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Castles and Fortresses of Spain 9 day tour

Castles and Fortresses of Spain 9 day tour


Trip Overview:

This 9-day tour begins and ends in Madrid where you’ll take a tour of the city centre, visit the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum and eat at some charming traditional restaurants. Leaving Madrid, you’ll commence a self drive tour around Castile where you’ll visit the region’s most impressive castles and alcazars. You&acut...

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Trip Summary:

8 nights / 9 days with stays in Madrid (1 nt), Curiel (2 nts), Pedraza (2 nts), Siguenza (2 nts), Madrid (1 nt) If you’re looking for a unique way to bring Spain’s history to life or want to release the Medieval kid in you, this tour of castles in Central Spain is perfect. You’ll travel around Cast...

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Fly into Madrid International Airport and depart from Madrid also.

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Tour Itinerary

Madrid, Spain

Arrive in Madrid. You’ll be met at the airport by your private driver who will transfer you to the centrally-located 4-star accommodation of your choice for one night. After some time to settle in and relax from your flight, your expert local guide will collect you from your hotel for a walking tour of the old centre which includes the Puerta de Alcala, Retiro Park, Plaza del Sol, Plaza de Santa Ana, San Miguel Market and the Plaza Mayor.

Enjoy lunch in the Cava Baja area – one of the oldest sections of the city. 

You are at leisure this afternoon – we recommend a visit to the Royal Palace that stands on the site of an old alcazar fortress and a former Moorish castle. The current building was completed in 1764. With 3,418 rooms there’s something to represent every style (and every monarch) since its construction.

Peñafiel, Spain

Today you’ll collect you rental car and drive to the Duero Valley – a beautiful region famos for its excellent wines. Your first stop is the Castle-hotel in Curiel del Duero where you’ll be staying for the next two nights.

After checking in and dropping off your luggage, the stunning 15th century castle of Penafiel awaitsBuilt atop a 10th century fortress, the current castle has evolved through the centuries and was declared a national monument in 1917. It’s often compared to a battleship because of its long narrow structure (210m long x 33m wide). After enjoying the tour of the Gothic castle itself and exploring the 30m high keep, stone vault and the eight turrets, you’ll love the views looking out onto the Duratón and Botijas valleys which was of strategic importance during the Reconquista. Wine-lovers will be happy to know that, since 1999, the castle has housed the Provincial Wine Museum including a tasting room.

For lunch you should try one of the local ‘asadores’ which are restaurants with a wood-burning brick oven that specialise in delicious roast meats that work wonderfully with a glass or two of Ribera. After lunch, we recommend you visit one of the 600 or so wineries in the Ribera del Duero DO. We like the charming Pesquera and the upmarket Abadia de Retuerta wineries but there are lots of smaller producers well worth considering also. If you would like this planned rather than a spur of the momeet decision than please let your Totally Spain representative know so that they can make a suitable booking for you.

Return to your hotel in Curiel.

Peñafiel, Spain

Daytrip to Simancas 

This morning you’ll visit the Castle of Simancas in the town of the same name.

Located on the banks of the river Duero, on the site of an Arab fort from the 9th century is the 15th century castle of Simancas.  Visit the castle which was rebuilt by the Admirals of Castile who handed it over to the Catholic Kings - Isabella & Ferdinand. It later became a prison until Phillip II commissioned a re-design and dedicated it solely for the state archives. The Archive is well worth a visit – it contains all documents produced by government bodies on the monarchs from 1475 to 1834 and is full of interesting disclosures as well as being a resource for academic research.

Afterwards as you walk about the town, keep an eye our for the Alice Gould square – dedicated to the American historian who spent many years here in Simancas researching Queen Isabella and the Columbus voyages. Also in town you can admire the reredos and the valuable silverwork of the monstrance in the parish church.

After lunch in Simancas, you’ll drive the short distance to Medina del Campo to see Mota Castle that derives its name from the moat around the structure. The castle dates from the 15th century although the site has housed a fortress since 1080. Important guests here include Queen Isabel I and Juana La Loca (the Mad).  You’ll receive a guided tour of this dramatic fortress which has served as a Royal Archive, an arsenal for artillery, a prison and a military training school.

Return to Penafiel for your evening meal or your hotel in Curiel.

Pedraza, Spain

Today you’ll check out of your hotel and drive to the stunning and much loved Coca Castle in the province of Segovia built in the 15th century by the Archbishop of Seville. It’s one of Castile’s outstanding fortresses and a great place to see Mudejar architecture in central Spain. Here tour the splendid castle that is more like a palace than a fortress. You’ll see the moat and the walled enclosures and you’ll learn about the history of the Comuneros Revolt when Castile rebelled against the King. You can also walk the perimeter of the walls which is the (scary) highlight of the visit for children. The castle is owned by the Duchess of Alba although it’s on loan to the Ministry of Agriculture that has located an agricultural training college inside the castle walls.

