Historic Spanish city home to precious chalice ‘identified’ by historians as legendary holy artefact

León is bracing itself for an influx of tourists following the news that historians have ‘identified’ a jewel-encrusted chalice in a local church as the mythical Holy Grail – and now discerning pilgrims can enjoy the ideal base in the Spanish city at half the price, thanks to a special offer from the five-star Parador de León. 

The whereabouts of the cup from which Jesus Christ drank at the Last Supper has been the subject of centuries of historical and theological debate, not to mention chivalric questing.  In an explosive new book, two historians from León University have identified an ancient goblet in the city’s San Isidro basilica as the legendary Holy Grail. According to parchments found by the book’s authors, Muslims took the prized relic from Jerusalem to Cairo, where it was later given as a peace offering to Fernando, a powerful local Christian Spanish king.

Originally built in the 16th century by the Spanish king Ferdinand the Catholic as headquarters for the Military Order of St James, the Parador de León is an ideal base for visitors on the trail of the Holy Grail. Located in the city centre, the hotel is within walking distance of both León University and the San Isidro basilica. Widely recognised as one of the most important Renaissance buildings in Spain, the spectacular hotel is centred around a magnificent cloister, chapter house, banqueting halls and library.

One of the key stops on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route, León is steeped in history. The area’s rich Catholic cultural heritage is evident everywhere in the city: as well as the San Isidoro basilica, which also houses the so-called Royal Pantheon, the funeral chapel of the kings of Castile and León, guests can visit the Catholic Museum, home to a collection of early-Romanesque carved statues of the Virgin Mary. Art lovers can also explore the celebrated León Museum of Contemporary Art, or simply admire the architecture as they wander the cobbled streets of the Old Quarter.

The Parador de León is currently offering discounts of up to 50 per cent on half-board breaks for two. Prices for travel in May start from €298 – the equivalent of just GB£62 per person per night -  including two nights’ accommodation for two adults sharing, daily breakfast, daily three-course lunch or dinner for two, and taxes. For further information and reservations, visit or call tel: +44 (0) 20 7953 3020.

Notes to Editors:

Paradores de Turismo is a State-owned company with eight decades of history, which currently manages 94 highly individual properties across mainland Spain and the Canary Islands.  The group continues to expand its portfolio, with the objective of restoring and preserving Spain’s cultural landmarks.

For more information or to discuss feature ideas and press trips please contact:

Olivia Walter (, Nat Frogley ( or Flora Gandolfo( at Bacall Associates.  Tel: +44 (0) 8704 288 401

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