Have you ever visited castles in Spain?
For all those castles and palace lovers out there, this article is set to direct you on some of the most spectacular and beautiful castles in Spain. We want to help you discover some of the most intriguing old fortresses and palaces in this beautiful and amazing country.
Table of content
- Facts about old and beautiful castles in Spain
- Pros & cons
- Our favourite castles in Spain
- Map of our favourite castles in Spain
- Learn 5 easy words of Spanish
- Did you know this creepy fact about castles in Spain?
1. Facts about old and beautiful castles in Spain
Spain has its fair share of history etched in the history books worldwide. This itself should leave some essence of curiosity and anxiety to want to visit this beautiful country and explore some of these wonderful Spanish castles first-hand.
Spain forms a big part to play in the world’s history. So, you also find that the food, arts, and culture in the country make for some pretty awesome stories to take back home after visiting this awesome country.
According to TripAdvisor, records show that there has been altogether some 10.000 castles in Spain. Nowadays only some 2.000 of them are left. Many have been demolished by the Spanish kings on purpose, just to prevent them from being used by opponents.
But enough about that.
Let’s talk about the ‘fairy-tale’ castles and palaces in Spain that many only enjoy the pleasure of reading about in history books and or the internet.
That being said, here are twelve of the most amazing and intriguing castles we have visited.
Which are the most famous castles in Spain? How would you determine that? By the number of visitors per year? You could compare our findings with the tips of the Spain’s official tourism office.
If you don’t have your travel itinerary yet in place, you can perhaps adjust your plans accordingly?
Even if you are travelling on a tight budget, most of the castles in Spain have very fair entrance costs, so money really is not an issue 😎 – in this case.
2. Pros & cons
In general, Spain has an interesting and vivid history where castles play an important part.
My list of pros: you have MANY options where to choose from, the entrance fees are fairly cheap and the castles are in general easy to find. (Taking a taxi straight to your destination saves you both time & energy for your visit.)
But if you think about the cons. Days are hot during the high season, so you might get exhausted during your visit. (Remember to take couple of water bottles with you!) The most popular sights have long lines. (Start your day early so you can avoid queuing).
Keeping these in mind, let’s start the journey!
3. Our favourite castles in Spain
12. Loarre castle
Loarre castle is literally on a hill. It boasts of some of the most amazing landscapes in the country with stunning views both at sunrise and sunset. This wonderful castle is also surrounded by a small but lush forest.
Loarre castle history goes back to sometime between the 11th and 12th century when the castle was built. During that time, it played a vital role in being at a strategic location between the Muslims and Christian lands.
What makes this castle unique?
We found out that one unique characteristic of this castle is that, it is a collection of buildings that are bound together by the walls.
It consists of at least three different towers. The outer most walls of this castle were only constructed later on sometime between the 13th and 14th century.
If you are travelling to Bilbao or Barcelona, definitely worthwhile to make a daytrip to this castle!
Address: 22809, Huesca, España
11. Castillo de Butron
The Butron castle was remodeled in the 19th century. History of the Butron starts back in the medieval times. It is a marvel of many towers, turrets and battlements. Just by laying your eyes on them, you are surely taken back in time.
This castle is currently hidden in a lush forest that is filled with exotic palms and plants.
What brought the castle back in time?
The Butron castle has been around for many centuries and lived through the ages of time. But the remodelling process helped to make this castle livable once more.
Butron castle floorplan is still complete. Houses a chapel, vast sprawling courtyard, enormous living room, its own dungeon, and a library. The castle is located near the city of Bilbao.
Address: Butron Auzoa | Urduliz, 48110, Spain
10. Castillo de Almodóvar
Castillo de Almodóvar, like most castles, is also located on top of a hill and overlooks Almodóvar del Rio town. It is a short drive away from Córdoba – in case you’re planning to visit Southern Spain.
What is the castle famous for?
The castle is also known as the round castle. It has been restored numerous times since its building. The first restoration was in the 14th century, while the last one was in 1936.
The good thing about this castle is that it is open to public viewing. It boasts of battlements, courtyards, towers, and fields and currently ranks among some of the most preserved castles found in Spain.
Why should you visit the Almodóvar castle?
