We recommend the route that visits the 15 best castles in Andalucia
Andalucia has always been a land loved for its extraordinary geographical situation as a passage from the Mediterranean through its fertile lands and its extraordinary climate. This has meant that since time immemorial, many empires and large powers have wanted to conquer it and, consequently, many castles were built to protect it. So, it’s no surprise that the castles in Andalucia provide its landscapes with grandiose silhouettes. If you want to let your imagination loose and take a trip to the past in a unique enclave, be sure to take a route encompassing the best castles in Andalusia; you will discover another way to enjoy your holiday.
1. Castillo de Marbella, (Málaga)
Located in the centre of the city, the Castillo de Marbella is a 9th or 10th century construction built during the reign of Abderramán III, the first of the Caliphs of Al-Anadalus. Its walls take us back to the Arab world with large blocks of stone in the low part and the presence of three Ionic capitals also used as stones. The wall also incorporated over 20 towers whose purpose was to protect the city from potential attacks. It was modified in the 14th century and adapted to be used as artillery in the 15th century. If you go to Marbella, make sure to visit this site followed by a stroll through its historical old quarter that has preserved the authentic Andalucian style of narrow alleyways.
2. Castillo de la Torre de Guzmán, Conil (Cádiz)
In addition to being a charming seaside town, Conil has a unique fortress around which the new town rose during the 14th and 15th centuries, forming what was called Plaza Mayor with its main buildings: the Parish Church of Santa Catalina, the houses of Cabildo, the Grammar School and the main houses of the servants and maids of the Ducal House. This is the Guzmán Tower belonging to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, Guzmán the Good, after being bestowed on him by the town. We recommend you visit this place and learn about the history of Conil while enjoying a delicious cone of fried fish.
3. Alcazaba de Málaga
The Alcazaba de Málaga presides majestically over the city with its Muslim-era palace fortress appearance. This construction is built on a former fortress of Phoenicio-Punic origin and is located on the skirts of Mount Gibralfaro. Its architectural structure is a response to the military style of the period and was the great guardian of the capital of the Costa del Sol. We recommend you visit it and then take a walk through its surroundings, where you will find an old Roman theatre. A few feet away is the beginning of the city centre and its most emblematic streets. Don’t miss it.
4. Castillo de Niebla (Huelva)
The Huelva town of Niebla has been a fundamental enclave in the history of southern Spain, and its castle has witnessed it all: Tartessians, Romans, Visigoths, Muslims and finally Castilians. Throughout the year its rooms, chambers and dungeons, perfectly decorated, have constituted a true medieval museum that has been perfectly preserved. If you travel through this area, make sure to visit the castle and enjoy the impressive views of the River Tinto (the colour of the river is actually copper) that can be made out from the towers.
5. Castillo Bil Bil, Benalmádena (Málaga)
Though this construction is relatively young, since it dates from the 20th century, it is a symbol of the Costa del Sol and especially its home city, Benalmádena. Its red colour breaks up the blue of the Mediterranean Sea that sits behind this Arab-adorned landscape that bears its architectural lines. Its exterior has bas reliefs and tiles and its doors stand out for their triple iron arches, not to mention its nocturnal light that affords it a singular beauty. Make sure to visit this castle that is also a venue for numerous art exhibitions and poetry recitals and concerts. And if you are planning to get married, you can have your wedding here.
6. Castillo de Zahara de la Sierra (Cádiz)
Only some pieces of the wall and have been preserved of this construction, along with the keep, which you can climb and from which you can enjoy views of Zahara de la Sierra, its reservoir and some nearby towns. The charm of this area is based on the contrast of this Nazari construction with the Christian architecture of the neighbouring municipality of Olvera. It is a singular castle that can be made out from any point of the locality and even though only the keep is equipped for visitors, the views are worth it, as is the history that is hidden behind its walls.
7. Alcazaba de Antequera (Málaga)
The Alcazaba de Antequera looks out over this beautiful city and is surrounded by the best views in the district. Its keep has an angular floor and is considered one of the widest Andalucian Muslim keeps. It is crowned with a hood built in 1582 to place the bell and clock of the locality. In this setting you can also enjoy the mosaics and Roman ruins, as well as one of Antequera’s most characteristic neighbourhoods, El Portichuelo. Regular gastronomic events are also organised by moonlight to bring back the flavours of olden days; a unique opportunity not to be missed.
