Spain is a land of enchantment and beauty, with a long-standing heritage and significant history that is evident in its magnificent castles. These ancient fortresses stand as a testament to the skill and creativity of the architects and craftsmen who built them, and the power and influence of the kingdoms and empires that they served.
From the rugged mountains of the north to the sun-drenched plains of the south, these castles can be found in every corner of the country, each with its own unique story to tell. They are symbols of a bygone era, a time when chivalry, romance, and adventure were part of everyday life, and they continue to captivate and inspire us today with their breathtaking beauty and timeless elegance.
Whether you are a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the finer things in life, the castles of Spain are sure to leave you spellbound and utterly enchanted!
Ready to be swept away by the beauty of Spain's castles? Keep reading to discover our top picks!
Alcázar of Segovia
Nestled atop a rocky outcrop, the Alcázar of Segovia stands tall and proud, an expression of the grandeur of Spanish architecture. Dating back to the 12th century, this castle has a distinctive shape with a pointed tower and features a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Mudéjar architectural styles. Its elegant silhouette rises majestically into the sky, and its turrets and towers reach towards the heavens like fingers of stone. It is considered to be one of the most distinctive and impressive castles in Spain - its striking turrets, spires, and towers give it a fairy-tale-like touch!
The Alcázar has a long and complex history. It was originally built as a fortress in the 12th century by the Arabs, and later served as a royal palace for the Castilian monarchs. It has been rebuilt and renovated several times over the centuries, with each monarch adding their own unique touches.
As you approach this magnificent fortress, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you are struck by its imposing presence. The walls are thick and sturdy, crafted from rough-hewn stone that seems to have been hewn from the very earth itself! The ramparts are lined with battlements and arrow slits, serving as reminders of the castle's former role as a defensive stronghold.
Once inside the Alcázar, you are transported to a different world. The interior is richly decorated with intricate carvings and ornate frescoes, each one a masterpiece of Spanish artistry. The ceilings are high and vaulted, adorned with dazzling chandeliers and intricate plasterwork. The walls are hung with tapestries and paintings, telling the story of the castle's illustrious past. One of its most notable features is the "Hall of the Kings", which is adorned with portraits of all of the Castilian kings from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
From the Alcázar's many balconies and terraces, you can also gaze out over the surrounding countryside, taking in the sweeping vistas of the Castilian plains and the distant mountains - a view that (understandably) has inspired poets and artists for centuries!
In the municipality of Coca, still in the province of Segovia, lies the enchanting Castillo de Coca, a true masterpiece of Gothic-Mudéjar architecture. Considered to be one of the best-preserved castles in Spain, it is actually regarded as one of the finest examples of this type of architecture in the country. Built in the 15th century by the Archbishop of Seville, Alonso de Fonseca, this majestic fortress boasts an impressive exterior adorned with elaborate brickwork and stunning turrets that tower over the surrounding landscape.
The sheer size and opulence of its walls, which seem to go on forever, are sure to impress you. The castle's main entrance is a marvel in itself, with a massive wooden door that opens to reveal a breathtaking courtyard filled with lush greenery and ancient stone structures. Inside, you will find a labyrinth of rooms and corridors that seem to transport you back in time to an era of knights and nobles. With soaring vaulted ceilings, ornate carvings and fireplaces, and intricate frescoes that tell the story of its rich past, the castle’s interior is also quite stunning. Some of the notable rooms include the Hall of Arms, the Chapel, and the Throne Room.
One of the most impressive features of the Castillo de Coca is its towering keep, which rises high above the rest of the castle and offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. From here, you can see for miles in every direction, taking in the rolling hills and verdant forests that make up this picturesque region of Spain. The castle has undergone several restorations over the years, the most recent of which was completed in the 20th century. It is now open to the public and serves as a museum, showcasing the history of the castle and the lovely town of Coca.
Castle Palace of Olite
The Castle of Olite, also known as the Royal Palace of Olite, is a wondrous sight to behold, a gem of Gothic architecture nestled in the heart of Navarra. Its imposing towers and majestic walls evoke a different era when monarchs reigned supreme over these lands. As one approaches the medieval castle-palace, declared a National Monument, the carvings and embellishments adorning its façade reveal themselves.
