You will have heard of them. For their historical relevance, for their privileged and idyllic location, for their character, for their charm, for their fascinating surroundings, for what they hide inside, for the stories concealed in their walls and for the secrets they keep. There are many reasons to consider them indispensable and, of course, unforgettable.
Unique and exclusive accommodation where there is room for elegance and also for the avant-garde. Protectors of an enormous cultural heritage, visible in the architecture and many other forms of expression: photography, sculpture, painting... Prepare for a dream journey that combines the best of yesterday and today, from monumental wonders, majestic hilltops, designer hideaways by the sea or symbolic Renaissance jewels in highly emblematic squares. Here are seven exceptional places you'll always want to return to.
Parador de Santiago: the favourite haunt of prominent personalities
Next to the Cathedral of Santiago is the Parador, considered the oldest hotel in Spain. This imposing building is oozing with history and majesty. The exterior offers a fascinating Plateresque façade, adorned with sculptures of biblical characters such as Adam and Eve and even portraits of its founders, the Catholic Monarchs, embedded in the façade. A building worthy of everything contained within, where its four magnificent cloisters stand out: St. Luke's, St. Matthew's, St. John's and St. Mark's cloisters. And as for the bedrooms, these include the so-called Cardinal's Room, opened by John XXIII before he was named Pope and which has been visited by celebrities such as Mick Jagger. Rooms as special as the many spaces of the Parador. The current Royal Dining Room, for example, is a regular meeting place for prominent personalities, such as the meeting that brought together high-ranking officials after the Prestige crisis.
The reverie continues behind the doors of the parador. The city of Santiago de Compostela has been declared a World Heritage Site and is inevitably linked to pilgrimage. The Plaza del Obradoiro, one of the busiest squares in the world, and the location of the Parador, brings together thousands of intrepid pilgrims every day. From here you can embark on routes through the historic centre to discover the wealth of Galician culture. On your route, we recommend you visit Abastos market to savour the magnificent local gastronomy. Also, don't forget to take a look at the artistic section by stopping off at the Pazo de Fonseca or the Contemporary Art and Pobo Galego museums.
Welcome to the birthplace of modernity: the Parador de Cádiz
From history we jump to the epicentre of modernity. Every part of the Parador de Cádiz is designed around two values: natural light and impressive views. Hence, some of its rooms offer magnificent panoramic views of the Bay and Parque Genovés, while others have Caleta beach and the beautiful sunset as a backdrop. In addition, the rooms of this building constructed in 2012, on the site of the mythical Hotel Atlántico, bear the stamp of avant-gardism. It is common to see the use of materials such as wood, marble, steel, stone and glass in its spaces, coexisting in harmony with sculptural works from the Ars Fundum modern art collection, making the Parador the ideal destination for lovers of design.
But there are many more attractions. Such as the spa, where in addition to enjoying a complete circuit through the extensive facilities, you can sign up for relaxing beauty treatments, combining various oriental techniques.
There is plenty to do in Cadiz. During the day, stroll through its streets and enjoy the historical heritage left by the Phoenicians and Romans as they passed through the Spanish province. Come night-time, experience the nightlife that is so characteristic of this purely colonial city. The Parador is also perfectly located for exploring charming towns in the province, such as Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. A few days should also be given to the white villages route, headed by Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez de la Frontera, Grazalema and its iconic mountain range, or El Bosque, famous for its exquisite cheeses.
A beautiful spot bathed by the Atlantic Ocean: the Parador de Costa da Morte
The Parador Costa da Morte is synonymous with nature. A perfect viewpoint overlooking the beach of Lourido, a short distance from Cape Fisterra that invites you to disconnect and relax. It is the most recently opened Parador and has quickly become one of the most emblematic establishments, thanks to its spectacular building, totally integrated into the landscape and its stunning yet cosy rooms with views to the immense ocean. An extension of the environment that is also visible in the album of photographs and sculptures linked to the Galician landscape. Such as the 75 pieces of 'Ola', by Álvaro de Vega, made from recycled wood from rafts, offering a spectacle of expressiveness and gestural force, or those by Francisco Leiro. Don't forget to visit the restaurant either. We offer a truly gastronomic experience headed by goose barnacles from Muxía, razor shells from Fisterra, rice with lobster and ray fish casserole.
The surrounding area offers a range of ambitious activities. Do you like culture? Then visit Monte Pindo, considered the Olympus of Celtic mythology, and marvel at amazing monuments such as the Dolmen de Dombate. Or would you prefer to immerse yourself in nature? Set off on the Camiño dos Faros path from Malpica to Fisterre, one of the most beautiful in the Galician landscapes. If you are a photography enthusiast, it is well worth taking a close look at the beauty of the waterfalls along the Ruta das Fervenzas de Caballo and the Caldeiras do Castro. And don't forget that you can also count on the expert guidance of our Nature for the Senses programme, available at the Parador, to discover more local secrets.
