• PLEASE NOTE: Please think twice before you travel to Spain now. More here.

Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Castles in Spain (many on a camino)

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have occasionally reserved places to stay on the Escapada Rural website, and now they must think it’s a good idea to email me with tantalizing information about why I should be going to Spain.

Just got this one, with a list of 31 ”not to be missed” castles.

Though I think any list of ”top castles” is likely to draw disagreement (for instance, HOW could Xátiva not be on the list?), it’s fun to see how many of these places are on caminos. This is what I’ve come up with, let me know what I’ve missed. Any favorite memories or photos?

(#2) Medina del Campo — Camino de Levante

(#4) Segovia — Camino de Madrid

(#5) Loarre — Camino Catalán

(#7) Coca — Camino de Madrid

(#9) Manzanares el Real — Camino de Madrid

(#11) Ponferrada — Camino Francés and Invierno

(#18) Monterrei — Verín alternatiive on the Sanabrés

(#19) Alcaá del Jucar — Ruta de la Lana (the one I had hoped to walk this year :()

(#21) Alcazaba de Almería — Camino Mozárabe

(#24) Gomaz — Ruta de la Lana (another :()

(#25) Calahorra— Camino Mozárabe

Some of the others must be manageable detours from a camino, so I will have to do some research to see if I can make my way to some of these other gorgeous places on future caminos. Buen camino, Laurie
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
(#6) Belmonte is on the Camino de la Santa Cruz variant of the Levante north of San Clemente,
(#14) Olvera is on the Vía Serrana "prequel" to the VdlP
(#27) Jadraque is on the Camino del Arcipreste join between the Lana and the Mendocino
(#31) La Mota is at Alcalá la Real on the Mozárabe.

Gormaz (24) is about 20km from San Esteban de Gormaz on the Lana, but one on the Lana I liked very much was the castle of Sigüenza, now a parador. Not exciting inside - it was badly bashed about in 1936 - but impressive from outside, and wonderful views.

DSC_0074.JPG
 
Last edited:

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (1994) & (2013 - 2019)
Portugués (2015 - 2019)
de Madrid (2019)
Argentino/Inglés (2020)
i would say Pambre should be on this list... not quite on the Francés (near Palas), but almostpambre.jpg

and then there's Clavijo, not on the Camino but perhaps the most important Camino related castle

clavijo.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
Don't forget Burgos Castle!

1597698022775.png

BTW: there's much more to Burgos than just the cathedral and Las Huelgas! Allow me to put in a plug for the small but excellent (and free!) Burgos Military History Museum:

1597697525131.png
 

Attachments

  • 1597696894223.png
    1597696894223.png
    2.7 MB · Views: 13
Last edited:

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I have walked some of these caminos and have passed by these castles, but the only one that I toured was at Ponferrada. Challenging or unknown opening hours and the effort to get to the castles from the camino are my main reasons for not visiting, as well as my personal lack of interest, not seeing the castles that I pass as relevant to the reasons that I walk caminos. Sites which at one time belonged to the military orders whose vocation was to protect pilgrims should have been an exception (eg. Ponferrada, in early times) but my focus on walking carried me foreward on my route, largely unknowing of such connections. Any comments by better informed pilgrims might make it more likely that I would approach these structures and consider how they are part of the pilgrim routes. Any suggestions?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I love occasionally getting a glimpse inside a castle, but most of the romance is in seeing them from afar, imagining their significance in years gone by, and what they might have been like inside. That is my excuse for not trekking up the hill to find out!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
but most of the romance is in seeing them from afar, imagining their significance in years gone by, and what they might have been like inside.
Yes. The imagination from afar is more vivid than it is when being in the mere shell of what was once an alive building.

Pambre and Coronatel were my immediate thoughts, already mentioned. Cornatel sits atop a precipice, and has an amazing - though vertigo-inducing - view.
View media item 9640
I'm a little surprised no-one's mentioned Castrojerez, and the Castillo de Saracin overlooking Vega de Valcarce.
View media item 4879View media item 4880
And above Pancorbo in the Vasco there is the remains of a fortress/castle. There's not much left, but oh...the views!
View media item 9798
 

Attachments

  • 1531218437_858423_1531237205_noticia_normal.jpg
    1531218437_858423_1531237205_noticia_normal.jpg
    147.8 KB · Views: 11
Last edited:

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
But I know that I shall never have the ambition, or the energy, to climb up to it,
It's not as hard as it looks. Certainly easier than some hills I've walked up in the course of a regular day (much easier, for example than the long pull up to Cornatel).

