Spain is home to more than 2,000 castles, exhibiting the varied cultural influences from throughout the country’s history. Though the castles are scattered throughout the country, the largest concentration is in Castile. A number of these castles were built in the 10th and 11th centuries when Moors and Christians were at war and towns were fortified for protection against the enemy. A large number of the Castles in Spain were built in later centuries and served as palaces for nobility.
Our favorite Castles in Spain
Built in the 9th century, The Alhambra is one of the most important sights in Spain. The name comes from Arabic meaning “red or crimson castle”, perhaps due to the reddish color of the towers and the walls surrounding the La Sabica which looks gold in the sunlight.
The Aljaferia Castle, a huge palace in Zaragoza (Eastern Spain) was built by the Moors in the 11th century. It features a courtyard with a mosque and garden, surrounded by elaborate Moorish arches.
Alcazaba Almeria, built in the 10th century dominates Almeria’s old town. The largest of the Moorish fortresses built in the country, it serves as evidence of the town’s early prosperity as an important port for Cordoba.
This 15th century castle was a stronghold for Juan Pacheco, the Marquis of Villena. Gothic in style, Belmonte Castle features a hexagonal ground plan. It is located in Cuenca, Central Spain.
Penafiel Castle overlooks the Duero Valley of Central Spain. Though the site was used as a stronghold as early as the 10th century, the current castle was built in the 15th century.
Coca Castle, an enormous 15th century castle in Central Spain was built for the wealthy Fonseca family. Though it has been used more as a palace than a fortification, it exhibits classic Mudejar military design. Today, it is home to a forestry school and displays a fine collection of Romanesque woodcarvings.
Built between the 8th and 11th centuries, Alcazaba de Màlaga was built into the city ramparts at Malaga. The architecture reflects Moorish influence, and the castle currently houses a fine collection of Phoenician, Roman, and Moorish artifacts. It is located in Southern Spain.
Sitting atop a rocky spur between two rivers, Segovia Castle, with its turrets and crenelations, looks like the quintessential fairytale castle. It includes a series of impressively decorated halls, as well as a museum of weaponry. It is located in Central Spain.
No matter where you go on your travels in Spain, you can enjoy the historical and magical castles that are the soul of this enchanting country.
Written by Terri Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com