The rich history of Spain is something beguiling to most as the Moors, Romans and Celts have all left their distinctive mark, making the Iberian Peninsula and Spanish islands a thing of legend. Home to the most castles of any European country, Spain is the prime destination to witness some of the most majestic defensive structures that have been the home of mighty warriors and powerful kings in their days of glory. Holidays in Spain a great opportunity in learning about medieval history overall and even if you are not so into history, here are some of the most spectacular castles that could be considered as stone jewels adorning the Spanish land.
Alcazar de Segovia
A picture perfect castle, Alcazar of Segovia looks like it spawned out of Walt Disney’s imagination. Situated in the region of Castile and Leon in the middle of Spain, this stunning and famous castle has served a multitude of roles throughout the years such as a fortress, royal palace, prison and military academy. Resembling the bow of a ship, its characteristic shape is awe inspiring to say the least and the museum inside it preserves important artefacts and military archives, making it one of the most important castles that you could visit during your holidays in Spain.
Situated in Huesca, this mystical castle complex was once amongst the main fortifications separating Christian from Moorish lands and as such it has been of significant historic importance. Host to a church and a monastery, the castle has been used as the last Christian stronghold against Moorish occupation and as the residence of the kings of Aragon. Based on its history such it is rightly considered by some as the cradle of Spain as we know it and a place of great importance. Its restored interior is lavish and host to magnificent murals, thereby earning it a UNESCO world heritage site status.
Castillo de los Templarios
The Templar castle of Ponferrada is amongst the most well known castles in Spain and its history and stunning looks certainly justify its fame. Built upon the confluence of rivers Boeza and Sil, the castle of Ponferrada was originally a Celtic fort and Roman citadel before being taken over by king Alfonso VIII of Castile and being rebuilt into its present shape. Placed on a hill overlooking the city and irregularly shaped into a square, this majestic castle is undergoing an extensive restoration to its former glory. Don’t let that put you off visiting it if you happen to be around Ponferrada during your holidays in Spain as it truly is a unique castle to visit.
The small municipality of Coca is home to one of the most striking examples of purpose-led architecture as its famed and massive castle is a marvel to behold. Built by the Archbishop of Seville and Don Alonso de Fonseca in a distinct ‘Mudejar’ style combining Moorish and western military design, this lavish castle has mostly been used as a palace. Considered as one of the pinnacles of Mudejar architecture and fortified extensively, this castle is well worth the detour in order to visit.
Tossa de Mar
The coastal town of Tossa de Mar is a wonderful place to visit in Catalonia and its castle is amongst its main attractions. Placed on the top of Mt. Guardi overlooking the sea and surrounding hills, this imposing castle is a sight that you definitely shouldn’t miss if you plan on having holidays in Spain and more specifically Costa Brava. Relatively hard to get to by public transport, all efforts are justified once you step inside its walls into a small village with houses and picturesque small cafes carrying you 50 years back. Definitely amongst the top castles of Spain!