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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
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
Guides to the Paradors, Etc.
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.'
This page has a map of Spain ~ showing situations of paradors.
For both parador and non-parador hotels:
Alfonso XIII of Spain Founded the 'Parador' Movement
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.
Castles, Palaces and Monasteries
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:
More Information on Spanish Castles:
- Spain Parador
- Parador de turismo - Wikipedia, a enciclopedia libre
- Ficheiro:Emblema de Paradores de Turismo, en la puerta del Parador establecido en el Castillo de Enr
- The Castles Route - 3 night package
- Parador - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- List of castles in Spain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Paradores de Turismo
- Paradores Spain - Spanish Paradors - Parador hotels