Lonely Planet has chosen Spain’s most beautiful parador

by Lorraine Williamson

The revered state-run hotel impresses travellers due to its beauty and the impressive history of the hotel. The parador crowned by Lonely Planet as Spain’s most beautiful is located in the province of Pontevedra in Galicia. It is the Parador de Baiona, situated in the beautiful surroundings around one of the most beautiful bays of the Rías Baixas.

Lonely Planet conducted a large-scale survey among its followers on Instagram. More than 45,000 travellers participated in the voting and chose this iconic parador with 61% of the votes as the most beautiful in Spain. Parador de Baiona thus outshined the beautiful Parador de Granada.

Both paradors are housed in historic buildings in extraordinary locations. Yet, each has its own unique style. The paradors of La Gomera and Hondarribia also came close to making it to the final and were praised for their beauty and distinctive character.

Parador with a rich history

Spain’s most beautiful parador is located in the historic castle of Monterreal, a fortress from the 15th century. The defensive work was converted into a fortified city in 1497 by order of the Catholic Monarchs. In the 19th century, the fort came into the hands of the Marquis of Pazo de la Merced. He built a majestic Neo-Gothic palace on the ruins of the castle, which was declared a National Monument in 1950.

Between 1963 and 1966, this palace was transformed into the beautiful parador as it is known today. The palace was carefully restored and included an authentic Galician wine cellar in the former stables.

Unique location

Celts, Phoenicians, Romans, Christian monks, Arabs, and even pirates have left their mark on this strategic location. According to legend, the famous Islamic leader Almanzor stayed in the castle after crossing the Iberian Peninsula on his way to Santiago de Compostela. However, one of the most significant events in the history of the property is the arrival of Christopher Columbus’s fleet. After his first voyage to the New World and the discovery of America, Columbus returned to this location.

Splendid location

In addition to its rich history and undeniable architectural beauty, the Parador de Baiona has another major advantage: its truly splendid location on one of the most beautiful bays of the Rías Baixas. The light and spacious rooms of the hotel offer stunning sea views. Furthermore, the parador is surrounded by 18 hectares of gardens, ideal for a stroll and to enjoy the peaceful tranquility within the walled gardens.

Plenty to do in the surroundings

The surroundings of the Parador de Baiona also offer much to explore. One of the most striking attractions is the monument of Virgen de la Roca, accessible via a stone bridge. The Church of Santa María, in Gothic-Renaissance style, is also worth a visit, featuring a valuable Baroque altarpiece.

For those seeking spectacular panoramic views, a visit to the mirador O Cortelliño atop Mount A Groba is a must. From there, you can enjoy magnificent views of the Cíes Islands. This archipelago has been declared a National Park and boasts some of the best beaches in Europe.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a business trip, the Parador de Baiona is an ideal place for a wide audience. Moreover, you can indulge in the best that Galician cuisine has to offer.

Also read: Caminos de pasion

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