The landscape of Spain is dotted with more than 2,500 castles. Each one has its own unique history that can be gleaned from its walls and interior. It is fascinating to get the chance to glimpse centuries-old architecture.
Many of these fortresses are Arab castles built by the Moors. The design influences are clear, even after years of restoration and influence from other centuries of work.
Some Spanish castles date back to before the common era, and while they have been upgraded with time, some maintain some of their original structure and qualities.
The stunning city of Granada is home to some beautiful castles and palaces that are rich in history and can transport you back in time. There are several of those open to visitors you can choose from.
The Best Castles in Granada
Here’s a list of the Granada castles you can’t miss.
The Alhambra is a fortress complex built with Islamic architecture that contains three palaces. The Nasrid palaces are made up of the Mexuar, which is the remainder of a destroyed palace; the Palace of the Lions; and Comares Palace. It was built in the ninth century and the palace in Granada is an incredibly popular tourist site today.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is available to the public in a controlled manner to preserve conservation. The number of tickets available per day is limited.
Warning: You could lose your visitation rights to an area if you don’t follow the instructions on your ticket.
You have different options if you want to visit this Granada palace.
Booking options include:
- General day visit
- Gardens day visit
- Nasrid palaces night visit
- Gardens night visit
Tip: It’s important to book your tickets and be on time. Check out the following Alhambra tours for easy purchase.
The Castle of La Calahorra
The Castle of La Calahorra, locally known as Castillo de La Calahorra, is located in an isolated area on a hill in La Calahorra. This fortress in Spain was built between the years 1509 to 1512.
The lone castle is unique in that it was constructed using the stonework from the previous Arabic castle located there paired with craftsmanship from Italy. This made it one of the first Italian Renaissance castles built beyond the borders of Italy.
Castillo de La Calahorra became a Bien de Interés Cultural monument in 1922. This Granada castle is privately owned at the moment. You can go and view the outside of the structure and there are interior guided tours.
Tip: The area is very rocky, and you could struggle to make it up the hill by car. It would be better to park your car in town and go up by footpath.
San Miguel Castle
The San Miguel castle, locally known as Castillo de San Miguel, is located on a small hill in Almuñécar. It is one of the Moorish castles in Spain that has seen many iterations of itself over millennia.
The initial fortification of the fortress was built in the first century BCE by the Romans and the Phoenicians. The Moors occupied it, and during this time, there were alterations to the castle. It was enlarged to include three gates and four towers.
After some time the castle was transferred into the hands of the Catholic Monarchs. This resulted in even more changes. When Catholic King Ferdinand’s reign ended in the 16th-century, there was a new front entrance, a drawbridge, and a moat.
Castillo de San Miguel was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural monument in 1993. There is now a small museum, including an archeological museum. You can get a ticket to visit the site from the museum.
Castle of Salobreña
The castle of Salobreña, locally known as Castillo de Salobreña, is a one of the Arabic castles dating back to the 10th-century.The gorgeous castle is located on a hilltop giving it a stunning view of its surroundings, including the ocean.
This view made it a perfect fortress in the past. It was a prison for Nasrid sultans, and the Moors also used it as a palace. There is Christian influence in its architecture.
The castle was made a Bien de Interés Cultural monument in 1993. You can go visit the castle if you’d like. The opening and closing times depend on season.
- June to August: 10 am – 1:30 pm & 5:30 pm – 8 pm
- September to October: 10 am – 1 pm & 5 pm – 6:30 pm
- October to March: 10 am – 1 pm & 4 pm – 5:30 pm
- March to June: 10 am – 1 pm & 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Quick tip: The entrance fee is 4 Euros ($4 USD). To get to the castle, you must leave your car and use a walking path that will take you there.
Castle of Guadix
The castle of Guadix, known as Alcazaba de Guadix, is a citadel that was built in the 10th-century, but the site was first fortified by the Romans. It is of Islamic origin, so it has characteristics of the architecture of the time. It was left abandoned after the Catholic Monarch’s conquest in 1489, but remains a fantastic castle in Spain to visit.
The fortress functioned as a military garrison protecting the road to Granada and the surrounding town. It suffered great damage during the 16th-century and was almost destroyed. Alcazaba de Guadix has been restored, and it was named a National Artistic Monument in 1931.
Tip: You can visit Spain’s fortress for a fee. Make sure to check opening times before you decide to go because it is not always open.
Which Granada Castle Will You Visit?
Spain is a wonderful holiday destination with so much to offer you could easily spend five days exploring some of it. Visiting different places will enrich your experience in the country. We’d suggest taking time to travel to Granada and see what’s on offer there.
Take a trip up a hill and go and experience the amazing architecture of castles that have stood the test of time. You’ll probably have to go on foot at some point, but it will definitely be worth it.
So, go enjoy your travels and make sure to take in all Spain has to offer.