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Captivating Castles in Spain

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 Alhambra, one of the famous castles in spain

The Alhambra, A World Heritage Sight

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.

interior of the Aljaferia Castles in Spain

Aljaferia Castle interior

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.

Alcazaba Almeria one of the more famous castles in spain

Alcazaba Almeria

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.

Belmonte Castle one of the many castles in Spain

Belmonte Castle

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.

Castillo de Penafiel on of the beautiful castles in Spain

Castillo de Penafiel

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.

Castillo De Coca on of the many castles in Spain

Castillo De Coca

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.

Alcabaza de Malaga, one of many castles in spain

The beautiful Alcabaza de Malaga

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.

Segovia Castle, a favorite of the castles in Spain

Stately Segovia Castle

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


Thursday 18th of October 2012

You should go to Olite, Navarra :)

Nancy Todd

Tuesday 19th of July 2011

The Alahambra is magnificent and I only went after two architect friends said I must. Going early is best when it is cool and you can avoid the 8,000 tourists that visit during the tourist season, spring and fall. Granada is more than the Alhambra: great tapas, friendly people, good shopping for pottery.


Saturday 2nd of May 2009

A very good article, but I'd just like to point out that 'castillo' is Spanish for castle, while 'alcazaba' is actually its Moorish equivalent.

Sorry to be so pedantic!


Thursday 15th of February 2007

I have visited the Alhambra and the Aljaferia and also know the Alcazaba in Málaga very well.

The Alhambra is simply breathtaking: I recommend spending at least a day leisurely walking around this wonderful example of Moorish architecture. Washington Irving's book "Tales of the Alhambra" (Cuentos de la Alhambra) is worth taking with you for an historical picture while you're there. The Alhambra really has a fascinating history.

The Aljaferia, while much smaller than the Alhambra, is another fine example and has improved for tourists in recent years due to good work and investment from the Government of Aragon.

I have a particular soft spot for the Alcazaba due to having lived in Málaga for some time a few years back. As you walk upwards alongside the Alcazaba, there are some staggering views over the city, which get even better when you actually enter the Alcazaba itself.

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