Cellar Tours Blog

Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Spain

Posted by gen On May - 12 - 2010

Spain’s turbulent history 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….

Many of these beautiful  castles are perfectly preserved, others in romantic ruins on atmospheric hilltops.  Here is a perhaps controversial selection of our personal 10 favorites, many of them in the wine country:

1. Segovia’s Alcazar

The ultimate Disney castle, the Alcazar of Segovia is just gorgeous. And such rich history. This is where Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand met for the first time and where King Philip (Felipe) the 2nd married his wife (Anne of Austria). You can visit the interior of the castle and also climb up over 150 stairs on a narrow, winding staircase to get to the Torre Juan II and enjoy views over Segovia and the countryside. Quite magical in winter, when you can also appreciate the local suckling pig and fab wines.

Most beautful castles in Spain2. 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 estates.

Most beautful castles in Spain

3. Mota

This delightful gothic castle near the Rueda and Ribera del Duero wine regionsis where Juana la Loca (Jane the Mad)lived and over the years has changed its hat from being a royal residence, prison and these days is used forspecial events and art exhibitions. More info.

Most beautiful castles Spain

4. Ponferrada

Whimsical castle in one of our favorite wine regions, Bierzo. Interesting as it is one of Spain´s few Templar castles. From July 1-4, the local town council is organizing  medieval Templar nights, very atmospheric.

Most beautiful Castles in Spain

5. Coca

A 15th century ornate, perfectly preserved military castle located about half an hour from Segovia, Castillo de Coca is a very handsome castle. You can visit the inside of the castle too (not all castles allow visits). Why not make it an afternoon excursion from Segovia? Bring a picnic and munch on Chorizo and queso while sitting in the shade of the trees and sipping on some chilled Rueda…


Most beautiful Castles in Spain

6. 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?

Most beautiful castles in Spain

7. Peñafiel

Situated in the heart of the Ribera del Duero wine country, the Castillo de Peñafiel houses a regional wine museum and overlooks a charming medieval village of the same name.  Shaped like a battleship and set right on top of a steep hill, a stop here is a must if touring the wine country. You can stay nearby at the pretty Convento las Claras.

Most beautiful castles in Spain

8. Alarcon

This Arabic fortress (dating back to the 8th century!) in Cuenca province in the La Mancha wine region has been transformed into an itty bitty Parador (only a few rooms, including the Infante Don Juan Manuel room at the top of the castle keep ). This is the land of Don Quixote, dusty and dreamy. Visit Cuenca with its hanging houses and the swish Pago Vicario wine estate.

Beautiful castles Spain

9.  Tossa de Mar

Overlooking the sparkling sea, this castle (fortified tower) wins for location location location. Tossa de Mar is a touristy town on the Costa Brava, close to the Emporda wine region. In the 50′s, when Ava Gardner filmed “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman” here it was a sleepy fishing village. These days it’s a popular beach haunt. Absolutely delightful to visit in June or September when the crowds are gone and the weather is balmy…

Beautiful Castles in Spain

10. Loarre

Very close to the Somontano wine region (featured in our Spanish wine odyssey tour) in Huesca you´ll find the absolutelymystical castle of Loarre. This castle complex dates tot he 11th century and is Unesco protected.

Most beautiful castles in Spain

Other wonderful castles, big and small (some abandoned), include the Alcazaba of Guadix, Butrón in Vizcaya, the castle of Vejer in Andalucía, Málaga’s Alcazaba, Coyanza, Burgalimar, Peralada (home to a wine estate to and featured on our Catalonia wine tours), Castillo de Bellver (just above Palma de Mallorca)  and Castillo de Almansa.

More on Spanish castles and architecture here.

Castles in Spain

20 Responses to “Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Spain”

  1. bunkycooks says:

    Beautiful castles! Now I want to go back to Spain to see these. I went to Spain for the first time last year and fell in love with Barcelona.

  2. Your photos are amazing! I have to admit that I was so excited when I first saw this post because I’m planing the trip to Spain in October! I will have to check one of these castles out!

  3. Ive seen temples but not castles. really beautiful and jaw dropping view and architecturals. wish i could go there and see at least one of them.

  4. Duques says:

    I would recommend that you add “Manzanares el Real Castle” to your list.

    http://www.castles.org/castles/Europe/Western_Europe/Spain/Manzanares/

  5. Maryluz says:

    My dream is to visit Spain with my children and husband. I don’t get tired of looking at the castles day after day. I believe every Hispanic should visit Spain since most of our ancestors are from Spain! Beautiful Spain!

  6. [...] Leon´s outstanding cathedral, Astorga, Ponferrada with its fairy tale castle (featured in our most beautiful castles in Spain post), unique landscapes in Las Médulas, the abandoned castle of Corullón, the Cistercian [...]

  7. Hi, just wanted to comment and tell you cool post!

  8. Back in 1966, when in the US Air Force, I went to Spain, up around Seville. I was going down a road and out there in the middle of farm land, on a nicely plowed field, there was an abandoned castle standing there in all her beauty with no way to reach her other than trespassing.

  9. tyler says:

    great pictures

  10. Neville says:

    Beautiful. I love castles and there are some great ones here and fantastic photography. I also am hoping to holiday in Spain in the near future and see some of these beauties.

  11. loulou says:

    love the pictures good website and spain is awesome.

  12. good post cheers.

  13. HJDman says:

    i like # 1 2 5 6 and 9…..8 is ok. the color is very pretty in the 8. i am very big disney fan so 1 and 6 are my favorite! 3 has a good sky in it.

  14. HJDman says:

    i love castles

  15. [...] Leon´s outstanding cathedral, Astorga, Ponferrada with its fairy tale castle (featured in our most beautiful castles in Spain post), unique landscapes in Las Médulas, the abandoned castle of Corullón, the [...]

  16. Jennifer Lee says:

    We’re in Barcelona now!! Which castles should we go tour??? We would prefer one with a city close! I want to see where a king and queen slept!!! Let us know. Thank you

    Jennifer lee

  17. eliza says:

    i thik that the castles in sevilla is the prettiest. The best, in my opinion was the castle of king ferdanand and queen isabella

  18. Rachel says:

    I´ve seen a lot of castles in Spain but none on your list, several are on my – ´to-visit-list´. What a collection!

    I think you´ll like this one http://bit.ly/13dUZoj

  19. Isabella says:

    What about “The Alhambra and the Generalife” in Granada? One of the best of the world

  20. Hailey says:

    Omg that would be the first thing to do in Spain!!!

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