In addition to the history aspect, the castle is also one of the famous Game of Thrones filming locations. If in case you do happen to drop by here, then you better not miss the famous ‘Black Moon’ events and visits. Perfect daytrip destination from Seville or Málaga.
Both castles in Málaga, the Alcazaba and the Castillo de Gibralfaro, are located in the city centre. Alcazaba of Málaga – Citadel of Málaga – is an enormous castle you can see from far away. The castle is on top of a hill, having a great view over the ocean.
Why should you visit the Alcazaba castle?
It has several unique details like its courtyards and a Roman theatre on the side of the entrance.
You can wander around the construction easily within 1-1,5 hours if you do not wish to pay attention to every little detail.
The castle opening hours are from 9 am to 8 pm during the high season (April – October) and the Alcazaba entrance ticket is only 3,5€.
Address: Calle Alcazabilla 2, 29012 Málaga
8. Bellver Castle
Castle Bellver is a unique and extraordinary castle in its own right. And when you set your eyes on it, you will also marvel at its circular structure with its four towers which all stand at a whopping 112 meters above the sea level.
Why should you not miss the Bellver castle?
Most people that have visited this place would admit that this is no ordinary castle, and the view that it has of the city and port is just breathtaking.
Bellver Castle is, perhaps, one of the oldest and rarest castles with this circular architecture in Europe to date. The style itself is considered by many people to be Gothic.
The history of Bellver castle goes back to the 14th century when it was built. King James II of Mallorca was the original owner of this jaw-dropping building.
How to get to the Bellver castle from Palma?
This castle is open to the public. The easiest way to get to the castle is to take a taxi or go by car. You can also take a bus to Placa Gomila. And then climb up the hill.
You can opt to take day trips to this castle and even visit its municipal museum. There you will find the Throne Room, the Despuig Collection of classical sculptures, and the San Marcos Chapel.
7. Castillo de Vélez-Blanco
Castillo de Vélez-Blanco is located in Andalusia. It was built by Pedro Fajardo, the Governor of Murcia at the time. The castle was strategically placed in a very important and old Islamic citadel.
History reveals that the castle served Pedro as his one stronghold for several years.
What is unique about the castle?
The castle stands out from the rest is its unique and enormous tower, which stands out and overlooks the city. The tower measures about 20 feet tall and is not only a symbolic figure but a decorative one too of the governor’s authority and power.
The patio of the Vélez-Blanco is a true piece of jewellery of the early sixteenth-century Spanish architecture.
The structure and the courtyard of the Vélez-Blanco castle reflect the architectural features of that time with its asymmetrical layout, Gothic gargoyles, flat-timbered ceilings, and low, segmental arches.
The whole castle was structured in stone, but the staircase was originally built using wood, which would easily be lifted in defence in case of an attack on the castle. This castle is located not too far away from Murchia, Cartagena or Torrevieja. Perfect daytrip destination!
6. Castillo de la Mota
This castle in San Sebastian got its name due to its location, which is on a raised hill, or ‘Mota’. The castle’s central tower was put up in the 14th century. This was done under King Henry IV of Castile.
Who has lived in the castle?
You would also be amazed that this castle has housed some of the most famous prisoners in history like Duke Fernando de Calabria, Hernando Pizarro, and Cesare Borgia.
Did you know this?
History also tells that Cesare Borgia somehow managed to escape from this tower by climbing its 40-meter high walls using a rope.
The castle was originally accessible by a drawbridge. Its sight is spectacular, and the view from the top of the castle is just jaw-dropping. And it’s a a perfect day trip destinatination from Madrid or Bailbao!
5. Templar castle
This castle ‘Castillo de los Templarios’ was built back in the 13th century and was originally a hill-fortress. It covers a whopping 16,000 square meters. It was originally a pre-Roman stronghold during battle.
The entrance to this tower also boasts of two large towers that are joined by an arch.
What is unique about the Templar castle?
Another peculiar yet spectacular discovery about this castle is how its original 12 towers were built.
Studies and enough research will reveal to you that these 12 towers were built to mimic different constellations. As a result, this is the main reason for the irregular patterns and shapes of the castle.
But still, that is pretty amazing. Perfect day trip from Madrid or Bilbao.
