20 Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See

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Castles in Spain You Have to See image in aerial view

Exploring the historic castles of Spain is like stepping back in time.

From ancient fortresses on rocky hills to beautifully preserved palaces, these stunning structures tell the story of Spain’s rich past and architectural mastery.

You can find these castles in almost every region, each offering its unique charm and fascinating history.

Are you ready to discover some of Spain’s most incredible castles?

This journey will take you through magnificent royal residences and formidable fortifications, showcasing the country’s diverse heritage and spectacular landscapes.

Whether you’re a history buff or love breathtaking views, these castles are sure to captivate and inspire you.

1. Alcázar of Segovia

Castles in Spain You Have to See_Alcázar of Segovia

The Alcázar of Segovia is a must-see for any castle lover.

Located in the city of Segovia in Castile and León, Spain, this medieval fortress is known for its fairytale-like appearance.

Built on top of a rock between the Eresma and Clamores rivers, the Alcázar has existed since at least the 12th century.

It was originally a royal palace and later became a military academy.

You can explore its majestic halls and rooms, which have housed 22 kings and many significant historical figures over the centuries.

For an unforgettable view, climb the tower.

You’ll get stunning panoramas of Segovia and the surrounding countryside.

If you’re a fan of architecture, you’ll love the Alcázar’s blend of Gothic and Romanesque styles.

The intricate details and unique design make it a true architectural gem.

Plan your trip between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. from April to October, or between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from November to March.

The Alcázar is easily accessible by car or a scenic walk from the city center. You can also take public transport, such as the ‘9’ bus.

2. Alhambra

 Castles in Spain You Have to See_Alhambra

The Alhambra is one of the most stunning castles you can visit in Spain.

ocated in Granada, this palace and fortress complex is a masterpiece of Islamic and Renaissance architecture.

Built originally in the 1000s, it has impressive structures that have stood the test of time. This makes it a must-see for anyone interested in history and architecture.

At the Alhambra, you can find beautiful gardens, detailed tile work, and intricate carvings.

The palace also has notable water features like fountains and reflecting pools, which add to its charm.

Make sure to book your tickets in advance.

This popular site sells out quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons. Exploring the Alhambra is like stepping back in time to a place of royal splendor.

3. Castle of Peñafiel

20 Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Castle of Peñafiel

The Castle of Peñafiel is an impressive sight.

Built in the 15th century by Pedro Girón, the master of the Calatrava Order, this castle stands out in the Valladolid region.

Its unique design follows the shape of the hill it sits on.

This makes it different from the usual square or round castles you might be familiar with.

You’ll notice that the castle is about 210 meters long and 33 meters wide, resembling a ship from above.

This elongated structure is quite a sight, especially when lit up at night.

Inside, the castle houses the Wine Museum. You can explore the museum to learn about the region’s winemaking history and see exhibits that showcase local wines.

Made of Campaspero stone, the castle is a prime example of German Gothic style.

Its tall keep, which is over 30 meters high, adds to its grandeur.

The keep has a rectangular floor plan and stands strong in the middle of the fortress.

The Castle of Peñafiel offers stunning views of the valleys of Duratón and Botijas from its hilltop location.

4. Coca Castle

Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Coca Castle

The Coca Castle is a stunning example of Spanish Mudejar architecture.

Built in the 15th century, it blends Moorish Muslim designs with Gothic elements. This gives the castle a unique and beautiful look.

Located in central Spain, Coca Castle sits in the municipality of Coca.

It was constructed by the Archbishop of Seville and Don Alonso de Fonseca. During the Revolt of the Comuneros, it remained loyal to Charles V.

As you approach the castle, you’ll see its impressive brickwork.

It is surrounded by a deep moat, adding to its grandeur. Though restored several times, the castle has retained its original charm and beauty.

When visiting, you will enter through the main gate. Be sure to have some change on hand, as the entrance fee is 2.70 €.

