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7 of the Most Beautiful Castles in Spain

Segovia Alcazar Castle Spain

Spain has had a turbulent history, which has resulted in the country being home to over 2500 Castles. ranging from Moorish castles to military fortresses built in the “Reconquista”, medieval castles, castles overlooking the sea, and more…

Many of these beautiful  castles are perfectly preserved, others in romantic ruins on atmospheric hilltops.  Here is a perhaps controversial selection of our personal 7 favorites:-

1. Segovia’s Alcazar

Originally a fortress, the Alcázar has also been a royal palace, the site of Philip II’s wedding to his fourth wife, Anne of Austria, and more recently a military academy. In the upper part of the city, the oldest foundations have been identified as Roman. Documents indicate that a fortress existed on this site by the early 12th century known as the Alcázar, an Arabic word for a royal residence. The palace was enlarged in the 13th and 14th centuries and again during the reign of King John II (1405-1454) when towers were added and the East Tower and moat were enlarged. Under Philip II (1558-1598) major alterations were made; slate roofs and spires on towers were added. From 1764-1862 the Royal Artillery College was housed here. A fire in 1862 destroyed most of the structure, which was rebuilt about two decades later in a more romantic style than the original building

2. Jarandilla

This preserved 15th century castle has been converted into one of Spain’s national Parador hotels and is located in the wonderful region of Extremadura (Paprika mecca). King Charles V lived here and the castle and grounds are very atmospheric. The cuisine here is rustic fare and terrific. While in this region don´t miss medieval Trujillo and Cáceres, gorgeous places. On the other side of the border is the Portuguese Alentejo region, full of Arabic castles and romantic wine tours.

3. Mota

This castle dates back to the eleventh century. Castle of La Mota is a reconstructed fortress. The kings of Castile and Aragon fought over this structure for centuries. The Castilian are currently holding the castle since the fifteenth century. The castle was built atop the Medina del Campo in Valladolid Province. To enter the castle, people in the olden times had to cross a drawbridge.

At one time, the castle was turned into a prison that held famous prisoners like Hernando Pizarro, a conqueror of Peru, and Cesare Borgia.

4. Olite

This absolutely gorgeous castles in Navarra is one of the loveliest in Spain and set right in the middle of the historic village of Olite and overlooking vineyards. Stay the night in Olite (the Parador, also a historic building is the best spot in town) and enjoy the castle lit up and the wonderful local restaurants. While in the area, visit the super Ochoa winery and why not pop over to the neighboring Rioja wine region?

 

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5. Bellver 

This castle is located at the island of Majorca, an island just off the coast of Spain. It is quite unique in Spain and Europe because of its circular shape. The walls and the towers of the castle and the castle itself are all circular. The castle was built in the order of King James II of Majorca during the fourteenth century. The castle is surrounded by forests and became the symbol of the city of Palma.

The castle also served as prison for political prisoners, and today, it is used to house a historical museum. Various cultural events and concerts are held in the castle grounds.

6. Ponferrada

The castle consists of a lar polygonal enclosure (more than 8,000 m2) with double and triple battlements, turrets, rooms and a large low courtyard or albacar.

It was one of the largest fortress of north-western Spain during the Middle Ages. In 1211 Alfonso IX makes peace with the Knights Templar and donates the village of Ponferrada to them. In 1226 the Knights Templar had already fortified the village.

Generally attributed to the Knight Templar, who stayed in Ponferrada until 1312, the castle is a very complex military structure, built in different over the centuries.

7. Butron

It was built in the town of Gatika in the mid-13th century as a house-tower, but almost a hundred years later the fifth Lord of Butrón made it his castle. This striking building experienced the ups and downs of the fighting between rival groups from Vizcayan nobility and was subsequently abandoned. However, in the late 19th century it was restored by the Marquis of Torrecilla, Don Narciso de Salabert. It was then that it took on its current appearance, which follows the Germanic style, with fantasy elements that are nothing like the rest of the stately buildings in the region, and look more like the castles in a Walt Disney movie.

 

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