IUHPFL sites in Spain include León or Oviedo in northwestern Spain, Ciudad Real in Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Each city offers numerous cultural landmarks, beautiful nature and opportunities to explore.
“My summer with IU Honors was the best summer of my life. Truthfully, spending an entire summer in a new country where you can practice your language is a dream come true.” Laurel C., Class of 2008, Leon, Spain
Ciudad Real, founded in the 13th century, was once completely surrounded by two and a half miles of walls and 30 towers. As the capital of the province of Castilla-La Mancha, it is home to Spain's beloved Don Quijote and Sancho Panza. The city with a population of 74,000 citizens is located near the country’s capital, Madrid, and provides an ideal environment for IUHPFL students, offering the charms and beauty of nearby Andalucía, where Ciudad Real participants will travel for their overnight excursion.
Located in northwestern Spain in the province of Castilla-León, just south of the Cantabrian Mountains, León’s population has nearly 137,000 inhabitants. Started as a Roman military encampment in 29 B.C. and once the capital of one of the oldest Christian kingdoms, Léon is one of the oldest sites of the Program. Much of its historical architecture, such as the spectacular Gothic cathedral of Pulchra Leonina, dates back to the middle Ages. Léon follows many customs and processions, including the San Juan and San Pedro festivals with fireworks and bonfires during the last week of June.
Oviedo, a city of 210,000 citizens, was founded by two monks in 761. It is surrounded by lush green and hilly landscapes and is capital of the Principality of Asturias. This beautiful city offers many architectural gems, stemming from the Visigothic, Roman and Nordic traditions. Located just forty minutes south of the picturesque beaches of the Cantabrian Sea, it is within easy reach of the Cantabrian Mountains and the impressive national park of Los Picos de Europa.
Founded in 137 B.C., Valencia began its rich history as a Roman military province. Valencia is located at the midpoint of the Spanish east Mediterranean coast, approximately 220 miles east of Madrid and south of Barcelona. Its feel is cosmopolitan, its openness making it the meeting point of various civilizations over the centuries. Many historic buildings with Roman and Arabic architecture have been preserved and include the primarily Gothic cathedral, the 15th century Serrano and Quart towers, many medieval churches, squares and gardens. The famous Spanish dish paella originated here. Valencia is the capital of the Autonomous Community of Valencia and is the third largest city in Spain, boasting a population of roughly 810,000 inhabitants.