If you’re driving, parking is available right in front of the castle or nearby.

Exploring Coca Castle is like stepping back in time.

It’s a must-see if you enjoy historical sites and beautiful architecture.

5. Belmonte Castle

Aerial view of Belmonte Castle from Spain

Belmonte Castle is a stunning example of Gothic-Mudejar style tucked away in the village of Belmonte.

The castle was built in the 15th century on San Cristobal hill by Don Juan Pacheco.

This makes it not just beautiful but also historic.

The castle’s unique design features an equilateral triangle bailey.

Surrounding this are the main buildings, forming a 6-pointed star. Each point of the star has a cylindrical tower, adding to its charm.

Inside, the castle combines designs from the 15th and 19th centuries.

It was restored in the 19th century, keeping its medieval magic alive. The walls and interior areas are very well-preserved.

Belmonte Castle was declared a historic monument in 1931. You can visit and take a tour to see its grandeur yourself.

Don’t forget to admire the views from the castle. Because it’s on a hill, you’ll get a great view of the surrounding landscape.

If you enjoy history and architecture, this castle is a must-visit. Belmonte Castle stands out as one of the well-preserved gems of Spain.

6. Loarre Castle

20 Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Loarre Castle

Loarre Castle is one of the oldest and best-preserved Romanesque fortresses in Spain.

Built in the 11th century, it stands majestically near the town of Loarre in the Huesca Province.

You will find that the castle was initially constructed by Sancho Ramírez and later fortified in 1287.

The castle has a unique position at 1,070 meters above sea level, giving you breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Featuring an irregular floor plan, Loarre Castle is fortified with a double wall and cylindrical towers.

As you explore further inside, you will come across the 12th-century Romanesque Church of Santa María.

This church has three naves and a barrel vault, making it a must-see part of your visit.

Loarre Castle has often been used as a filming location, adding to its modern-day appeal.

In fact, it’s been featured in several historical films, including the movie “Heaven’s Gate.”

Visiting Loarre Castle, you’re not just stepping into a building but into a piece of history that has witnessed the rise and fall of kingdoms.

7. Olite Palace

 Castles in Spain You Have to See_Olite Palace

Olite Palace, located in Navarre, Spain, is a stunning example of medieval architecture.

Built during the 12th and 13th centuries, this castle-palace stands on the site of a former Roman fortress.

When you visit Olite Palace, you’ll notice its unique blend of Gothic and Mudejar styles. These architectural influences create a dramatic and eye-catching structure.

At Olite Palace, you can explore the old and new sections. The older part, known as the “Palacio Vieja,” contrasts with the “Palacio Nueuvo,” which was added in the 15th century.

Each part of the palace tells a different story from its rich history.

Walking through its halls, you can imagine the court of the Kings of Navarre who once resided there. Olite Palace was a royal residence until Navarre joined Castile in the 16th century.

Declared a National Monument in 1925, Olite Palace continues to attract visitors from around the world. Its magnificent towers, gardens, and courtyards offer a glimpse into the opulence of medieval royalty.

8. Guzmán el Bueno Castle

Castles in Spain You Have to See_Guzmán el Bueno Castle
Image: Château de Guzman le Bon, Nicolas Vollmer

You’ll find Guzmán el Bueno Castle in Tarifa, the southernmost city on the Iberian Peninsula.

It was built in 960 AD by Caliph Abderraman III of Cordoba to protect against raids.

This fortress has a rich history and offers stunning views of the Strait of Gibraltar.

The castle is named after Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, known as Guzmán el Bueno. In 1294, he bravely defended the castle against Moroccan attackers.

When his son’s life was threatened to force a surrender, he sacrificed his son rather than give up the fortress.

This beautiful castle showcases medieval architecture. With its thick walls and rounded towers, it stands strong against time. As you wander through its historic halls, you can almost feel the echoes of its storied past.

