Spain has endured a lot of conflict in its time, and every culture, from the Phoenicians to the Visigoths, has felt the need to protect itself and build powerful hilltop forts.
But you could say that the art of castle-building was perfected by the Moors after they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in the 8th century to occupy much of Spain for 500 years.
The good news for us is that many centuries of turmoil have endowed Spain with innumerable fortresses to see, some awe-inspiring and oppressive, and others extravagant and palatial.
Let’s make a whistle-stop tour around the most beautiful castles in Spain:
1. Alhambra, Granada
The very first building constructed at this famed palace and garden ensemble was the fortress in the 1000s, so the Alhambra sneaks to the top of the most beautiful castles in the country.
You could lose a good couple of hours surveying the walls, barbican and tower of the citadel on the western side of the Sabika hill before moving on to the palaces and their innumerable patios, and of course the Generalife.
The Alhambra was built by the Moors, who later adapted it as a summer escape for Sultan Yusuf I. After Granada was re-conquered, the Catholic Monarchs held court here.
There may not be a more enchanting place in Spain today.