Travel to Europe: Visit Spain for a Dream Holiday - Perhaps a Parador Vacation in a Spanish Castle, Palace or Alcazabar

So you are going to travel to Europe - to Spain - and stay in a Parador! Will it be a Moorish Alcazabar or Palace or a Spanish Castle?

Spain is famous for its exciting and romantic castles and Moorish palaces ~ and the wonderful thing is that you can actually stay in one of them for your luxury dream holiday ~ or you can choose a few, if you decide to tour the country for your vacation in Spain!

The luxurious, and often historic, 'paradores' of Spain are usually set in magnificent scenery ~ and, in Spain, there are always interesting places to visit. Spain has some fascinating cities ~ both ancient and modern ~ and a plethora of wonderful beaches along the costas.

And the weather is usually quite good, if not magnificent!

If you are planning to travel to Europe, then, whether you explore castles and alcazabars, or shops and beaches, make a parador your base ~ and spend your time in delightful, exotic, mysterious, welcoming, sunny Spain!

If you prefer, you can stay in other historic Parador buildings, such as monasteries, for example.

And, as well as their historic hotels, the 'Paradores de Turismo de Espana' also offer a selection of more modern buildings.

Alternatively, there are some non-parador castle and palace hotels.

Cardona Castle and Parador

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Castell_de_Cardona.JPG
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Castell_de_Cardona.JPG | Source

Planning Your Romantic, Historic, Spanish Castle Vacation

How should you plan your romantic Spanish dream holiday?

How do you organise a vacation in a historic castle, or palace?

Start off as you would begin to organise any vacation which involves travel to Europe.

Have a look at travel brochures, Spanish guide books, Internet websites and maps of Spain.

If you wish to holiday in Spain, and stay in a historic building, then you will, most likely, be interested in the history of Spain ~ so visit the library and have a look at some history books. Decide where you wish to go.

When you visit Spain, which areas do you wish to see? Spain is a large country!

Are there any specific places in Spain ~ eg any cities in Spain or attractions in Spain ~ which you hope to explore?

For Those Who Prefer Modern, There Are Modern Paradors: "Aigua Blava" Parador

Paddy Briggs: "I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain". See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parador.jpg
Paddy Briggs: "I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain". See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parador.jpg | Source

Castle and Palace Hotels

What are 'Paradors'?

~ They are certain state-run hotels of Spain (from Spanish ~ originally from Latin ~ 'to stop') known as the 'Paradores de Turismo de Espana'. The very first of these paradors was the one at Gredos (Avila). It was founded in 1928 as a hotel by King Alfonso XII.

(Some paradors do exist elsewhere, but they were originally Spanish only.)

Their own website (English version) tells us:

'The Spanish Paradores are hotels for luxury accommodation in Castles, Palaces, Fortresses, Convents, Monasteries and other historic buildings. There are also modern hotels, built in traditional style, in areas of outstanding beauty.'

http://www.paradores-spain.com/

This page has a map of Spain ~ showing situations of paradors.

For both parador and non-parador hotels:

http://castleandpalacehotels.com/countries/spain/spain_home/castle_hotels_spain.html

Alfonso XIII of Spain Founded the 'Parador' Movement

Public Domain # United States Library of Congress'. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfonso_XIII_of_Spain
Public Domain # United States Library of Congress'. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfonso_XIII_of_Spain | Source

An Alcazabar?!

An Alcazabar? What is an Alcazabar?!

The word 'alcazaba' is from the Arabic 'al-qasbah', meaning a walled fortified citadel ~ a fortress to protect a town or city. Alcazabars are found in Spain, as a result of Iberia being a 'Moorish' penisula at one time.

A similar-sounding word, also found in Spain, is 'alcazar', which is from the Arabic 'al-qasr', meaning 'castle'.

The oldest alcazabar in Spain is the one at Merida; the largest is the one in Almeria. Granada's alcazabar forms the oldest part of the Alhambra.

Can one really stay in a Moorish alcazabar or alcazar??

The four-star parador of Carmona (Seville) is based on a 14th century Moorish citadel.

The four-star 15th century parador at Granada may be a Christian convent, but it is built over a Nazrid palace ~ some of which still remains, including the Nazrid hall!

From the official website; 'The fertile plain of the River Corbones makes for an exceptional panoramic view from the fortress, where different civilisations have brought their best artistry and culture.'

This is what the official site says: 'Spend a night at the site of the Alhambra, among gardens and fountains which recall a past where the Arabian merged with the Christian.'

* * * * *

Muslims, mainly from North Africa, and known as 'Moors', arrived on the Iberian peninsula in the year 711 ~ and so began a time of Islamic rule and culture in what is now Spain and Portugal.


Certain Christian leaders ~ military and royal ~ believed that it was their duty to rid Iberia of this 'infidel', but it was not until the year 1492 that what was known as the Christian 'Reconquest' was completed ~ with the taking of Granada, in Andalucia. 