Built over a 13th century fortress, this majestic structure is considered to be one of the most luxurious medieval castles in Europe. Its peculiar shape shows the influence of French architecture and Mudejar decoration, overseen by King Charles III "the Noble" in the 15th century. Towers, rooms, galleries, gardens, and patios with profuse decoration make up for this medieval-fantasy-like castle!
It served as a residence for the Navarrese monarchs until the 16th century. Back in the days, this castle was one of the most important royal residences in Europe, attracting artists, writers, and musicians from all over the continent! In the 19th century, however, the Castle of Olite fell into disrepair and was used as a quarry for building materials. In the mid-20th century, restoration work began on the castle, with the aim of preserving its historic and cultural significance.
Once you enter the castle, you will see that each room is more impressive than the last, adorned with murals, tapestries, and furnishings that conjure the splendour and opulence of a bygone period.
The castle's battlements offer a bird's-eye view of the surrounding land, a panorama of rolling hills and lush vineyards that stretches as far as the eye can see. From this vantage point, you can take in the beauty and majesty of Navarra, a land steeped in tradition. And the best thing is – the Old Palace (Olite castle has two different parts) is now a Parador, which means you can actually spend the night at this fairy-tale castle!
The Peniscola Castle, also known as Castillo de Peñíscola or Castell de Peníscola, is a jewel of the Mediterranean coast, perched atop a rugged headland that juts out into the blue sea. Built by the Knights Templar around the 13th century, from local stone and brick, on the site of an old Arab citadel, it was later used as a papal residence during the Western Schism of the Catholic Church.
The castle's strategic location at the crossroads of trade routes and sea lanes has made it a coveted prize for conquerors throughout history. From the Romans to the Moors and beyond, many have sought to claim this fortress as their own. Yet, despite numerous attempts, the castle has remained a stalwart symbol of resistance and resilience.
Today, the castle is a popular tourist attraction, drawing travellers from all over the world who come to marvel at its impressive architecture and stunning views. From the top of its ramparts, you can gaze out at the endless expanse of the Mediterranean Sea, whose gentle waves lap at the base of the rocky headland on which the castle stands. The views are definitely one of its most notable features! You can climb to the top of the castle's towers to take in the panoramic views and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Below, the narrow streets and alleys of the old town wind their way up to the castle gates, revealing a wealth of historical and cultural treasures at every turn.
In this timeless fortress that has withstood the test of time, you can truly immerse yourself in the spirit of the Middle Ages and marvel at the resilience of those who came before us. This incredible Spanish National Monument has also been used as a filming location for several movies and TV shows, including the popular series “Game of Thrones”.
Castillo Monumento Colomares
This remarkable castle-like monument that stands tall in the city of Malaga, located in the southern region of Spain, was built by Dr. Esteban Martín, a local doctor and history enthusiast, as a tribute to Christopher Columbus and his contributions to world history. The monument was completed in 1994, after seven years of meticulous construction and artistic work.
The castle is a magnificent example of neo-Gothic and Mudejar architectural styles. It is composed of three distinct areas: the main tower, the chapel, and the crypt. The main tower is adorned with intricate carvings and mosaics that depict various scenes from Columbus' life and his voyages. The chapel, on the other hand, features stunning stained-glass windows that depict the coexistence of three great religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – during the time of Columbus. Meanwhile, the crypt houses the tomb of the creator of the monument, Dr. Esteban Martín, and his wife.
The gardens surrounding the monument are just as impressive as the castle itself. They are a true oasis of peace and tranquility, featuring lush greenery, colorful flowers, and a variety of fountains and statues. One of the most striking features of the gardens is the large stone map of the world that pays homage to Columbus' voyages and discoveries.
If you are searching for a magical castle with plenty of stories to tell, then you are in luck – by visiting Castillo Monumento Colomares you will get the best of two worlds!
Castle of Belmonte
The Castle of Belmonte, located in the province of Cuenca, is a rare find of Gothic-Mudéjar architecture. This 15th-century castle was built for Juan Pacheco, the first Marquis of Villena, who was a powerful nobleman and patron of the arts during the time of the Catholic Monarchs. The imposing building stands atop a hill, providing wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.
