The little town of Osuna is an underrated day trip destination halfway between Seville and Málaga in the south of Spain. It’s a typical Andalusian town in the middle of nowhere: Quiet streets lined with whitewashed houses. Fragrant orange trees on sunny squares. Church bell towers with shuttered windows.
Yet, for a town of this size, there is a wealth of architectural gems in Osuna that sets it apart from most places in Spain. You can explore it easily as you wander the streets with a map in your hand. Unlike in many other towns in the south of Spain, most areas of the town are level, making it easy to navigate. As we were soon to find out, there are many things in Osuna that you probably haven’t heard about yet – palaces, convents, churches. And yet, there is more.
Osuna is also one of the Game of Thrones filming locations in Spain. People will visit the town just to explore the bullring which is featured in Season 5 of the show. The town is definitely riding the GoT wave. It even has a Game of Thrones museum.
But what really blew us away on the day that we visited was the old limestone quarry just on the outskirts of town. A very special place where you can find one of the most intriguing buildings in Spain.
Game of Thrones Film Location Osuna and the GoT Museum
If you are a fan of the show Game of Thrones, Osuna is a must-do destination. Not only was the show filmed here during Season 5, the producers also left behind a collection of props, costumes and memorabilia which is now exhibited at the local town museum. It is our first stop when we arrive in Osuna, knowing that the clocks in this town still tick the Spanish way and most shops and attractions will close for siesta.
The Game of Thrones museum in Osuna is not big. Just two rooms in the local museum are dedicated to this short chapter of the town’s history, but for us, it’s enough to get us excited. Cheesy fan art, snapshots with extras from town and autographs grace the walls. There are figurines and a life-sized White Walker. A Dothraki sickle sword and the famous Longclaw, a dragon glass dagger and the sword of the Lannisters. Necklaces worn by Sansa Stark, Daenerys and Margery Tyrell. Jon Snow’s Nightwatch cloak and King Joffrey’s crown.
It’s good fun for around 10 minutes and until the kids get bored. We decide to head to the actual filming location next, the Plaza the Toros of Osuna. This beautiful bullring stood in for the fighting pit in Meereen. Bullfights no longer take place here. We explore the grounds and admire the tiled place numbers, the vaulted walkway under the bleachers, the gorgeous art deco bullfight posters painted on Spanish tiles. Hide behind the wooden protective barriers, walk in the footsteps of the bull.
As we prepare to leave to see the Baroque beauty of the town, the lady at the entrance asks us if we were here to see the Game of Thrones part of the bullring. When we say yes, she opens a gate for us to lead us underneath a closed-off part of the bleachers. Suddenly, a giant dragon head emerges – it is one of Khaleesi’s dragons!
A Walk Around Town – Baroque Beauty Everywhere
Osuna may just be a small town but there are so many things to see here that it’s a pleasure to explore. With a map from the town museum in hand, we walk the empty streets and look at the elaborate doors and balconies of houses. Most buildings that stand out are convents, civic buildings and palaces. They have elaborate detail with stonework and cast-iron, twisted columns and reliefs. There are colourful tiles and ceramic details, ancient supporting arches spanning across laneways, coat-of-arms chiselled from soft limestone.
Calle San Pedro, in particular, is home to quite a few treasures. We have a look at the outside of the 17th century Palace of the Marquess of Gomera, now a hotel. There is the beautiful School Chapter’s Cilla, decorated with images of the Giralda in Seville and floral ornaments. The public granary, which has a sun clock on the roof that you can see from the adjoining square. Iglesia Santa Domingo, a church made of local limestone, so soft that the outside appears like it’s made of sand alone.
We also visit a convent, Monasterio de la Encarnación. It’s a working monastery, and a nun guides us through the rich exhibition of religious items. We don’t understand enough Spanish to follow the explanations but it feels very authentic and raw. She shows little enthusiasm or emotion, but when she points out the relict hidden in one of the crosses, a finger bone, there is some pride in her gaze. Behind the closed doors, in the “clausura” area of the monastery, we can hear the other nuns sing in a choir. Cooking smells escape the kitchen and fill the open courtyard where we are shown around. Overall, it’s a remarkable experience, one that the children will never forget.
El Coto las Canteras – “Spain’s Petra”
There is a tourist sign in the centre of town. It shows a picture of a place just outside of town, El Coto las Canteras. They call it the “Petra of Spain” – of course, we have to see it! This is the place where the Romans and the Iberians before them used to quarry stone to build the foundations of the town.
This old limestone quarry is no longer in use, with one exception. One part has been fenced in, the insides hollowed out to create an auditorium for concerts, shows and events. We cannot go inside, it is closed for siesta, but the outside looks impressive enough. The walls are graced with reliefs, the garden in front planted with lush greenery. It must be a wonderful place to see from the inside.
Adjacent to the auditorium, the open quarry is free to the public. We take a walk around, climb up and down slopes and steps cut into the rock. Tall walls and limestone cliffs hovering over us, graffiti scratched into the soft stone here and there. Birds flying above our heads, kids taking their dog for a walk. Besides that, all we hear in the gravel under our feet. It’s a sheltered place with an ungraspable aura. Fragile yet eternal at the same time. When we return to the car we are covered in a fine coat of dust.
Dragons, Nuns and a Limestone Quarry: An Unforgettable Day in Osuna
It is time for us to leave and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Osuna has so much more to offer – museums and churches and palaces. You could easily fill a whole weekend here.
We make one last spontaneous stop at the Colegiata de Osuna on top of the hill. There is no time to go inside and explore the exhibitions, but we have one last look from above. Baroque towers and terracotta spires poking out of a sea of whitewashed houses, so pretty. Osuna, we think as we leave to return to Málaga, please stay just the way you are and don’t change a thing. You are perfect just as you are.
Things to Know Before Visiting Osuna
Osuna’s location, approximately halfway between Seville and Malaga make it a great day trip destination for visitors to both cities or the Costa del Sol. However, it’s not exactly on the tourist trail, and most people will probably stumble on it by accident as they are road tripping Andalusia and are looking for a suitable stop to stretch their legs. But this town has so much more to offer, and I think it would be a shame not to give it a go just because it’s a little bit further away from the big cities than other day trip destinations.
Apart from it’s rather isolated location, Osuna is making it really easy to visit – which is not always a given in the small towns and white villages of Andalusia. We had no issues find a spot to park the car. From here, we went straight to the Museo de Osuna which equipped us with plenty of info material, a map and a brochure. Most attractions will set you back around 2 Euros per person, while the children go free. This makes Osuna a very cost-efficient place to visit.
Note that most places will close at 2 pm and will only open again around 4 pm or even later. Some attractions are only open on weekends – check the websites beforehand to avoid disappointment.
For a quick lunch, try Bar Plaza Mayor next to the pretty square of the same name. We ordered some cheap tapas for around 2 Euros per plate. If you would like to look for accommodation in Osuna, check out these recommended hotels on the TripAdvisor website and read recent Osuna hotel reviews (Affiliate Link). More photos as you scroll down ↓
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