8. Castillo de Sancti Petri, San Fernando (Cádiz)
The Castillo de Sancti Petri is a defensive fortress located on a small island in San Fernando at the mouth of the rivers of the same name. As you enjoy the local fine sandy beach, you can gaze at the other side of this building, a unique sensation you can experience in these surroundings. The watchtower is the oldest construction (1610) and the rest of the construction, the walls and interior of the enclosure date from the 18th century, though there are records of a human settlement in this area of a much earlier era known as the Temple of Hercules Gaditano. Experience this sensation up close and don’t miss this part of the route.
9. Castillo de Bentomiz, Arenas (Málaga)
The Bentomiz Fortress, belonging to the Malagan municipality of Arenas, was built during Muslim times and it is mentioned it in the Memoirs of Abd Allah, Ziri King of Granada of the 6th century. Due to its high position, it has some impressive views over the eastern Costa del Sol and the entire interior of the district of Axarquía. Don’t forget your camera to capture this construction and, above all, its impressive panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.
10. Castillo Sohail, Fuengirola (Málaga)
The Castillo Soahil in Fuengirola dates from the 10th century and was constructed on the ruins of a simple Greco-Latin settlement. It was the Caliph of Cordobá Abderramán III who had this small citadel built, which was used as dwellings, probably around a watchtower, in order to strengthen coastal defences. Currently it is one of the symbols of this coastal city and is home to numerous concerts and shows all year round. We recommend you climb to the top and watch the Mediterranean Sea that falls at its feet, as well as continuing your tour along the promenade crossing the Navy bridge.
11. El Castillo de Olvera
During the 12th century, on what is now the border between Cádiz and Seville provinces, Olvera Castle was built as a Muslim fortress. This construction formed part of the defence system of the Nazarí Kingdom of Granada.
Due to its magnificent location over a rock at the locality’s highest point, this fortification offers the visitor some spectacular panoramic views of the mountains.
This castle has an irregular construction that was adapted to the actual shape of the rock. The fortress is made up of a keep along with two more keeps, a wall, a well in the north keep and a beautiful underground enclosure.
12. El Castillo de Almodóvar del Río
This castle of Arabic origin, though restored and reconstructed on several occasions, is Gothic-Mudejar in style. This fortification is one of the most beautiful and spectacular in the entire Andalusian region. It has a fairytale structure, so you can enjoy its beautiful towers: the keep, the round one and the square one; take a pleasant stroll through its courtyards and enjoy the impressive views of the Córdoba countryside from its parapets.
13. El Castillo de Alcalá de Guadaíra
This castle is the result of around 4,500 years of history on the Cerro del Castillo. This fortification is one of this city’s identifying and defining signs.
The castle is located on an elevation that visually dominates the entire setting and it was constructed during the Muslim domination (11th and 12th centuries), though it was after the reconquest that it obtained its final structure.
Also, it was in 1924 that it was declared a Monument of Historic-Artistic Interest and in 1985 a Cultural Heritage Site.
14. Castillo Mezquita de Almonaster la Real
Mezquita de Almonaster la Real Castle is a temple for Catholic worship that was built over the remains of a Visigoth basilica that was turned into a hermitage after the reconquest.
Its design is Roman, Gothic and Almohad. It is also the only Spanish mosque that is almost intact today.
Today, the actual building of this castle, in addition to being a church, functions as the town’s centre of cultural interpretation.
15. Castillo de San Sebastián
This Cádiz castle is located on a tiny island on one of the furthest ends of La Caleta, where legend has it the Kronos Temple was located. This fortification takes its name from an old hermitage built in the 15th century by sailors from a Venetian ship.
Inside and on the base of a Muslim lookout is the current lighthouse that is 135 feet above sea level. Also, thanks to its original floor, this castle has been the backdrop for several films.
Experience Andalucia’s history up close through its castles and the surrounding landscape, one interesting option to get away this autumn and travel back to medieval times. The fundamental function of these fortresses to defend, be used in time of war and house troops lends them a certain austerity. Their most visible elements are the towers, which include the keep and in the interior the courtyard of arms. Discover for yourself these characteristics and enjoy all these destinations.
WHERE TO STAY
Discover the route of the best castles in Andalucia from a hotel chain that began in a Marbella fortress. Fuerte Hoteles is undoubtedly the best option for your holiday. The chain has establishments where you can enjoy not only its services, but also the best of Andalucia’s geography. Its 50 plus years of experience serve as the best guarantee of service, allowing you to spend time touring the best destinations and discovering the Andalucian castle route we suggest. Marbella, Conil, Grazalema, El Rompido, Estepona and Torrox are just some of the places where you can find these amazing hotels near all these fortresses that we recommend.