Guzmán el Bueno Castle isn’t just about battles and bravery. It’s also a great spot for panoramic views. From here, you can see the merging of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

A visit to Guzmán el Bueno Castle is a step back in time. Its history and beauty make it one of the most incredible castles in Spain.

It’s a must-see for history buffs and anyone who loves a good story of heroism.

9. Castle of Tossa de Mar

 Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Castle of Tossa de Mar

The Castle of Tossa de Mar is a must-see if you’re exploring the Costa Brava.

Perched between two beautiful beaches, it offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

You can choose to walk up the path outside the castle walls or wander inside them for a different experience with stunning vistas.

Built in the 12th century, this ancient fortress was designed to protect the town from pirates.

Today, you can stroll through its well-preserved walls and towers.

The lighthouse at the top now houses a museum, adding an educational twist to your visit.

One of the best parts about visiting the castle is the journey itself. You can enjoy a leisurely hike along the GR 92 long-distance footpath, which passes near Tossa de Mar.

This path roughly follows the coastline, offering more coastal views and scenic landscapes.

For a more immersive experience, consider joining a guided tour. Some tours even include a panoramic boat ride, giving you a unique perspective of the castle from the water. To learn more, check out this review.

The combination of history, architecture, and natural beauty makes the Castle of Tossa de Mar a highlight in Spain’s array of castles.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking a pleasant day trip, this castle won’t disappoint.

10. Cofrentes Castle

Cofrentes Castle in Spain

Visit Cofrentes Castle, perched atop Cerro de Agras, an extinct volcano.

This castle stands at the meeting point of the Júcar and Cabriel rivers. Its location offers stunning views and a unique atmosphere.

The castle originally dates back to the Muslim period, most likely the 11th century.

Over time, it saw Gothic modifications, which added to its impressive structure.

You’ll find that the structure served as a fortress in the 12th century and later became a palace-residence between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Exploring this castle, you can imagine the life and times of its ancient inhabitants. You might feel a sense of history while walking its grounds.

Make sure to also wander around the nearby village of Cofrentes. Here, you can find an age-old spa and caves, adding to the charm of your visit.

For more information, check out the Cofrentes Castle on the Comunitat Valenciana website.

11. Tajo de Ronda

 Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Tajo de Ronda

Welcome to Tajo de Ronda, an incredible feature of the charming town of Ronda in Andalucia.

This gorge, also known as El Tajo, splits the town into two dramatic halves.

At the heart of Tajo de Ronda is the Puente Nuevo bridge. It’s a breathtaking structure that stretches across the 100-meter deep gorge.

Walking across this bridge, you’ll get stunning views of the town and the surrounding landscape.

Don’t miss the nearby Plaza de Toros, Spain’s second-oldest bullring. Though not a castle, it’s an important piece of Ronda’s rich history.

You can also enjoy a meal at one of the many nearby restaurants, like La Barfina Ronda, offering Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine.

Explore Tajo de Ronda for its natural beauty and architectural wonders. The combination of history and scenery makes it a must-visit while touring Spain’s incredible castles.

12. Manzanares el Real

 Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Manzanares el Real

Manzanares el Real is a charming castle situated in Manzanares el Real, a town nestled in the mountains of the Sierra de Madrid.

This castle is one of the best-preserved in the region.

Built by the first Marquis of Santillana, Íñigo López de Mendoza, it stands on the site of an older Romanesque-Mudejar shrine. You can still see remnants of this shrine inside.

Getting to the castle from Madrid is easy. You can take a bus (line 724) from Plaza Castillo, and it will take around 45 minutes to reach the town.

The surrounding area is perfect for nature lovers. Manzanares el Real is one of the entrances to the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. This makes it an ideal spot for outdoor activities.

Visiting Manzanares el Real gives you a taste of history and a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

Don’t miss exploring the nearby Cuenca Alta del Manzanares Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1993. This makes it a perfect day trip from Madrid.