If you have the good fortune to stay at the Albergue Ultreia, ask the owner and he'll show you a very cool shortcut.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I'm a little surprised no-one's mentioned Castrojerez
Castrojeriz and Villamayor de Monjardin, both on the Camino Frances, had enough pull for me that we walked up there in the afternoon/evening after having settled in our accommodation. Walking without a backpack and in crocs and actually going up steep where you use different muscle groups than during the day's camino walk was a pleasure. I don't know whether I'd recommend either of these castle ruins to others (if you don't feel the pull, don't go) but I'd go again in a heartbeat. I don't have a good photo of Monjardin so here is one from a website:

Monjardin.jpg
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Castelo dos Andrade near Pontedeume Camino Ingles.
Also In the town of Pontedeume is the torre dos Andrade.
Another torre dos Andrade in Vilalba Camino del Norte
One of them, Fernan Pérez de Andrade is buried at San Francisco church in Betanzos.
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
Not on "the list" but perhaps it should be: the Aljafería Palace located is Zaragoza on the Loyola route. Truly spectacular. Sorry I have no photos. Details can be found here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aljafería.
 

Madidi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 & 17: Fisterra Muxia 2013 & 2015: Ingles 2014: Madrid 2015: Salvador & Primitivo 2016
Not a very flattering photo (just caught sight of it as we left the city in the early morning :oops:) but Simancas Castle looked impressive

Simancas Castle.jpg
 

cathietherese

Catherine Davis
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP - Finistere May/June 2012
Le-Puy-en-Velay to Cahors/ June 2019
Yes. The imagination from afar is more vivid than it is when being in the mere shell of what was once an alive building.

Pambre and Coronatel were my immediate thoughts, already mentioned. Cornatel sits atop a precipice, and has an amazing - though vertigo-inducing - view.
View media item 9640
I'm a little surprised no-one's mentioned Castrojerez, and the Castillo de Saracin overlooking Vega de Valcarce.
View media item 4879View media item 4880
And above Pancorbo in the Vasco there is the remains of a fortress/castle. There's not much left, but oh...the views!
View media item 9798
These are fantastic photographs. So evocative, and lovely to experience such imagery. Thank you @VNwalking. The Camino feels close, while objectively thanks to threads like this one. xo
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Here are two forum members braving the bitter March wind on top of the castle in Manzanares El Real on the Camino de Madrid.
View attachment 81136
It was a really bleak day .. great memory though and a wonderful Camino route. looking at this thread you can actually see that Camino de Madrid features for quite a lot of castles listed.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Grajal de Campos on the Camino de Madrid was fascinating. Well worth the detour.
327GrajalDeCampos.jpg
346GrajalDeCampos.jpg

The albergue in the door on the left:
349GrajalDeCampos.jpg

And a super friendly bar / restaurant on the other side of the plaza.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18), Madrid (19) + more
Castles are one of my favourite features while walking a Camino in Spain.

It is a pity that so many don't open for visitors until late morning - difficult to fit in visits with a full-day walking stage.. In the future, I may need to look at sorting half-stages to accommodate historical sightseeing. :)

Posing with my Coca Castle gift shop finds on the Camino de Madrid.

Coca Castle.jpg
 

JLWV

Jean-Luc
Camino(s) past & future
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
Camino de Levante:
- Silla, Moorish tower, no visit by now
- Almussafes, Moorish tower, no visit
- Benifaió, 2 Moorish towers, one in the center, visit on request at the Ayuntamiento, more interesting if guided
- Xativa, important castle, visit
- Canals, tower of the Borgia family, visit on special days
- Montesa, visible from the way, castle of Montesa Order (inheritors of Templars when disolved)
- Vallada, ruins of castle, up the mountain
- Almansa, visit
- Chinchilla de Monte Aragón, no interior visit
- San Clemente, Torre vieja, now a Museum
- Mora, Castle of Peñas Negras, up the mountain 3 km before the city
- Almonacid de Toledo, castle, just before city
- Toledo, the albergue de San Servando, is a castle where we can stay
- Toledo, the Alcazar includes the Museo del Ejercito (Main military museum)
- Barcience, castle
- Maqueda, castle
- Escalona, castle
- San Martín de Val de Iglesias, castle
- Avila, all the city is surrounded by medieval walls, Torreón of the Guzman Family
- Arevalo, castle
- Medina del Campo, Castillo de la Mota
- Zamora, castle and medieval walls
and we continue by the Camino Sanabres shared with Camino de levante
- Puebla de Sanabria, castle