Drive to the medieval village of Pedraza and check into your hotelYou’ll stay in a lovely posada in the old quarter of this beautiful walled medieval town for 2 nights.

After you’ve settled into your hotel, enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants and stroll through its beautiful Plaza Mayor, its cobbled streets and emblazoned houses that transport you back to in time. You can visit the town’s own 13th century castle, the 12th century parish church and the Museum of Zuloaga – which includes work by the Basque painter of the same name and El Greco and Goya. If you are travelling in July – consider attending the Classical Music nights called Candle Concerts. Ask your Totally Spain agent about this if it interestes you. Enjoy an evening meal at a typical meson.

Pedraza - Daytrip to Segovia, Spain

Daytrip to Segovia

Today you’ll drive into Segovia to explore the Alcazar that towers over the city. The castle you’ll visit was built in many stages from the 11th to the 19th centuries  – but archaeological evidence suggests that the site has been used to defend the city since Roman times. While visiting see how it transitioned from a wooden defense structure to a royal residence for Alfonso VIII in the 12th century. Royals have made their mark here ever  - the best known being Isabella who sought refuge in the Alcazar the day before she was named Queen of Castille and Leon. When Phillip II moved the royal court to Madrid, the building served as a prison and later as an artillery school. We recommend you walk up the tower and if you are feeling fit – take a hike down the hill to appreciate the fortress that it is. As you do, you can decide whether or not Disney was inspired by the Alcazar silhouette when creating his company logo.

After your visit, we recommend you take refuge in one of Segovia’s many traditional mesones and sample cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) or any other roast meats for which this city is famed. After lunch, you should walk to the near perfect Roman aqueduct that dates from the 1st century AD and was in use up to the 19th century. If you have time you could also see the 16th century Gothic cathedral which features a retablo by Churriguera and Sabattini. The San Esteban church with its astonishing high tower or the San Millan Romanesque church which has a 10th-century Mozarabic structure in its tower are also interesting as is the Jewish Quarter.

Return to your hotel in Pedraza.

Siguenza, Spain

This morning drive east to Siguenza in the province of Guadalajara. Your accommodation for the next two nights is the Parador at Siguenza Castle.

Like a number of other castles you have seen by now, the Parador is an imposing medieval castle situated in an Arab fortress built ontop of a Roman settlement. The fortress was the centre for military operations in the fight for the crown of Castile in the 13th Century, during the War of Spanish Succession, and also during the Peninsular and Carlists wars. Eventually it became the Headquarters for the Guardia Civil and finally a residence for the elderly. You’ll hear of many legends who lived or spent time at the castle including Peter the Cruel’s Blanca of Borbon who was imprisoned in a cell here.

You will also visit the Cistercian-Gothic cathedral where you can learn about bishops such as Cardinal Mendoza who was responsible for the town’s first university and who’s body was interred in the cathedral.

At lunch you should sample local specialties such as roasted goat, rabbit and partridge. If you want to stretch your legs after your meal, you’ll find a great many walking and driving routes in the vicinity of Siguenza, but we wholeheartedly recommend you enjoy your time in this castle. Grab a good book or a coffee and relax in some of the many beautiful areas inside and out.

Siguenza, Spain

Daytrip to Jadraque

Today drive south to visit the 15th century castle of Jadraque in Castilla la Mancha. It sits on top of a hill commanding the plain of the Henares river and is part of the El Cid Route. This recently restored fortress is called the "Castle of Cid" because it’s mentioned in the infamous Poem of Cid from which much of the route is derived. The castle has passed through many hands including Cardinal Mendoza who is responsible for the structure you see before you today. Built in 1470 in ashlar stone, the structure is rectangular in shape with one rectangular and four round towers. As with many of Castile’s castles, Jadraque is built on an Arab ruin. Visits to the interior are by appointment only (which Totally Spain can arrange or you) but even if you just visit the exterior you’ll see why it’s worth stopping off at this off-the-beaten-track castle. Walk around the 240m perimeter and enjoy the stunning view of this rural setting. 

After visiting the castle, you might like to look for the Alcarria and Verdugo palaces from the 17th and 18th centuries in the town. If you like Zurburan, you should visit the church that displays one of his oil paintings from 1661.

After lunch return to Siguenza for your second night at the parador.

Madrid, Spain

Drive back to Madrid for your final day. Drop off your rental car and check into your centrally-located 4-star hotel.

Later enjoy a guided tour of the Prado Museum. Your guide will focus on the artwork from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century. You’ll see the work of Zurburan and of course Velasquez, El Greco and Goya and many other names you’ve heard about on your journey will be cropping up also.

For your final afternoon, we recommend a visit to one of the private residences open to the public such as the Sorolla Museum, Cerralbo Museum or the Convent of the Barefoot Nuns (Descalzas Reales). For your evening meal, we will suggest one of Madrid’s traditional taverns.


You’ll be collected by private driver and taken to Madrid International Airport for your return flight home.

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