13. Monzón Castle

Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Monzón Castle
Image: Castillo de Monzon, Francisco Martinez Arias

Take a journey to the beautiful Monzón Castle in Spain. This stunning fortress is located in the town of Monzón and has a rich history that will fascinate you.

Built in the 10th century under Muslim rule, this ancient castle was captured by Aragonese forces in 1089.

Soon after, it was given to the Knights Templar in 1143, who added new features like walls, towers, stables, a dining hall, and dormitories.

One unique aspect of Monzón Castle is that it served as a key Templar commandry in the Crown of Aragon. This castle even played a role in the upbringing of King James I ‘the Conqueror,’ who was educated there.

Visitors today can explore the well-preserved sections of the castle, and you will be amazed by its architectural details. The view from the top is also breathtaking, offering a glimpse into the rich landscape surrounding Monzón.

Discover this gem in Aragon and enjoy stepping back in time at Monzón Castle.

14. Peralada Castle

Peralada Castle at night

Peralada Castle, nestled in the heart of Catalonia, Spain, is a sight to behold.

This historic landmark dates back to the 14th century.

Originally built by Viscount Rocabertí, it stands just outside the old walled town.

The castle was acquired in 1923 by Miguel Mateu Pla. He turned it into a treasure trove of art.

Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings, and tapestries.

Don’t miss the stunning gardens surrounding the castle. These gardens are a perfect place to relax and take in the area’s beauty. They are meticulously maintained and offer a peaceful escape.

When you visit, consider purchasing a combined ticket, which includes entry to the castle museum and a glass of cava. It’s a charming way to enhance your experience and learn more about the local culture.

15. Cardona Castle

Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Cardona Castle

Cardona Castle is a medieval fortress located in Catalonia, Spain. It’s perched on a hill and offers stunning views of the river valley and the town of Cardona.

The castle was originally built in 886 by Wilfred the Hairy and has a rich history.

When you visit, you’ll notice the castle’s impressive walls and towers. It’s one of the best-preserved fortresses in Spain. The castle also serves as a hotel, part of the state-owned Paradores chain. You can even stay overnight!

Cardona Castle is open for tours on weekends. The site opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm, with tours every 30 minutes. The last tour of the day is at 4:30 pm.

It’s a great way to explore the castle’s many rooms and learn about its history.

The town of Cardona itself is also worth exploring. Its streets are lined with Romanesque and Gothic buildings, which transport visitors back to medieval times.

Don’t miss the castle-palace-monastery that began construction in the 8th century.

For visitors, getting to Cardona Castle is quite convenient. You can take a bus from Manresa bus station, which runs every hour from 7 am to 8 pm.

The bus journey takes between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the route.

16. Castillo de Almodóvar del Río

 Castles in Spain You Have to See_Castillo de Almodóvar del Río

If you love castles with fascinating histories, you’ll be enchanted by Castillo de Almodóvar del Río. This castle, located in the province of Córdoba, has roots that go back to the Arab Muslim era.

The original structure was built in the 8th century, making it one of Spain’s oldest castles.

Standing proudly on the crest of a hill called La Floresta, the castle offers amazing views of the surrounding landscape. It was originally a Roman fort, but it took its current form from the Arab Umayyad influence.

It’s impressive to think that this site has seen so much history.

The castle features nine towers, each with its own story. The most famous is “La Torre del Homenaje,” an albarrana tower. This tower is especially notable for its size and the role it played in the castle’s defense.

You’ll find it exciting that Castillo de Almodóvar del Río was also a filming location for the hit TV series Game of Thrones.

With its dungeons, battlements, and lush gardens, it’s easy to see why it was chosen as a backdrop.

Visiting this castle is like stepping into a different time. You can explore the towers, walk along the battlements, and even check out the dungeons.

17. Castle of Oropesa

Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Castle of Oropesa

The Castle of Oropesa in the Province of Toledo is a must-see.