4. New Castle of Manzanares el Real
The castle ‘Castillo de los Mendoza’ was built back in the 15th century. It was built near the Santillana reservoir near Sierra de Guadarrama. This castle ranks among some of the best-preserved and monitored castled in Madrid.
The castle has also served as residence to some noble houses throughout the centuries. It is quadrangular in layout and was originally made of granite stone.
The castle also contains four towers that are circular, courtyards, and turrets.
Why should you visit the Mendoza castle?
It stands isolated in its grounds but offers a beautiful view of its surroundings and you will have a heck of a time touring this wonderful site. It’s located about an hourd-drive from downtown Madrid, furthermore having a beautiful scenary all the way.
3. Castillo de Belmonte
Castillo de Belmonte is currently one of the restored and preserved castles in Spain. It is surrounded by a green and wonderful scenery that is simply breathtaking. Similarly like almost every other castle, it is also situated on a hill.
What is the history of the Belmonte castle?
The castle was built in the 15th century. You can’t afford to miss out on the castle’s famous and anticipated World Championship Medieval Combat.
The castle is located in the triangle of Madrid-Murcia-Valencia, not too far from any of which.
2. La Alhambra
The very first parts of Alhambra was built by the Moors in the 1000’s. Alhambra was originally designed as a military area.
When and who built the Alhambra?
King Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr – also known as Alhamar – founded the construction of the first palace in the middle of the thirteenth century. After that Alhambra became the royal residence and court of Granada.
The spectacular view over Granada and the construction itself is a piece of fine art. The city surrounded by walls has a nickname “The Red Fort”.
Inside Alhambra, you’ll find richly decorated rooms, beautiful gardens and patios, indoor fountains – simply stunning!
What is the best time to go to Alhambra?
Perhaps the easiest and best time to go is in the mornings. The site is an enclosed attraction. For security reasons, only 300 people can enter the building every 30 minutes. You MUST arrive 30min – 1h BEFORE the time printed on your ticket. Otherwise, you will not get in. And that is strict.
It will take you easily 2-3 hours to wander around the palace and its towers (take a LOT of water with you!). Most likely you will not find anything as enchanting as this place!
The palace is technically not a castle but was nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. You should not miss this beautiful construction when visiting Spain! Check out this video about Granada.
La Alhambra is located about an hour-drive away from Málaga, not too far away from Almeria or Murcia either.
1. Castillo de Coca
Castillo de Coca in Segovia is famous for being one of the most important and beautiful castles in Spain.
History of the Coca castle?
It was built in the 15th century on the orders of Don Alonso de Fonseca. The castle was originally built of bricks and scones and also boasts of a 560-meter long moat.
Interesting facts about the Coca castle?
It was interesting to learn that upon the death of its original builder, Antonio de Fonseca, his brother, increased the castle’s defence systems. It was not until the 1800s, and under Napoleon’s command that this castle was first besieged.
Currently, the castle is being used as a school, but still, it wouldn’t hurt to want to have a peak of this lovely historic monument and building that has been standing tall for centuries. It’s located close to Madrid, not too far away from Bilbao either.
4. Map of our favourite castles in Spain
Each of the introductions include the address to the castle and a link to google map, just to make it easier for you to find & locate them. But hopefully this overall map helps you to plan your holiday and as well as to select suitable destinations into your travel itinerary.
Overall, Spain has some of the most amazing and oldest castles in the world, many of which are recognized as world heritage sites. These castles have turned out to be massive tourist attraction sites with people streaming in from all corners of the world. Everyone wants to have a peek at these super-old and beautiful fortresses.
Print here the list of castles in Spain to see (pdf) before you book for you & your family a dream holiday in Spain! 😉
5. Learn 5 easy words of Spanish
¿Dónde está? (dohn des tah) – Where is?
¿Qué hora es? (kay orah ess)? – What time is it?
La torre – tower
La campana – bell
Elevado – high
6. Did you know this creepy fact about castles in Spain?
The legend tells that you better watch out if you are assigned to the room 712 in the Hotel Fort Cordona (near Barcelona). The luxury hotel is an old castle surrounded by beautiful nature and it was built in the 11th century.
No-one claims to have seen a ghost but mysteriously furniture is gathered in the middle of the room during night time…
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