With such a long history, spanning centuries of rulers with a whole lot of cash to spare, it’ll come as no surprise that Spain is privy to a healthy selection of castles and fortresses. They make for pretty incredible eye candy when you’re ready for a tour, and that’s not even talking about the views.
Dotted the coastline, tucked up on a hill – their watchful eyes keep a constant lookout over Spain’s towns.If you’re up for a look around some of Spain’s coolest castles, here’s a little taste test to get you started.
Sohail Castle, Fuengirola
Sohail Castle was originally constructed in 956 CE to keep this slice of Spain’s waterfront protected.
It was destroyed and rebuilt several times, and in 2000 was restored by the town of Fuengirola into the holiday attraction it is today.
Crowned with square towers, the castle is used as an open-air auditorium, and features a small museum inside, plus ruins from 300 BCE, when the Romans had occupied this Spanish town.
Castillo de Tossa de Mar, Tossa de Mar
The castle in Tossa de Mar directly overlooks the beach, so it’s part waterfront activity, part historic.
Its wraparound stone walls were constructed as a fortress to protect Tossa de Mar’s old town. The castle is free to enter but requires a little bit of a steep climb to reach the top. If you can make it there you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views over the coastline.
Alcazaba of Malaga, Malaga
Renowned as one of the best-preserved alcazabas – which means ‘citadel’ in Spanish – in Spain, Malaga’s Alcazaba was built in the early 11th century by the Hammudid dynasty.
Just a 30-minute drive outside Torremolinos and Benalmadena, it’s slap bang in the centre of Malaga located atop a hill and enclosed by double walls, within which are more than 100 towers and three palaces.
Castillo de Colomares, Benalmadena
The Castillo de Colomares isn’t your classic castle by any stretch. Building on it began in 1987 as a tribute to Christopher Columbus the famous explorer.
It was designed by Dr Esteban Martin Martin, and looks a little like a sand castle from a fairytale – its spindly architecture is that unique, and is even hidden with details like carvings of Columbus’ three ships.
The castle houses the smallest church in the world, and was once used as a reptile centre and falconry – the locals hope that one day it’ll hold the remains of Christopher Columbus himself.
Alcazaba of Almeria, Almeria
Located in Almeria just a 25-minute drive from the seaside town of Roquetas de Mar, the Alcazaba of Almeria is a fortified structure that makes up the largest structure of its kind built by Arabs in Spain.
It offers up fantastic views of the town beyond, and its squares, houses and mosque have been in many a Hollywood film background, including Conan the Barbarian and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The world famous Alhambra in Granada is one of the most elaborate and iconic palatial structures in Spain, found about an hour’s drive from the resort of Nerja.
The Alhambra in its current form was constructed in the mid 13th century by a Moorish Emir, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It acted as the royal court for Ferdinand and Isabella, and contains incredibly intricate architectural details adorning ceilings, windows and spacious gardens. Above all, it’s one of those buildings whose grandeur must be seen to be believed.
Have you been to any of these castles, and which do you think is coolest?