Boasting lush vegetation, mountain ranges, a temperate climate, rugged cliffs and stretches of sandy beaches, northern Spain is typographically breathtaking. The province of Galicia, especially, with its abundance of inlets along the coast, called rías, is vastly different from what is commonly understood as a typical Spanish landscape. Economically contrasted by populated centers and rural hinterland, paradores are a luxurious yet authentic way to experience this unique region. With its spectacular scenery, it’s no wonder that this beautiful region is otherwise known as Green Spain.
Also known, quite poetically, as the “country of a thousand rivers,” Galicia boasts rolling green hills, wooded valleys, beautiful coastlines and resplendent rías as well as some of the most spectacular paradores. Explore the charming coastal villages, like Pontevedra, marvel at the numerous monuments that enjoy World Heritage site status, such as Lugo’s city walls or the Tower of Hercules, or simply relax and unwind in a hot spring or at the beach. Pontevedra has a long maritime tradition and is home to one of the largest historic quarters in the province, where you could stay at the Parador de Pontevedra an original Renaissance palace in the old town.
There’s a whole world of options to choose from in the Basque country, but the main attractions are clearly the stunning coastal destinations like San Sebastian and Santander with pristine beaches. Inland cities provide just as many highlights to please culture and nature lovers alike. Bilbao is a must-see, with its captivating mix of modern architecture and Gothic cathedrals, as well as the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.
The Asturias region is a perfect blend of picturesque nature, historic culture and scrumptious gastronomy, assuring that you leave with a wonderful taste in your mouth. Of course Asturia is also home to several luxurious paradores in a historic setting that will make your stay a truly cultural experience. The region boasts Paleolithic cave paintings that date back to 25,000 BC and are declared World Heritage sites as well as numerous verdant national parks, the most famous of which is the Picos de Europa. Asturias is also a cultural lover’s paradise, home to various historic architecture and cultural attractions like the shrine to the virgin of Coradonga and the pre-Romanesque church and palace in the vibrant capital, Oviedo.
Paradores are stylish hotels in the most beautiful areas of Spain. The luxury hotel chain restores and converts castles, fortresses and charming historic buildings into sophisticated hotels. Paradores are spread throughout Spain – besides for Andalusia and Galicia, Catalonia and Castile Leon are popular destinations to stay.
Paradores are categorized as urban, coastal/natural, and historic. Parador Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos is an urban parador in Santiago de Compostela. Parador de Corias is a quiet hotel located within Northern Spain’s natural, mountain landscapes. Parador de Tortosa is a historic establishment built in a 10th-century castle.
A parador is a historic building, usually a former castle or monastery, that has been repurposed into a luxury hotel.
Some paradores are family friendly and offer hiking and biking tours, swimming pools, and other child-friendly activities, while some are more focused on creating romantic, tranquil environments and may not be the best choice for a holiday with the little ones. Some family friendly paradores are Parador de Cambados in Galicia or Parador de Cervera de Pisuerga in Castile Leon.
Bilbao is home to the world-famous Guggenheim Museum and located within Basque Country, the inland of which is composed of picturesque landscapes and a culture and language unique to the region. Santiago de Compostela is beautiful and the final stop on a famous pilgrimage route. San Sebastián is good for pintxos (Spanish tapas) and beaches. La Rioja is Northern Spain’s wine region.
Parador de Baiona is on the beach.