parador de alcañiz

Photos courtesy of Parador de Alcañiz








The earliest mention of the castle here dates back to 1179, when the Order of Calatrava (a military order founded to wage battle against the Moors) acquired the property.

In the Middle Ages the castle played an important role in the setting of dynasties. For two years the Aragonese parliament met with representatives from the Vatican, Sicily, France, and Castile to determine a new king of Aragón. Ferdinand I, who was the grandfather of the more famous Ferdinand of “Ferdinand and Isabel” fame, was the bastard half-brother of Pedro the Cruel. A meeting was held to determine if Ferdinand I was worthy of the throne. His chief rival was Count James of Urgel, who didn’t stand a chance since Ferdinand had the more powerful allies and influential friends. Back in those days, losers of political campaigns were not allowed to retire gracefully. Count James was captured and imprisoned for the remainder of his life in a subterranean dungeon at Xátiva, near Valencia.

The castle was added on to over the years. In 1728 Prince Felipe incorporated part of it into an Aragonese-style palace. This section is now the parador, while the rest of the building stands as a national monument.

Pamela’s Perspective

The eastern part of Aragón appears little changed since the last century. Tiny medieval villages seem to be connected to the outside world only by power lines. Aragón also boasts some of the most extreme weather in Spain. Winters are freezing, with subzero temperatures, while summers are absolutely scorching.

The remote Maestrazgo region has some of the most rugged and wild scenery in Spain. You can’t go anywhere in a hurry here, because the roads twist through deep gorges and alongside rocky crags and precipices. However, for the undaunted traveler who seeks to discover the many facets of Spain, there is not a corner less traveled or less spoiled by modern civilization.


Parador de Alcañiz

A 12th-century castle


Castillo Calatravos, s/n
44600 Alcañiz (Teruel)
Tel: ++34 978 83 04 00
Fax: ++34 978 83 03 66
Official parador website
Reserve with

Fast facts

35 rooms

Double rooms: 95–295 euros
Single rooms: 80% price of a double room
Rates include tax. Breakfast extra.
Free Wi-Fi

Open: mid-February through first week of January

Getting there

Alcañiz lies in the eastern part of Aragón, 105 km southeast of Zaragoza on N-232. The parador is on the hill in the middle of town. Follow the signposts. Bus and train transportation is available to Alcañiz, but the going can be very slow.

What to do

On site: sauna
Nearby: hiking; swimming; canoeing


Two huge, imposing square towers flank each side of this castle’s façade. The parador sits unassumingly off to one side.

The castle ambiance is carried throughout the public rooms, where Aragonese heraldic banners hang from thick stone walls. Leather couches and chairs sit on woven throw rugs in front of a big fireplace, inviting cozy repose during the brutally cold winters. A small cloister holding several sarcophagi of the knights of the Order of Calatrava is open for viewing.

An enormous stone stairway leads to spacious guest rooms decorated in warm tones with heavy brocade drapes, and throw rugs atop red tile floors. One room has a canopied bed. Small windows overlook the steep streets of the town; one corner room has especially fine views.

The inviting dining room is decorated with the coat of arms of several knights of Calatrava. Overhead, wrought-iron chandeliers hang from a wood-beamed ceiling, and an impressive stone fireplace anchors one end of the room.

Something special

curlicueDon't miss the Plateresque sepulcher and the Gothic murals.