Ubeda is a small town in central Andalusia in the province of Jaén. Together with neighboring Baeza, it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List primarily due to its Renaissance architecture.
Throughout its history, Ubeda has often become a place of battles and strife. Most of all, the city suffered during the Moorish rule and during this difficult period it was repeatedly rebuilt. After the liberation from the Arabs in the 13th century, Ubeda flourished: the Spanish nobility began to settle here. The main building dates back to the 15th-16th centuries – luxurious palaces, mansions, churches and other buildings, most of these architectural monuments have survived to this day.
Ubeda, together with the neighboring cities of Jaén and Baeza, belongs to the so-called “golden triangle”. Often these cities are combined as part of one sightseeing trip.
According to ALLCITYCODES, Ubeda has 48 important historical monuments and more than a hundred other ancient buildings. In 1955, the Spanish government awarded the city the title of “outstanding architectural collection”.
How to get to Ubeda
You can get to Ubeda by bus or train from most Spanish cities. The nearest airports with good transport links are in Madrid and Malaga. There is no railway station in Ubeda itself, but there is one in neighboring Baez, you can get from there to Ubeda by bus in 15-20 minutes.
The distance between Malaga and Ubeda is about 250 km. The A-44 connects these cities and passes through major cities such as Granada and Jaén. Travel time by car is about 3 hours. The same route is served by ALSA buses three times a day, some depart directly from the airport. The journey will take a little longer, from 4 to 6.5 hours and will cost from 25 EUR one way.
The train to the Linares-Baeza station in Baeza leaves once a day at 8:40, takes 2 hours 37 minutes, and costs from 27 EUR one way. There are buses and taxis to Ubeda from Baeza. The prices on the page are for August 2021.
The distance between Madrid and Ubeda is 315 km, the cities are connected by the A-4 motorway, the journey by car takes about 3.5 hours. Samar buses leave from Estacion Sur station in the capital three times a day at 7:00, 9:00 and 15:30, travel time is about 4-5 hours, fare is from 26 EUR one way.
Trains from Madrid to Baeza run 7 times a day, the first departing at 8:19, the last at 19:32. Travel time – from 3 to 4.5 hours, fare – from 18 EUR one way.
Transport links are also established with all major nearby cities, it is most convenient to travel in this region by ALSA buses. From Granada, they depart every 1-1.5 hours, travel time – 2.5-3 hours, fare – from 9 EUR one way. You can get from Seville by bus in 5 hours and 11 EUR, and from Cordoba – in 2-3 hours and 7 EUR one way.
In Ubeda, you can find hotels of different categories – from 2 * to 5 *, many of them are located in historical buildings. In some, breakfast is included in the price (usually simple: coffee, toast, cheese, jamon, jam). Most of the hotels are located in the historical center of the city, where there is practically no parking, so you should check in advance if there is parking at the hotel (some do).
The city has one five-star hotel Hotel MS Palacio De Ubeda 5 GL 5 *, it has its own spa with hot springs, a large outdoor pool with a terrace and an Andalusian restaurant. The cost of living is from 140 EUR per night for a double room.
Ubeda has its own parador – this is how Spain calls the ancient palaces and monasteries converted into hotels. Parador de Ubeda 4 * is located in a building in the Renaissance style of the 16th century, in the Fernando Ortega Salido Palace (the former residence of Don Fernando Ortego Salido) in the central city square Plaza Vazques de Molina. The Ubeda Parador is named after Ruy López de Davalos, a Spanish soldier who served in the court of King Juan II, who was taken prisoner by the Moors. When Davalos was released, Juan II gave him the title of high constable, and today the portrait of the soldier still hangs in the hotel restaurant above the fireplace. Rooms at the parador are spacious, decorated with period décor and antique furniture. The restaurant, a former dining room, is decorated in a typical Andalusian style and serves local and traditional Spanish cuisine. The night in the palace stands from127 EUR for a double room.
Shopping in Ubed
From the central town square, Calle Valencia originates, where numerous craft workshops are concentrated. In Ubed they are really interesting, most of the workshops are old family businesses with a history spanning several generations. There you can buy handmade ceramics, leather goods (shoes, bags and other accessories), forged and wooden souvenirs and much more.
The most popular souvenir shop in the city – Regalos La Pera Limonera – is located on Calle Santiago, there is a good assortment and low prices.