Remember that the name Castilla comes from the castles (castillos).
Buen Camino

WOW, what a mistake, after San Clemente I forgot Santiago de la Torre, ruins, but important!
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Camino de Levante:
- Silla, Moorish tower, no visit by now
- Almussafes, Moorish tower, no visit
- Benifaió, 2 Moorish towers, one in the center, visit on request at the Ayuntamiento, more interesting if guided
- Xativa, important castle, visit
- Canals, tower of the Borgia family, visit on special days
- Montesa, visible from the way, castle of Montesa Order (inheritors of Templars when disolved)
- Vallada, ruins of castle, up the mountain
- Almansa, visit
- Chinchilla de Monte Aragón, no interior visit
- San Clemente, Torre vieja, now a Museum
- Mora, Castle of Peñas Negras, up the mountain 3 km before the city
- Almonacid de Toledo, castle, just before city
- Toledo, the albergue de San Servando, is a castle where we can stay
- Toledo, the Alcazar includes the Museo del Ejercito (Main military museum)
- Barcience, castle
- Maqueda, castle
- Escalona, castle
- San Martín de Val de Iglesias, castle
- Avila, all the city is surrounded by medieval walls, Torreón of the Guzman Family
- Arevalo, castle
- Medina del Campo, Castillo de la Mota
- Zamora, castle and medieval walls
and we continue by the Camino Sanabres shared with Camino de levante
- Puebla de Sanabria, castle

Remember that the name Castilla comes from the castles (castillos).
Buen Camino
I always describe the Levante as a camino of castles and wide open spaces, not to mention all those lovely towns with beautiful plazas mayores and churches!

@AJGuillaume, make note of this as you plan your virtual Levante.
 

JLWV

Jean-Luc
Camino(s) past & future
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
castillo, fortaleza, alcazar and alcazaba.

Right, although with some differences in my opinion.
- Castillo: castle may be with a military or a residential caracter
- Fortaleza: fortress, castle with main military caracter
- Alcazar: same as castillo, but from Moorish origin
- Alcazaba: alcazar with more extended area , citadel.
@peregrin, please correct if necesary.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Right, although with some differences in my opinion.
- Castillo: castle may be with a military or a residential caracter
- Fortaleza: fortress, castle with main military caracter
- Alcazar: same as castillo, but from Moorish origin
- Alcazaba: alcazar with more extended area , citadel.
@peregrin, please correct if necesary.

-I think that castillo in Spain was a military building that sometimes was/is also residencial. The concept is different to chateau that in Spanish would be better Palacio Fortificado.
-I have no clear the difference between castillo and fortaleza. Maybe a fortaleza had more military importance.
- Yes Alcazar (from arab Al Qasr) normally is a castillo from Moorish origin but also was adopted by Christians to name kings residences like Segovia and Toledo.
- Alcazaba. I agree with your definition.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Invierno: Cornatel. Included is the sign with visiting hours!
 

Attachments

  • 20190313235259_IMG_6146.JPG
    3 MB · Views: 12
  • 20190314013235_IMG_6250.JPG
    4.3 MB · Views: 10
  • 20190313234847_IMG_6138.JPG
    2.9 MB · Views: 8
  • 20190314015752_IMG_6261.JPG
    4.6 MB · Views: 8
  • 20190314013134_IMG_6246.JPG
    2.3 MB · Views: 8

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
Yes. The imagination from afar is more vivid than it is when being in the mere shell of what was once an alive building.

Pambre and Coronatel were my immediate thoughts, already mentioned. Cornatel sits atop a precipice, and has an amazing - though vertigo-inducing - view.
View media item 9640
I'm a little surprised no-one's mentioned Castrojerez, and the Castillo de Saracin overlooking Vega de Valcarce.
View media item 4879View media item 4880
And above Pancorbo in the Vasco there is the remains of a fortress/castle. There's not much left, but oh...the views!
View media item 9798
The castle at Castrojeriz is definitely worth the hike up the hill to look at. My partner and I were the only ones there when we passed through in April 2018!
 

JLWV

Jean-Luc
Camino(s) past & future
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
Camino de Levante:
- Silla, Moorish tower, no visit by now
- Almussafes, Moorish tower, no visit
- Benifaió, 2 Moorish towers, one in the center, visit on request at the Ayuntamiento, more interesting if guided
- Xativa, important castle, visit
- Canals, tower of the Borgia family, visit on special days
- Montesa, visible from the way, castle of Montesa Order (inheritors of Templars when disolved)
- Vallada, ruins of castle, up the mountain
- Almansa, visit
- Chinchilla de Monte Aragón, no interior visit
- San Clemente, Torre vieja, now a Museum
- Mora, Castle of Peñas Negras, up the mountain 3 km before the city
- Almonacid de Toledo, castle, just before city
- Toledo, the albergue de San Servando, is a castle where we can stay
- Toledo, the Alcazar includes the Museo del Ejercito (Main military museum)
- Barcience, castle
- Maqueda, castle
- Escalona, castle
- San Martín de Val de Iglesias, castle
- Avila, all the city is surrounded by medieval walls, Torreón of the Guzman Family
- Arevalo, castle
- Medina del Campo, Castillo de la Mota
- Zamora, castle and medieval walls
and we continue by the Camino Sanabres shared with Camino de levante
- Puebla de Sanabria, castle

