There is much more to Spain than the golden plains made famous by Don Quixote. From its warm Mediterranean coastline and sun-kissed desert to its brisk mountain summits and lush rainy north, the country is home to a variety of different landscapes.
Take, for instance, the dramatic cliffs in the towns of Castellfollit de la Roca, Cuenca and Ronda, where houses that teeter on the edge of the abyss will surely leave you speechless.
Cliffside views in Ronda
Located near Málaga in the heart of Andalusia, the romantic city of Ronda is well-known for its breathtaking El Tajo canyon, which cuts through the very centre of town. Three iconic bridges cross the canyon - carved out over millennia by the Guadelín River, which runs at the very bottom of the drop - have become some of Ronda's most beloved sights: the tiny Puente Romano or "Roman Bridge", which was actually built by the Arabs; the Puente Viejo, or "Old Bridge", built in 1616; and the Puente Nuevo, or "New Bridge", which dates back to 1793. The most famous is, without a doubt, the New Bridge, which towers 120 metres above the canyon floor in three separate arches, with its central one containing a chamber that was purportedly once used as a prison.
Directly next to the Puente Nuevo is luxury hotel Parador Ronda, housed within an 18th-century building once home to the local government. Here, you'll not only enjoy spectacular views, but also spacious rooms, green gardens and even a swimming pool from which to take in the region's excellent weather.
History and nature collide
Another option is Cuenca in central Spain. This UNESCO World Heritage City soars 956 metres above sea level and features dramatic drops into the Júcar and Huécar rivers. This is the home of the legendary Hanging Houses (or Casas Colgadas), a complex of buildings that cling perilously to the cliffside above the river Huécar's ravine. Dating back to the 15th century, the Hanging Houses host, amongst other establishments, the city's Museum of Abstract Spanish Art.
Take the 112-year old Saint Paul's Bridge across the ravine to reach the 16th-century monastery that is Parador Cuenca. With unbeatable views of the city, a glass-enclosed cloister, a baroque chapel and a refreshing swimming pool, you can't go wrong with a stay here.
Further north in Catalonia, you'll find Castellfollit de la Roca, a picturesque village located on the banks of a great basalt cliff that stretches for nearly a kilometre some 50 meters above the surrounding land.
Parador Vic-Sau, a stunning Catalan country house perched high above the Sau Reservoir, is a stone's throw away from Castellfollit de la Roca as well as other local wonders, such as various examples of Roman construction and medieval architecture in the town of Vic.
Interested in taking your holiday in Spain to new heights? Contact Paradores today.