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The Most Remarkable Parador Hotels in Spain
Read about the oldest and most remarkable Parador hotels in Spain. The ancient monasteries, castles, pilgrim hospitals, etc., now stand as authentic architectural gems. Traveling through Spain at the Parador gives a unique insight into Spanish history
PARADOR DE OROPESA – TOLEDO
Category: Palace and Castle
This was the first Parador situated in a historic building, a medieval castle located between the Gredos mountain range and the River Tajo. It also became the first Monument Parador in the public chain, opening the way for a network of subsequent lodgings in castles, palaces, convents and monasteries. It's a castle with two parts: the old and the new. The old castle was built by the Arabs between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The new castle was build around 1402 and was converted into the ancestral home of the noble family, Álvarez de Toledo, the Countess of Oropresa, and in later ages served as a retreat for soldiers, religious figures and nobles.
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PARADOR DE CIUDAD RODRIGO
Today, converted into a Parador, this castle made up the defensive system of the city back in the 14th century.
In 1929 the town hall made the first adaptation by making some of its premises and available spaces into a regional museum and hostelry. In 1931, when it was ceded to the State, it became a Parador.
The Parador grew due to the increase in hotel demand, with the successive reforms carried out in the last 50 years changing the initial configuration of the Parador.
The property remained under the general protection of castles in 1949, and continues today to be in the category of monuments, a place of great cultural interest.
PARADOR DE HONDARRIBIA
Also known as the Castle of Carlos V, its construction dates back to the 10th century. This castle always fulfilled an important role for military and defence. Its elevated walls protected the medieval treasure that forms the historical seat of Hondarribia. The immense bare stone that frames the patio, surrounded by green vines, and crowned by spaces adorned with arches, wrought iron and coffered ceilings stands out.
Converted into a Parador, the views from some rooms and from the terrace on the French coast and the sea complete the indescribable beauty of this place.
PARADOR DE CARDONA – BARCELONA
Medieval castle, a centuries old treasure, on top of a promontory guarding the town of Cardona. It is a fortified enclosure from the ninth century, where the Minyona Tower and a beautiful church, both from the eleventh century are also found.
Converted into a Parador in 1976, it is one of the most impressive medieval complexes in Catalonia. The pits, towers, walls and all the Gothic elements are seen here in their splendor.
PARADOR DE OLITE – NAVARRA
One of the most beautiful Gothic-civil ensembles in all of Europe is the majestic Palace-Castle Primitivo de Olite. This was the palace of the Kings of Navarre, whose oldest section was set up as a Parador. It is a space inhabited since the Romans, whose archaeological remains appear in some of the towers.
In 1966 its reform to adapt it to a Parador for tourism began. The common areas and part of the hotel rooms are integrated into the palace. Its interior surprises guests with its stained glass windows, arcades and other elements typical of the Middle Ages.
PARADOR DE SANTO DOMINGO – SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA
Category: Old Pilgrims' Hospital
Santo Domingo himself built this building next to the cathedral to care for the sick and the pilgrims, those traveling the Way of St. James. Given the touristic importance of the Way, the Camino de Santiago, it was decided to renovate the old building, that was at the time in a terrible state of ruin.
The current building has worked to restore its original appearance. A great architectural feat was carried out on the central patio that has become the central point of the building; it's covered with a modern stained glass window of glass and concrete that contrasts with the stone and the old character of the building .
Currently, it is a regal and elegant complex, with a lobby and majestic lounges that create an environment of warmth and harmony.
PARADOR DE CANGAS DE ONIS
An ancient monastery, San Pedro de Villanueva is one of the oldest in Asturias. The first building was a royal pantheon and pre-Romanesque basilica. Nothing remains of this first building, since it was reformed in the Romanesque style, of which there are remains in the church. Between 1674 - 1699 the monastery was transformed and adapted to the tastes of the time. Like many other buildings of that era, it was disentailed and abandoned in the 19th century. Fortunately, in 1998, it was inaugurated as a tourist hostel and was expanded to include another wing.
It is currently a beautiful building surrounded by the spectacular Picos de Europa in a place of unparalleled beauty.
PARADOR DE LEÓN
Category: Convent and hospital
Its facade is a Spanish Renaissance masterpiece. Originally it was a convent for pilgrims, travelers of the Way of St. James, founded in the twelfth century in front of a hospital in the current square. Its construction was intended to house the Military Order of Santiago's main headquarters in the west of the Peninsula. The building is a synthesis of the religious and military, as reflected in the iconography of its fascinating plateresque facade that is really a huge canvas in stone.
After its disentailment, it was used for various purposes until it was opened as a State Hotel in a clear bid to reestablish the Road to Santiago de Compostela.
Today, the hostel has spacious and elegant rooms in which to rest, and a magnificent restaurant that offers elegant traditional cuisine.
PARADOR DE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Category: Royal Hospital
The Royal Hospital of Santiago was a project of the Catholic Monarchs, "los Reyes Católicos," to give aid to the thousands of pilgrims, travelers doing the pilgrimage along the Way of St. James to Compostela.
This first hospital of the sixteenth century was much smaller than the current factory as it was only composed of a church, two cloisters and two different sections, one for men and the other for women. The expansion came in the eighteenth century after a landslide and due to the need for space. The result ended in an additional two backyards and the Baroque staircase of Ferro Caaveiro which was built in stone.
Years later, pilgrims have been replaced by general travelers since 1954 because it is such a magnificent hotel that, year after year, maintains its old commitment to hospitality. This Parador mixes history, art and tradition. It's a pilgrims' dream and the emblem of Santiago. Located in the Plaza del Obradoiro, together with the cathedral, it gives the visitor an angle of spectacular beauty in one of the most visited capitals in the world, Santiago de Compostela.
PARADOR DE SANTO ESTEVO
In the heart of the Ribera Sacra is one of the most important in Galicia and the best preserved convents, the Monastery of Santo Estevo.
This monastery has Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance designs and three interior cloisters that give it an enormous originality. Its origin dates back to the 6th century and it is related to San Martín Dumiense, the "Apostle of the Suevos"
The monumental beauty of the building caused it to be declared a Historic Artistic Monument in 1923.
Now, it is a hostel that makes tourism compatible with the stillness and silence of a hidden valley. Tranquility and peace are within your reach in this spectacular place that includes a spa with incredible views.