Remember that the name Castilla comes from the castles (castillos).
Buen Camino

WOW, what a mistake, after San Clemente I forgot Santiago de la Torre, ruins, but important!

I also forgot Mascaraque, with the Castillo-Palacio de Juan de Padilla next to the church!!!
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 twice) (2018); Via de la Plata (1996); Finisterre (2018)
It has always surprised me how few castles there are on or near the CF. During research for my Cycling guide to the Camino Frances, I identified twelve castles on or near the route.

1 St Jean-Pied-de-Port; Mendiguren Citadelle overlooking the town is a Vauban designed fortress that is nowadays used as a college. You can walk around the top of the walls, but the interior cannot be visited.
2 Pamplona; Ciudadela was once an impressive fortress, now only the foundations remain.
3 Guenduláin; ruins of a small castle in fields beside the route as you climb up to Alto del Perdón.
4 Estella; Palace of the Kings' of Navarre is a former royal palace with no military function.
5 Villamayor de Monjardin; ruins of San Esteban castle on hilltop overlooking village.
6 Belorado; ruined hilltop castle overlooking the town centre.
7 Burgos; Impressive hilltop castle built soon after the reconquista to defend the city against Moorish return. Worth visiting, even if only for the best view of the city centre.
8; Castrojeriz; wonderfully positioned ruined castle on hilltop above the town. Visible from miles around.
9; Ponferrada; the most impressive of all, the Knights Templar's castle was built to provide protection for a pilgrim bridge over the rio Sil.
10; Villafranca del Bierzo; although it looks the part, the Marqués' castle was built as (and still is) a residence with no military function.
11; Vega de Valcarce; impressive looking castle on mountainside high above the valley.
12; Castromaior; the most unusual of all, a 4th century BC Celtic hill fort that was re-used by the Romans. Though only 50m from the trail, most peregrinos trudge past the outer earth bank without even knowing the fortress is so close.

If you are interested in other things military, Cesare Borgia, former general of the papal army when his father was pope and who died fighting for the King of Navarre against Castille, is buried in front of Viana church; while in Burgos the military museum is in a building that was the headquarters of the Falange nationalist army led by General Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

It makes a change to write about castles and fortresses. Most peregrinos seem more interested in churches and monasteries. It is a pity however that most are ruins and none have overnight accommodation.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Here are two forum members braving the bitter March wind on top of the castle in Manzanares El Real on the Camino de Madrid.
View attachment 81136
A few more pics taken same day /doing the castle tour in Manzanares El Real . March 2018 camino de Madrid.
 

Attachments

  • 51100653-2165-4650-ABE6-93411BB38585.jpeg
    51100653-2165-4650-ABE6-93411BB38585.jpeg
    781.6 KB · Views: 4
  • 2DD92714-380F-43BF-A847-CF996B292B07.jpeg
    2DD92714-380F-43BF-A847-CF996B292B07.jpeg
    447.8 KB · Views: 6
  • 1F5408D5-B312-46F9-B487-26D8166244BF.jpeg
    1F5408D5-B312-46F9-B487-26D8166244BF.jpeg
    813.3 KB · Views: 6
  • 4A3C946D-DC83-4AD6-8B2F-715E5BA3CBAA.jpeg
    4A3C946D-DC83-4AD6-8B2F-715E5BA3CBAA.jpeg
    530.5 KB · Views: 6
  • 99D130AB-9608-408A-B80D-12F1D7BEE4B1.jpeg
    99D130AB-9608-408A-B80D-12F1D7BEE4B1.jpeg
    826.3 KB · Views: 4
  • 9D48FCBB-5A35-438F-B2C6-CEEF5EF004B7.jpeg
    9D48FCBB-5A35-438F-B2C6-CEEF5EF004B7.jpeg
    981.1 KB · Views: 4
Last edited:

Advertisement

Booking.com

Similar threads

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 56 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 200 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 329 24.9%
  • June

    Votes: 96 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.0%
  • September

    Votes: 381 28.8%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top