Front Cover (Amazon)
Front Cover (Amazon)

Other Spanish Castles

Interestingly, there is a phrase in French ~ 'Chateaux en Espagne' ~ which, in English, is translated as 'Castles in the Air'.

'Castles in the Air' usually refer to things unattainable, because they are somewhat imaginary. However, the literal translation, from the French, is 'Castles in Spain' ~ and Spain's castles definitely are not imaginary. Spain has many beautiful and fascinating castles. Many are now 'paradors'.

Not all of Spain's castles have been transformed into 'Parador' hotels, of course! Indeed, many Spanish castles have not.

A number of castles are open to the public, for visits, and some can be viewed from a distance.

For more information on other castles of Spain, see:

Front Cover (Amazon)
Front Cover (Amazon)

Map of Spain

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Comments 24 comments

jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

I have visited several places in Spain over the years, but never knew that you could visit or even stay in a castle. Sounds idyllic. Very informative and pics are great too. Voted up and interesting.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

A fantastic and informative hub about Spain. This was unknown to me but I love castles so it would be great to visit some of them. I have only been to the Spanish islands Mallorca and Tenerife but your travel tips sound so fascinating. If I travel to Spain again and then to the mainland, I know where I find them!

Tina


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Great information and nice pics too. Voting up. Yes I would love to visit this part of the world some day. Sad business about London at present. I take it you are a distance from all the violence. I hope so.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Jacqui, Tina and Rod :) :) :)

Thanks for your very positive responses. I love Spain and am off there next week for a holiday. I have never actually stayed in a parador, but have visited a few for meals and drinks. I shall try to sort out some of my own photos.

Rod, I am disgusted by all of this violence ~ and it is spreading. My son had trouble coming home this evening. He had gone into Birmingham, where there is plenty of rioting going on. I just hope that it will have settled down soon, or I shall be worried about my family going into work tomorrow.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I hope things do calm down soon. From what I can gather from the news its mainly young people rioting and it has to do with high levels of unemployment. There's probably more to it but that's what was on the news here. London was mentioned but not Birmingham. As you say its spreading. From what I can gather mobile phones are being used by the rioters.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rod :)

Yes, we'll just have too see how it goes. It may be unemployment, but I don't think that it's really either that simple or that complex.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

On the news last night it seems that it began to get out of hand with a policeman shooting a young man. It happened in London and the riot spread out from there. A recent scandal involving a politician plus the phone tapping business with the newspapers they reckon contributed to a feeling of lawlessness with the upper areas of society. Unemployment and a sense of no future, of course, has to be a factor. Then again higher education has become more expensive freezing a lot of young people out of it.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Rod

The global financial crisis is affecting many people.

I appreciate that there are problems, but plenty of youngsters, all over the world, are much worse off.

There is unemployment 'benefit', etc, and access to free medical care for all.

Many more people are in higher education, now, than when I was a youngster.

I'm bewildered by it all.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Were there riots in the 1980s when England had high unemployment? I believe there was some unrest but maybe not as bad as it is now.

Yes, things are bad all round.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I don't remember anything quite like this. I think that this is a new phenomenon.

But I'm off to sunny Spain and I just hope that things will have calmed down by the time I get back :)


mib56789 5 years ago

@Trish_M - Hope you enjoy your exotic travels and come back bursting with wonderful experiences to share with the rest of us here at HUBPages. Stay safe!!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Thank you mib56789 :)

Much appreciated!


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Right now you could freeze your tail off in Sydney so sunny Spain sounds pretty good.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rod :

At least you have summery weather in summer!

But yes, Spain is great ~ I love it!


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I remember an old poster I enjoyed that showed a line of very pale English people taking an elevator to a plane headed for Spain and an elevator with a line of crisply suntanned English coming off a plane that had just arrived from Spain. Happy holidays!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Thanks Rod ~ just a few days to go now :)

But we don't fly; we drive :)


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Well, it was an old poster put out before you had the tunnel.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rod :)

We don't use the tunnel, either. I'm claustrophobic!

My Mum is, too, though, and she manages it, somehow!

But not me! We like to cross the channel by ferry. (We have also used the hovercraft service, in the past.)

We used to fly, and that could be great ~ but not when we had kids and there were long delays.


diogenes 5 years ago

Paradores are lovely, Trish. I stayed in a couple some years ago when they were a novelty and affordable! Good places to eat,too, even if you're not staying there...Bob


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Bob, :)

That must have been great! Which ones?

Yes, though we don't stay in them, I do like to visit them. They are usually in lovely settings. We went to the one in Tortosa a year or so ago, just doe a snack and a drink. Beautiful!


Martin Ray 5 years ago

Spain is one of the beautiful country in Europe. Explore your travel anywhere in Europe with Hertz.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, it is beautiful, and car hire ~ whichever company you use ~ will help you to see more of it. Be sure to choose a reputable company providing helpful service and safe cars.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

We love staying in Paradors. The history fascinates us.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 11 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Thank you for reading, aesta1. I think it's great that historic buildings can pay for themselves while making life better for their visitors :)

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