Paradise on the Costa Brava: Parador de Aiguablava
With the Mediterranean as a backdrop and set on a beautiful cliff, the Parador de Aiguablava is an enchanting hotel. And that is no exaggeration. The fact is that all the rooms in this newly built accommodation, first opened in the 1960s and refurbished just three years ago, look out onto the spectacular coves surrounding the hotel. Likewise, Punta D'es Muts, the geographical point of the establishment, offers guests the chance to breathe in the fresh, pure air, as the surroundings are dominated by a multitude of pine trees. In addition, the Parador itself contains an art exhibition of the great masters of contemporary Catalan art including Dalí, Tapiès and Miró, to name but a few. The sea, nature and culture merge to create an atmosphere of leisure and relaxation, in which natural light and the exterior landscape are the main features, thanks to the use of glass. In fact, don’t miss the chance to watch the incredible sunsets that imbue the atmosphere with a very particular beauty with a chromatic symbiosis of hues of orange and violet.
Don’t leave Aiguablava without discovering its historical heritage. Begur is crowned by an imposing castle and an archaeological site bearing tales from the past. If you feel like exploring the area in depth, we recommend you visit the mediaeval towns of Pals and Peratallada. Another obligatory stop is the Aiguamolls Natural Park, an important bird reserve. If travelling with kids, they are sure to enjoy the fauna such as ducks, grey herons, egrets, cattle egrets, cranes, flamingos and black-footed boobies. And if you wish, it is possible to request a guided tour of the marshes to explore the wonders of the ecosystem.
An obligatory stop on the Mediterranean Coast: Parador de Nerja
Autumn is a good time to travel to the Parador de Nerja. This iconic spot is located on a cliff surrounded by the beauty of the Mediterranean. From the garden, enjoy contemplating the beauty of the Malaga coastline. We also have everything you need to fight boredom. How about bringing out your competitive side on our tennis or paddle tennis courts? Then you'll be ready to savour the restaurant's exquisite cuisine. The dishes will take you back in time thanks to the Arabic heritage, but without neglecting the gastronomic essence of Andalusia. And after the culinary tribute, don't forget to succumb to the wonderful collection of figurative expressionism art on display at the Parador, by the painter Eduardo Roldán. An exhibition that now includes 18 new works in addition to the original eight pieces, a generous donation from the artist's widow, making Paradores the institution with the largest collection of work by the artist.
Nerja is the main tourist centre on the Costa del Sol. The most popular visits are to the Balcón de Europa, an enclave that offers amazing panoramic views of the African continent, weather permitting, and Nerja Cave, where the world's largest 32-metre-high column is preserved, listed in the Guinness Book of Records. And if this interests you, you'll also be delighted to know that you can count on the guidance and knowledge of a real expert in the secrets of this cave: Tito, the famous character from Verano Azul. Or, if you feel like peace and quiet, take a stroll through the Sierras Tejeda and Almijara Natural Parks.
Parador de León: an imposing building oozing with history and modernity
It is known by the name of Hostal de San Marcos. Every nook and cranny of this imposing 16th century Renaissance building tells a story and displays the artistic beauty of centuries gone by. It was originally a convent and pilgrims' hospital, becoming the emblematic location of the Order of Santiago. The passing of the years has not prevented it from continuing to captivate the thousands of tourists who pass through its rooms year after year. After a thorough refurbishment, it reopened its doors in 2020 following an ambitious artistic renovation, inspired by the work of a commission of renowned art experts. Today, a collection of almost 500 works of art, classical and contemporary pieces that make the Parador a cultural reference, are to be found within. A very special living museum, which witnessed the confinement of one of the most famous writers in our history, Francisco de Quevedo.
Beyond the Parador, León is a land of adventurers. If you love getting lost without having to rely on your car, you're in luck. A stroll through the city's historic quarter will show you its artistic heritage. For example, the iconic 13th century Gothic cathedral, adorned with the famous rose windows and stained glass windows, the Guzmanes palace or Gaudí's Casa Botines. And don't forget to explore the streets of Barrio Húmedo, home to some of the best tapas bars in Spain. And if travelling with your partner, walking hand in hand through every corner of the Romantic Quarter is the perfect way to keep the flame of love alight.
Parador de Granada: art, culture and history in a dream location
A trip to the Parador de Granada is to enjoy the crossroads of two cultures: Arab and Christian. The Parador is a former convent built by the Catholic Monarchs on the site of an old Nasrid palace and located in the grounds of the Alhambra, considered the eighth wonder of the world. A real privilege. Gardens, fountains, works of art and magical rooms with views of the Generalife gardens are just some of the details that will invite you to relive history. In addition, the cloister, the Arab hall and the viewpoint overlooking the Generalife through which the irrigation channel passes remain intact. A visit to discover them makes a fascinating journey. Just as fascinating as discovering what was once the provisional tomb of the Catholic Monarchs, sheltered by a Moorish dome, or the Arab baths discovered in 1949.
A tour of Granada should begin at the Alhambra, a masterpiece of Andalusian art. There you will discover a host of anecdotes that reinforce the historical value of the site. Don’t leave the city without taking a few pictures from the Mirador de San Nicolás viewpoint, almost a tradition among the tourists who visit the province every year. Take the opportunity to get lost in the streets of the Sacromonte neighbourhood. Here you'll find caves and even a gypsy zambra show. And if you like skiing, stop off in the Sierra Nevada. Mulhacén peak, the highest in Spain, lies between the slopes and mountains.