Entertainment and attractions in Ubeda
Ubeda is called the Golden City because of the combination of architecture and lighting. This golden light is especially noticeable in the afternoon. The city is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List thanks to the architecture in the Renaissance style – there are more such buildings in Ubeda than anywhere else in Spain. All of them were built at about the same time – at the turn of the 15th-16th centuries.
It is worth starting a tour of the city from its central square – Plaza Vazquez de Molina, named after the personal secretary of King Philip II. It was originally planned that it would be an ordinary market square, but in the 16th century it was built up with luxurious palaces by the best Spanish architects. One of the most impressive buildings is the Palacio de las Cadenas, which the famous Spanish architect Andres de Vandelavia built in record time – in just 6 years. This palace is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Andalusia. Today it houses the city hall.
Translated from Spanish, the word cadenas means “chains” – the entrance to the palace building in the old days was indeed decorated with chains.
Another work by Andrés de Vandelavir in the same square is the Renaissance-style Fernando Ortega Salido Palace, which now houses a hotel. Even if you didn’t manage to book a room there, it’s worth visiting the restaurant to see the interiors of the former dining room.
Another palace located on the square is Vazquez de Molina, you can visit it completely free of charge and appreciate the interior decoration in the typical Andalusian Mudéjar style.
Also on Vasquez de Molina Square there is a monument to the 16th century Spanish poet Juan de la Cruz, who was not lucky enough to die in Ubeda, and the La Casa Mudejar mansion, which today houses the archaeological museum.
Ubeda inherited the fortress of Eras de Alcazar from the Moors.
South of the main city square is another, no less important – the former market square Plaza del Primero Mayo. Previously, bazaars were really noisy here and bullfights were held. The most remarkable building here is the old city hall (Antiguo Ayuntamiento), built in the Renaissance style. Once upon a time, from the balconies of this house, privileged persons watched the bullfight.
To the south of the square is an observation deck – Mirador. It is a small park overlooking the olive fields against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains on the horizon.
Outside the city is the building of the Hospital of St. Santiago – another architectural masterpiece of Andres de Vandelavire in the Renaissance style. It is called the Andalusian Escorial for its too solemn and strict appearance. The hospital has a church, on the walls of which frescoes from the 16th century have been preserved.
The Church of Santa Maria de los Reales (Iglesia Santa Maria de los Reales Alcazares) is located opposite the Palacio de las Cadenas and is a pure example of the Renaissance style in architecture. Note the carvings on the façade depicting the transfiguration of Christ and the Greek gods on the lower arch. This church is privately owned by the Medinaceli family, descendants of the Cobos family (original owners), large landowners in Andalusia.
Here is the Cathedral of La Colegiata de Santa Maria, erected on the site of a Muslim mosque, and the chapel of San Salvador (Capilla del Salvador), which was originally a personal chapel of the Molina family, and then served as their burial place. A portrait of Francisco Cobos de Molina still hangs in the sacristy of the church.
The Church of La Iglesia de San Pablo is a typical example of Gothic architecture, while the Baroque Church of La barroca de la Santisima Trinidad is considered one of the most beautiful and unusual churches in the city.
The most popular museum in the city is the Museo de Ubeda. There is a collection of artifacts found in these parts during archaeological excavations.
One of the most curious and unusual museums in Ubeda is the museum of the poet Juan de la Cruz. It is dedicated to the poet, Christian mystic and church teacher who died in Úbeda in 1591 and reformed the order of the Carmelite monks. The tour is conducted by the monks only in Spanish in a very mystical atmosphere.
Casa Museo Arte Andalusi is a private museum located in a former palace. It contains antique furniture, a collection of 19th century ceramics, stained glass windows, carpets, paintings and other treasures. Owner Paco Castro conducts tours of the museum personally, and flamenco shows are often held here.
Another private, not so luxurious, but no less interesting museum is the Museo de Alfereria. It belongs to the potters Paco Tito and his son Pablo and is more of a pottery workshop than a museum. There is an exhibition dedicated to the history of pottery in Andalusia, with photographs, materials and descriptions of the technology. In addition, a 14th-century kiln can be seen in the museum.
Weather in Ubed
The climate in Ubeda is temperate: winters are mild, cloudy and sometimes rainy, the average air temperature during the day is +10… +12 ˚С. Summer here is hot and sunny, there is almost no precipitation, the air warms up to +30 ˚С, and on some days in July and August it can rise to +40 ˚С. It is comfortable here in spring and autumn: +13…+17 ˚С, but it is often overcast and rainy.