Top 10 most beautiful castles in Spain
A country steeped in history, Spain has its share of charming castles. Even though royalty lived in them for brief periods, more often Spanish castles were designed to withstand sieges. Here is a collection with the most spectacular castles and forts in Spain.
Bellver Castle is a Gothic style castle located on a hill 3 km to the west of the center of Palma de Mallorca. It was built in the 14th century for King James II of Majorca, and is one of the few circular castles in Europe.
First serving as the residence of the Kings of Majorca, and afterward long used as a military prison throughout the 18th to mid-20th century, it is now under civilian control, being one of the main tourist attractions of the island, as well as the seat for the city's History Museum.... view details
The Alcazar of Segovia is rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains. It is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape - like the bow of a ship.
The Alcazar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. It is currently used as a museum and a military archives building.... view details
The Walls of Avila, completed between the 11th and 14th centuries, are the city's principal historic feature. The work was started in 1090 but most of the walls appear to have been rebuilt in the 12th century.
The enclosed area is an irregular rectangle of 31 hectares with a perimeter of some 2,516 meters,including 88 semicircular towers. The walls have an average breadth of 3 metres and an average height of 12 metres. The nine gates were completed over several different periods.
It is possible to walk upon the walls themselves for roughly half their circumference. Whilst some of the walls will never be navigable in this way because of their integration into other structures, there is a large stretch of the walls that have yet to be made safe for pedestrians.... view details
The Castle of Penafiel has a very narrow and elongated shape; it is about 210 m long and only 35 m wide. The 34 meters high rectangular keep stands right in the middle.
In 1999 the Provincial Wine Museum was inaugurated in one of the castle's wings; it receives more than 100,000 visits per year.... view details
Coca Castle is one of the best exponents of Gothic-Mudejar Spanish architecture and it is declared a National Monument. It is one of the few fortresses of Spain that does not sit on a hill, but on plain land, surrounded by a broad, deep moat.
The castle is made mainly of brick, used both as raw material and as a decorative element. The limestone appears in the loopholes , the columns of the courtyard and other decorative elements.
In 1958 , parts of the castle rooms became the headquarters of the Forest Training School.... view details
The Castle of Cardona is arguably the most important medieval fortress in the Principality of Catalonia. It is situated on a hill overlooking the river valley of the Cardener and the town of Cardona.
The castle's main jewel is the torre de la minyona (from the 11th century) a tower which measures 15 metres in height and 10 metres in diameter. Additionally, there is the romanesque Church of Sant Vicenc de Cardona adjacent to the fort. The fort is currently used as a parador, a state-run luxury hotel.
The movie, Chimes at Midnight, by Orson Welles was filmed at the castle in Cardona.... view details
The New Castle of Manzanares el Real is a palace-fortress erected in the 15th century at the foot of Sierra de Guadarrama mountains.
Its construction began in 1475 on a Romanesque-Mudejar hermitage and today is one of the best preserved castles of the Community of Madrid. It was raised on the river Manzanares, as a residential palace of the House of Mendoza, in the vicinity of an ancient fortress that was abandoned once the new castle was built.
The castle now houses a museum of Spanish castles and hosts a collection of tapestries.... view details
The Alcazar of Toledo is a stone fortification located in the highest part of the city of Toledo. Once used as a Roman palace in the 3rd century, it was restored under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip II of Spain in the 1540s. In 1521, Hernan Cortes was received by Charles I at the Alcazar, following Cortes' conquest of the Aztecs.
During the Spanish Civil War, Colonel Jose Moscardo Ituarte held the building against overwhelming Spanish Republican forces in the Siege of the Alcazar. By the end of the siege, the building had been severely damaged. After the war, it was rebuilt and now houses the Castilla-La Mancha Regional Library and the Museum of the Army.... view details
The Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite or The Royal Palace of Olite was one of the seats of the Court of the Kingdom of Navarre, since the reign of Charles III 'the Noble' until its union with Castile (1512).
In the 15th-century, a German traveller wrote his impressions about the palace in his diary (which is now conserved in the British Museum in London):
"Surely there is no king with a more beautiful castle or palace and with so many gilded rooms (...) it could not say or even could imagine how magnificent and sumptuous is this palace (...)"
The monument was damaged in 1813 by a fire during the Napoleonic French Invasion. It was largely restored in the first half of the 20th century, in works that lasted for 30 years which gave back its original appearance.... view details
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex, one of Spain's major tourist attractions, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories.
It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.
After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered to Renaissance taste.
After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, Alhambra was rediscovered following the defeat of Napoleon, who had conducted retaliatory destruction of the site; the re-discoverers were first British intellectuals and then other north European Romantic travelers. Moorish poets described it as "a pearl set in emeralds," an allusion to the colour of its buildings and the woods around them.... view details
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