Built originally by the Arabs between the 12th and 13th centuries, it stands on the site of an older Roman fortress.

You will love the two remaining circular towers that form part of this 13th-century castle.

It’s actually part of the Count’s Palace complex, a group of buildings and walls that protected the old town of Oropesa.

Today, some parts are in ruins, but it’s still amazing to explore.

One of the coolest features is its stone staircase. It is one of a kind in Spain and showcases the intricate craftsmanship of that time.

When you visit, you also get great views of the surrounding areas.

If you stay overnight, you can enjoy the castle as it’s now a Parador hotel too. This combination of history and comfort makes it a unique experience.

Make sure to take lots of pictures. The medieval atmosphere and stunning architecture will make for great memories!

18. Castle of Turégano

 Castles in Spain You Have to See_Castle of Turégano

The Castle of Turégano is located in the town of Turégano, in Segovia, Spain. It stands proudly on a hill, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.

The castle’s history dates back to Celtiberian times. It has seen many changes over the centuries, evolving from an ancient fortress to a medieval stronghold.

A unique feature of this castle is its combination with a church. This castle-church complex was built in the 15th century by Archbishop Juan Arias Dávila.

When you visit, you’ll notice its distinctive architecture. Thick walls and robust towers create an impressive and imposing look. The design reflects its function as a defensive structure.

The Castle of Turégano has been recognized as a Historical-Artistic Conjunction since 1931. This designation highlights its cultural and historical importance.

If you’re exploring Segovia, this castle is definitely worth a visit. The mix of history, architecture, and stunning views make it a memorable stop on your journey through Spain.

19. Castillo de Ponferrada

Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Castillo de Ponferrada

Castillo de Ponferrada, located in the town of Ponferrada, is a fascinating medieval fortress.

This castle is known for its connection to the Knights Templar, who took it over in the early 12th century.

When you visit, you’ll see a large polygonal enclosure covering more than 8,000 square meters. The castle features double and triple battlements, turrets, and a spacious low courtyard, making it an impressive sight.

Inside, the castle houses the Templars’ Library and the Ponferrada Investigation and Study Centre.

Here, you can find almost 1,400 books, including facsimile editions of works by Leonardo da Vinci. It’s a great place to explore if you’re interested in history and ancient manuscripts.

The castle’s exterior is particularly striking, with its imposing walls and fortified towers. Though the interior might seem less dramatic, the historical ambiance and the vast courtyard still make it worth your visit.

For those on the Camino de Santiago, Castillo de Ponferrada is a must-see. It offers a perfect spot to recharge and immerse yourself in a piece of history before continuing your pilgrimage.

Learn more about this historic site at Los Templarios Castle in Ponferrada.

20. Castle of Jadraque

20 Incredible Castles in Spain You Have to See_Castle of Jadraque

The Castle of Jadraque sits proudly on a hill in the municipality of Jadraque, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. It offers commanding views over the plain of the Henares River.

Often called “Castle of the Cid,” it is mentioned in the famous poem Cantar del Mio Cid.

The castle was built for defense and has stood the test of time. Its strategic location made it an important site during various historical events.

You can visit the castle by traveling through Carretera de Soria, CM-1003, in Jadraque. The local tourist info can provide more details.

The castle’s architecture shows the historical influences from different periods. Its imposing walls and towers reflect the military engineering of the time.

If you’re in the area, Jadraque also offers other attractions like local cuisine and scenic views. Make sure to bring a camera to capture the stunning vistas!

History of Castles in Spain

Castles in Spain have fascinating stories rooted in medieval origins and influenced by the Moorish presence, reflecting the turbulent and diverse history of the region.

Medieval Origins

Castles in Spain began to emerge prominently during the Middle Ages. These structures were primarily built for defense against invaders and to establish dominance over conquered territories.

The early Christian kingdoms in northern Spain constructed many fortresses to secure their borders.

