The Undiscovered Paradors of Spain


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No matter which season you choose for travelling, there is nothing more delightful than a Spanish vacation. This is truly a top destination providing something for everyone, whether you're after beaches or sweeping plains, lively clubs or impressive cathedrals.

It is much more than just bull fighting, bull running, flamenco and tomato fights that make this small country so exotic. Spaniards have always tried their best to make the country attractive and unforgettable for tourists.

Spain has the usual selection of modern hotels and hostels, but if you travel off the beaten track you can easily discover many alternative kinds of tourist accommodation. Within this category, the Spanish paradors particularly stand out.

The word “parador” literally means “stopping place”. Paradors form a chain of historic buildings converted into lodging places all around the country. They stretch from Galicia in the North West through Catalonia to Andalusia in the south, the Canary Islands and to the Spanish cities of North Africa.

It was the idea of the Royal Tourist Commissioner Marques de la Vega-Inclan in 1926 to set up paradors in places of special interest or remote locations with two purposes. Firstly, it would help provide inexpensive accommodation to travellers in remote areas. Secondly, it would keep all the run-down monuments and historic buildings in good condition which would otherwise be left to fall apart.

You can call it an irony of fate, but nowadays paradors are respectable high-standard hotels with all mod cons. They preserve their previous elegance and at the same time ensure your absolute comfort. The Spanish parador is also where you will discover Spanish cuisine of the highest calibre.

So, if you like to be pampered and realise that staying at one of Spanish paradors is just what you have always wanted, the next step is deciding what kind of parador will make the most of your holidays.

Below are just a few of the many options available to tourists. Each suggestion is accompanied by an example – one of paradors offered by Keytel International, the UK’s only official representative for the Spanish Paradores.

  1. Perhaps you wish to enjoy the atmosphere of Medieval Spain, staying in a medieval castle.

    Example: Cardona – the fortified 9th century enclosure, conceals a 2nd century tower and an 11th century church along with spectacular bedrooms, some with four-poster beds. Located on a vantage point of the fortified town and inside the solid stone walls, we find furniture inspired from medieval times in the drawing rooms.

  2. Then, it may be a Monastery or a Medieval Hospital, where walls have been oozing religious spirit for many centuries.

    Example: Guadalupe – the 15th century hospital of St. John the Baptist reflects religious spirit of absorption and reflection on the former Monastery of Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe. The unique orchard forming the garden, its secluded swimming pool, arcade and white walls, announce the spacious interior, whose bedrooms recall the original religious function.

  3. You may prefer a stay in the Spanish countryside with colourful views of Spanish landscape and fresh country food. This option is gaining in popularity as tourists wish to leave the busy city life behind.

    Example: Keytel Int. offers a great number of country-side paradors. One of them is located in Albacete, in central Spain, near to Madrid Airport, La Mancha Country House. The stamp of Cervantes influences the character of this Parador, the calmness of its luxuriant garden, its swimming pool, and attractive corridor. Its décor offers the privacy and calm necessary to escape from daily routine in relaxed working sessions in the Sancho Panza and Dulcinea rooms. The local cuisine covers everything from “pisto manchego" (fried vegetables), partridge in “escabeche" sauce and a puff-pastry sweet, “Miguelitos de la Roda".

  4. If you are not a fan of history and ancient architecture, you are free to choose a parador built in the modern style. Located in areas of great natural beauty, close to entertainments and shopping centres they are built to accommodate modern requirements and convenience.

    Example: El Hierro – The Parador is located on the most recent and least populated of the Canary Islands. This is also the place, where up until a century ago, the “O" meridian line passed through. The Parador rises up, by the sea, with whitewashed walls and wooden balconies. Comfortable bedrooms complement an interior with an elegant, colonial tone along with a garden with a swimming pool.

These unique buildings create the perfect atmosphere for your holiday, matched only by the welcome you will receive from the Spanish people. For further reading on the paradors of Spain, go to where you can browse over 100 Spanish paradors to suit all tastes.

I wish you a great time during your holiday. Good luck!

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