The Castle of Belmonte is indeed a masterpiece of medieval engineering, with its thick stone walls, towers, and drawbridge. The castle's exterior is imposing, and it is easy to imagine the role it played as a stronghold during times of conflict. Inside, the castle is equally impressive! The beautifully decorated rooms and striking main courtyard with arches will leave you feeling like royalty. And the chapel with its intricate carvings and stained-glass windows is a must-see.
But wait, there's more! The castle's museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts, showcasing everything from ancient weaponry to medieval clothing and furnishings. You can also explore the castle's underground dungeons, where prisoners were once held during times of war. Who knows, you might even discover a secret passage or two!
The Castle of Belmonte has been impeccably preserved over the centuries, and its history is palpable in every corner. It was actually used as a filming location for popular movies and TV shows, including the fan-favorite series "Game of Thrones".
Castle of Cardona
Barcelona is much more than its most famous attractions, such as the Sagrada Familia or the Park Guell - this iconic landmark in the province of Barcelona, just over an hour's drive from the city center, is great proof of that! The Castle of Cardona, which is a beautiful medieval fortress, is one of the most impressive castles in the region.
It was built in the 10th century and is located on a strategic hilltop overlooking the Cardener river valley. This monument was the official residence of the Lords of Cardona between the 11th and 15th centuries. Its impressive stone walls and towers were designed to provide a formidable defense against invaders, and it served as an important stronghold for many centuries.
In ancient times, the Castle of Cardona was the site of many battles and conquests, and numerous rulers left their mark on its architecture and design. The castle has undergone extensive renovations and restorations throughout its long history, resulting in a fascinating blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
Step inside and explore the many rooms and chambers filled with fascinating artifacts and relics from the castle's past. The grand banquet hall is particularly impressive, with its soaring ceilings and intricate details, fit for a king's feast! On the other hand, the intimate chapel offers a glimpse into the castle's religious history. Other highlights of the castle include the impressive towers and ramparts, which provide stunning views of the surrounding landscape. You can also explore the underground tunnels and passageways that once served as a secret escape route in times of war. And guess what - the centuries-old castle and fortress is now home to Parador Cardona!
This remarkable fortress dominates the skyline of the charming town of Trujillo, located in the Extremadura region of Spain. The castle's construction dates back to the 9th century, and it has played a crucial role in the defense of the town against numerous invasions and sieges throughout history.
The castle's impressive walls, made of stone and brick, and its towers, turrets, and battlements are a stunning display of medieval architecture. You can climb to the top of the castle's towers to take in the marvellous panoramic views! The castle's interior is equally inspiring – you will be greeted by grand halls, courtyards, and chambers that are also quite impressive. Every corner of the castle oozes with history, and the fascinating collection of artifacts and exhibits will transport you back in time.
Trujillo Castle is also considered to be one of the most important castles in Spain - and it’s plain to see why! It has been lovingly restored and maintained over the years, and today it is a famous tourist attraction.
Are you ready to travel back in time? Ponferrada Castle is the ultimate time machine, transporting you straight to the 12th century! This fortress was built by the legendary Knights Templar, a powerful and influential military order during the Middle Ages.
The castle's rough-hewn stone walls and towers are topped with distinctive conical roofs that give it a unique look. You can wander through the castle's many rooms and halls, which are filled with fascinating artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the Templars and their role in the history of Spain. The castle's chapel is particularly striking, with its stunning stained-glass windows and elaborate carvings. The castle also features a drawbridge and a moat, adding to its medieval charm!
Ponferrada Castle is a unique and captivating attraction that offers a glimpse into the history of the Templars and their legacy. Its enduring presence is a testament to the power and influence of the Knights Templar during the Middle Ages.
Castle of Zafra
The Castle of Zafra is a well-preserved medieval fortress that has been standing for over 800 years. It was built during the 12th century by the Moors, on a sandstone outcrop in the Sierra de Caldereros, on the site of a former Visigothic and Moorish fortification that fell into Christian hands.
