parador de zafra

Photos courtesy of Parador de Zafra








Zafra is an ancient site, fortified first by the Celto-Iberians and later by the Romans. The Moors captured the area and built a great alcázar. Many of the narrow, twisting streets and whitewashed walls of today’s town reflect their influence.

The present castle, commissioned by Lorenzo de Figueroa, was begun in 1437 on the foundations of an old Moorish fort and took six years to finish. His shield and that of his wife, Doña María Manuel, hang over the doorway.

Through the centuries the dukes of Feria—members of one of the most noble houses of Spain—held court at the castle. One of their more notable guests was the conquistador Hernán Cortés, who lived here before setting off for the New World.

Pamela’s Perspective

Try for a room overlooking the town of Zafra (some rooms look out onto the parking lot).

Go up to the turrets and parapets on the roof for a great view of Zafra.

Zafra is a pleasant town and a convenient base for excursions throughout the Extremadura region. It is also a stopping-off point for an easy drive into Portugal.


Parador de Zafra

A 15th-century castle


Plaza Corazón de María, 7
06300 Zafra (Badajoz)
Tel: ++34 924 55 45 40
Fax: ++34 924 55 10 18
Official parador website
Reserve with

Fast facts

45 rooms

Double rooms: 95–145 euros
Single rooms: 80% of double room rate
Rates include tax. Breakfast extra.
Free Wi-Fi

Open: Mid-February through October and last two weeks of December.

Getting there

Zafra is located off N-630 and N-432. It also can be reached by bus or train. Directions to the castle are signposted as you come into town.

What to do

On site: seasonal swimming pool
Nearby: horseback riding; hiking


Step through the spectacular façade of this four-star castle hotel into a medieval world. At night, the great wooden doors creak open atmospherically, and the white marble columns surrounding an inside courtyard glow with a luminescence in the dark.

Four 25-meter-high stone towers stand guard at each end of the castle, while four more keep intruders at bay at the front entrance. Another massive 30-meter-tall tower looks out to the east.

Inside the castle, coffered ceilings, ironwork, large chests and other decorative details give interest to the austere stone walls.

Many of the spacious guest rooms are entered through arched, carved wood doors with big iron knobs. Beds are covered with off-white spreads accented by red-and-pink pillows. Marble bathrooms are completely modernized.

When the weather is fine, dining is outside in the interior patio, highlighted by a fountain in the middle and two stories of dramatic stone arches.

Something special

curlicueThe interior Renaissance patio was the work of Juan de Herrera, architect of El Escorial.

curlicueThe castle chapel features a superb gilded Gothic-Mudéjar ceiling.