For example, the impressive Alcázar of Segovia dates back to the 12th century and showcases the typical medieval architecture. During this period, castles often served as both military fortifications and royal residences.

They were strategically placed on hills or other elevated areas to provide a vantage point over the surrounding land.

Influence of the Moors

The Moors, who ruled large parts of Spain from the 8th to the 15th centuries, left a significant mark on the architecture of Spanish castles.

Moorish castles like the Alcazaba of Guadix feature distinctive elements such as intricate tilework, arches, and battlements.

Moorish influence is most notable in Andalusia, where the stunning Alhambra in Granada stands as a testament to their advanced architectural techniques.

These castles were not just military bastions but also centers of administration and culture, blending functionality with artistic beauty.

The use of rammed earth and other local materials further highlights the ingenuity of Moorish architects.

Architectural Styles

Thick walls and Romanesques style of Loarre Castle
Loarre Castle

Spain’s castles showcase a variety of architectural styles that reflect its rich history. These styles range from the massive and solid Romanesque to the intricate beauty of Gothic and the elegant flow of Renaissance.


The Romanesque style is known for its massive quality, thick walls, and small windows. This style, popular from the 11th to the 12th centuries, aimed to convey strength and durability.

Lorca Castle is a prime example of Romanesque architecture. Built to protect the city from invaders, it features large stone blocks and a simple, sturdy design. The Castle of Loarre also displays Romanesque characteristics with its robust towers and arches.

Romanesque castles often include fortress-like features such as keeps and battlements. These elements were designed to defend against attacks, making them imposing structures that have stood the test of time.


The Gothic style began in the late 12th century and continued into the 16th century. It is recognized for its pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses, which allowed for taller, more delicate structures with larger windows.

The Alcazar de Segovia is an example of Gothic architecture. Perched atop a rocky hill, its slender spires and elegant towers reach towards the sky. The intricate details and large stained-glass windows are hallmarks of this style.

Gothic castles are often associated with a sense of grandeur and beauty. These structures combine defensive purposes with more artistic and decorative elements, creating breathtaking and awe-inspiring fortresses.


Renaissance architecture emerged in the late 15th century and is characterized by symmetry, proportion, and the use of classical elements such as columns and domes. This style aimed to revive the classical ideals of ancient Greece and Rome.

The Castle of Belmonte is a prime example of Renaissance architecture. Its layout is symmetrical, and the castle features ornate decorations and classical forms.

The use of rounded arches and detailed stonework reflects Renaissance ideals.

Renaissance castles often include beautifully landscaped gardens and elaborate interior designs. They focus on harmony and balance, blending practical defensive features with aesthetic beauty.

Cultural Significance

Castles in Spain You Have to See_Alcázar de Segovia
Alcázar de Segovia

Spain’s castles hold deep historical and cultural value. They appear in folklore and modern media, showcasing their lasting impact on Spanish heritage and pop culture.

Castles in Spanish Folklore

Many Spanish castles are featured in local legends and tales. For example, the Castle of Belmonte often appears in folklore about knights and noble families. Locals say it’s haunted by ghosts of warriors who fought to defend the land.

The Alhambra in Granada is another famous site. Stories tell of buried treasures and hidden passages used by the Moors. Such tales add to the mystique and allure of these ancient structures.

These legends are passed down through generations, keeping the castles’ stories alive in the hearts of the people. If you visit, you might hear these captivating tales from locals, adding another layer to your experience.

Use in Modern Media

Spanish castles make dramatic backdrops in movies and TV shows. The Alcázar of Segovia inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Its fairy-tale look makes it perfect for fantasy films.

The Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza has featured in several Spanish films and TV series. Its unique architecture and historical significance make it a favorite for directors seeking authenticity.

Video games also use Spanish castles as settings. Games like “Assassin’s Creed” often feature these landmarks, introducing them to a global audience. This helps to preserve and promote Spanish cultural heritage in a modern context.

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