Its unique polygonal shape and the "Tower of Homage", a cylindrical tower that served as the castle's main keep, make it stand out from other castles in the area. The castle also has a number of defensive features for you to admire, such as battlements, arrow slits, and a drawbridge.
In addition to its historical significance, the Castle of Zafra has gained a lot of attention in recent years. If you're a "Game of Thrones" fan, you'll be thrilled to know that the Castle of Zafra was used as a filming location for the Tower of Joy. As you admire its ancient charm, you will definitely feel like you are part of the show's storyline!
The castle is privately owned but you can marvel at its magnificence from the outside, and, of course, take the opportunity to enjoy the vistas and take some top-notch photos!
Castillo de Burgalimar
Located in Jaén, its massive walls and sturdy towers dominate the landscape, evoking images of ancient battles and long-forgotten conflicts. The Burgalimar Castle was built in the 10th century by the Moors as a strategic fortress, as it is situated on a hill that provided a clear view of the surrounding area. Over the centuries, it was conquered and reconquered by various forces, including the Christians and the Muslims, before finally falling into the hands of the Christian Kingdom of Castile in the 13th century.
One of the most interesting features of Castillo de Burgalimar is its unique blend of architectural styles, which reflect the diverse cultures that have occupied the castle over the centuries. From its sturdy Moorish walls to its Gothic windows and Renaissance decorations, the castle is a testament to the enduring legacy of the many civilizations that have left their mark on this extraordinary fortress.
The castle's interior is just as notable, with a maze of halls and courtyards that offer a glimpse into the castle's rich history. Explore the castle's many nooks and crannies, admire the intricate details of the carvings and visit the museum that displays artifacts and exhibits related to the castle's history and the region's cultural heritage. The castle's strategic location on a hilltop offers commanding views of the surrounding scenery, and the nearby town of Baena is a charming destination in its own right!
Castillo de Sigüenza
The Castle of Sigüenza located in the province of Guadalajara is a real masterpiece of medieval architecture. It is actually the most iconic building in Sigüenza besides the cathedral and is today an elegant and historical Parador. Its imposing walls, towers, and battlements are a testament to the castle's military might, while its graceful courtyards, gardens, and halls speak of a more refined and cultured era.
The imposing structure was built in the 12th century on the remains of a Moorish fortress but, over the centuries, the castle was expanded and remodeled to reflect the changing tastes and needs of its occupants. Today, it is a blend of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles, with each architectural element adding to the castle's beauty and charisma.
One of the most remarkable features of the Castle de Sigüenza is its stunning chapel, which boasts a magnificent altarpiece and beautiful stained-glass windows. There is also a museum that displays the history of the castle and its role in the region's history. You can explore the castle's many rooms and halls, which are filled with historic artifacts, paintings, and tapestries. The castle's gardens and courtyards are also worth a visit, with their ornate fountains, well-manicured hedges, and lively flowers. From the top of the castle, you can enjoy amazing views of the town and the surrounding landscape. It is a living piece of history!
Castillo de Butron
Nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Basque Country, the Castle of Butron, a splendid medieval fortress, stands proudly. Its current appearance is the result of a remodeling carried out in the 19th century, making it today a testament to its architectural brilliance. It is a perfect example of Neo-Gothic architecture, with its impressive towers, turrets, and battlements. The castle has a rich and interesting history, having been owned by various noble families over the centuries, and even serving as a hospital during the Spanish Civil War!
As you approach the castle, the sheer magnitude of its size takes your breath away. The castle's stone facade is weathered and worn, but it only adds to its charm and magnetism. As you step inside, you are transported back in time to an era of chivalry. With soaring ceilings, sweeping staircases, and opulent furnishings that speak to the wealth and prestige of its former inhabitants, the interior of the castle is just as impressive as its exterior. Every room is a work of art, with elaborate frescoes and tapestries adorning the walls, and ornate chandeliers casting a warm glow throughout. The castle's chapel is particularly splendid, with its stained-glass windows and soaring arches creating a serene and reverent atmosphere.
If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can climb to the top of the castle's towers and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.