolo on Plaza del Populo. Or local favourite Pastelería Martinez on Calle San Pablo 28.
Thank you for this informative article which was the main input to our day in Baeza (we made a day trip from Ubeda). Very valuable insights.